AT ISSUE: Leading Philadelphia educators have proposed a pared down four-year degree-granting institution geared toward getting students in and out quickly.’ Are they necessary to fill a niche in the higher education market?.
Giving up diverse demographic, gaining rapid workplace entry
Pennsylvania may have finally found the perfect solution for a large number of students nationwide.’ The Pennsylvania State Board of Education recently approved a proposal for a ‘no-frills’ college education.’ If this takes hold, there will be a four-year college for people who don’t want or need the extras a traditional university campus offers.’ While this option could be beneficial for many, it brings to mind students who are able to attend college because of scholarships given for their sports, music, art, writing abilities and more.
UH is a self-proclaimed melange of commuter-students mixed with the more traditional students who live on campus.’ If Texas were to incorporate a ‘no-frills’ four-year college, many commuter students may opt for it, but what would become of UH as we know it?’ The entire population of the campus would reduce dramatically, and there would no longer be those wonderfully mixed classes filled with students of all ages and experience.’ These, among other things, are reasons to think twice about a plain-Jane education.
On the other hand, a college without the distraction of sports and clubs and the ‘rah-rah’ of normal universities has an appeal of its own.’ It would allow a more direct path to getting sought-after degrees, and there would be a certain element of seriousness that is sometimes difficult to find on a more traditional campus.
With any luck, it could also get rid of those daily annoyances some put up with in class, such as constant talkers and persistent text-messagers.’ In short, I think it would allow for the divergence of the mature and immature and the serious students from the slackers.
Whether or not Pennsylvania can initiate the process for a ‘no-frills’ college option that could be implemented nationwide is unknown, but the foundation has been laid and will have to be looked at by each state’s Board of Education to decide if it would work for their individual needs.
I say bring it on, because it will simply be another way to get and keep people in the classroom.’
As our economy is in a downward spiral, the need for higher education will increase even more than before, and the faster we can get students into college and out with a degree in hand, the better it will be for everyone.
College degree worth time, money put into it
There’s a difference between a vocational school and a university and unfortunately Pennsylvania’s new ‘stripped down’ degree blurs the line to one of mere terminology.’ ‘
There is now an ongoing recession that bears the likelihood of turning into an actual depression. During these hard economic times, it is normal for people to return to college, whether to augment existing degrees with more training, modify existing job skills with new applications or to switch training completely and start anew.’ ‘
For folks like these, an academic degree is necessary, whether in technical training or in a standard interdisciplinary institution. The problem with a ‘no-frills’ approach to education or even re-education, is the absence of applicability and real-world skills in the educational format.’ ‘ Intramural sports are not a big part of many students’ lives, but sports statistics are one of the main reasons people buy newspapers, and while speaking to sports fans isn’t a job skill, it may be a life skill.’ ‘
Similarly, appreciating the arts is a rare job necessity until you begin analyzing composition and balance for an image on a website, or a piece of music for a presentation.’ ‘ The implication that non-core classes, the arts, and sports are frills – nonessential fluff padding the budget of an academic institution – seems somewhat shortsighted, as there is real need to broaden the skill-base in every area of employment, from publishing to engineering.
Understanding intricate elements of laboratory technology and research design isn’t doing anyone any good unless it can be explained well and marketed by the people who conceptualize it. Skills in communication and relating to other professionals are critical in almost all lines of work and are an effective way of integrating more technical ability into an existing organization.
The financial crunch is a deep hardship for all students, between college-loan vultures, a riskier job market and increasing tuition.’ ‘ Nevertheless, cutting corners and churning out new professionals whose degrees are worth less than their peers’ is unlikely to do anything in the long term other than further stratify educational requirements and muddy the waters of qualification. There is always room for what we put first, and compromising the quality of American education is an expensive decision in the long run.
Financial burdens make no-frills college necessary for many
College tuition has long been a barrier for many would-be students, and these days it is getting worse. Tuition has risen about 50 percent over the past few years. Add to that the doom and gloom reported daily from our country’s financial sector and some are left with serious obstacles on their way towards a higher education.
Every semester, as we examine our fee bill, we see line after line of cryptic added costs.
Also, many of the fees we do understand are being used for services that many of us will never take advantage of.
What if all you have time for is to go to class? What if you never have time to take advantage of extra programs around campus; would you still want to fund those programs and activities with your fees? What if there were an alternative?
Pennsylvania is considering just that. They are looking into a stripped-down version of college-a university education at a bargain price.
I’d like to think UH is already trying this. I have several friends who have attended UH Downtown, and while the campus life is not their biggest selling point, its style has helped some people who really needed confidence to enter the workforce.