Sunday, August 12, 2012

MediaWeek (V5, N33 ) The Cost of Higher Education in the US - Chronicle, Economist, Bain + More

The problem with the cost of education in the US (Economist):
A crisis in higher education has been brewing for years. Universities have been spending like students in a bar who think a Rockefeller will pick up the tab. In the past two years the University of Chicago has built a spiffy new library (where the books are cleverly retrieved by robots), a new arts centre and a ten-storey hospital building. It has also opened a new campus in Beijing.
And it is not alone. Universities hope that vast investments will help them attract the best staff and students, draw in research grants and donations, and ultimately boost their ranking in league tables, drawing in yet more talent and money. They have also increased the proportion of outlays gobbled up by administrators (see chart 2).

To pay for all this, universities have been enrolling more students and jacking up their fees. The average cost of college per student has risen by three times the rate of inflation since 1983. The cost of tuition alone has soared from 23% of median annual earnings in 2001 to 38% in 2010. Such increases plainly cannot continue.
And The Chronicle also takes a look at the sober truth exacerbated by the slow economy (Chron):
This anecdotal evidence seems to be supported by reports in the past several weeks on the financial state of higher education. An analysis by Bain & Company and the private-equity firm Sterling Partners found that one-third of all colleges and universities in the United States face financial statements that are significantly weaker than before the recession and find themselves on an unsustainable fiscal path. Another quarter of colleges are at serious risk of joining them.

Meanwhile, two major credit-rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service, released warnings that put a negative outlook on all but the name-brand market leaders in higher education. “We’re seeing prolonged, serious stress,” Karen Kedem, a vice president and senior analyst at Moody’s, told me.⁠ What is significant about the move by Moody’s is that it typically rates only colleges with strong balance sheets to begin with.
Here is that link to the Bain report:
Despite this success, talk of a higher education “bubble” has reached a fever pitch in the last year. The numbers are very familiar by now: Annual tuition increases several times the rate of inflation have become commonplace. The volume of student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion and is now greater than credit card debt. Most college and university presidents, as well as their boards, executive teams and faculty members, are well aware that a host of factors have made innovation and change necessary.
Last month Blackboard held their annual get together and Inside Higher have a podcast of the highlights
In this month's edition of The Pulse podcast, Rod Murray discusses highlights from the annual Blackboard World 2012 gathering, including information on its new products, services and applications.
From FT writer Simon Schama a contrasting views of the US and UK popular reaction to the games (FT):
At a time when the gap between rich and poor is growing wider, the educational prospects for minorities are loaded with prohibitive debt, when democracy has become the catspaw of plutocrats; what the American people want from the strength, grace and resolution of their athletics is one place where the founding promise of upward social mobility, that Dream thing, is not a sick joke. In the republic of exertion the dream comes true. You have your gift, you work it to the max; you bring it to the day; you breast the tape, touch the lip of the pool, you let yourself weep as the Star Spangled Banner plays and you fold it about your shoulders – and it feels still that there is a place for young Americans, against whom the odds have never been more brutally stacked, to be winners.

If anything, there’s even more at stake for the British. The economy is flatlining; the coalition seems to have lost the plot. Yet from Danny Boyle’s Fabian extravaganza to the sudden cascade of golds that began with Heather and Helen sitting in their boat looking as ecstatically amazed as all the rest of us, a startled, almost embarrassed, suspicion, that the British could actually be world beaters by being themselves, began to dawn.
Coelho has a go at James Joyce and The Economist's Prospero takes exception:
The above two quotes neatly show the dividing line in this latest literary skirmish. Mr Coelho and Salman Rushdie are the same age, are widely read and employ magical realism in their work. Both authors have received prestigious international prizes, and find inspiration in the Bible and "One Thousand and One Nights". But only one of them credits his sources, writes literature, and worships James Joyce.

Another line worth quoting is Mr Coelho’s dictum that a writer has “a duty and an obligation never to be understood by his own generation.” Let’s see here…hmmm...Joyce was the very picture of a starving artist, a virtual exile from his own country, accused of pornography and reviled in his lifetime (and occasionally since) as a writer of unreadable books. Mr Rushdie is similarly big in Tehran. The impossibly avuncular Mr Coelho, on the other hand, may be the Most Understood Author on the planet. Every Coelho bookcover trumpets his success, wooing potential buyers with the promise that he has sold hundreds of millions of copies in over a 160 nations, translated into over 72 languages—the most by a living writer, Guinness confirmed. One wonders if his business card touts: “Over 150 Million Served.
From my twitter feed this week:

Amazon Stops Processing Payments For Crowdfunding Platform For Creative Commons Books

Adam Gopnik remembers Robert Hughes: "One of the indispensable mavericks of modern humanism." New Yorker

Amazing: 'History Man' - the front page of tomorrow's Sunday Telegraph Telegraph

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