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Joe Yeager

Higher education as we know it is about to come to an end? Yes, it is and that’s a good thing. It is about to end as we know it because it is changing, evolving into something new. The alternative is stagnation and a slow, lingering death. As an adjunct faculty member at a liberal arts school, I see the needs of our students, trying to juggle the needs of their work and home lives while trying to meet the needs of their school life. It is not easy managing all three at the same time, especially if you are a non-traditional student; a little older than the kids right out of high school, maybe with some kids at home. My classes are usually a mix of people from all backgrounds and ages.

When I went to college for my graduate degree back in the early 90s, schools were just starting to create the accelerated programs that virtually all schools have today. Online education was non-existent. At least, I had never heard about it at that time. Now, schools, even traditional brick and mortar schools, are offering not only online classes, but complete online degrees as well. Schools are simply offering multiple options to meet the students’ (customers) needs. Isn’t that what a good organization is supposed to do?

The thought that there are no jobs for liberal arts is a bit misleading. Right now, there are no jobs for most graduates; liberal arts majors are not alone in that predicament and do not need to be singled out. I would argue that a liberal arts degree is a more valuable asset than many people realize. While there are clearly jobs that require a specific major/degree, having a liberal arts degree prepares students for any number of different jobs and provides them with options that other graduates do have available.

Another concern that I have on the article by Glassner and Schapiro is the idea that “they come out of school so burdened with debt that they will never dig their way out.” As Robin Wilson reported in the book that spawned this blog, most student debt is far below the numbers that are often mentioned in the media, probably in hopes that people will read it and believe that the person’s debt level is the norm, rather than the exception. I was fortunate enough to get two scholarships for my first year of college, but had to take out loans afterwards. I graduated from a state school with a good reputation in my chosen field and paid off my student loans a year earlier than required. I was able to do this because I kept my debt manageable.

So, yes, the whole college experience is changing. We should accept the change and even embrace it. The alternative for both students and schools that do not change along with the rest of society is to get left behind in their respective races to keep up with their peers.

Herschel Greenberg

As a college English professor, I found this article interesting. It certainly addresses a real problem. However, the author's give only a hint of a solution. Through paragraphs 6 and 7, the authors ask a series of questions. I want the answers. Each question would have an answer worthy of an essay. The answer they provide, although reasonable, is too broad to sweep all those questions under the rug. My students and I will talk about those questions, and we will come up with our own answers, but I wanted more from these authors. Higher education is not ending, it is just changing.

Alejandra B.Martinez

I agree with Joe Yeager and Herschel Greenberg. I do not think higher education is coming to an end, it is simply changing. Because every generation is different, colleges have a wide diversity of students. American society also has a wide diversity of citizens and colleges are just simply changing their tactics in order to be able to meet the needs of everyone that wants to study. I do not think that the traditional way of going to school is coming to an end. Because many students now have other demands in their life colleges have created innovative ways of attending their needs. It might be easier for some students to attend technical schools if it will meet their educational needs faster than a traditional college. I also think that there are fields of study that will still require the traditional college education.
I also agree that the liberal arts degree is still valuable and that there are not many jobs available over all. Regardless of the field a student is going into, because of the economic decline there are not many jobs available regardless of what students get their degree in. I feel that when students get a degree in a specific field they are brainwashed into only thinking about their filed they forget to think about everything else. Their brains have been hardwired with the requirements for their filed (math for architecture, science for doctors). When a student gets a degree in liberal arts, their doors are open to go into many fields. In another article the book published the author mentions that when a student gets a degree in liberal arts they are getting a degree for a job that might not even exist yet but, when you get a degree in a filed that is dying out, chances of getting a job are very slim.
I think when students need to be more careful about getting loans for college. As it was discussed in my class, if you are going to get a loan for a field that is not going to pay you well it might not be worth to get the loan. Some students get loans that are bigger than what they will ever make in their field. It would be wise for students to look into scholarships so that they do not have to ask for many loans.
To answer the questions on the last paragraph of the article, I do not think colleges can teach students every skill a person will need for the real world. Sometimes things change so drastically that a person can not be going back to school every time things change. The best thing teachers can do is be honest and willing to listen when the students need it. I think that when a student is in college the best way to assist students on their desire to make appositive impact on their society starts by joining clubs on campus. I myself joined a club and it made me realize what steps I need to take in order to be a more productive member of my community. Professors can only guide students to do certain things, if they are there leading the way all the time students will never learn to think for themselves and it will back fire on the college education.

