Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river

Posted by: Dude

Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/24/15 01:13 PM

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.
Posted by: Cookie

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/24/15 05:25 PM

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.
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/25/15 03:02 PM

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.
Posted by: Val

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/25/15 06:49 PM

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.
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/25/15 08:05 PM

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).
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/25/15 08:28 PM

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.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 07:56 AM

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.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 08:01 AM

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.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 08:16 AM

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
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 09:36 AM

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.
Posted by: Cookie

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 09:48 AM

Also let's say you need a new performing arts center (or athletic facility). The old one is too small, leaks and you can't flush the toilets at the same time during intermission due to plumbing inadaquacy.

You have to (want to) build a new one. Do you deliberately build a bad one? Do you save the old 1970 light board and toilets that didn't work? No you build the best you can hopefully to last you another 50 years. Maybe you save the old building and repurpose it. Maybe you turn it into a parking lot.
Posted by: Val

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 11:08 AM

Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
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.

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


You and I definitely have different definitions of lavish and a waste of money. That $60 million UCF facility was described thusly (apparently in marketing material written by the university):

Originally Posted By: Orlando Sentinel
The Swedish Sauna and Sky Deck tanning area, complete with a Tiki Hut, provides a spa-like setting for you to unwind from exams and reinvigorate the senses.

The "South Beach-style environment," according to the project's website, also will include a "resort-style" pool, a sand volleyball court and --- why not? --- a water volleyball court. There's also a high-speed video game room, a fitness center and a life-size chess board.



The journalist who wrote the article added: "I'm sorry, is UCF offering classes or Caribbean cruises?"

Look: college is hard work if done properly. I'm a scientist with a degree in history from a rigorous college. I remember how hard it was personally and for everyone around me (both the humanities and science students). Any student who wants to do well in a traditional college major (but especially in STEM) ---even at a community college --- has to be serious about studying and work very hard. If I had been spending my 19-year-old time at a tiki spa instead of swotting at chemistry, I would have ended up with Cs or worse and never would have got into a decent graduate student position.

The thing is, those tiki spas and lazy rivers appeal to kids at an age when they're extremely vulnerable to distraction. I was a pretty serious student, but if we'd had $60 million worth of luxury amenities at my college, I don't know if I would have been able to walk away from them enough to keep my grades up.

Colleges like UCF are creating multimillion-dollar luxury resorts while offering fluffy degrees in areas like "Hospitality management" (867 degrees awarded at UCF in 2014) and Communications (590 degrees in 2014, including 277 in "interpersonal/organizational communications."). Source.

These subject areas aren't designed to get students to look at the world in new ways or to be intellectual challenges that teach them how to think logically and structure their thoughts. They're expensive certification programs that steep kids in a consumerist manage-your-debt lifestyle.

UCF's website claims that its top 5 majors are engineering, CS, biomedical sciences, biology, and psychology, but the document I linked to above seems to tell a different story (engineering and psychology high, but not the other majors, which were beaten by things like criminal justice and hospitality and MANY other fluffy subject areas). So now I'm doubly cynical about UCF (PLEASE correct me if I've misread those figures). ETA: maybe the incoming freshmen page is speaking of majors declared in fall of first year, with the degrees awarded being the better measure of reality afterward.
Posted by: Cookie

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 12:09 PM

But also....

"Las Vegas lands third, behind Orlando, Fla., and Washington, D.C., for top convention destination"...155,000 hotel rooms just in Orlando (not sure if that includes Kissimmee). And hospitality major is a type of business major...just specialized. I don't think it is a less rigorous major than any other business major (but I could be wrong). I had friends who were leisure/recreation majors. They probably could intern at the aquatics center....and theses education majors (laughing because I am a former ESE teacher). What I am saying is you can scoff at all sorts of majors....but my friend who has really sick kids adores the child life workers in the hospitals (leisure/rec is one path to that career).

And when people say UCF they don't realize there is UCF main campus....plus satellite campuses all over central Florida (just usually offering 3000 and 4000 level classes in select majors). Usually they are on the same campus as community colleges/state colleges.

