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    #222818 - 09/24/15 01:13 PM Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    As much as we've talked about sushi bars and NCAA sports as completely non-academic reasons college tuition has skyrocketed, even at public institutions, I bring you:

    Colleges with the craziest waterparks

    Note that of the four colleges specifically mentioned in the article, only one is a private university. Sure, a successful undergrad from the University of Missouri might be a debt serf for life, but that's a small price to pay to hang in the grotto and pretend to be Hugh Hefner or one of his models.

    The private college they mentioned teaches young earth creationism and has his-and-hers elevators, so their appearance on a "craziest colleges" list is entirely predictable, but earning it with their aquatic facility is a reason you wouldn't immediately expect.

    This referenced link is worth a look, as it describes 30 facilities, is dominated by public schools, and doesn't stop the evaluation at the pool.

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    #222831 - 09/24/15 05:25 PM Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river [Re: Dude]
    Cookie Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/28/14
    Posts: 598
    I was hoping there would be a list ranking the hundred best college lazy rivers before my son starts thinking about college next year. I had already decided it needs a column on the spread sheet comparing colleges.

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    #222871 - 09/25/15 03:02 PM Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river [Re: Dude]
    NotSoGifted Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/14/12
    Posts: 445
    I am surprised that the University of Alabama lazy river and water slide didn't make the list. Middle kid thought that looked pretty good. Combine that with Alabama's great merit scholarships and I would think the school would appeal to some GT kids. Middle kid is not going to apply, but that has more to do with the culture shock kids from her high school have experienced (coming from PA and going to the South).

    I am not opposed to all NCAA sports. Eldest and middle kid have been recruited by DIII schools. When some DI programs greatly compromise academics to get certain athletic recruits, that is a problem, but this doesn't apply to the majority of colleges.

    As for sushi bars, they already have those in our public middle and high schools. If the kids have that in their middle school cafeteria, they will expect that and a lot more at a college cafeteria.

    Yes, college should be mainly about academics, but kids need some decent food and some fun. Middle kid and I just went on a campus tour today of an academically selective LAC, and yes, food was described on the tour. The selection offered sounded pretty good. The tour guide plays an NCAA sport, and my kid has visited campus before at a coach's request. Unfortunately, no water slides or lazy rivers at the school we visited. I think that would have sealed the deal.

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    #222873 - 09/25/15 06:49 PM Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river [Re: NotSoGifted]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Umm. I think the point of the article (and the OP) was to criticize the lazy rivers.

    Sushi is fine, provided they aren't spending millions to install golden sushi bars. I remember the stuff we were fed in college, and IMO nutritious food is a good thing (though outsourcing meals to chains doesn't really fit that bill, and I suspect that a lot of the chains offer food that's nutritionally downhill from the cuisine we had in the 80s).

    But spending $20 million (Oklahoma State) on a water park when tuition is skyrocketing and student debt is over a trillion dollars? That's outrageous. Are these kids going to college to learn how to think or are they looking for a fun route to certification? Dumb question, right? Studies are showing that college students spend less time studying now than they did a few decades ago and that they're learning less.

    IMO, multi-million dollar lazy rivers are a sign of priorities, and learning/expanding horizons/being challenged to think in new ways isn't at the top of that list right now (one could argue that trigger warnings and limitations on free speech bode the opposite).

    So, the college-as-certification-via-four-year-vacation movement makes me sad. Yeah, I understand that students need to relax and have fun, but there are ways of relaxing that don't cost millions of dollars.

    I hope these students don't end up $30K in debt and working at Starbucks.


    Edited by Val (09/25/15 07:53 PM)

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    #222874 - 09/25/15 08:05 PM Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river [Re: Dude]
    NotSoGifted Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/14/12
    Posts: 445
    Yeah, I get the point, but the OSU example is for an extensive rec center, not a water park. The OSU in-state tuition looks very reasonable, at under $8K a year. They have lots of good merit aid, so any kid who is a decent student should not have a lot of debt coming out of OSU.

    Some facilities are over the top, but don't the students expect some sort of rec facilities? It isn't easy to know where to draw the line. The really high dollar projects can be bashed, and you don't want to see a gym with just a few exercise bikes and a couple of sets of free weights, so what is okay?

