Posts tagged ‘New York University’

December 24, 2013

Trends in the popularity of college majors

by Grace

Which college majors have gained in popularity over the last half century?

Ben Schmidt at Northeastern University has just created a data chart that shows how the popularity of college majors since the mid-1960s have changed. …

The charts are interactive, allowing the user to select options that show specific majors and schools, as well as gender differences.  I hate to admit how much time I wasted spent playing with studying the graphs.

Here’s one chart showing a few majors I selected for display.
It shows the decline of interest in English and literature, the rise of computer science as a discipline, and how the growth of business majors has mainly been fueled by the increasing numbers of women.



This chart is from New York University.
It shows the shrinking popularity of English and literature alongside the growing popularity of art and architecture.  This confirms my suspicion about the growing numbers of students who prefer cinema and music over the written word as a means of expression.


Two more charts I produced, one from the University of Texas at Austin:


And another from the University of California at Irvine:



May 28, 2013

Parent PLUS loans are similar to no-doc mortgage loans

by Grace

Parent PLUS loans, which are “both remarkably easy to get and nearly impossible to get out from under“, can be a trap for uninformed borrowers.

Remember no-doc mortgage loans?  Parent PLUS loans, federally sponsored and available for parents of college students, are eerily similar.

The loans are both remarkably easy to get and nearly impossible to get out from under for families who’ve overreached. When a parent applies for a PLUS loan, the government checks credit history, but it doesn’t assess whether the borrower has the ability to repay the loan. It doesn’t check income. It doesn’t check employment status. It doesn’t check how much other debt—like a mortgage or other student loans—the borrower is already on the hook for.

Designed for families who may not qualify for other types of debt, PLUS loans “sometimes hurt the very families they are intended to help”.

Of course, Parent PLUS can be an important financial lifeline—especially for those who can’t qualify for loans in the private market. An iffy credit score, high debt-to-income ratio, or lack of a credit history won’t necessarily disqualify anyone for a PLUS loan. Applicants are approved so long as they don’t have an “adverse credit history,” such as a recent foreclosure, defaulted loan, or bankruptcy discharge.

No cap on loan amount

Unlike other federal student loans, PLUS loans don’t have a cap on borrowing. Parents can take out as much as they need to cover the gap between other financial aid and the full cost of attendance. Colleges, eager to raise enrollment and help families find financing, often steer parents toward the loans, recommending that they take out thousands of dollars with no consideration as to whether they can afford it.

Harsh treatment for debtors who run into trouble

When it comes to paying the money back, the government takes a hard line. PLUS loans, like all student loans, are all-but-impossible to discharge in bankruptcy. If a borrower is in default, the government can seize tax refunds and garnish wages or Social Security. What is more, repayment options are actually more limited for Parent PLUS borrowers compared with other federal loans. Struggling borrowers can put their loans in deferment or forbearance, but except under certain conditions Parent PLUS loans aren’t eligible for either of the two main income-based repayment programs to help borrowers with federal loans get more-affordable monthly payments.

Parent PLUS spending has shot up over the last decade.


Last year the government disbursed $10.6-billion in Parent PLUS loans to just under a million families. Even adjusted for inflation, that’s $6.3-billion more than it disbursed back in 2000, and to nearly twice as many borrowers.

An interactive list of schools with accompanying Parent PLUS data shows that many of the institutions with the highest average loans are art and music colleges.  New York University is ranked 11th, with an average loan balance of $27,305.


March 6, 2013

Quick Links – Title IX for boys; digital learning works better for some; higher funding does not equate with higher graduation rates; more

by Grace

◊◊◊  Glenn Reynolds suggests we should consider ‘Title IX for our boys’

… If schoolteachers were overwhelmingly male and girls were suffering as a result, there would be a national outcry and Title IX-style gender equity legislation would be touted. Why should we do less when boys are the ones suffering?

◊◊◊  ‘For older students, women and high achievers, the difference between online learning and face-to-face learning is small.’

Digital learning is expanding access to higher education, but may be widening the  achievement gap. Students who have trouble learning in a traditional classroom have even more trouble learning online, concludes a study of community college students in Washington state. For older students, women and high achievers, the difference between online learning and face-to-face learning is small.

Online courses can widen learning gap (Joanne Jacobs)

◊◊◊  Texas comes out looking good in latest Department of Education of Education report.

The Department of Education has just released its first state-by-state comparison of education statistics, and the report has a few surprises. Texas performed extremely well, tying five other states for the third-best graduation rate in the country, at 86 percent.