Samuel Sutton

I agree with the main point of the article, but I feel that some of the points used to validate the main argument are not as valid as the writer's appear to think they are. I agree with the argument that higher education is neither dying nor disappearing. Higher education is a major focus of this country, and is considered to be of the utmost importance. As a result, it would be difficult for something such as higher education to die or disappear. Things such as education do not die out without some sort of a catalyst attempting to actively destroy it. They just change or mold into a different form. Even things that supposedly die out return in another form. However, as a college student, I do not feel that the authors' view of student debt is accurate or reasonable. They claim that student debt is blown out of proportion, and that most students graduate from college with only a small debt. This may be true, but they are not taking into account what bills the students have to pay. When most students graduate from college they are living in a home, or renting an apartment, and must pay their bills. Not only that, but many are having to work one or two low-paying jobs in order to find the financial means to stay in college and keep a roof over their heads. Even if the student did not take out a large sum of money for his or her student loans, it will take time to pay back the money. The authors also failed to mention the interest fees attached to student loans when they are not paid back in full by specific dates. This makes it increasingly difficult for students to pay back their loans in any way other than long drawn-out small incremental payments that take years to fulfill. The rise in fees is helping to cause such financial strains on students. Not only is this a problem, but the number of scholarships and grants offered to students are continually decreasing. As a result, it is becoming more difficult to find other financial means for students to use to gain a higher education other than by taking out larger sums of loans. The ideas that college debt is exaggerated and that students can easily find other financial avenues to pay for school appears to only be valid to those who are no longer students attending college. Higher education may be changing its form, but it may be turning into a form where only those with money and a high amount of financial support are able to obtain it.

Ruby Lin

I agree with Glassner and Schaprio’s article as well as the three comments above. High education is most definitely not going to go anywhere. On the contrary, I believe that it will stay with us for many more generations to come. A change in colleges and universities, though, is definitely needed as the economy is getting worse and students start adapting themselves to juggling maintaining work, school, and home environments. Distance learning and online classes are one of those possible changes. One of the greatest challenges I am facing as a student is managing work time and school time. The option of online classes allows students to work the hours they may need to support themselves and/or their families without the worry of needing to arrive to class on a campus two days out of the week. I am not taking online or distance learning classes, but I have started to seriously think about how many more hours I would be able to work if I did not need to be on campus two days out of five. While higher education seems to be failing, community colleges are starting to rise to take on the financial problems by offering students the same general education classes as 4-year colleges at a lower price per unit. I am enrolled full time at a community college and I know that most community colleges now also offer Associate Degrees and Certificates, which allow students to a greater chance at finding a job after they leave college. My English class once talked about liberal arts majors. Although it was not a preferred or popular major in the past, it is being said that most companies are starting to hire those with a liberal arts major rather than the intended major of study. The theory behind this is that in a liberal arts school, students learn how to learn. Rather than hiring one that had unbending rules and theories nailed into them, companies are finding much effective to hire someone who, although did not study say business or engineering, is much more flexible in learning new methods in this unstable economy.

Tamara Van Dorn

Glassner and Shapiro believe higher education as we know it is just about at its end. I disagree. They open by likening traditional college to an eight-track tape, implying traditional education will be few and far between very soon with the introduction of “technologically advanced and for-profit models.” But perhaps traditional education should be seen as a hard back book and their “slimmer” counterparts as today’s iPads, NOOKS, and kindles. People will use these new models that will indeed thrive in this technology driven world, but the classics will always remain, or at least for many many years to come.
How often do we hear of colleges closing for good? If traditional education were to be on its last thread, wouldn’t we see more evidence of this being true? According to westminster-mo.edu under “California Colleges that have Closed, Merged, Changed Names,” only six colleges have closed in California in the last 12 years. That seems relatively small compared to the 100-plus traditional schools found in the state. Not only are schools not closing, but classic colleges, known as the Ivy League schools, are still thriving. In theory, colleges such as Harvard and Yale are the most “traditional” schools of them all. With foundations dating back to the 1800s, if traditional schools are ending, these would be the first to go, and yet Ivy Leagues, and colleges with similar foundation dates, show no signs of stopping anytime soon.
As noted by all five previous comments, higher education is not ending, but changing. Higher education must adapt to survive. New technology must be introduced, formats and forums may change, and more non-traditional students are in attendance, but traditional education will not be seeing its end as fast or as drastically as Glassner and Shapiro seem to predict. This is in part due to the specific pigeon-holes created by these job specific majors or schools, as mentioned by both Joe Yeager and Alejandra B. Martinez. Where traditional schools, and more specifically, Liberal Arts majors at these schools, find their options open to many fields when leaving college, many for-profit or trade school attendees find themselves with certificates and skills only useful for jobs that are full or even on a decline.
The increase of “non-traditional students,” classified as undergraduate college students at the age of 25 or older, according to a sociological study by Jennifer Adams and Alexia Corbett, will demand for an increase in online, tech-savvy and for-profit colleges, but there will never be a lack of traditional students attending traditional schools.
Glassner and Shapiro and much of America can move on to their cold and hard, yet successful eBooks, but I think many of us will be just fine with our great-smelling and beautifully textured classic books for years to come.

