Thank you, and welcome!

Yesterday when I quickly composed my paean to fighting a losing battle, I had no expectations beyond just running off to work, running all day, getting up and doing it again. I haven’t done a lot to actively promote my blog because I am trying to conceal my identity as long as possible and while I have a pseudonymous Twitter account, my Facebook proudly announces my institution and title.

So imagine my surprise when it went from the typical 20 odd views a day to 200 by 10 am.

Thank you, Bob Mann for picking it up and for the kind words about my blogsite. It truly means a lot especially coming from someone I’ve been following for years and who I respect greatly.

And for all the people who came my way and took it viral on Twitter last night… thank you.

It means a lot to know that people do care and not all of us in higher ed have been beaten, starved and intimidated into submission.

If you are new here, you will see that my take on things is informed by a niche perspective… that of someone in enrollment management. If you are at one of the larger institutions, especially LSU, ULL, and others that haven’t seen huge changes in enrollment, you may not have seen the full impact of what GRAD Act and Jindal’s policies in general have done to us other than from the funding side. But if you are at UNO, the regional schools, and the HBCUs, you see the impact. Community colleges see it too because you are working with more and more students who are there not because they want to be but because they have to be and they hurt your retention rates when they bolt for the 4 years long before getting a degree. That’s if they make it that far.

And anyone who has had anything to do with GRAD Act reporting knows that the “autonomy” promised in that law is nothing but vapor. We have increasing oversight for fewer funds year after year.

And students at several of our institutions are dangerously close to being priced out of our schools. Especially at LSU.

Anyway, the heart of what I have posted here is the public policy research that before now has only been shared with administrations at two institutions and the Board of Regents. It’s pretty dense and data intensive, but it really exposes the mechanics behind how GRAD Act was designed to shrink higher ed and access to affordable public education in our state.

And I’m not done. I haven’t gotten around to the performance agreements yet. Institutions were supposed to fail those, which started happening last year. Depriving institutions of funds does not help them perform better or retain students better.

And depriving schools who are set up to fail GRAD Act of even more funds doesn’t help them perform any better either.

GRAD Act had two purposes… shrink and weaken higher ed, and reduce access just to students with the ability to pay. These ensure that higher ed and the products of higher ed would no longer be in a position to politically oppose Jindal and his ilk.

If any leges are reading this, please, we need you to prefile a bill that strikes or modifies the “no dev ed” line in GRAD Act. This will free the Board of Regents to modify the state admission criteria. Then the criteria will be a matter of policy only and not codified in law. This is critical to keep us from systematically keeping African American students and students in poverty out of the 4 year institutions. It will allow us to keep more of our students in state and also get the growing number of high school grads in postsecondary institutions (4 and 2 year). This doesn’t eliminate admission criteria nor am I advocating for it. But let professional educators determine what those are with the best interests of our students in mind. We will all be better off.

Feel free to poke around, delve into the data if that’s your thing, and ask questions.

And for today I am greatly encouraged compared to yesterday.

Thanks.

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4 thoughts on “Thank you, and welcome!

  1. I am definitely enjoying the discovery of this great site. What a wealth of information. Why is it that the media are always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to informing us about what is really happening in our state? Thanks.

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  2. Can you comment on the new stats that show a 16 percent increase in college admissions over the past several years, basically the period you say is characterized by a decline in college participation? The Advocate story on it, like usual, is just a reprint of the press release rather than the type of independent analysis like you provide. For example, they don’t look at which colleges are seeing higher enrollments and which not. Here is the link to the story: http://theadvocate.com/news/12005438-123/college-entry-rate-rises-6

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    • WELL! It looks like I may have someone’s attention. Anyway, thanks for the heads up – I (still) work during the day LOL so didn’t see this until you pointed it out. Without seeing the data that the article is based upon, that’s going to be hard to really comment on other than what we see on the Board of Regents side which is public information and did not show an increase in first time freshman enrollment at our state colleges and universities overall. It was almost flat with a decrease in African American enrollment. Some universities went up, but almost all the regionals went down especially the HBCUs, and 86% of the drop at the regional universities were accounted for by African American students. Several people I have talked to in higher ed confirmed that the Developmental Education Pilot program ranged between 25% at the majority white regionals and 35-37% at the HBCUs which is exactly what I calculated based on last year’s ACT data.

      I’ll dig around DoE’s website and see if they have anything more substantive posted or if it’s just a press release. Note that John White’s data are notoriously difficult to verify and that’s being kind. If this is true and 6% more public students did enroll in colleges then that means that a lot of students went to privates or out of state because overall public university first time freshman enrollment declined slightly, and a lot more than slightly at the institutions most exposed to the impact of the new admission criteria. I WILL indeed respond to this article.

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      • I’ve posted my (first) reply if anyone is interested… 96% of the college-going increase vs. last year went to out of state schools and non-publics… NOT to our state colleges and universities!

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