Disclosure I did not attend UCF but do live. In FL
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 01:35 PM

Quote:

Look: college is hard work if done properly. I'm a scientist with a degree in history from a rigorous college. I remember how hard it was personally and for everyone around me (both the humanities and science students). Any student who wants to do well in a traditional college major (but especially in STEM) ---even at a community college --- has to be serious about studying and work very hard. If I had been spending my 19-year-old time at a tiki spa instead of swotting at chemistry, I would have ended up with Cs or worse and never would have got into a decent graduate student position.

The thing is, those tiki spas and lazy rivers appeal to kids at an age when they're extremely vulnerable to distraction. I was a pretty serious student, but if we'd had $60 million worth of luxury amenities at my college, I don't know if I would have been able to walk away from them enough to keep my grades up.


THIS.


All of that. (Except for the degree part).

Telling young people that not only CAN they "have it all" but that they must expect that modifications will be made so that it is given to them as some kind of entitlement? This is seriously twisted. It's as cruel, in its own way, as telling women that they, too, can be business executives and still manage to homeschool their happy and nurtured four children, all while being Martha Stewart in their free hours. NOT happening. It's just not reality-- it's delusional.



Each and every one of them only gets 24 hours in each day. Barring the use of stimulants, most of them need to spend a minimum of 1/3 of their time sleeping or attending to basic personal care.

Beyond that, this leaves a mere 16 hours a day to attending class, building a social network that will carry one through young adulthood, and actually studying, probably harder than they ever imagined they'd NEED to.

I'll also argue, here, that this narrows what it means to be a college student in the first place. Now, all sorts of people-- in fact, a majority of the people I knew in college in the 1980's-- would be considered "non-traditional" because they are working part time, attending to their own medical needs, returning to civilian life from military service, finishing a degree they abandoned a decade back, trying to juggle single parenthood, etc.

Why aren't THOSE people "college students" worthy of the title? Most of them are better suited to doing the core part of any post-secondary institution's mission, after all-- they are motivated, have maturity and they know what they are there to do.

It's disturbing to me when student fees and dorm residency/dining plans cost twice what tuition does-- and this is true at some regional public unis now. I have to ponder what it means, and consider possible explanations-- is it truly that it costs THAT much more to house and feed college students? Or is it that they are under-paying instructional faculty and shorting facilities maintenance so drastically? I guess the numbers tell the story-- it's probably not the latter if they don't have a lot of adjuncts in classrooms, and it's probably not the former if the value for housing + dining for 9mo is in line with the local cost of living. Here, students move off campus because it is cheaper to live off campus with a roommate than to fork over what it costs to live ON campus. That in spite of the fact that the Sysco trucks don't roll up to the apartment buildings. LOL. (Yeah, not thinking that the food is THAT good, in spite of the promises of four star dining. It still looks like Pizza and formica tables to me, in spite of the new lighting and fancy carpeting.)

Have I mentioned that they make all freshman live ON campus? Hmmm.
Posted by: bluemagic

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 03:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Val
Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
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.

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


You and I definitely have different definitions of lavish and a waste of money. That $60 million UCF facility was described thusly (apparently in marketing material written by the university):

Originally Posted By: Orlando Sentinel
The Swedish Sauna and Sky Deck tanning area, complete with a Tiki Hut, provides a spa-like setting for you to unwind from exams and reinvigorate the senses.

The "South Beach-style environment," according to the project's website, also will include a "resort-style" pool, a sand volleyball court and --- why not? --- a water volleyball court. There's also a high-speed video game room, a fitness center and a life-size chess board.



The journalist who wrote the article added: "I'm sorry, is UCF offering classes or Caribbean cruises?"

Look: college is hard work if done properly. I'm a scientist with a degree in history from a rigorous college. I remember how hard it was personally and for everyone around me (both the humanities and science students). Any student who wants to do well in a traditional college major (but especially in STEM) ---even at a community college --- has to be serious about studying and work very hard. If I had been spending my 19-year-old time at a tiki spa instead of swotting at chemistry, I would have ended up with Cs or worse and never would have got into a decent graduate student position.