james b. coyne

In Barry Glassner and Morton Schapiro article called, “Give College More Credit,” they say that the idea that the college institution will end soon is wrong and I agree. The idea that today’s colleges will be long gone in the future is wrong. Glassner and Schapiro state that these proclamations have been around since the beginning of the twentieth century and come with every new generation as the times change. When the depression hit the United States, after World War II with the GI bill, during the Baby Boom, and so on, each time people speculated that the changing times would end the centuries old college institutions and each time they did not. Some American Universities today have been around since the Revolutionary war and have survived every war and political and economic climate that the United States has gone through.
Today the ideas of Colleges ended comes from economic climate in America. The ideas state that there are no jobs for college graduates; they are all in debt they cannot pay, and that eventually only on-line courses and for-profit models will provide higher education. But as Glassner and Schapiro state, the average college graduate is about $25,000 in debt, which is the same as a new car, also that the ratio of college earning to high school earnings is at an all time high. They also state that there are an increasing number of applications for colleges and universities which is evidence that people are not choosing for-profit institutions over colleges. I think that colleges do change in curriculum over time and as human knowledge grows. What is taught at colleges today is vastly different then what was taught one hundred years ago, but in no way will the college institution end. In Europe, there are colleges who have been around for over half a millennia and survived far more than any American colleges have.

Miranda Erdman

I agree with Joe Yeager, higher education is coming to an end as we know it, it is not going away for good it is just changing and change is good for everything and everyone. The change for higher education is not just that people are taking classes online, but that it is not just your typical, right out of high school student going to college now; in this day and age you have many different types of people going to college, for example: some have kids, full time jobs, or a combination of the two. Back when my parents went to college in the late 80s, early 90s there really was not many virtual academies or classes, therefore it would have been hard for her to attend class if they would have had a family at that time, having alternative methods of schooling is helpful to many people, it gives them more options.
I do feel that $25,000 is a relatively small amount of debt for a college graduate, I know personally that my schooling cost around $6,000 a year that is not including books and housing if I lived on campus. If a person is in school for, four years at $6,000 a year that alone is $4,000, now add in the price of books and housing if needed, the loans taken out by that student would be close to $35,000 if not more, depending on the cost of books for the student. $10,000 is a large difference for someone who is in debt. I believe that Glassner and Schapiro should have done more research when figuring out the financing of a college education.
am lucky enough to have gotten many scholarships for my schooling, so I will not have debt when I graduate, because I save all the money I can to pay for my books and I decided to live at home.

Justine Tolek

I agree with Joe Yeager along with Miranda Erdman. I feel it is good that the college level education of learning is changing. It provides an alternative to those who need to work online because they have a full time job or a family to take care of. On the other hand, there will always be a need for campus education. Surgeons and doctors would not be able to study real human bodies and the organs by the means of a computer. Vets would not be able to study animals and symptoms of diseases they could possibly have by the means of the internet. There will always be a need for professors and postsecondary education, however; a few to some fields could be turned into a completely online field.
As for the money aspect of it, yes, it does seem a little high, and I feel as if it could be lower. At the same time the average of $25,000 of debt does seem relatively low considering a cheaper public school is about $20,000 including living on campus and the cost of books. I think the cost also will have an effect on which field students go into. They must choose a field that will prosper good income to help pay off those debts. It must create incentive to work hard in high school to get good scholarships for college. I took that into consideration during my high school years. I knew my family did not have the money for me to go to college, so I worked hard in high school. I earned scholarships for my work and have saved up money for my books. I plan to have no debt this year, and hope to stay close to that in the next 3 years. I also worked hard because that was a natural instinct my family had instilled in me. To try my best for everything, nothing less, was what I had learned as a kid. That brings up another point. The drive and the willingness to put in hard work to get to your dream career is how someone gets somewhere.
As for the people who do not have the willingness or attention span to work hard in school. There are other options. People have the opportunity to start at a blue collar job and work their way to the top. Many people I know have started as a crew member at McDonald’s and have become a manager and then on to a GM. I know people who have started as a worker at a factory and have risen to the top and have become the head of it. It all depends on the hard work people want to put in more than blaming it on the fact that postsecondary education is changing.
The article in the Blue Collar Brilliance reading in They Say I Say mentions how the writer’s mother and uncle worked in a lower class job, but eventually worked their way up. He talked about how his mother had implemented psychology to make her work ethic that much better. She learned throughout her experience. His uncle had worked his way up to the head of a department at the body shop. He learns new things every day. His job is his education.
The postsecondary education is changing. We must work with the change, whether it is a different field, online classes, or working your way up through a job you start at a younger age. There are plenty of options for everyone and everyone’s abilities.

