Author Topic: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012  (Read 2600 times)

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Offline CaseAgainstFaith

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US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« on: April 11, 2012, 10:41:25 am »
Speaking to a college crowd at the University of Michigan in January, President Barack Obama noted that for the first time Americans owe more on their student loans than on their credit cards. "That's inexcusable," Obama said. "Higher education is not a luxury—it's an economic imperative."

But even as the president laid out a program that included earlier loan forgiveness, lower interest rates, and caps on repayments of loans, he was putting the screws to graduate students. Starting this July, graduate-student loans will no longer be subsidized, meaning students will see their debts multiply with interest even before they've received their degrees.

The change will save the government an estimated $18 billion over the next decade—most of which has already been redirected to fund Pell Grants for undergraduates—but it's sure to tack thousands of dollars onto the debts of individual graduate students. The repercussions for graduate schools might be far-reaching, as people grapple with the question of whether a $50,000 master's or a $100,000 law degree is worth the money.

http://www.villagevoice.com/2012-04-04/news/obama-to-grad-students-pay-up/

You know Obama has done a lot to help, like with his healthcare law, and his original tuition repayment plan but this is a bit of a what...two steps forward one step back approach?   I just don't see how this one helps anyone.
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Offline TenfoldMaquette

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2012, 12:16:16 pm »
You know Obama has done a lot to help, like with his healthcare law, and his original tuition repayment plan but this is a bit of a what...two steps forward one step back approach?   I just don't see how this one helps anyone.

Well, it certainly helps the people who issued those loans in the first place. Why take steps to ensure the viability of our emerging workforce when we can further line the pockets of the ridiculously wealthy?

Other than that, yeah, I got nothin'.

Offline Dantes Virgil

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2012, 12:18:09 pm »
It won't help in terms of paying for it, but the issue of having a lot of graduate students is way more complex than just figuring out the financing, unfortunately.  There's still a load of debate about whether universities purposely take in more graduate students than they can mentor and assist in placing in the job market because they need them to teach the basic courses of the university so their full professors are freed up to do other things. 

For example, the English department regularly takes on dozens of graduate students in creative writing, master's degrees and PhDs and gives them a section or two of basic composition to teach (your 101 or 102 required courses).  The vast majority of other teachers who teach the rest of those basic comp courses are called adjuncts -- these are folks who've already graduated grad school and do not have the sort of job in a university or other job site that their higher education would normally allow.  So they teach four sections or so of this basic comp at a cut rate salary to try to make ends meet while they figure out wtf they're doing next.  My department will graduate a handful of PhDs, around 8 - 10 master's degrees, and about another 8 - 10 creative writing masters students this year.  For sake of comparison, my department will hire two people this year for full time work -- and those are all outside hires, meaning none of our own students got those jobs.  So we have around 35 people hitting the job market this year, and the vast majority of them won't find jobs befitting their degrees.  However, we still need to find teachers for 120 sections of composition this fall... Guess where a bunch of those newly minted degreed students will be teaching this fall?  We'll be hiring them back at peanut wages to do it.  So basically, there is a glut in the market.  All these people with higher grad degrees -- no real jobs with a real wage and benefits to provide to them.

It's not exactly the same for other departments, but it is very true of those departments who teach the core classes that all students must take regardless of major.  So while I think cutting federal funding for grad students is a big mistake, the truth is, universities encourage taking on too many grad students as it is, and they exploit their labor.  If we took in fewer to start with (or only those who we could truly mentor and support), the funding issue would not be a big deal.

Just my opinion.

Offline Smurfette Principle

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2012, 01:55:00 pm »
Well, I'm fucked for law school, then.

Offline gyeonghwa

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2012, 02:05:02 pm »
Well, that just means Grad school in another country for me.  :-\
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Offline Radiation

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2012, 02:09:15 pm »
Well this is kinda depressing...I hope that with the little funds that I get that I will at least be able to get my B.A. at some point in time.

I'm in debt from a school back in 2000, I'm on disability and I am ineligible for grants and scholarships.