The thing is, those tiki spas and lazy rivers appeal to kids at an age when they're extremely vulnerable to distraction. I was a pretty serious student, but if we'd had $60 million worth of luxury amenities at my college, I don't know if I would have been able to walk away from them enough to keep my grades up.


OK... while I'm the first to admit that SOME students will get distracted by these amenities and not study hard. We also have a rising problem in anxiety in college students that school administrators are trying to find ways to fix before the suicide rate goes even higher. And while I can't comment on particular amenities at most of these schools. Most of these lazy rivers are tied to the brand new fitness centers. Exercise is one of the ways psychologist tell us helps to relieve stress. I'm hoping that the idea behind these is as attracted to get students INTO the center and once there to check out the splashy amenities they come back for the yoga class or weight room.

I have used the facility at my local university, it has a indoor track, lap swimming pool, climbing wall, exercise rooms, weight rooms. If everyone who could use the facility did it would be WAY too small. (30,00 students Plus faculty, staff, alumni and families can pay to used the facility.) They run a huge intramural (for fun) sports program that is a great way for the students to run off steam, have fun and socialize in a way that doesn't involve drugs or alcohol. IMO this is way more valuable the the formal extramural sports programs. Which have a level of stress, commitment, travel, and sometimes a scholarship on the line. While the swimming pool is mostly used for lap swimming and does not have a lazy river or water slides, I'm sure it is sometimes used for recreational fun swims or club meetings/parties. The rock climbing wall is only open certain hours and honestly really only a beginner wall. I'll admit it looks fancy but if the students use the facilities they are getting a much better bang for their buck that if they had to join an outside gym.

In comparison when I was in university in the 1980's I learned how to sail on the open ocean in a variety of boats. Honestly the maintenance on those lazy rivers is probably less than maintenance on the boats many school own. I'd say overall it was good for me to take a break from my studies and take a sail. That didn't mean I didn't study hard. And yes I was privileged I could afford to do these programs. Students don't have to and shouldn't have to become monks doing nothing but studying in order to succeed.

And as NotSoGifted stated these facilitates are often for student bodies of 30-50,000 students & often staff, faculty and sometimes alumni. Yes the way they are funded is frustrating requiring current students no say in fee's imposed on them by previous students. And yes it is adding to the cost of college but this is only one is a long line of reasons that price of college is rising. I watched a movie that claimed that the biggest contributor to this is the building of new building on campus and the rise in administrators for the same number of faculty/students as being more at fault.
Posted by: Val

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 04:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Cookie
And hospitality major is a type of business major...just specialized. I don't think it is a less rigorous major than any other business major (but I could be wrong). I had friends who were leisure/recreation majors. ...but my friend who has really sick kids adores the child life workers in the hospitals (leisure/rec is one path to that career).


Business majors aren't rigorous to begin with...they're fluffy. The increase in fluffy majors that's concomitant with the rise in college luxury was my point: a lot of those kids aren't there because they want to learn stuff. They need a certification. There are less expensive ways to get that.

Students are told that they have to go to college to get a decent job. But a large majority of students aren't smart enough to handle a college education as it might have been defined 40 years ago. However...student loans are non-dischargable debt, and colleges and employers see opportunities there: the colleges get revenue and the employers get people who are trained in a narrow set of skills (which pushes the cost of training onto the future employee). They aren't educated in the real sense of that term, but this handicap is invisible and can be ignored (and it is a handicap, because training is narrow whereas education is broadly applicable).

I'm not devaluing work like the type you mentioned at all. NO WAY. I'm criticizing the majors. IMO, universities and employers have created unnecessary certifications as gateways to jobs that a reasonably intelligent person could do by working his way up, with a few training workshops along the way.

Certification-degrees remind me of test prep, which is focused on a narrow range of skills. The skills acquired this way don't generalize to other areas, which makes test prep a pursuit with little long-term value. If the schools just taught subjects properly, they wouldn't need test prep beyond an hour or two the week before the test.