Sam H.

1. Glassner and Schapiro establish their authority by mentioning that they are college presidents. What do their professional positions contribute to the argument that they make? To what extent were you influenced by that fact? Why? Could anyone else have been as persuasive making the same arguments? A professor, perhaps? A governor or senator? Why or why not?
~ Interestingly, I feel that the positions held by the authors put me in the frame of mind to think that perhaps they may be biased. If you think about it from a business perspective, with education being a commodity and students being consumers, then the college presidents become akin to figures in corporate positions. Now, it’s not to say that they have greedy and malicious thoughts but people become easily convinced of convenient, supposed truths where their livelihoods are concerned. Business people in higher positions sometimes become brainwashed by a belief in the value of the product that’s being sold by their company even if it doesn’t actually live up to the ideal. I think therefore that the positions of these authors influenced me to have some reservations about what they’re saying because education is essentially their company product. My reservations were further solidified by their statement about the things that have made “American higher education the leader in the world” because the honest truth is that America is not educationally the leader in the world at any level. Harvard published a report in 2012 showing that United States primary to high school students are lagging in achievement growth among developed nations, the Pearson firm reported in 2012 that the U.S. ranks 17th in developed nations for its quality of primary to high school education, and the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) published a report putting the U.S. at 14th among developed nations in higher education. If a sociology professor and an economics professor can even accidentally make a false statement out of national vanity then I’m not so easily inclined to consider their expertise on the matter. Although I can agree with some things that they’ve said, I’m inclined to believe that Glassner and Schapiro are suffering from a dab of subconscious ethnocentricity and product pride.
(Incidentally, the question above asking whether the argument would have been more persuasive if it had been presented by a professor is off a bit because both of the authors, although presidents of their respective colleges, are professors. Just putting it out there, no offense I hope.)
Someone with different credentials may have been more persuasive in making the same argument that Glassner and Schapiro have made. However, anyone involved in the system in a higher capacity may be as equally vested in the image of American education as a college president and so equally easily persuaded to think that our system isn’t as ill as they say that some are exaggerating it to be. That's not to say that people closest to the education system are totally out of touch with reality but, to me, it’s a matter of vested interest in the image. A lot of people are smart and they are capable of learning facts concerning systems without being college presidents or experts otherwise, and such an outside opinion might likely involve less bias. To me, an established and unbiased statistician would be more influential because the facts would be mostly numerically represented and not philosophically.
It’s my personal philosophy that there is a very good place and time for discussing to which extreme of optimism or pessimism one should go, but there are times where the facts must be represented plainly. It’s as if these people are arguing whether or not to look at the empty half of a glass or the full half, while the glass has settled with itself as being simultaneously full to one half and empty to the other. Okay, life is life and let’s maybe look at the full half of the glass. I’m satisfied with a scientist lounging around and telling me, in not too explicit terms, not to worry about debris from space because I think we’re pretty lucky to be this speck of life in the universe. If a ball of fire wants to splatter everything we know, there’s not much I can do anyway. Yet, I want solid facts when it comes to the chance that I might live down here on earth. I want to know what the odds in that life are and I want a pie chart. I want to know to the milliliter how full my glass is and if there are free refills.
Perhaps, higher education isn’t meeting its undeniable and inevitable death but the society might be suffering from a sort of sickness within this system and a neglect of that sickness might compound extenuating social circumstances to a point of unredeemable health. So, you’re probably not going to die if you get the flu but you might get pneumonia if you don’t take care of it, and that might kill you. Systems in society are comparable to the very organism which created them. Health, whether physical or economic, is maintained through a team effort of working parts and so it must be comprehensively examined in order to make an appropriate diagnosis.
2. Glassner and Schapiro give today’s problems with higher education some historical perspective by mentioning three other challenging moments in the twentieth century. Was any of this information new to you? Did you find it comforting? Why or why not?

