‘BA blinders’ create barriers to success

When college for all means a bachelor’s degree or nothing, most “nontraditional” students will end up with nothing, concludes a policy brief, which calls for “removing BA blinders.”  Instead, community colleges should learn from for-profit career colleges, which offer structured job training, avoid unneeded remediation, develop career ladders, monitor students’ progress and place graduates in jobs — and have much higher completion rates.

Colleges and universities must adapt to the needs of nontraditional students to improve graduation rates, advises a national commission. The nontraditionals — working adults, part-timers, veterans — are the majority.

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  1. Alternately, we could stop admitting those who have little chance of graduating.

    • Agreed, and if parents and high school age students google:

      College is a Ripoff – Marty Nemko

      They’d get a pretty good insight into the most overrated product in america today, the bachelor’s degree. Most students will leave college with a PILE of debt, and usually no way to earn enough to actually pay the student loan debt off in the course of a lifetime.

      Student loan debt now exceeds one TRILLION dollars nationally, and is continuing to grow.

  2. This is why the public U’s are afraid of the for-profit colleges. They’re beating them at their own game! And even putting significant resources into making sure their graduates actually find a job (like the public U’s could care less).

    • Elim,

      Actually, the FP colleges aren’t that much better than public or private schools. In the U.S., 60 percent of all persons who start college in a given year (excludes non traditional students and persons returning after many years) will fail to complete more than two years of coursework, with most of them dropping out after the first year, usually due to having to take remedial coursework for subject matter they should have excelled in during high school.

      The college completion rate in the US (4 year degrees) is between 25-35%, and has been that way for at least the last 40 years (no reason to think it’s going to jump to 60-70 percent, is there)?

      In the meantime, many students just get saddled with a pile of debt which can’t be discharged in a bankruptcy.

      • Well, they had to at least try, didn’t they? How else would they know if they would have succeeded and gotten a degree?

        And yeah, I’ve read that too, and it’s actually a pretty realistic result, considering things like, at any given time, more than half the population has an IQ of less than or equal to 100, etc. (and various other factors, that was just a random one I pointed out – because most college degrees require an IQ of over 100 to ‘get it’)

        Anyway, what I read was that 25% of Americans have a Bachelor’s degree; 10% have a Master’s degree; and 5% have a PhD. Pretty realistic results, I’d say. The question is, how do we make sure that other 75% have access to good jobs and good futures?

  3. Elim,

    The ONLY way that will happen is for schools to return to what worked 30-50 years ago.

    Instruction in Phonics
    Elimination of ESL/ELL classes (use total language immersion)
    Use Singapore/Kumon instruction for math
    Start enforcing discipline in the classrooms and schools
    Stop using the schools as social experiment platforms
    Go back to grouping students by ability (aka tracking)
    Impose penalties for student and teacher cheating (in my day, getting caught cheating on an exam meant you got a big fat zero on that test, with NO way to make it up).
    Get career and technical education back into middle and
    high schools and start being honest with students and their parents.

    • I agree with your list, but I’d all the necessity to tell kids/parents – frequently – that learning takes effort and that mastery is necessary for advancement. That idea hasn’t been popular in the ed world for quite some time – like the rest of your good ideas. Also, it would probably require legislative action to make sure the ed world doesn’t try to make all the voc ed teachers have ed world “credentials”, as opposed to a real world license/certificate as a plumber or mechanic.