This is what I meant by certification-degrees being invisible handicaps. They don't teach students how to think about things in a new way and solve problems the way that a real education does.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/26/15 04:18 PM

Exactly. Students who are puzzled by open-ended instructions and learning activities, and who prefer to be "told what to do" aren't really after an education.

They are in the market for a commodity. Which genuine education is simply-- not. Nobody can "purchase" education. But a certificate, certainly. Job training is ideal fodder for a weekend workshop that focuses on which handbook, which forms, which buttons and levers, and how to use the menus/app to do tasks.

None of that is what college education is supposed to be accomplishing with students anyway. Note that I say "with" there, and not "to" them (as a surgical procedure) nor even "for" them (as so many of them believe). There is a persistent notion that paying for education means receiving that which you have duly PAID for.

No. Students are paying for the opportunity to become educated.

If they want to pay to become "certified" then that is, at its heart, an entirely different mission.

Administrators, on the other hand, fail (utterly) to appreciate this fundamental difference.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 06:10 AM

Originally Posted By: bluemagic
a rising problem in anxiety in college students
Some may say that the exercise and activity involved with swimming laps, intramural sports, rock climbing, sailing, etc may release endorphins and lower stress while the relatively passive pastime of hanging-out-in-your-swim-suit visits to a lazy river may increase stress, anxiety, and body-image concerns for a number of students.
Posted by: cmguy

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 06:46 AM

Just wanted to give a shout out for Deep Springs College. This is a 2 year college where students work 20 hours/week running a ranch. (And as far as I can tell they don't have a lazy river). (and it could be a good choice for some gifted students?). 20 hours of ranch work per week is probably a great stress reducer.

It is men only - but maybe there are other schools that follow this "anti-lazy river" model? It seems like an interesting way to go.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 06:58 AM

Originally Posted By: cmguy
Just wanted to give a shout out for Deep Springs College. This is a 2 year college where students work 20 hours/week running a ranch. (And as far as I can tell they don't have a lazy river). (and it could be a good choice for some gifted students?). 20 hours of ranch work per week is probably a great stress reducer.

Traditionally, people have moved to cities and sent their children to college so that they would NOT have to do farm work or a lot of physical labor in general.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 07:04 AM

Originally Posted By: bluemagic
And yes it is adding to the cost of college but this is only one is a long line of reasons that price of college is rising. I watched a movie that claimed that the biggest contributor to this is the building of new building on campus and the rise in administrators for the same number of faculty/students as being more at fault.


I'm pretty sure these lavish athletic/leisure buildings qualify under "new building on campus," especially when you consider the design/construction costs on a lazy river, plus ongoing maintenance. Add in the fact that they contribute nothing to the purported mission of an institution of higher learning (unless the mission is to learn to get high?), and what we're really talking about here is a symbol of just how badly mismanaged our public educational resources have become.

Nobody is saying schools shouldn't have fitness centers (though maybe it's time someone SHOULD), but it can be done in a cost-controlled manner (free weights don't cost much to maintain, after all, and cost provisions for intramural sports often means cutting the grass). These schools are doing it the other way. It's emblematic of the overall problem, because it becomes a game of one-upping the competition, and the Cold War showed us all how that works out.

It's hard to climb the national joke that are the college rankings by improving your technology department, because what makes one institution "better" at teaching is largely a manner of opinion. So why spend $10m on that, when you can build a $60m facility and see instant results?

Oh, wait, UCF already has a $60m facility? We'll spend $80m!!
Posted by: raptor_dad

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 10:56 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: cmguy
Just wanted to give a shout out for Deep Springs College. This is a 2 year college where students work 20 hours/week running a ranch. (And as far as I can tell they don't have a lazy river). (and it could be a good choice for some gifted students?). 20 hours of ranch work per week is probably a great stress reducer.

Traditionally, people have moved to cities and sent their children to college so that they would NOT have to do farm work or a lot of physical labor in general.