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Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2012, 04:52:10 pm »
I...eh?  I am confused.  The government's helping in one area, but shafting students in another...sense, please?

Also, seems like universities need a kick in the nuts in terms of pulling dickheaded bullshit to the tune of fucking legislation.  "No, you do NOT get to exploit your own graduates to fill your own bullshit business plan."
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Offline Dantes Virgil

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2012, 04:55:43 pm »
I...eh?  I am confused.  The government's helping in one area, but shafting students in another...sense, please?

Also, seems like universities need a kick in the nuts in terms of pulling dickheaded bullshit to the tune of fucking legislation.  "No, you do NOT get to exploit your own graduates to fill your own bullshit business plan."

Agreed.  And on the one hand it does give them really valuable experience in teaching, researching, etc.  But universities should really just be more upfront about how many grad students they can reasonably handle.  There wouldn't be funding problems if they took in a sustainable amount.  Think of the whole "smaller classrooms make better instruction" concept -- same thing!  It makes me sad to see so many struggle on salaries that are little better than the poverty line. 

Offline DasFuchs

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2012, 12:49:17 pm »
I see a big part of the problem being that once people get their degrees, there's really nothing out there for them, so I'm sure many think "why should I go into debt and waste part of my life to end up working in a fast food joint?".
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Offline Auri-El

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2012, 01:13:13 pm »
Except, graduate school is a luxury. It is what undergraduate school used to be. A bachelor's degree is a necessity, a master's, not so much. I'm not saying grad students deserve to get screwed in loans, and there are other ways to solve this whole problem. Tax the rich, do something different with textbooks to stop the insane prices. I don't know. But as long as the rich continue hoarding their money and buying politicians who will fight tax increases, I see nothing wrong with trying to make sure everyone has the basic education necessary for a decent job, and that is a bachelor's degree.

Offline Her3tiK

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2012, 09:55:12 pm »
Except, graduate school is a luxury. It is what undergraduate school used to be. A bachelor's degree is a necessity, a master's, not so much. I'm not saying grad students deserve to get screwed in loans, and there are other ways to solve this whole problem. Tax the rich, do something different with textbooks to stop the insane prices. I don't know. But as long as the rich continue hoarding their money and buying politicians who will fight tax increases, I see nothing wrong with trying to make sure everyone has the basic education necessary for a decent job, and that is a bachelor's degree.
Perhaps start by having bachelors degrees through public universities paid for with our tax dollars? Additional education beyond that can easily be subsidized to reduce cost for those who want or need to obtain higher degrees.
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Offline m52nickerson

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2012, 10:26:49 pm »
Perhaps start by having bachelors degrees through public universities paid for with our tax dollars? Additional education beyond that can easily be subsidized to reduce cost for those who want or need to obtain higher degrees.

Sure, but where do we get the money to do that?
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Offline Her3tiK

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2012, 02:13:08 am »
Perhaps start by having bachelors degrees through public universities paid for with our tax dollars? Additional education beyond that can easily be subsidized to reduce cost for those who want or need to obtain higher degrees.

Sure, but where do we get the money to do that?
Make corporations actually pay taxes, stop going to war every time we see oil/brown people, Congress's salary...

But that's hopelessly optimistic.
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Offline Damen

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2012, 03:22:06 am »
I vote we pass a law that says all higher education tuition and additional fees cannot exceed the amount of $10,000 dollars per student. Also, all student loan debts will cease accruing interest after the sum of $5,000 dollars over the principal has been reached and can be covered by bankruptcy again.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 03:24:26 am by Damen »
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Offline erictheblue

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Re: US to have fewer grad students after July 2012
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2012, 02:23:44 pm »
Except, graduate school is a luxury. It is what undergraduate school used to be. A bachelor's degree is a necessity, a master's, not so much.

Not so much, if you take into account law school, med school, vet school, etc are all "graduate schools." In addition, some fields (many of the sciences, for example) require advanced degrees in order to get a job. (That's one reason I majored in chemical engineering rather than chemistry.)
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