Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Bothered. . .

Did anyone else see this article in Inside Higher Ed? It bothers me.

Now, I'm not opposed to the idea that we need generate interest in higher ed among students who wouldn't normally consider going to college; however, I'm troubled that this might be making it too easy. Come on, bringing the admissions test to the student? Tax advisors to help with financial aid forms? Does this community college continue to provide this much personalized support to these students after they start attending classes--do they get personal shoppers for their books and school supplies? How about Homework helpline? Do the faculty come to the students home and pick them up to be sure they get to class?? These things are not realistic. Does this program potentially set these students up for failure when the hand holding is no longer there?

What I really be interested in knowing is how many of the accepted students actually enroll? Of those, how many actually complete coursework? Of those, how many complete a degree program? If these things are not happening are they really doing anything about the disparity between whites and hispanics in college?



Astroprof said...

After they get their degree, is their employer going to give them this much aid? They'll be used to it and expecting it.

Seeking Solace said...

All I can say is What the effing L!

Abbey said...

It's the age old issue of you get what you measure.

In this case, my guess is they are measuring entry rates, not completion rates. Thus, the approach is beautiful and is likely to result in a heck of a lot of aid to the college for increasing minority student entry rates. (maybe I'm just being cynical here)

What I find especially interesting is that a certain degree equates to a certain kind of car. Cause as far as I can tell...I haven't gotten my AA, BA, or MA cars yet.

What's additionally annoying is that it's made out to be that cut-and-dry. Something about student loans, life, and other things that get between you and your AA/BA car...

Erg! I agree, I'd be bothered by the article too.

Anonymous said...

I read the article and thought it meant that the program was primarily aimed to get minorities into the college process. People who thought that college was way out of reach (even if they had the grades) due to application antics, financial burden, etc. This program showed them how the application was nothing to fear, how financial aid can boil down to Uncle Sam offering loans, etc. From that perspective, I thought the program was a good one, in spite of its hand-holding approach.

*statgirl* said...

anonymous- you make some good points. I am with you up to a point. However, how do we know these are the real hurdles? If these students are unable to get through "application antics" without help, why should we assume they will be able to navigate college in general without continued assistance? Seems like the application process is only the beginning of the antics.

Derrick said...

I have worked in CC education for five years now. We are in an historic poverty zone. I can attest that we do sit across the table from prospective students who do need to be guided through the admissions process. Our other option is not to help at all and let them flounder.

We also have retention programs that some would feel are hand holding. Whoever mentioned that retention was the key stat is absolutely correct.

Most of this is due to these students being first generation college students. A college education has just not been a part of their worlds. It is disorienting to them and they, for the most part, do make the transition to being college students.

Having said that I will agree with the statement that tying up a student's h.s. graduation with completing the admissions process at a CC is just an antic. All of those three components are in place in most high schools in CC ditricts. There is no need to make completing them a grad. requirement.

But I disagree that this "hand-holding" is some kind of illegitimate support that sets them up to fail. Every day I see it working quite the opposite effect.

*statgirl* said...

I see your point and I don't deny that this program probably does help some students. I also wish they had some numbers to show for enrollment, retention, etc.
I think it is also likely that many first generation college students figure it out on their own without the program, I did.