~ Some of the information concerning past instances of paranoia over the decline of education in the U.S. was new to me, but it was not comforting. The fact that people have been and are afraid doesn’t ever comfort me, first of all. These authors are intelligent people with a background of substantial knowledge about the past and they’ve used some of that knowledge here to try to assure our more fretful citizens. However, I think that considering their knowledge they should also recognize the actual decline of empires and states throughout history. I would bet good money that people a very long time ago were afraid during times of crisis in Rome and crisis passed safely away many times before the Roman Empire was concluded. The authors themselves do remind readers of the cliché about paranoid people actually being chased, and yet they seem much too comfortable relying on the paranoid past to keep producing little or no consequences. They could fall under another funny cliché about a boy who cried wolf and they could lose their degree toting sheep. You just never know.
Heck, I’ll take a page of the past and relax about a lot of things because that’s part of maturing. Yet, I don’t think that I can sit back and comfortably relax about the state of higher education because part of maturity is also responsibility for maintaining provisions for the future. Even if it’s just a scare or false alarm, it needs to be taken seriously. People are going to look back on us one day as entities of the past and it’ll be our mistakes that they use for rudders toward their future. We choose what example our generation will represent.
3. Sanford Ungar, another college president, presents his own ideas about higher education in Chapter 14 of your text. In what ways is his argument similar to Glassner and Schapiro’s? In what ways different? How might Ungar respond to Glassner and Schapiro?
~ Ungar’s argument that things aren’t as dire as they are being portrayed is similar to Glassner and Shapiro’s in that he basically sweeps all these so-called misconceptions about the dangers under the rug of some societal gossip. Much of his argument seems to suggest that the fears people have about the current state of higher education aren’t founded by any real facts. However, he does admit to the ballooning costs of education and his argument is different than Glassner and Shapiro’s in that Ungar tries to provide appropriate evidence to support his claims. Ungar’s argument is also different from Glassner and Shapiro’s in that he is defending the liberal-arts, whereas Glassner and Shapiro defend the institution of higher education itself.
I think that Ungar might respond to Glassner and Shapiro with support and try to help bolster their claims. I feel like these three guys might love to get together for some hearty conversation about education during which they could entertain some fluff disagreements but essentially agree on the dominating idea that the nation’s concerns are being blown out of proportion. Ungar seems the most serious to me, though. From his work, I feel that he has more passion for his ideas. He wants to be right because it would be good for everyone if he were. I feel myself able to respect this author’s opinion a little more.
At the end of the day, I still think that the situation probably looks a lot different from the chairs that those college presidents are sitting in than it does to students and their families. It doesn’t seem to me that the poor are being driven to vocational schooling because they can’t understand higher ideas or because anyone thinks that they can’t, but rather because they can finish schooling and have access to a good paying job with minimal debt if they pursue vocational training.
I am personally pursuing a liberal-arts education, but I can say from my own experience as one of those poor people that a vocational degree often looks a lot more accessible than what I want. I also won’t have a parent to take care of me or help me financially once I graduate from college and enter the workforce. That’s scary because neither I nor my friends and fellow students and citizens are comforted by suggestions of living above the median when we’re only seemingly meeting those unemployed/underemployed liberal-arts graduates who evince that the job market does not favor the liberal-arts education. Maybe employers are saying that they want that well-rounded and creative thinker, but it does not appear to us that they’re hiring him very quickly and they’re probably less likely to hire her.
The academic pressure isn’t what keeps people living in poverty out of the liberal-arts, it’s the financial pressure. I mean, it’s hard to stand in line at the food bank thinking you’re going to be an archeologist or to stare at the gum stuck on the floor of your public transportation thinking you’ll be a diplomat. It’s not fair that people with minds as rich and pliable as those of the wealthy submit themselves to what seems to be portrayed as lesser education simply because they want security, but the reality is that there are geniuses who never even finished high school because poverty is a very powerful extenuating circumstance. The ballooning cost of education that these writers don’t seem to want to talk about very deeply is what compounds the consequences of socio-economic factors and therefore the consequences to the society and the economy as a whole. I’m just very plainly not convinced that we shouldn’t be worried here.
4. Glassner and Schapiro are somewhat dismissive on the topic of student loan debt, stating that the debt level of the majority of college graduates is “relatively small,” only “$25,000 on average.” Do you agree that a $25,000 educational debt is relatively small? Why or why not? How much loan debt do you expect to have when you graduate? Should Glassner and Schapiro have given more consideration to the financing of a college education? Using their article and Robin Wilson’s essay in Chapter 14 of your text as your “they say,” write an essay on the topic of student loan debt, using evidence from the situations of your friends and classmates as well as your own.