Yet Americorps, the Peace Corps, and Outward Bound type programs are popular with affluent families at a higher rate than population baseline...

At least when I looked at it 25yo ago, Deep Springs sent most of the grads to the Ivies or highly selective LACs... So perhaps viewing it as a ultra-small classically focused LAC combined with a 2year Outward Bound program could explain both its appeal and success.
Posted by: Val

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 11:28 AM

I just forwarded a link to Deep Springs College to my 15-year-old son.

Wow.
Posted by: bluemagic

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 11:29 AM

Originally Posted By: cmguy
Just wanted to give a shout out for Deep Springs College. This is a 2 year college where students work 20 hours/week running a ranch. (And as far as I can tell they don't have a lazy river). (and it could be a good choice for some gifted students?). 20 hours of ranch work per week is probably a great stress reducer.

It is men only - but maybe there are other schools that follow this "anti-lazy river" model? It seems like an interesting way to go.

I don't think most of the Ivy's or top tier schools have lazy rivers. I know Harvard, Stanford, etc do not. But that isn't to say that don't have other lavish things. Deep Springs is small and very unique and only for a select type of student. Takes a student who WANT to attend this type of alternative college.

What about football teams. Football teams have little to do with academia. Cost huge amounts of money, lavish new stadiums are being build that often displace other athletics. Huge amounts of money is made on College Football that don't help the students. I'm not sure how students can study who are on the teams. Is going to a football game relaxing, stress reducing? Not sure I see what the advantage is for universities, professors and students.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 01:28 PM

Originally Posted By: bluemagic
I don't think most of the Ivy's or top tier schools have lazy rivers. I know Harvard, Stanford, etc do not.

Berkeley is #29 on that "best college pools" list.

Originally Posted By: bluemagic
What about football teams. Football teams have little to do with academia. Cost huge amounts of money, lavish new stadiums are being build that often displace other athletics. Huge amounts of money is made on College Football that don't help the students. I'm not sure how students can study who are on the teams. Is going to a football game relaxing, stress reducing? Not sure I see what the advantage is for universities, professors and students.


I can't find the convo at the moment, but there was one years back in which we evaluated information that showed athletic departments as a whole are a money sink for all but about seven NCAA Division I schools.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 02:08 PM


When you have an significant influx of loot from the imperial provinces, you build thermae.

I'm not sure why this is a cause for concern.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 02:19 PM

I was really waiting for JonLaw to weigh in.

Now I feel all better.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/28/15 02:58 PM

It's all about the prospects for JOB$*, people! Where else can you sample your country club tennis whites without being mobbed by the plebs as you network with recruiters by the smoothie bar between sets? This conversation is so pedestrian. Most of the facilities listed don't even have publicist boxes.

*TM
Posted by: cmguy

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/29/15 06:50 AM

Originally Posted By: raptor_dad
Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: cmguy
Just wanted to give a shout out for Deep Springs College. This is a 2 year college where students work 20 hours/week running a ranch. (And as far as I can tell they don't have a lazy river). (and it could be a good choice for some gifted students?). 20 hours of ranch work per week is probably a great stress reducer.

Traditionally, people have moved to cities and sent their children to college so that they would NOT have to do farm work or a lot of physical labor in general.


Yet Americorps, the Peace Corps, and Outward Bound type programs are popular with affluent families at a higher rate than population baseline...

At least when I looked at it 25yo ago, Deep Springs sent most of the grads to the Ivies or highly selective LACs... So perhaps viewing it as a ultra-small classically focused LAC combined with a 2year Outward Bound program could explain both its appeal and success.