And Texas isn’t the only high-performing red state: Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Tennessee all place within the top ten as well. Meanwhile, New York, Rhode Island, and California, all of which take a traditional, high-spending, blue model approach to education, are closer to the middle of the pack , with graduation rates in the mid-70s.

This is convincing evidence against the popular notion that we can fix the public education system if only we are willing to spend more money. Not only does Texas do a better job of graduating its students than its blue state competition; it does so at a fraction of the cost per student.

Education reformers should pay close attention to how Texas achieved these results. Clearly, it’s doing something right.

The Texas Education Miracle (Via Media)

◊◊◊  The 10 Colleges Most Likely to Make You a Billionaire (Harvard Is #1) (The Atlantic)

In news that will shock no-one, earning a Crimson pedigree may be the surest-fire way to amass greenbacks. Almost 3,000 graduates of Harvard University are worth more than $30 million (each), according to rankings compiled by market research firm Wealth-X seen by Quartz, and most of them earned the money themselves. That’s more than twice the number of what Wealth-X calls “ultra-high-net-worth individuals” (UHNWIs) produced by any other institution in the world….

  • Of course, the top of the list is rather dense with Ivy. But even among top schools, wealth varies greatly: while the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University graduated a combined 2,390 UHNWIs, Yale, Princeton and Cornell count among them only 1,604, in total.
  • Of the US schools in Wealth-X’s Global top 20, just three are public: University of Virginia, the University of Michigan and University of California, Berkeley.
  • At least in the US, having a business school probably helps. The top five on the global list–Harvard, Penn, Stanford University, Columbia and New York University, in that order–all have top-flight MBA programs. Of the top 15, only Princeton lacks a B-school. On the non-US list, meanwhile, France’s Insead and LBS are both exclusively graduate business schools.
January 6, 2012

A wholesome Facebook profile especially important for scholarship students

by Grace

An untarnished ‘digital personality’ may be especially important for scholarship or honors college students.

A recent survey revealed that colleges are snooping online to check applicants

Nearly a quarter (24%) of admissions officials at 359 selective colleges say they used Facebook, up from 6% the previous year, and 20% used Google to help evaluate an applicant, says the survey, conducted byKaplan Test Prep….

Of survey takers who went online, 12% say what they found “negatively impacted” the applicant’s chances of admission. That’s down from 38% in 2008, when 10% said they consulted social networking sites while evaluating students. Among offenses cited: essay plagiarism, vulgarities in blogs and photos showing underage drinking.

Of course, not every applicant is checked.

Marthers and others say such checks are not routine — it’s too time-consuming, for one thing. But “if ever a post is brought to our attention, you can be certain we’ll check it out,” says Ray Brown, admission dean at Texas Christian University. He says he rejected one applicant who, he discovered through an anonymous tip, had posted pornographic images of herself online.

It appears you are more likely to be checked if you’re being considered for a scholarship or for a spot in a school’s honors program.  Here’s one anecdote.

After I went to a scholarship weekend at my state’s flagship school, I learned that they searched those students on facebook. They only searched the top 100 students out of the 20,000+ who applied, but if you are in elite (top 1%) of applicants at a school, you should be wary that you will probably be searched, whether on Google or Facebook or Twitter or any other site. I know one student who was up for a big scholarship at an LAC, and when she showed up for an interview they asked her about articles and studies she had posted on a website. Granted, these were all great pieces of research and intelligent discussions that she had posted, things that helped her in the admissions process, but she had not included all of it in her application and these things had been found by the ADCOM.

Shawn Abbott, an admissions officer formerly at Stanford and now at NYU confirms digital snooping.

“Though we certainly have better uses of our time than trolling Facebook for evidence of deviant behavior, if we’re prompted to look at a website posting and what we find is in conflict with our standards for admission, of course we may be influenced by that information in making admission decisions or revoking decisions already made,” he said.

Abbott cited situations in which “evidence of illegal activity, academic integrity violations and racist commentary” would prompt a revoked admissions offer. According to the Kaplan survey, 38 percent of admissions officers surveyed said applicants’ social networking sites had a negative impact on their admissions evaluation.

This makes sense to me.  If nothing else, colleges would not want to deal with the bad publicity from any case where one of their star students turned out to be a fraud and/or of poor moral character.

Some students try to evade detection.  One trend I’ve observed and read about is high school students using pseudonyms on their Facebook pages, partly to give the slip to snoopers.  For example, ‘Sarah Ann Springer’ might change her name to something like ‘Sarah Sass’.

