I just finished reading your book and applaud your writing and expose of
the fraud and rot of higher education. Anyone not on the inside would
have no idea of the truth you reveal. I'm curious about something
though, I know administrators want to string along as many students as
possible for as long as possible to increase retention, but I'm also
seeing a huge push here in the state of Texas to push students out after
4 years with some rather harsh punitive measures. I don't understand
the real motive behind this, why is graduating in 4 years a magic
bullet? The only reason I can see is that our school is trying to reach
Tier One status which means access to federal grant money for research
and must get rid of the weaker students, the ones they've been
exploiting since our school's inception and now will kick them to the
curb to serve more affluent students who are smart enough to teach
themselves and can afford to pay more. The schools are starting to
charge out of state tuition for those who exceed 20 hours past the
minimum needed for the degree, they're forcing all student to register
for 15 hours each semester (these are mainly Hispanic, first generation,
working, students) and have raised up admissions standards a little,
but actually are admitting student into what's called the University
College which is a holding stall until students meet requirements for
their major. In essence, they will admit students into the university
who will never be able to declare their major requirements, makes the
University College look bad, but makes the Department's numbers look
better. It's a hidden filtering system. Why are schools so concerned
not only with students graduating, but now it's about graduating them in
4 years? What's the real driving issue here?
Thanks for your kind words; once I realized the hand over fist fraud that is much of higher education, I had to write Why Johnny Can't Read, Write, or Do 'Rithmetic Even With A College Degree.
To answer your question regarding Texas, there are two factors:
1) The loan money is running out. Many programs no longer support students for basically forever. With no money to be plundered, there's not much reason to keep them in "school." Many loans have some arbitrary time limit, like 4 years.
2) Since administrators have sucked the students dry, they have to do something with the husks. Graduating them, with any degree at all, is a fine option--admin can claim their improving education by churning out folks with 4 year "General" degrees, that still can't perform at the high school level.
3) I saw so many students with credit hours far beyond what would be needed for a degree (the record, I believe, was over 150 credit hours, in a school where no degree required more than 66 hours), that it's nice that finally, lethargically, the institutions are doing something. In times past, a student couldn't just sign up for crap year after year, the student had to go to an advisor, who signed off on the student's schedule for the next semester. Admin changed the rules so that weren't advisors any more. Why do you think admin would help children hurt themselves like this?
But to answer your question in short: the loans are no longer going to be indefinite, students have to actually get a degree and move on....or just move on. Tier 1 status is irrelevant to graduation rates, that has more to do with research (a part of higher education that is, at least, somewhat legit, but I have a few toe-curling stories to tell there as well).
One of these days I'll sit down and tell the story of a very wealthy man who donated a vast sum of money to "higher education". Once he found out that the money was just going to teach hordes of sub-remedial students, he got politicians to change the law...admin changed the rules...he got the laws written even more clearly...admin changed the rules. It took about a decade, at which point most of his donation went to lawyers, politicians, administrators, and courses that weren't even close to higher education. In the end, he only managed to at least have a couple of institutions not be 90% high school material.
Again, thanks for the kind words on my book; I worried that it would not be a fun read.