I don't think I mentioned before that Deep Springs is free too (students do pay for books and incidentals). So a student can get 2 years of Ivy level education (retail price $50k?) at more or less zero cost.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/29/15 08:29 AM

When I went back to my alma mater (private liberal arts college in the top 20, sticker price about $55K, I think?) for a reunion, I sort of expected to see some fancy facilities or at least updated dorms. I currently live in a big university town where multi million dollar complexes go up all the time and student housing is very nice indeed, so I have something to compare to. Instead, the dorms seemed exactly the same--spartan by any standard--and there was still nothing to write home about for athletic facilities, though it was better than when I was there. There was a new science building that looked nice. I believe they also have a new music facility. Honestly, I was pleased by this, but if the "money" is going to facilities, it isn't at that campus. Which makes one wonder where it is going. I'd like to think it's to need-blind admissions...
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 09/29/15 10:24 AM

Quote:

To need-blind admissions...


I would have zero problem with this if they demanded the same standards of academic merit and educability from the students that I will be one day subsidizing. That way my DD will have a reasonable chance of being able bounce ideas etc off of smart people and the academic merit of the institution would not be compromised.

I fully understand that low SES people can be smart - I grew up as one but it galls me to see standards being applied unevenly across race so that better qualified applicants are missing scholarships because they are the wrong race/gender/colour/sexual orientation etc.

I personally think that extra support staff needed for marginal students that shouldn't even be at university and self indulgent pseudo-intellectual fantasies like [insert trendy social hypochondria name du jour here] studies that have 3 students are also ramping up 'tuition' costs here.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/01/15 08:59 AM

I really don't think there's such a thing as a sexual orientation scholarship, and girls are also pretty unlikely to receive scholarships based on gender these days.

When you talk about extra support staff for "marginal" students, keep in mind that many of these students are just as bright but through no misdeed of their own have grown up in families where no one went to college and attended high schools where rigor was sadly lacking. They come to college with weak skills and poor comprehension of college culture--there is one. It seems you overcame this, but many cannot.

I recently listened to this excellent This American Life podcast which gives a glimpse into the lives of excellent students at a poor high school and their struggles with attending college. If you listen, you may find it more difficult to dismiss support staff for these kids. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/550/three-miles
Posted by: Val

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/01/15 09:41 AM

Originally Posted By: ultramarina
When you talk about extra support staff for "marginal" students, keep in mind that many of these students are just as bright but through no misdeed of their own have grown up in families where no one went to college and attended high schools where rigor was sadly lacking. They come to college with weak skills and poor comprehension of college culture--there is one.

I recently listened to this excellent This American Life podcast which gives a glimpse into the lives of excellent students at a poor high school and their struggles with attending college.


I agree that these kids need support and help, but I wonder about the best way to provide it and if tossing them in as full-time first semester freshmen who may also be far from home is the best approach. It's almost like setting them up for failure: everyone you trust and care about is hundreds of miles from here, everything is new, the workload may be geared toward tiger cubs, and you have no idea how to deal with situations that are second nature to your classmates. On top of that, you may also have no clue how to deal with financial aid requirements like renewing stuff or signing stuff that you may completely unaware even exists.

IMO, a better way to help these kids might be to put them into a one-year gap program that helps them learn how to survive in college. If I was designing something like this, I'd give them a class on how to use a library, on how to deal with financial aid, on how to buy cheap books on the internet or borrow them at the library, and on how to manage time. I'd also enroll them in onsite classes that would require them to use the library to complete assignments. They might also have an onsite part-time job (10 hours a week-ish?) to help them learn to manage money and save for next year. Ideally, the program would be local but residential from Monday to Friday initially, so that they'd be away from home during the week, but not too far from home, and not for too long (maybe not residential the first week, either). Then later, they'd be required to stay for a weekend here and there.

There would be field trips (e.g. museums) and community service days. Community service projects with seniors from private schools might help kids get to know each other.

Okay, back to reality.
Posted by: longcut

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/01/15 10:27 AM

Originally Posted By: Val
IMO, a better way to help these kids might be to put them into a one-year gap program that helps them learn how to survive in college.


I'm of the mind that these skills should be taught during high school, as part of the "college-readiness" they are trying to push so hard. A bright kid coming out of an under-challenging HS is itching for some challenge in college, not another year delayed through no fault of their own.

