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CCAP in the News

Posted on December 28th, 2012, by Leave a comment

The Des Moines Register interviewed Jonathan Robe for an article on mandatory student fees:

Greater scrutiny of all college costs, including fees, will continue as long as the economy flounders, said Jonathan Robe, a research fellow at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in Washington, D.C.

Universities can use fees as a way to raise revenue with less public scrutiny than tuition increases receive, or as a way around tuition caps instituted by legislatures in states such as Ohio, he said.

For the 2011-12 school year, Iowa’s universities publicized a 5 percent tuition increase for Iowa students. But at ISU, for example, combined tuition and fees increased 7 percent. The year before, average tuition costs increased 6 percent. But at the U of I, tuition and fees combined jumped nearly 9 percent.

“Public universities know they’ll suffer some sort of negative public perception for tuition increases, and they can avoid that by minimizing tuition increases if they can increase student fees,” Robe said.

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The Fiscal Times also references a report by CCAP on student fees:

Fees assessed to students can include processing fees, technology fees, lab fees, student activity fees and athletic fees. In a report by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) conducted in January 2011, mandatory fees can add as much as 25 percent to the cost of tuition. Student fees at four-year public universities averaged more than $1,700 per year in 2008, the last year figures are available, according to the Department of Education. That’s up more than 36 percent, even after being adjusted for inflation, since 2000.

* * *

Richard Vedder wrote an opinion for Bloomberg that’s generated a considerable amount of buzz about colleges offering remedial education:

The bigger problem is that colleges admit students unlikely to succeed in the first place. Taking in subpar students leads to a “dumbing-down” of the curriculum for everyone. That may be why studies (such as “Academically Adrift” by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa) found little evidence that students were learning a whole lot or mastering critical-thinking skills in their college years.

U.S. colleges should not take hundreds of thousands of ill- prepared students and put them through ineffective remedial- education programs only to see them fail to graduate while running up significant college-loan debt. Instead, they should be encouraged — through the tightening of federal loan policies and other accountability incentives — to become more selective in their admission practices and reject students who show on tests, such as the ACT readiness exams, that they are not ready for college work.

Many of these academically marginal students might excel in non-college-degree vocational programs that teach skills in relatively high-demand jobs, which pay reasonably well.

In today’s economy, why is a bachelor’s degree in marketing more valuable than training in high-tech manufacturing?

* * *

An opinion in the San Francisco Gate on President Obama’s education agenda heavily quotes Richard Vedder:

There is no reason a qualified poor kid cannot get into college in the United States simply because of money. Richard J. Vedder[sic], director of Ohio University’s Center for College Affordability and Productivity, told me that Obama is correct, “people might get an acceptance at a relatively expensive private school that they can’t afford to go to.” But if students are accepted into one college, they can get into another, more affordable college, such as a community college, where Pell Grants cover tuition.

“If he’s saying that not everyone can get into whatever college they want to get into, he’s probably right,” Vedder said. “I’m not sure that the American people would agree that every student should be able to get into the school they want.” As an example, he mentioned Harvard.

 * * *

The Huffington Post aired a live segment on remedial education with Richard Vedder’s participation.