November 25, 2011

Colleges that saddle graduates with the most debt (and those that don’t)

by Grace

From U.S. News & World Report, based on 2010 graduates

Colleges With the Most Student Debt

10. Fordham University – 64% of students graduate with debt averaging $38,151
..9. Stevens Institute of Technology – 70% of students graduate with debt averaging $38,554
..8. Case Western Reserve University – 60% of students graduate with debt averaging $39,236
..7. Widener University – 85% of students graduate with debt averaging $40,386
..6. New York University – 55% of students graduate with debt averaging $41,375
..5. Florida Institute of Technology – 65% of students graduate with debt averaging $41,565
..4. Barry University – 64% of students graduate with debt averaging $42,798
..3. Nova Southeastern University – 76% of students graduate with debt averaging $43,206
..2. Clark Atlanta University – 93% of students graduate with debt averaging $45,227
..1. University of North Dakota – 83% of students graduate with debt averaging $45,369

Fordham offers relatively generous merit aid, but it seems the combination of a high COA (approx. $59,000) and loan-heavy financial aid helps put it on this list.  Barry University is a HBCU.

Colleges With the Least Student Debt

10. Louisiana Tech University – 49% of students graduate with debt averaging $14,039
..9..Rice University – 36% of students graduate with debt averaging $13,944
..8. Brigham Young University – 31% of students graduate with debt averaging $13,354
..7. Texas Tech University – 40% of students graduate with debt averaging $11,502
..6. Lamar University – 63% of students graduate with debt averaging $12,110
..5. California Institute of Technology – 43% of students graduate with debt averaging $10,760
..4. Harvard University – 34% of students graduate with debt averaging $10,102
..3. Yale University – 28% of students graduate with debt averaging $9,254
..2. Sam Houston State University -46% of students graduate with debt averaging $7,602
..1. Princeton University – 24% of students graduate with debt averaging $4,385

With their generous financial aid policies that include middle- to high-income families, it’s not surprising to see the Ivy Leagues well-represented on this list.  Rice combines  relatively low tuition and favorable need/merit aid.

August 10, 2011

College tuition ‘sugar daddies’

by Grace

Saddled with piles of student debt and a job-scarce, lackluster economy, current college students and recent graduates are selling themselves to pursue a diploma or pay down their loans. An increasing number, according to the the owners of websites that broker such hook-ups, have taken to the web in search of online suitors or wealthy benefactors who, in exchange for sex, companionship, or both, might help with the bills.

The past few years have taken an especially brutal toll on the plans and expectations of 20-somethings. As unemployment rates tick steadily higher, starting salaries have plummeted. Meanwhile, according to Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a professor of psychology at Clark University, about 85 percent of the class of 2011 will likely move back in with their parents during some period of their post-college years, compared with 40 percent a decade ago.

Besides moving back home, many 20-somethings are beginning their adult lives shouldering substantial amounts of student loan debt. According to Mark Kantrowitz, who publishes the financial aid websites and, while the average 2011 graduate finished school with about $27,200 in debt, many are straining to pay off significantly greater loans.

Enter the sugar daddy, sugar baby phenomenon….  With the whole process going digital, women passing through a system of higher education that fosters indebtedness are using the anonymity of the web to sell their wares and pay down their college loans.

“Over the past few years, the number of college students using our site has exploded,” says Brandon Wade, the 41-year-old founder of Seeking Arrangement. Of the site’s approximately 800,000 members, Wade estimates that 35 percent are students. “College students are one of the biggest segments of our sugar babies and the numbers are growing all the time.”

Jack is a sugar daddy who says he is “helping” these women.

“Most of these young women have debt from school,” says Jack, who finds most young women also carry an average of $8,000 in credit-card debt. “I guess I like the college girls more because I think of their student debt as good debt. At least it seems like I’m helping them out, like I’m helping them to get a better life.”

Consistent with its reputation of offering loan-heavy financial aid, New York University ranks highest with the number of sugar babies.

At The Huffington Post’s request, Seeking Arrangement listed the top 20 universities attended by sugar babies on the site. They compiled the list according to the number of sugar babies who registered using their .edu email addresses or listed schools’ names on their profiles. New York University tops the list with 498 sugar babies, while UCLA comes in at No. 8 with 253, and Harvard University ranks at No. 9 with 231. The University of California at Berkeley ranks at No. 13 with 193, the University of Southern California ranks at No. 15 with 183, and Tulane University ranks at No. 20 with 163 college sugar babies.

Click on the image to get more details from the interactive image.

Seeking Arrangement: College Students Using ‘Sugar Daddies’ To Pay Off Loan Debt – Huffington Post

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