~Because of my own experiences, I can only slightly be comforted by the arguments and information presented by Glassner, Schapiro, Ungar, and Wilson. Although they’ve given back to me some small hope that I’d been losing by presenting some strong evidence that the majority of educated Americans are reaping rewards, they have not entirely alleviated my discomfort. I don’t want to be hurried into the category of the paranoid or the student inclined to over-borrow. In fact, I haven’t borrowed anything yet. I am currently attending my community college using an award that I received for my service in AmeriCorps NCCC, a community service program akin to a domestic Peace Corps. However, I am afraid for my future. I am afraid because the $5,550.00 that I’ve received will not even pay for my two-year degree and it will not magically endow me with the ability to erase the poverty that I came home to. I don’t know what my student debt will look like, but I know what debt looks like to poor people and it’s not good. What I see and touch conflicts with what the authors have said about the condition of education in this economy and the things that I see and touch feel more powerful than these authors’ words.
See, a ten-month service commitment to the communities of my country only made me acceptable to the entry-level job market because it suggested something of my character. A Congressional Award for volunteer service, a Silver President’s Award, and a Work Ethic Award allowed me to get a part-time job at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. Now, I applied for a full-time position there, among many other places, and the person who was hired full-time did not even show up to work. Yet, I still didn’t get the full-time position. The people I work with overwhelmingly carry college degrees and are overwhelmingly men. The person who had been hired for the full-time position that I’d applied for was a man as well. I’m scared because I stock shelves and clean floors with people who have baccalaureate degrees and they tell me that they couldn’t find jobs in their fields of study. Their degrees are almost completely in the humanities and the arts. We may be working retail that wears a non-profit cape but we are still retail employees and that’s just how we’re treated and that’s how we’re paid. I came back to my home in Iowa from a very unique program, AmeriCorps, that allows its members to feel that they have value through achievement and I returned to a real-life socio-economic status that basically put me back in my place. I went on disaster relief and ran a chainsaw for ten hours a day for two months, but I don’t have two years of data entry experience. I was certified as a Wildland firefighter and gained just enough experience to have had an experience, but not enough to get a job in that line of work. My team and I cleared debris from fifty-four houses working with FEMA in New York after hurricane Irene, but I don’t have two-years of managerial experience. I’ve achieved but I have not specialized.
It sure seems real to me that the state of our economy has made it so that college grads are taking the jobs of high school grads and that the high school grads are bringing in less and less income. That would explain numbers suggesting that liberal-arts graduates are still making more than high school graduates, but it’s not good. That means that high school graduates are expanding the base of poverty. It sure seems real to me that specialized training has a lot more value to our job market than degrees in liberal-arts and the humanities when I see people scrubbing toilets and serving fast-food who have student debt that those jobs can’t pay off because they somehow weren’t able to get the higher paying jobs which strongly recommended specializations. It seems very real to me that there is a problem. Whether we’re going to die over it is a different thing, but there’s a problem.
It’s hard to believe these arguments proclaiming that things aren’t so bad when I’m personally staring at economic obstacles that are stealing from the quality of my college experience. It’s hard to listen to these reassurances when so many of my friends are actually graduates who are underpaid or unemployed. As a person living below the poverty guideline for my household size of one, it’s hard to hear people speak so casually about $23,000.00 of debt. I drive a clunker and I live on food-stamps and I want to be an anthropologist, but the truth is that I may never see that dream to fruition because reality doesn’t care how optimistic a person is. Reality doesn’t even care if a person has actually achieved great things once in life. If my loans and grants depend on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid then the fact that my father hasn’t filed taxes in two years is something of a damper, dangling a Pell Grant in my face that I can’t touch. Who is going to help me out when I get a job that pays $9.00 an hour after accruing $23,000.00 in student loan debt if I end up managing down that route? I can’t live with my father and my mother is dead. Am I supposed to get out there and be active, in this two-income friendly economy, and find a partner who can carry this burden with me? I really don’t think so. I’m going to try to achieve what I believe I deserve, but I’m not going to slip on the rose colored glasses and deny truths that are literally in front of my face. I am somewhat offended by the casual disposition that calls $23,000.00 a small debt for a young person, nonetheless a poor person.
Maybe it can be done. Heck, maybe even I’ll do it successfully. Yet, there’s a point when you have to stop and ask yourself if one should have to do all this and go through all this in order to benefit society as an educated person? Should those people in Robin Wilson’s essay, who are fine with their lives having to cut back in order to repay the debts they’ve incurred, have to reduce anything about their lives at all because they purchased something that probably should be a right rather than a commodity? There are plenty of people who don’t and won’t have to face the kinds of things that I have to personally face in getting my education and there are people who will encounter worse. The bottom line here is that we are all worthy of the opportunity to put forth the work it takes to gain and maintain knowledge. Should a mother of three have to suffer in any extra increment for an education and its subsequent debt when someone else gets to party and cheat their way to a degree? Well, I know things aren’t fair and never will be but I feel that there’s some unacceptable injustice in this educational ordeal. I don’t understand why we’re not alarmed that, in this modern and civilized society, there is an argument about whether a degree is a good investment. Of course, an education is a good investment to the mind of each educated person. It’s not the education itself, or the knowledge obtained through it, which ought to have its value questioned. It’s the monetary price and our willingness as a nation to break barriers of social stratification that ought to be scrutinized.
People deserve knowledge and they deserve to be valued for the knowledge that they’ve gotten on their own as well. There’s something wrong with collecting college credits like poker chips that can’t be spent at certain places when the entity containing actual knowledge above and beyond college credit is walking around out there with the potential to really benefit society in even greater ways than their degree suggests. The authors of these essays arguing that the debt issue is being blown out of proportion seem to simply brush the price of education out of the way. Yet, it’s that price which is causing so much fear because the times have gotten pretty hard and people are overwhelmed by this continuously rising cost that they can’t cap. This is a chaotic world where people are starving to death and here we are spending thousands of dollars on something that was achieved over hundreds of generations of recorded human experiences that span all countries and social classes. That knowledge belongs rightfully to every human being, and we’re sitting around trying to reason with ourselves about the acceptability of the growing sacrifices that obtaining that knowledge requires. The whole idea of a public library is built on the belief that people should be able to eat freely of the fruits of human knowledge. If I can obtain the same knowledge for free at the local library that a college class gives me, shouldn’t I have some value for that? Why are there not more ways to test for college credits so that the very poor have more of a way in? When there are people lying with missing limbs on street corners in war torn countries, I feel that there should not be a textbook about diplomacy that costs $250.00 and is attached to a $700.00 Intro to International Relations class. Our nation and our world should be pouring its energy into education because that’s what will make it so that we live up to the image of the civilized creature that we’re so proud of being. What is our trade empire going to cost us after-all? What do you think is the dividend payout on an investment in civility and the decency to lift up our neighbors to achieve what we have dreamt of achieving or to have at least that chance?

