Not just the MOOCs but the steady drumbeat of why college education makes less sense given its cost and debt load.
I was surprised to read how long winter break was for college students. Let’s see - colleges are out by end of May if not earlier and starts in late August - so that’s about 3 months off. Another month off in January which means that the $30,000 per year college education works out to roughly $3,700 per month for college for the next 4 or 5 years. It's not surprising that the math doesn't add up for some.
For instance, In Montana oil jobs are attracting HS graduates as well as dropouts.
“I just figured, the oil field is here and I’d make the money while I could,” said Tegan Sivertson, 19, who monitors pipelines for a gas company, sometimes working 15-hour days. “I didn’t want to waste the money and go to school when I could make just as much.”
College success is higher for the rich than the poor even for those with the same academic abilities. This was a heartbreaking story:Angelica Gonzales marched through high school in Goth armor — black boots, chains and cargo pants — but undermined her pose of alienation with a place on the honor roll. She nicknamed herself after a metal band and vowed to become the first in her family to earn a college degree.
“I don’t want to work at Walmart” like her mother, she wrote to a school counselor.
Weekends and summers were devoted to a college-readiness program, where her best friends, Melissa O’Neal and Bianca Gonzalez, shared her drive to “get off the island” — escape the prospect of dead-end lives in luckless Galveston. Melissa, an eighth-grade valedictorian, seethed over her mother’s boyfriends and drinking, and Bianca’s bubbly innocence hid the trauma of her father’s death. They stuck together so much that a tutor called them the “triplets.”
Four years later, their story seems less like a tribute to upward mobility than a study of obstacles in an age of soaring economic inequality. Not one of them has a four-year degree. Only one is still studying full time, and two have crushing debts. Angelica, who left Emory owing more than $60,000, is a clerk in a Galveston furniture store.
Each showed the ability to do college work, even excel at it. But the need to earn money brought one set of strains, campus alienation brought others, and ties to boyfriends not in school added complications. With little guidance from family or school officials, college became a leap that they braved without a safety net.
Does this validate the Posse Foundation’s approach?
Posse started because of one student who said, “I never would have dropped out of college if I had my posse with me.” That simple idea of sending a group of students to college together to act as a support system for one another was the impetus for a program that today has become one of the most comprehensive college access programs in the United States.