Maybe a crash-course maybe in college, workshops of some kind. Or maybe that's what community college has to offer. Maybe first semester of four-year college could offer a balance that isn't a full-time traditional course load, with more support. I know a couple people who jumped from a small HS that had no rigor, no AP, no GT support, and non-college-educated parents, into a rigorous college and hit the wall that first semester, overwhelmed, only to figure it out by second semester and get back up to the top. Some drop out, though, so some sort of gap-filling seems prudent.
Posted by: momosam

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/01/15 10:27 AM

I'm sure there are other programs similar to this that I haven't heard about, but Brandeis has had a transitional year program since 1968: Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program
Posted by: ashley

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/01/15 11:34 AM

Originally Posted By: bluemagic

What about football teams. Football teams have little to do with academia.


I agree. I think that football teams cost way more than lazy rivers and they are detrimental to other sports within the university.

Nobody serious about academics, in a rigorously academic major is going to be busy training for football all year long at an elite level.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/01/15 12:15 PM

Quote:

IMO, a better way to help these kids might be to put them into a one-year gap program that helps them learn how to survive in college. If I was designing something like this, I'd give them a class on how to use a library, on how to deal with financial aid, on how to buy cheap books on the internet or borrow them at the library, and on how to manage time. I'd also enroll them in onsite classes that would require them to use the library to complete assignments. They might also have an onsite part-time job (10 hours a week-ish?) to help them learn to manage money and save for next year. Ideally, the program would be local but residential from Monday to Friday initially, so that they'd be away from home during the week, but not too far from home, and not for too long (maybe not residential the first week, either). Then later, they'd be required to stay for a weekend


I agree I think there should be a 'ramp course' to get people up to the required entry level of 1 to 2 years depending on needs with a rigorous exam at the end - only those that make the grade should move on.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/01/15 12:19 PM

Quite a lot of the high schoolers I work with do this through community college and dual enrollment experiences.
Posted by: Val

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/01/15 02:20 PM

Originally Posted By: aeh
Quite a lot of the high schoolers I work with do this through community college and dual enrollment experiences.


True, but going to a community college in a high school program is a far cry from, say, going to Middlebury when you're from the Bronx (i.e. Melanie in the podcast mentioned earlier). The CC allows some exposure to organizing your time, but isn't going to help deal with the culture shock of going from a low-income city neighborhood to a college in rural northern Vermont populated by upper middle class kids who have their own cars and summered in Italy last year.

Our education leaders and politicians (among others) love to talk about helping low SES kids join the middle class/go to college/whatever, but there's a whole lot more to it than just handing them an acceptance letter to Middlebury or Williams and playing the my-dreams-are-being-realized music. The shock these kids experience as first semester freshmen must be huge, yet there's little in the way of meaningful support for them, and few other kids on campus who have similar experiences to them. They must feel pretty isolated during the fall semester.

Then, on top of that, they may have no concept of stuff like having to buy textbooks (because they're free in public schools, unlike many private ones, and also because they don't have college-educated parents to guide them on this subject), let alone knowing ways to get them for less online. They also have no concept about what's required to maintain financial aid, because what 18-year-old does? I've read stories about kids who had to drop out because no one told them about having to renew their grants/loans, and they lost them. This stuff is accessible to a middle-class parent sees it as his/her job to deal with the paperwork, has been around the ed block, and who has an education, but what about some kid whose family doesn't speak English and/or has no education and is struggling to get by, working two jobs per parent?

Then toss a low-quality high school education into the mix, and you can see why it's so much harder for these kids than it is for kids from the middle class and above.

Posted by: aeh

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/01/15 02:57 PM

Don't forget the for-profit college admissions "counsellors" who charge families for telling them about freely-available financial aid and free testing prep resources that mid/upper-mid class families learn about from their school guidance counselors. It's so bad that our guidance counselors are in a race every year to get to our students' families before the scam counselors out there do. They target first-time college aspirants, try to sell them on unaffordable college loans, charge them for worthless "advice".