Works Cited
Glassner, Barry and Morton Shapiro. "Give Colleges More Credit: Doomsayers are wrong. America's higher education system isn't broken." LA Times (2012).
Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein and Russel Durst. "They Say/I Say: with readings." Wilson, Robin. A Lifetime of Student Debt? Not Likely. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009. 256-272.
Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein and Russel Durst. "They Say/I Say: with readings." Ungar, Sanford J. The New Liberal Arts. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010. 190-196.
Hanushek, Eric A., Paul E. Peterson and Ludger Woessmann. "Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance." 2012.
Kielstra, Dr. Paul. "The Learning Curve." 2012.
OECD. "Education at a Glance." 2012.

Nunez, Karla

In “On Campus and Losing Sleeping: Two college Presidents on the State of Higher Education”, I disagree with Glassner and Schapiro's article because education is not going anywhere. Education, like said previously in other comments, is simply changing and evolving which will help students get more control on managing their life, work, and education. It is difficult, but not impossible to work, go to school, get great grades, and make time to be with their loved ones. I believe education is changing for the better, since some students would not have to work around their school schedules to ensure that they have enough time to work, study, and get enough rest. For example, thanks to online classes students or parents have the opportunity to attend and continue their education—especially, in my opinion, those who have families. Therefore, education is not coming to an end it is merely evolving to benefit the people and help them have the opportunity to continue their education.
However, the debit of $25,000 does seem low considering how expensive textbooks are and how much it cost when a student is living on campus. Although a high debit or debit overall could be decreased if students take out only what is necessary to continue their education. Students should manage their money efficiently by finding ways to save money by using coupons or buying cheaper items that still get the job done; for example students could buy cheaper textbooks, hair products, or writing material. Instead of buying new textbooks students could buy a used one or even rent one online or in stores to avoid having to spend more than $50 for a textbook. This will decrease the amount of money students normally would pay for textbooks and thus save a few more dollars. They could also apply for all the scholarships were they meet the requirements to avoid having a bigger debit. So, even though a student could have a high debit it could be decreased if they manage their money wisely.

