Lesson: Don’t Read the Hayride Before Bed, Kids

As I’ve said before, I work as a junior administrator in one of Louisiana’s institutions of higher learning. Specifically, I work in an admissions/recruiting office.

Unlike Bob Mann, who some of the helpful fiscal hawks at the Hayride are investigating to make sure that the chair of the journalism department at his institution doesn’t actually engage in journalism during state time, the only reading, writing and research I do on state time are related to things having to do with my job and doing my job better. Or things I’ve been specifically asked to do for my administration. Because I am not faculty. I’m not civil service either. I work at the pleasure of my administration and the state. The only job protections I have are between my ears and from the good Lord above. (Whom yes, despite the fact that my experience working in this state has turned me from a moderate conservative to an increasingly left-leaning progressive I do still believe in very much, thank you.)

In fact, many of the things I have written about is based upon research I started initially because they were part of my job. My job is to listen and respond to the higher education student recruitment market and respond appropriately, hopefully before other people do.

But the funny thing about when you dig for things and then you find stuff… you don’t stop digging after closing time. Especially when you are a trained researcher and analyst like me.

Frankly, most days I have limited time during the work day to do things like eat and go to the bathroom, especially because I’m not the kind of person who takes breaks anyway. Especially during our busiest seasons staff and even my boss routinely check on me to make sure I’ve eaten because I will make sure that everyone else is taken care of without taking care of myself. I’m actually a model employee except for the fact that I’m sometimes a loose cannon with my opinions, especially when I feel strongly about something.

As a result, I do most of my writing either early in the morning (as I’m doing now) or after work, which typically is relatively late because I almost always stay late at work.

So, last night I was doing my usual perusal of the higher ed budget goings on of the day to help me decide if I was going to summarize my four part series on how Jindal and GRAD Act brought us to the spot we are in today, or write something a little more timely.

I was almost going to write about F. King Alexander’s latest budget pronouncements, mainly because he’s also proven to be a bit of a loose cannon with his opinions like I am, except he runs LSU and I’m basically a nobody (I’m not anonymous because I’m someone… I’m anonymous because I’m no one and want to stay working as long as possible).

But then did a little digging into CB Forgotston’s observation that Jindal’s proposed budget will only fund us for six months, and somehow ran into this lovely piece of research also courtesy of the Hayride, at oh, well after 11 last night:

The Numbers Don’t Lie About Grambling and SUNO, They Need to Be Closed

Which made me mad, mad, mad because this is EXACTLY what I said would happen back in 2010 when GRAD Act was passed along with the admission requirements. I said that it would force SUNO to close or merge (some agreed with me there) and Grambling to go private (which people thought was nuts).

The numbers don’t lie, alright.

The game was rigged. This was supposed to happen. The numbers cut so close that there could have been no other outcome. Readers of my blog (or at least those who suffered through my four part series with me) will recognize some of the numbers in the article and know why they are what they are. And they aren’t for most of the reasons actually in the article.

I usually don’t respond to the Hayride mainly because there isn’t much point in engaging them. But since they are saying things that more reasonable people are saying too, I will.

“The market is trying to kill both of these schools.”

Love this one. Essentially they are saying that free people exercising their free will to choose colleges in a free market are voting with their feet and choosing the five largest schools in Louisiana instead.

Tell that to the 500 kids who wanted to go to my institution last year but were denied admission. The problem isn’t the free market. The problem is that SUNO’s and Grambling’s market no longer qualify for admission in our state.That’s not a free market. That’s a rigged market that yes, really IS trying to kill both of these schools.

Rep. Jefferson’s bill to exempt tuition for out of state students who choose to go to SUNO or Grambling

Actually, Jefferson’s bill won’t “bail out” SUNO and Grambling for two reasons: (1) SUNO, like most of our other state institutions (including some of the Big Five on the Hayride’s list) enrolls most of its students from in-state. (2) Grambling, which traditionally enrolled a much larger out of state population due to its very loyal alumni base, is not able to enroll as many out of state students any more (or as many students in general) because most out of state students do not meet the admissions criteria. What has killed both of these institutions is that the New Orleans market that SUNO serves no longer qualifies for admission, and the out of state alumni kids applying to Grambling also no longer qualify for admission.

Plus, both of these institutions (as do most if not all our state institutions) already have out of state fee waiver programs and scholarships anyway. Grambling as a member of the UL System already waives out of state fees for children of alumni.

I think it is a very well intentioned but ineffective bill. Change GRAD Act. That will work. Attracting more out of state students who don’t qualify for admission, not so much.

Grambling is out in the middle of nowhere

So is LaTech. And?

Let’s first compare enrollment between Grambling and SUNO…

And the Big Five. Fortunately I’ve already looked at these data. Remember that almost 90% of the regional new freshman enrollment drop in 2014 was accounted for by a drop in African American student enrollment.

Why are Grambling and SUNO (and African American enrollment in general) shrinking? Because the state admission criteria do a better job of keeping kids out of college than in college.

And remember my gap analysis. More students are graduating from high school and graduating with core, but that isn’t translating to increased overall enrollment.

Students don’t want to go to an HBCU in a post-racial society

This was in a companion article about Jefferson’s bill. What about Jackson State in Mississippi then, which has experienced record enrollments for several years now? Which, by the way, has increased its out of state enrollment of Louisiana students by 50% in the last five years. Oh, and Delta State, while much smaller, has increased its out of state enrollment of Louisiana students by almost 80% in the same time period. Southern Miss (which enrolls more Louisiana students than any other Mississippi university), University of Mississippi and Mississippi State grew their Louisiana enrollment too, but by 9%, 29% and 16% respectively. That doesn’t say much for the argument that students don’t want to go to HBCUs. It does say that Louisiana students increasingly AREN’T going to Louisiana’s HBCUs. Because they can’t get in.

Instead of making nasty comments and crying “raaaaaacism!”

Well, that’s post-racial for you, isn’t it.

Gotta go to work now. Thank you Hayride for cutting into my sleeptime last night.

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