Not that there aren't good ones out there, but we've encountered an awful lot of slimy ones.
Posted by: bluemagic

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/01/15 03:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Val
I agree that these kids need support and help, but I wonder about the best way to provide it and if tossing them in as full-time first semester freshmen who may also be far from home is the best approach. It's almost like setting them up for failure: everyone you trust and care about is hundreds of miles from here, everything is new, the workload may be geared toward tiger cubs, and you have no idea how to deal with situations that are second nature to your classmates. On top of that, you may also have no clue how to deal with financial aid requirements like renewing stuff or signing stuff that you may completely unaware even exists.

IMO, a better way to help these kids might be to put them into a one-year gap program that helps them learn how to survive in college. If I was designing something like this, I'd give them a class on how to use a library, on how to deal with financial aid, on how to buy cheap books on the internet or borrow them at the library, and on how to manage time. I'd also enroll them in onsite classes that would require them to use the library to complete assignments. They might also have an onsite part-time job (10 hours a week-ish?) to help them learn to manage money and save for next year. Ideally, the program would be local but residential from Monday to Friday initially, so that they'd be away from home during the week, but not too far from home, and not for too long (maybe not residential the first week, either). Then later, they'd be required to stay for a weekend here and there.

There would be field trips (e.g. museums) and community service days. Community service projects with seniors from private schools might help kids get to know each other.

Okay, back to reality.
I have heard of summer programs that are designed for first generation college students. Quick google shows they are often called bridge programs and I found an article about them.

http://college.usatoday.com/2015/04/24/b...o-college-life/
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/02/15 10:04 AM

Originally Posted By: aeh
Don't forget the for-profit college admissions "counsellors" who charge families for telling them about freely-available financial aid and free testing prep resources that mid/upper-mid class families learn about from their school guidance counselors.

I wonder if guidance counselors know much that is not freely available on the Internet or in books at the public library. My wife is an immigrant, and she has read many books to learn about the college admissions process in the U.S., so that she can advise our children. Information is out there, but people need the brains to understand it and the initiative to look for it.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/02/15 11:52 AM

I agree that a determined, savvy lay person can find nearly everything a guidance counselor can. However, school counselors don't charge for the service. Private ones do. And therein lies the difference.
Posted by: Cookie

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/02/15 12:11 PM

School counsellors can have hundreds and hundreds of students assigned to them. A private one can keep his/her client list to a humanly possible to serve number.

My son's school has about 3000 students. Over 600 seniors (yeah they lose a bunch between freshman year and senior year). Case load for the college counselor is impossible. She has many assemblies and meetings after school. I can't imagine you get much one on one help.

I for one am glad private ones exist. Not sure we will employ one. But glad I have the option and am savvy enough to find a good one.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/02/15 12:37 PM

I'm not opposed to the private ones, for the personal attention reasons you list. Just to the unscrupulous ones who direct families to inappropriate applications, and have ties to student loan operators.
Posted by: Val

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/02/15 12:46 PM

I agree completely, aeh.

Others: remember that the last page or two of this thread has focused on low-income students, who certainly don't have the kind of money required for a flashy and pricey college admissions counselor. They best most of these kids can hope for as a matter of course is probably a stressed-out high school counselor overseeing 400 kids whose last names begin with I-P. And again, most of these kids don't even know what questions to ask, which makes it hard for them to figure out what they need to know about getting and keeping financial aid, and etc. etc.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Uncelebrated college cost driver - the lazy river - 10/05/15 07:45 AM

Quote:
My wife is an immigrant, and she has read many books to learn about the college admissions process in the U.S., so that she can advise our children. Information is out there, but people need the brains to understand it and the initiative to look for it.


Are you saying that poor students who fail to successfully negotiate the college admission process to their best advantage just don't have enough brains or iniative? They should be able to figure out FAFSA etc at 16/17/18 with no assistance? (Parents may not be supportive at all.) I wonder how many of their middle-class and UMC peers would do with zero support or help from parents or counselors. Why must students with no college background or family support be so much MORE organized and competent than those who are fortunate enough to have been born with advantages?