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The higher education model will never be gone entirely. Perhaps making it more of a mute point is a more apt description. The fact that the cost of education is on the rise and the job market is bleak at best, makes for a near financially suicidal decision either way for prospective students. Those whom go to school and acquire an insurmountable debt just to sit in a classroom and be stressed out just to get that pice of paper their name on it will spend the next few decades paying off the educational benefits they worked so hard for. For the rest, those whom go straight to work whether it be in the trades or the military or making their own way through entrepreneurial ventures can't afford to go to school full time to receive that coveted higher education degree in the field of their choosing. in many cases, people that do not go to or complete college and make their millions do not go back to get a degree because they are already in a position where they have not borrowed anything more that they needed, and if they have gone back to school, have had the funds to pay out of pocket. Colleges do not necissarily deserve any more credit than what they get base on the college experience to fiscally crippling debt ratio. There are many ways to open your mind to different ways of thinking and learning, higher education through colleges and universities are not the only answer. It seems that there is an emphasis on higher education more for the purpose of perpetuating the economic state of the organization and less about the retention of life lessons for the students to take away and become productive members of society.


The author of this article is completely right about saying the doomsayers are wrong. We can read articles about how higher education is broken, and not worth it. However, it is more important today than ever to get a degree. Nearly all employers that do not pay minimum wage are looking for someone who has spent 4 years at college and have earned a degree. To the "doomsayers", realize that college is investing into your future, and not attending it will put your resume at the bottom of the many who did go to college.

Courtney Butler

Glassner and Schapiro successfully establish a credible tone by starting off the text by stating they are their college’s presidents, this gives them a platform of recognition to stand on. I was interested to hear their statement on why higher education will not cease to remain.
By giving an example of historical relevance, it supported their claim. It was easy for me to agree to their claim by bringing up examples of naysayers in the past. Such as, the Great Depression brining down 40% of the colleges funding. This gives a great example on why higher education will always be around, even in the case of a financial decline.

Taylor Pfaff

Glassner and Schapiro establish their credibility by letting their audience know that they are college presidents. This position means that they have extensive knowledge about their subject. Subsequently, someone else with a different position would not hold the same authority. Also, discussing previous historical issues presented new information to me, and I found it intriguing. However, it was baffling to me that Glassner and Schapiro noted that $25,000 was a small debt to pay after college, almost using a dismissive tone. I agree, it is small. However, it shouldn't be described as "small". That is minuscule, something very easy to pay off. The way it was described made it seem as though this was common. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of debt I will face after college. I also do not agree with the idea of "old-fashioned colleges" being outdated. The promotion of technology is beneficial, however schooling should not solely rely on computers. This dependence could be especially detrimental to more "social" majors, such as education. For example, imagine a teacher trying to conduct ice-breakers on the first day when she has no social skills herself.

Abu Ghaznavi

I agree with Glassner and Schapiro's concerns for students who intend to go to college. Tuition and college debt levels are at an all time high. Students struggle to afford college and the lack of jobs available for college students is alarming, especially for those who pursue liberal arts, as Glassner and Schaprio claimed. Glassner and Schapiro fail to understand that one of the main motivations of students going to college is that they eel that online degrees aren't as valuable as degrees obtained from physically attending college.

Connor Adams

I agree that there is plenty to be concerned with involving the current conditions for college attendants. The system in place creates a lot of issues for the student, particularly extreme levels of debt, making the institution seem unattractive. However, the authors maintain that the end is not necessarily imminent for colleges. They will remain and persist though the flaws as they always have; as long as the support for them remains. If people begin to act as if colleges are failing and funding gets removed, the shifted attitude will prove to be the real detriment for these long standing institutions.

Brian Barker

I agree that there should be some worrying with the way college are prices are rising and students are becoming more and more in debt after they leave. I believe they are also correct in believing that college is not worth saving if there are no longer good professors who help the students to learn, but I disagree that this is a reasonable price to pay for forever being in debt. College is supposed to prepare its students for the real world and help them succeed, but if they are always in debt then they have no chance of succeeding. Colleges will continue to remain, because they have faced much worse crises, but in order for them to continue to do well and help Americans; they must change.

Justin Gill

I disagree with Karla Nunez as she states that she disagrees with the authors of the article. She states that the education system is better off switching to the online for profit models that the authors fear. I disagree completely as I think the college experience is vital more now than before, with the workplace increasing in the need for higher educated employees that come with experience in knowledge only gained from going through the full college experience. There are things that a traditional college can give you that an online one cannot, things such as research and club and organizations you can make or join. These things are part of what keep the tradition college from going obsolete. The authors are correct in stating that people have claimed higher education was done many times in the past and never have those claims come to revelations.

Jim Vitcavage

Higher Education is not coming to an end but it is definitely changing. Just like everything else, education changes with time. You can't expect education to be the same as it was 30 years ago when cellphones and computers didn't even exist. In 2018, everything is online, and google is our text book. With that being said I think higher education will be around for a long time because how competitive the work force is. Almost everything requires a degree nowadays.

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