Monday, June 08, 2015

College — 01

Obligatory Animal House still.
I get where he's coming from.
Man, higher education in the US is so screwed up right now, I really do not envy the position of college-age musicians. Truthout has published a big exposé on what one school, New York University, has been doing, and it's pretty ugly:

Under Chairman of the Board Martin Lipton and President John Sexton, New York University has been operating as a real estate development/management business with a predatory higher-education side venture. A group of 400 faculty members at NYU, Faculty Against the Sexton Plan (FASP), have been working for years against what Pam Martens has called “running NYU as a tyrannical slush fund for privileged interests.” FASP just published a devastating document, The Art of the Gouge, which describes how NYU engages in a mind-numbing range of tricks and traps to extract as much in fees as possible from students, while at the same time failing to invest in and often degrading the educational “product”. 
The first part of the report goes through a mind-numbing and degrading set of scams perpetrated on students, including the bait and switch of hitting them with extra charges they can’t possibly find out about before they have committed to the school, to the tune of an estimated $10,000 per year; providing mediocre education in programs that require “study abroad” while also requiring them to stay in grossly overpriced university housing; admitting a high proportion of foreign students, precisely because they pay higher fees (and predictably, NYU’s premiums are even higher than that of other schools), and offering shamelessly overpriced, narrow, and not very good health services. 
Mind you, that list only scratches the surface. 
The second part, which describes how the funds are used, describes in gory detail how the school throws money at real estate empire-building, disproportionately for administrative space and housing when teaching facilities are in short supply. 
The third document describes how NYU is an even more extreme practitioner of squeezing the incomes of faculty while gold-plating administrator pay and perks. 

Like, I'm not surprised that this guy was an NYU student. Salon also links to the piece, with more commentary:

Like other non-profit universities, NYU is designated as a non-profit institution, which means it doesn’t pay any real-estate taxes.  The school’s recent charitable activities include things like purchasing a $5.2 million condo on Central Park West, as part of a sweetheart deal to lure a Columbia professor to NYU’s law school.  
The report features many other eye-popping examples of how the revenues from the school’s more than $70,000-per-year cost of attendance are being spent, while at the same time some students find themselves homeless, underfed, and desperate enough to trade sex for tuition money. 
Now in a sense it’s unfair to single out NYU, since the school [...] has merely been engaging in a somewhat more extreme version of the incredibly expensive pursuit of ever-more revenue that has consumed so much of contemporary American higher education.

Truthout has pdfs you can download that give all the gory details. NYU is just be an extra-bad example of a thing that's happening everywhere:

Not long ago the only schools with billion-dollar endowments were the usual Ivy League suspects. Now more than 100 colleges and universities are in that group, and the total is growing rapidly. (When I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1982, the school’s total endowment was $115 million. Last summer it had grown to $9.7 billion: an 84-fold increase.)

Tuitions have certainly been skyrocketing at my alma mater, the University of Oregon, a state school. They're obviously awash in student loan money, and have been on a building binge, with more construction in the past ten years than there was in the previous 30 my family lived in the area. More on this subject coming.

No comments: