Let's bring a new wave of land grant universities. The feds own like ~90% of Nevada, let's put a top tier research university smack dab in the middle of it. Put up some new facilities, draw faculty away from other top tier universities/the rest of the world, and start pumping all these bright, but otherwise undistinguished kids into a place where they CAN distinguish themselves. All that sweet, sweet federal cash flows in, and you can bet people will set up shop around it. For the feds, it's a cheap investment, but one that has paid for itself a thousand times over.
Make it a public bell labs in the desert, then do it across rural America. Huntsville (kind of) did it, why can't we do it again?
The feds own 85% of Nevada because it's mostly desert and it's not practical to live there; nobody claimed it during the homesteading era, so it was left to the BLM. There's a whole lot of wide-open sagebrush country striped with the occasional mountain range, and very little water. It would be an expensive place to run a college town, since you'd have to truck in literally everything you needed to live on from somewhere else.
"Why should the fed open a school in Nevada when you can just give that money to us (University of Nevada). We promise we'll give x% of the money out in scholarships!"
The con continues.....
What about the crumbling infrastructure in those rural areas which falls apart if you made any attempt to move people out there?
Or what do you do about the poor rural folk you displace through what is essentially extremely sudden government gentrification?
Honestly we have plenty of universities, many of which are not Harvard but still have incredible professors and bright students. Instead of building universities in the middle of nowhere, we should take that money to make higher education (whether it's trade or not) free and help fund people move to those universities. This is a far quicker solution than hoping to fix the problem 20-30 years from now when we need a solution today.
Do we even need people to move to physical buildings? If we improve our internet infrastructure we can offer 24/7 education to everyone anywhere in the country. The idea of forcing students to move to a specific place and attend classes at a specific time every day seems somewhat dated.
Lambda School would like to say hello.
(no affiliation... just a fan)
I'm also talking specifically about research universities.
I think the debate about cost should be decoupled from this, but I agree -- higher ed should be something you pay for with a summer job, not a decade plus of what amounts to federally enforced indentured servitude.
It’s a great point, although I think it’s already been done. There’s a lot of attention on Harvard in particular but there’s plenty of good education in the country. It’s just become very expensive and too focused on the perceived top 2.
I currently work at a recognizable big tech company side-by-side with people who have degrees from Stanford, MIT, CMU, and so forth. Many of them wracked up significant student debt to go to their schools, and my career seems to have been at absolutely no disadvantage from having gone to a much cheaper school.
Play with the calculator yourself if you don't believe me: https://tuition.utexas.edu/
> I feel like the people racking up debt today are mostly doing it in undergrad, as graduate students usually pay little to no tuition and get a stipend.
The person you were responding to specifically said their Master's degree cost $13,000 in tuition. How is undergrad relevant?
Because you are in an 'in demand' field. Same is true for most people who graduate from medical school. It's a ticket to a well paying job where you attend isn't of that much significance for the 'average' position. And with that 'average' position you can often catapult yourself into something better since demand for what you do is always growing and labor is typically short and constrained in some way.
But I’m sure you’ve noticed that you’re the exception from your school whereas that’s the norm for HYPS et al. That’s why people strive to go to those schools.
We've seen it happen in Wisconsin. Which is why we just have a top x% of any high school in Wisconsin gets admitted rule. There are just too many poor people in, say, Milwaukee's suburbs, or Appleton, or LaCrosse. If you have to get in based on strict merit, I would not underestimate the number of, let's call them, "poor urban/suburban whites" who would outperform people in the rural areas.
Unless, of course, this school would be only for poor rural people. In which case they wouldn't do it because they'd get sued.
If you had such a place, I think admission would have to be like the Iowa/Wisconsin system. Sort of, automatic admission if you're in the top whatever percent of a high school class anywhere in US and pass a trivial test. That way, rural people could never be crowded out.
Does this ever result in parents whose children are "on the bubble" deliberately moving to poor school districts?
You smack a big research university into it, and bam, suddenly construction companies are there, then housing, then food, etc etc. Hopefully some new ventures get spun up by students and faculty, and now we're running.
Nick Hanauer, of Second Ave. Partners, goes into some depth as to why , but his thesis is along Piketty's:
Sure, education is a part of the solution, but as biologists say: it is necessary but not sufficient.
1. An oversupply of newly minted PhD's literally waiting for tenured profs to die so that there is an opening
2. A skyrocketing demand from people looking to go to university, with acceptance rates everywhere dropping.
Connect these with building more universities. It might only be possible at the state level, look at how California opened UC Merced in 2005.
Wait, a work-relief program for ... PhDs?
Surely they are intelligent enough to find some form of employment beyond what Uncle Sam can only provide.
The point being that whether you're white or black, being rich or being an athlete is the best way into Harvard. If you're neither, I think you're pretty much screwed. There really are just way too many intelligent students out there these days, you need something more than just a test score.
Just the sad reality nowadays.
Given loads of plain smart people and limited ability to measure the difference between them what measures can you use? Extra curricular activities seem like a decent measure simply because they take up time so all other things being equal the student who had a time consuming extra curricular activity was probably either a) better at time management, b) harder working, or c) smarter and able to complete the same work in a shorter amount of time.
Why can't they simply ratchet up the difficulty level? Sort students by ability, take top N, however many needed to fill the seats. Like grading on a curve, but the right way.
Also, let's be real, jobs are too moronic for all this. The American economy is a joke that doesn't deserve a more vicious rat race, and that's all we'd get from this. There's no "talented (10^-n)the" way out of our current predicament.
I'm just pointing out that the percentage of whites who are not athletes, and whose parents make less than 500 grand is pretty small. And the percentage of blacks matching that profile is even smaller.
And if you really want to see some depressing numbers, factor out the females. That is, count up the number of white males who are not athletes whose parents make less than 500 grand. Or for a real laugh, count up the number of black males who are not athletes whose parents make less than 500 grand.
This is just the ugly reality of how our society is currently structured. I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying that in this society, these sorts of things have a lot to do with money. More to do with money than race even, which is saying something.
Rich enough to make the Dean's List, and then their comment about how rich legacies and athletes are. Legacies and athletes are, per the article, 43.2% and 20% likely (respectively) to have parents who make more than $500k/year.
But a "mere" $500k/year is not going to get you enough money to donate enough to get your kid on the dean's list. That's going to take donations of more than $1M. Quite possibly more than $5M, or at least a teaser donation of $1M and some plausible belief from Harvard that you have the means to make more donations than that.
This is why there was that scandal with the fake athletes -- because just paying the $150k or so to get your kid a fake record as a polo player or whatever is very cheap compared to the amount of money you need to donate to a top-tier college before they'll give your kid significant admissions preference.
For the most part, dean's list donations are out of reach of all but the ultra-rich, maybe the 0.1% or so.
Especially since Harvard is easy once you get in. 97.5% graduation rate. It's not like they're flunking out the losers among the legacy admits. UC Berkeley is around 90%.
1. Elite schools are motivated to have high graduation rates in order to be competitive in various rankings.
2. Most programs at elite schools are not incentivized to take a tough love approach since it reduces enrollment numbers and ultimately funding. Popular programs get a pass on this.
3. For most elite school grads, if you’re hiring them for their education, then your usually hiring for the wrong thing. The best elite school grads, regardless of major, will get you access to better networks. The median elite school grad will get you someone who is aggressively willing to jump through hoops for rewards. If you don’t know how to capitalize on that, don’t hire these people.
FWIW, some majors at Harvard are definitely not easy — they just cull the weaker students early.
P.S. It shouldn't be a good thing to brutally weed out students. Facts are facts though.
An Engineering degree that really teaches stuff will be difficult. And some students will find it is not for them and leave. Preferably early before they have invested too much in it.
The reason why students exit engineering programs isn't just the material- it can be a terrible teacher (hello physics professor with a thick accent that would insult their students for being stupid), the culture, or being underprepared for the material with no clear path forward to becoming prepared.
In my district, students were required to go through Algebra II and Geometry. We were also required to take three years of math. As a result, kids who took Algebra I in middle School went Algebra II->Geometry->Precal, while those who didn't went Algebra I-> Algebra II->Geometry. One group had the requirements by default, and the other didn't need to decide until senior year.
We required 3 years of high school math, but if you did algebra in 7th grade it counted toward the requirement. A lot of higher tracked kids were done with thier math requirement by the end of 9th grade as a result.
Not even close. It's a brand and it's a good brand ... a very good brand and one of the best and it opens doors. Nobody honestly really cares about what happens behind the scenes the halo is typically that strong.
Look at it this way. If someone gets an Academy Award it's a branding that says 'you are chosen and special for some reason'. Doesn't matter if the film is good or sells the most ticket. Someone has decided it's special (or a production person/director/producer is special) and that's that.
When someone buys a luxury product sure it's most likely a more quality product but that is not what they are paying for or they care about. Not only do they not want to hear it's made in the same factor that makes things for Target but if they did hear they'd probably not care that much either.
> Especially since Harvard is easy once you get in.
Did it occur to you that perhaps people rise to what is expected of them and are perhaps more fearful of failing or take advantage of all sorts of help so they do graduate? Or that they work really hard because they are there and are afraid to flunk more so than at a lesser university? It's also obvious that there are probably 10 people that could 'do the work' for those that are admitted. It has never been about the best and smartest at any upper tier college. And there isn't even a way to measure that anyone who thinks top grades and testing is what matters hasn't dealt with enough people in the world who are productive, have achieved but do not test well.
I think that the high graduation rates at Ivy schools are fundamentally misleading in a couple of ways, if your takeaway is that getting a degree there must be easy. First of all, for academic and demographic reasons, most people at these schools would still have overwhelming odds of graduating elsewhere. Broadly speaking, it’s not the “dumbest” kids who flunk out, but those who are least likely to be in college in the first place.
The comparison of Berkeley/MIT/Caltech is interesting in that their attrition rate is much higher than HYP etc. IMO that reflects well on academic standards for the “alt ivies”, but I think the crucial point here is to recognize that academic programs have substantial influence in this regard.
Most obviously, there’s the difference in grading across fields, with STEM being the least forgiving across the board at top institutions. Thus it’s natural that the STEM dominant institutions have higher burnout.
The second, less obvious piece has to do with rules around changing programs, and opportunity cost. Notably most of the Ivy schools (and many alt schools) allow students to switch majors without significant hassle. Since many “soft” majors at Ivy schools are still on the FIRE/Consulting pipeline, the natural course of action for someone who’s underperforming in a more difficult program is to remain in the institution and change their major. This isn’t necessarily true for the STEM-first schools, whose humanities undergrads are less successful winding up in a lucrative east coast industry.
So I’m inclined to think it’s more about incentives than any conscious effort by the schools.
I think it's important to remember that in the big picture of things, very, very few employers care about whether a hire went to Harvard or not.
But as it happens, the ones that do, also wield a lot of power.
I think a lot of these places only care partially about the intellectual prowess of their candidates, but also about a lot of other factors. Socioeconomic background, networks, pedigree, and what not.
Hiring the right kid from Harvard / Yale / Princeton / whatever means that he/she can be a good future resource not just because they're smart, but because they have many other attributes with considerable upsides 20-30 years down the road.
Hell, I'll put it in plain text: I think a lot of elite universities are valued in the job market because they're breeding grounds for rich elites, where the new generation of rulers can mingle and network, which is very useful for future operations. It's about grooming people for succession .
Obviously doesn't hold true for everyone there, but the ones that know how the system is rigged, will follow the rules.
Just Devil's Advocate.
But what if these legacy admits are not as dumb as people think they are?
Just kind of, throwing that possibility out there.
People only use the backdoor when the front one wont work.
BTW- There are a fair number of studies out there suggesting that students who are admitted to top-tier schools but don't go have no effect on longer term outcomes than those who do, so other than short term disappointment it might be a null effect.
Meanwhile, universal pre-k enables families (ane espicially mothers) the ability to return to their own work/careers faster and has been shown to improve long term academic success (although their is some question to scalability).
So between the two, universial pre-k seems like a far more important issue...
In some cases, their parents having gone to the school is the only reason they got in. A lot of schools athletics programs are in similar situations as well.
We should eliminate government support for Harvard like tax breaks, subsidized loans and grants.
Harvard is a hedge fund with a school attached. They should be taxed like one.
I think this is no different from what Harvard has been accused of with their race-conscious admissions where it seems harder for Asian students to get in than White, Black and Latino students. While practices of admittance that include anything other than merit are unfair for the individual student, this makes sense for the university to build its own image for prospective students, and its image for employers looking to recruit college grads. Students don't want to go to schools that don't have diversity and employers are looking for diversity.
University is not just about the academic lessons taught inside the classroom, or building a qualification for a career. Some of the most important lessons are taught between and outside the classroom like the social skills required to build study groups or the management skills to be in the leadership of a club. There are also meta-social learning in the abilities to socialize with people from different backgrounds in various levels of formality.
Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul's School by Shamus Rahman Khan talks about how in prestigious college prep schools, students learn similar social traits from an environment that shapes them into what is received as a successful elite student.
As far as the educational system goes, I could care less about how the most elite schools go about admissions because it effects such a small amount of the population, and degrees only affect the first job of your career except if you are trying to get into med school or law school. What's more important to me is the failure of the public educational system to provide literacy when teachers are taught to use methods that harm the ability to learn phonics. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/02/12/582465905/the-gap... What is also important to me is the impact of one bad teacher to ruin a child's belief that they can learn math or a learn a new language or music or just their own self esteem. One of the biggest problems in American schooling is that when a teacher fails accreditation to teach high school or middle school, they generally are able to teach elementary school. Teachers that do not know how to teach a given subject should not be put in front of students at more formative years where damage to an academic self-image can be more significant and impactful.
Ideally a college education would not be required for most of the workforce. Sadly our standards for a k-12 education have fallen due to a lack of care to find how to best teach students and a working environment for teachers that does not attract teaching talent or understanding of how to teach, and allows for mediocrity. There are great teachers in the system, but many of them are burning out due to long hours of teaching, grading, and re-accreditation and low pay.
Note - this is not a defense or critique of their policy with regard to race and admissions. I don't believe that it's just or reasonable to use race to lower or raise the bar for anyone. In an ideal world, admissions would be merit based and you'd let the chips fall where they may. The fact is that certain groups place higher or lower levels of value on a specific type of educational achievement. There's nothing wrong with that. In some subcultures in the US, the best thing a young person can do in the eyes of their parents and community is join the military. There are other cultures where that is seen as a bad path. We shouldn't be in the business of telling others what is or is not in their best interests. That should be left to individual families and communities.
Sadly, the jobs that are most dominated by nepotism and politics (law, government, academic professors of softer subjects) it really does help to go to Harvard or similar and have the brand name. Value-producing industries in the private sector are not exclusively merit-based, but it's much more likely you can go from the bottom to the top by starting a competitive business. And starting a business does not require going to Harvard.
For certain career paths it helps a lot.
It also depends on where you live. In the Northeast there is a very tangible class system based on where you went to school. This still exists on the West Coast but it's much less intense unless you are going for big-time VC money or working in law or finance.
However, I have yet to see anyone become a Supreme Court Justice who went to community college. I believe almost all of them went to Harvard or Yale...
To be fair, you cannot become an attorney just going to community college. You need a graduate degree. Graduate school admissions do not have the legacy admissions preference that undergrad does. While true that all current SC judges went to Harvard or Yale, they did not necessarily go for undergrad. For example, Clarence Thomas went to Conception Abbey Seminary for undergrad, which is a little-known school in Kansas.
Expecting that only top-tier colleges can train good lawyers is elitist nonsense, just more gate keeping by the upper class.
A substantial portion of this funding is federal. It's in the public interest for the positive effects of being educated at a well-funded research institution to be allocated "fairly" and since that funding comes from public sources it is well within the purview of the government to regulate that allocation.
But should it not cause us to re-evaluate how much we respect the university and it's degrees?
Speaking as an alum who will never donate or allow his kids to apply there: fuck them.
See discussion here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21037400
If what you say is true, the problem seems easily fixable -- makes children of alumni enter through the normal channels, and not mention their parents, and if they will get in if they deserve to.
Only some schools take into account legacy status, so wouldn't it be possible to do comparisons between schools that do and schools that do not to get those kind of stats? Many students apply to the same school their parents went to even if being the child of alumni does not give them a boost.
Of the top 10 universities in the world, according to US News & World Reports 2018 list, 4 take into account legacy status (Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Stanford) .
6 do not (MIT, UC Berkeley, Oxford, Caltech, Cambridge, University of Washington).
"Our model of admissions shows that roughly three quarters of white ALDC admits would have been rejected if they had been treated as white non-ALDCs."
The barrier to entry for a lot of people isn't even being good/smart enough -- it's being familiar with or having the resources to navigate the bureaucracy that obfuscates the opportunities which are ostensibly open to "everyone".
I agree with you, but to play devil's advocate: I think it's very possible that the legacy child of two doctors becomes a better doctor than a more academically-talented student.
Mom & Dad doing patient diagnosis & surgery at home to bond with the kids...
Sounds more problematic than a software engineer opening up the editor.
Do you think that academic talent implies success in medical practice? It is a necessary but not sufficient condition.
I can see legacy status being referred to as an "advantageous circumstance." But being a D1 recruited athlete takes years of dedication and hard work. It isn't some circumstance that someone finds him/herself in.
As an Asian American who has had good academic success, my best guess is its socioeconomic. Asians who came to the US in the 70s - 80s often were highly educated, upper middle class, and they had resources to raise their kids towards academic success. They certainly faced some struggles, but were not socially disadvantaged in the way that other minority groups in the US have been.
You may not have meant it this way, but your post reads like a racist dog whistle.
What's especially interesting to me is, based on Asian-American population demographics, those who feel most slighted by Harvard are probably on the West Coast.
This means that 15% of the UC population was international.
On the contrary, Harvard admits about 21% international students: https://www.collegefactual.com/colleges/harvard-university/s....
By that metric, UC berkeley is way more pro-America than Harvard, because UC berkeley educates more Americans as a percentage of its class.
You should probably attempt to cite facts when making statements.
Harvard is actually a large graduate school that happens to teach some undergrads. Berkeley's main purpose is undergrad education.
Not saying his opinion is not baseless or wrong, but your rebuttal is flawed as well.
Given my own knowledge of the UC system, berkeley seems the most international, which is why I thought simply citing berkeley would be enough. But, point taken. Let's look into the system data.
The total UC enrollment is 286271. Of this, there are 40219 Non-resident international students, which means there are 14% international students in the UC system as a whole. Thus, my using just berkeley actually shifted the data in my opponent's favor, since -- as I hypothesized -- Berkeley does indeed have more international students as a percentage of enrollment.
Campus-wise, my anecdotal observation would be Irvine or Davis has most of international students by percentage, though.
How does favoring Europeans over Asians make it "pro-US"? Neither of those populations are American.