    What really drives me nuts is the every kid should attend college mentality. That makes for lots of four year vacations and lots of debt. If those kids are encouraged to take other, more suitable career paths, they won't be feeding into the tuition debt mess. You are left with the more academic kids who don't need the frills. Address that misguided idea of college for all and many of the lazy river projects will disappear. Then tuition will stabilize. But good luck convincing colleges to follow the high road and not accept students who are not college material (but will pay).

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    #222875 - 09/25/15 08:28 PM Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river [Re: Dude]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I hope these students don't end up $30K in debt and working at Starbucks.

    Probably tactless of me, but-- I hope that they do. On the other hand, only because there are worse things. Like being unemployed and $50K in debt, I mean. eek

    I will also say that when DORM packages (mandated for freshman, by the way) are more than a year's tuition, um... something is off somewhere, certainly.

    That's my guess at the OSU example given, particularly in light of how low tuition is. My guess is that annual institution costs are still a very healthy 20-25K for in-state students.

    My DD's attitude is that the brand new rec center and the artificial turf intramural fields... are grossly excessive. Disgustingly so. Club Med, here we are.

    On the other hand, the new classroom building is WAY cool, and much needed.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #222879 - 09/26/15 07:56 AM Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river [Re: Dude]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    It appears that when young people graduate from college, their standard of living often declines, even if they are employed. This is odd, since productive people should not be living worse than people who are not yet productive. Parents and the government "invest" a lot of money in college education, but much of the investment is actually consumption. Subsidizing the consumption of young adults is reasonable to some extent (they were subsidized for the first 18 years too), but a pattern of 4 years of heavy subsidization followed by a financial cut-off may be suboptimal.

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    #222880 - 09/26/15 08:01 AM Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4206
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    It appears that when young people graduate from college, their standard of living often declines, even if they are employed. This is odd, since productive people should not be living worse than people who are not yet productive. Parents and the government "invest" a lot of money in college education, but much of the investment is actually consumption. Subsidizing the consumption of young adults is reasonable to some extent (they were subsidized for the first 18 years too), but a pattern of 4 years of heavy subsidization followed by a financial cut-off may be suboptimal.
    Well said.

    It will be interesting to see whether lazy rivers are a trend a decade from now, and what the statistics are for enrollment, costs, amenity usage, insurance/injuries, etc on those campuses with lazy rivers.

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    #222882 - 09/26/15 08:16 AM Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river [Re: NotSoGifted]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
    What really drives me nuts is the every kid should attend college mentality. That makes for lots of four year vacations and lots of debt. If those kids are encouraged to take other, more suitable career paths, they won't be feeding into the tuition debt mess. You are left with the more academic kids who don't need the frills. Address that misguided idea of college for all and many of the lazy river projects will disappear. Then tuition will stabilize. But good luck convincing colleges to follow the high road and not accept students who are not college material (but will pay).

    Research supports the theory that lavish facilities attract weak students:

    Colleges Likely To Gain Applicants By Spending More On Amenities Than Academics: NBER Research
    By Tyler Kingkade
    Huffington Post
    January 30, 2013

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    #222883 - 09/26/15 09:36 AM Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river [Re: Dude]
    NotSoGifted Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/14/12
    Posts: 445
    I will agree that some of the facilities are lavish and a waste of money. However, what you might see as a waste of money might be different than what I see as a waste.

    For example, DH and I attended the same college. I think everyone on this forum would recognize the school as a well regarded private engineering school. Both of us have engineering degrees. DH also has a minor in theater, so a performing arts center might be important to him.

    I could not tell you where the theater performances took place. I just don't care. I am certain that there were theater types (though not DH) who never visited the athletic facilities and just didn't care.

    While I don't care about the arts, and some other folks don't care about athletics, that doesn't mean that the colleges should skimp on either. Lavish facilities might not be needed, but I would be wary of a college that held performances in a large storage building or a school that had a four lane, 25-yard pool for 30,000 undergraduates.

    Looking at the 30 best college pools article, I see UCF on there. They have over 50,000 undergraduates - that is nearly twice the size of my municipality. If the facilities were for a school of 4,000, it might be lavish. For a school of UCF's size, it is appropriate.

    Some students don't care about athletic facilities - probably more academically oriented, bright kids fall into this category than the not as bright. Many of middle kid's friends do not understand why she spends so much time on her sports - practices, recruiting camps, etc. Of course, some of them may spend time on academic competitions, marching band, etc. - and that is fine. My kid and her friends may think different college facilities are important because certain facilities are important to them based upon their interests. And I accept that what might seem like a lavish performing arts center to me might seem to be just right to others.

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