Posts tagged ‘Arizona State University’

December 13, 2012

Growth in luxury apartments for college students

by Grace

As housing has become a bigger factor in college selection, more schools are featuring luxury apartments instead of traditional dorms.


Instead of bunk beds, cinder-block walls and communal showers, these newly built dorms off campus resemble apartments and offer a wide range of amenities, such as walk in-closets and custom-designed furniture. Everyone usually gets his or her own bedroom and bathroom, so the only sharing is in the high-end kitchens that often feature granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances….

These upscale living arrangements typically cost $1-2,000 more per year than dorms, and the boom in college attendance has made investing in these college apartment complexes profitable for some companies.

Developers are profiting from this imbalance. Residences for more than 30,000 beds are estimated to be under construction around campuses nationwide, though the industry’s fragmentation makes an accurate count difficult. These builders rely on amenities to stand out. At the Lodges of East Lansing near Michigan State University, the pool is heated year-round, and there’s an ice-skating rink just for students. During the week, a private shuttle bus takes students to class. On the weekends, they’re driven to and from night-life hot spots.

These amenities make me want to go back to college!

Michigan State University Among the amenities at the Lodges of East Lansing:

  • Indoor/outdoor fireplaces
  • Coffee house
  • Cybercafe
  • Dog park
  • Ice-skating rink
  • Outdoor grills
  • Gym, pool and sauna
  • Tanning bed
  • Private shuttle

University of Central Florida At University House, amenities include:

  • Tanning rooms
  • Putting green
  • Barbecue grills
  • Pool with cabanas and club house
  • Gaming room with multiple flatscreen TVs
  • Internet bar with PC and Mac stations

Texas A&M At the Cottages of College Station, amenities include:

  • Tennis and sand-volleyball courts
  • Pet-washing station
  • Tanning beds
  • Horseshoe and cornhole pit
  • Walking and fitness trail
  • Poolside jumbo screen
  • Fitness center with yoga studio

Arizona State University When it opens next year, the District on Apache will have:

  • Outdoor movie screen
  • 300-foot-long lazy river
  • Steam room
  • Golf simulator
  • Outdoor kitchen

Students should probably enjoy this taste of luxury living while they can.

“Most of these kids are going to have a step down in lifestyle when they have to enter the working-world environment after they graduate,” says John E. Vawter, principal of Capstone Collegiate Communities, which developed the Lodges and the Cottages.

August 13, 2012

Thinking critically about your student loan burden

by Grace

Maureen O’Brien took on student loans totaling $54,000 to help pay for her daughter’s first two years of attendance at an out-of-state university costing more than $49,000 each year.  She had told her daughter to “dream big” and to look beyond lower-cost state schools.

After realizing that in-state tuition is much more affordable, O’Brien’s daughter later transferred to Arizona State University where her brother will start as a freshman this fall.  The family expects to take on loans totaling $70,000 to pay for the children’s college.

In addition to the liability for her children’s student debt, O’Brien is paying on her own $60,000 student loan she took out in 2004 for retraining as a physician assistant.  She also has a small balance from her first college loan from 1996.  More than one-third of her take-home pay is going toward paying student loans.

She has no savings, no money put away for retirement and is thinking of taking on a second job to pay off her kids’ loans.

O’Brien believes college taught her critical thinking.

Despite her family’s growing student loan debt, O’Brien still believes in the value of a college education. She says it was her first degree — in French and international studies — that taught her how to think critically. And she wants the same for her kids.

On the subject of her kids, here is O’Brien’s daughter.

She says she’s determined to finish her degree in environmental studies.

“I can’t afford to go to college, but I’m taking out loans, I’m putting my foot forward and making sure I get an education so that I can get a really good job in the long run,” Emily says.

Environmental studies  –  I’m highly suspicious of the value of these types of interdisciplinary majors since I’m not sure they lead to good jobs.  A degree in environmental science would probably be better.  But that would be a harder course of study, with more rigorous requirements in math and science courses.

Related:  How’s that urban studies degree working out for you? (Cost of College)

February 15, 2012

‘Schools of education focus on fads, not knowledge and skills’

by Grace

There are many reasons for the lamentable state of education in the United States today, but perhaps none is greater than our schools of education.

Larry Sand gives a first-hand account.

My experience at California State University, Los Angeles in the 1980s was typical. The courses were easy. Rigor was non-existent. I took eleven courses for credit, receiving ten As and one B and never once feeling intellectually challenged. There was typically an easy mid-term and a final and a paper (which was supposed to show that I knew how to deliver a lesson).

Sometimes the courses were like being back in grade school. I had a lot of fun in my methods classes, especially in Physical Education, where we played games all period.

Sand goes on to describe some recent trends in ed schools, including the practice of facilitating student discovery instead of direct instruction, whole language,  “Culturally Responsive Education” (CRE), and anti-racist math.

A possible bright spot in teacher education

Arizona State University, with the largest undergraduate teacher prep program in the country, has just this year unveiled a “radical” new program, in which students must demonstrate mastery of specific teaching skills as measured by a popular teaching framework. ASU is using the Teacher Advancement Program, a model run by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.

Related:  If you want a high GPA in college, you might consider majoring in education.


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