An interview with Bob Twiggs on the CubeSat and beyond. Great engineering projects and it is possible to do some science (although for the bucks I think there are richer areas for science and amateur science)
Nearly three-quarters of American college students attend public universities and colleges, historically the nation’s primary channels to educational opportunity. These institutions still offer the best bargain around, yet even there, tuition increases have bred inequality. For those from the richest fifth, the annual cost of attending a public four-year college has inched up from 6 percent of family income in 1971 to 9 percent in 2011. For everyone else, the change is formidable. For those in the poorest fifth, costs at State U have skyrocketed from 42 percent of family income to 114 percent.
The worst problems, though, occur at for-profit schools like those run by the Apollo Group (which owns the University of Phoenix), the Education Management Corporation or Corinthian Colleges. These schools cater to low-income students and veterans, but too often they turn hopes for a better life into the despair of financial ruin.
Nearly all of their students take out loans to attend, and the amounts are staggering. Among holders of bachelor’s degrees, 94 percent borrow. They take on median debt of $33,000 per student, compared with just $18,000 at the nonprofits and $22,000 at the publics. The for-profit graduates have trouble finding jobs that pay enough to afford their debts, and 23 percent of borrowers default within three years, compared with just 7 percent from nonprofits and 8 percent from publics.
The Finnish school system is becoming well-known for its excellence, the use of testing and play, and the increased status of teacher. Students perform better than most in the world and much better than Americans, but much of the commentary centers on why it wouldn't work here.
So the box provided mothers with what they needed to look after their baby, but it also helped steer pregnant women into the arms of the doctors and nurses of Finland's nascent welfare state.
In the 1930s Finland was a poor country and infant mortality was high - 65 out of 1,000 babies died. But the figures improved rapidly in the decades that followed.
Mika Gissler, a professor at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, gives several reasons for this - the maternity box and pre-natal care for all women in the 1940s, followed in the 60s by a national health insurance system and the central hospital network.
There needs to be more accounting on the abuses of some for-profit schools ... a frightening piece in Salon.
For-profit schools find students like Jaqueta through a process called “lead generation.” Using relatively unknown marketing firms, they tap data culled from the digital footprints left behind by the use of smartphones and web browsers. Lead generators use algorithms that can sift through hundreds of data points to identify prospects. Search engine queries, browser histories, email metadata, Facebook posts and GPS records of your movements all contribute to powerful algorithms. Having collected a consumer’s online history, they match up demographic records, credit scores and other details that can be purchased from third-party sources to estimate both the likelihood that a person will apply and as his or her lifetime customer value. Their algorithms can incorporate as many as 70 different user characteristics. They can analyze a person’s viability as an applicant in seconds and sell it to the highest bidder instantaneously.
Since each new enrollment can bring tens of thousands of dollars in revenue, schools are aggressive in their use of lead generation services. With the decline of subprime mortgage lending, private for-profit schools are now the largest source of revenue for the lead generation industry.
“The whole process, once the consumer clicks on the button to submit their application,” says Mitchelson, “will be decisioned anywhere from immediately to five minutes depending upon how efficiently it is designed.”
Mitchelson ceased to sell “edu” leads several years ago, when it became too expensive to fight off people intent on hijacking the system in order to commit fraud. But he said that for a time, he could sell his leads for between $10 and $40 each to as many as four or five schools at a time.
Everest’s corporate parent, Corinthian Colleges, Inc., spent almost $400 million on marketing and admissions in 2013 — about $3,700 per new admit. Education Management, the parent of the Art Institutes, spent $641 million on marketing and admissions during fiscal year 2012, or about $5,620 per new student.
In the lawsuit she filed in October against Corinthian Colleges, California Attorney General Kamala Harris summarized the company’s recruitment strategy:
CCI is selling these expensive programs to students throughout California, many of whom head single parent families and have annual incomes that are near the federal poverty level ($19,530 for a three-person household). CCI targets this demographic, which it describes in internal company documents as composed of “isolated,” “impatient” individuals with “low self-esteem,” who have “few people in their lives that care about them,” and who are “stuck” and “unable to see and plan well for the future,” through aggressive and persistent internet and telemarketing campaigns and through television ads on daytime shows like Jerry Springer and Maury Povich.