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Partying has always been a part of college life. But today's students are spending more time partying than studying, taking an average of five to six years to complete four-year programs and leaving school woefully unprepared for real life. Meanwhile, college administrations not only stand by but encourage it, dropping academic standards and doing away with student and professor accountability in the name of profit. Unaware of higher education's change in priorities, parents continue to put themselves ever deeper...
Partying has always been a part of college life. But today's students are spending more time partying than studying, taking an average of five to six years to complete four-year programs and leaving school woefully unprepared for real life. Meanwhile, college administrations not only stand by but encourage it, dropping academic standards and doing away with student and professor accountability in the name of profit. Unaware of higher education's change in priorities, parents continue to put themselves ever deeper in debt to afford skyrocketing tuition, even though only one dollar in five is spent on instruction. And the average student graduates with almost $25,000 in debt only to be met with unemployment or low-paying jobs.
Party-school insider and award-winning education reporter Craig Brandon reveals colleges and universities' new business-minded mission and the devastating implications for your child's future. The Five-Year Party provides the critical information you need about what's really happening in higher education today and what you can do to ensure your child gets the education he or she deserves.
Chapter 1 How Retention Replaced Education at America's Colleges 1
Chapter 2 Maximizing Profits at the Students' Expense 15
Chapter 3 How Education Became Optional 45
Chapter 4 Party School Perils 77
Chapter 5 An Obsession with Secrecy 111
Chapter 6 When the Party Ends and the Tab Comes Due 139
Chapter 7 How Parents Can Cancel the Five-Year Party 163
Appendix: The Red Flag List 195
About the Author 235
Posted January 1, 2013
The troubles that the higher education as a whole is finding itself in have been finding increasingly featured in the media and books in recent years. The exorbitant rise in tuition and other expenses, the ballooning college debt that has recently passed one trillion dollars, and the increasing irrelevance of college education in the modern workplace have all received a lot of attention lately. However, most of the accounts that I’ve come across focus on “good” schools – tope tier or close to top tier institutions that have a lot of name recognition throughout the US and the World. In “The Five-Year Party” Craig Brandon exposes us to an even more dysfunctional world of lower-ranked colleges and universities that are considered educational institutions now in name only. What he reveals is, to put it mildly, quite shocking.
I’ve had the fortune to be educated and to teach at some fairly well regarded schools, and that experience has largely determined my view of US colleges and universities. To be sure, all of those schools, and the higher education in general, have their share of problems. However, even at the least academically challenging place that I was affiliated with the vast majority of students do get a pretty good education, and education is still (thankfully) understood to be the core purpose of institutions. I was frankly shocked to find out that many of the lower rung schools are nothing more than glorified diploma mills, with little or no academic standards, and with unscrupulous practices that are designed to take as much money out of students as possible. In this world “retention” becomes a key concept, and the academic standards and integrity are quickly sacrificed to this overarching goal.
The title of this book refers to the segment of the higher education known as “party schools.” We’ve all heard that term, and most of us have a vague ide of the kind of places that it refers to. However, I would have liked to have it clearly defined from the get-go, and not to relegate the definition to one of the appendixes.
I also wish that the author had included voices from administrators and faculty from many of the colleges that he talked about in the book. It is obvious that they would have had a very different take on many of the issues discussed here, but the inclusion of their voices would have given more overall credibility to this book.
The book is very well written and thoroughly researched. It is filled with interesting and instructive examples, as well as very useful and actionable advice for future students and their parents. If you or someone you know is doing research on potential colleges to attend, you MUST read this book. It is an indispensible cautionary work.
Posted April 14, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted October 24, 2010
No text was provided for this review.