Obama to bypass Congress again – new student loan rules

In 2010, Congress pass and President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. Along with cutting off the private student loan market by removing subsidies, making loans pretty much the exclusive realm of the federal government, the legislation capped the repayments of new loans to 10 percent of the persons discretionary income. The previous cap was 15 percent.

Read more

Brown University To Cover Student Sex Change Operations

What can I add to this?  It appears that the Fluke controversy has extrapolated to sheer insanity.  Tuition subsidized insanity.

“The Brown Student Health Insurance Plan will cover 14 different sexual reassignment surgery procedures for students starting August, reports the Brown Daily Herald student newspaper.” reports the College Fix.

“For female-to-male surgeries, the new coverage plan will include mastectomy, hysterectomy, salpingo-oophorectomy, vaginectomy, metoidioplasty, scrotoplasty, urethroplasty, placement of testicular prostheses (and) phalioplasty,” the Daily Herald reports. “For male-to-female surgeries, coverage will include orchiectomy, penectomy, vaginoplasty, clitoroplasty (and) labiaplasty.”

I think I just threw up in my mouth.  Reading, Writing and ‘rithmatic, has mutated to Raunch, Ridiculousness, and Reassignment Surgery.  Your tuition dollars at work.  As if college didn’t cost enough already.

It was bad enough when incarcerated prisoners got this kind of elective surgery on the taxpayer’s dime, but now it will be applied to college students on the backs of parents and taxpayers, no doubt thanks to the insipid influence of Øbamacare.

From the original story in The Brown Daily Herald:

“Though doctors have declared these surgeries medically necessary, insurance companies typically deem them cosmetic and exclude them from coverage across the United States, Garrett said. Meanwhile, without access to hormones and surgery, transgender people may “face discrimination” because others may not accept their gender identity and presentation, she said.”

Well, it is good to know that their self esteem will be protected at the cost (estimated to reach $50K) of normal student health care.  From the same story:

“The insurance policy changes are part of a broader effort to address University policies affecting transgender students, Garrett said. Other attempts to improve University policies, she added, include training people at Health Services and Psychological Services, creating and disseminating lists of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus and advocating for gender-neutral housing options for students.”

“’I think we have a great reputation as a liberal school that attracts a lot of different students,’ Jennewein added. ‘I’m glad our student policies are now up to par with the student body.’”

Apparently, they are striving to create a lot of students that will be different than when they entered college….

Coming to a college near you?  It may be there already:

“Universities that offer coverage for at least some sex reassignment surgeries as of 2012 include Cornell, Harvard, Stanford University and Penn, according to resources compiled by the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy and lobbying organization.”

The inmates are running the institution (of alleged learning)….


More government intrusion

This time it is the Department of Education that would seem to be overstepping its bounds.

Thanks to their vigilence, we will today learn the identities of the most expensive colleges and universities in the United States, based upon data that the colleges and universities are required to file with the federal government.  This information, although apparently “fairly complex”, is of assistance to students and their parents when making decisions as to where to go to school.

So far, so good.  But, it is what else the Department of Education does with this information that is troublesome.

Under federal law, colleges with the fastest-rising published tuitions and net prices — about 530 — will now have to explain to Education Department officials why their costs went up and what steps they’ll take to reduce them. [emphasis supplied]

I am sorry, but, personally, I question by what right the federal government thinks it can demand that any college explain why their costs have risen, much less explain what they will do about rising costs.  If students do not want to attend a particular school because they deem it too expensive, that is their right.  If their are enough of those students, then the school either changes its pricing policies, or, risks losing income.

Doesn’t the federal government have better things to do with your money?

Read more

“My son’s losing hope” Obama: But we passed health care and took over student loan industry

Broken record indeed. The only answer President Obama has in response to questions like the one asked yesterday in Iowa is that he knows times are tough, but at least kids have health care until they are 26 and the government took over the “terrible” student loan system.

Read more

Excuse me, may we opt out of Obamacare?

It seems that every day we learn about more and more of Obamacare’s “unintended” consequences brought to light now that, paraphrasing Nancy Pelosi, we have passed the bill and can see what’s in it.  This time, the outcry is coming from colleges and universities. Read more

You’re seeing more honors graduates the past few years

I noted this phenomenon in 2002 at the graduation of a family member. There seemed to be a high number of students graduating cum laude, magna cum laude and/or summa cum laude.

I certainly did not remember such a high percentage of graduates with honors during my stint (late 1980s) in college. Were students getting smarter or were standards being lowered?

Knowing the academic world as I do, I figured it was the standards. At the time, I thought it would be a good idea to look at graduate statistics during the last 20 years to see what percentage of students graduated with honors.

gpa-trendsStuart Rojstaczer, a retired Duke professor, has looked into the subject and has a detailed Web page about grade inflation. Rojstaczer collected data from more than 200 schools and reviewed grade point averages, which directly reflect honors status.

Grade inflation started in the 1970s and accelerated in the 1980s. Click on the image to see recent GPA trends across the country.

Do take a look at the charts and comments on Rojstaczer’s page, he found grade inflation did not occur everywhere and one very substantial set of data showed no change – even a decline – in grades. Your reader participation homework is to find out where, and post it in the comments. 😉

Thomas Reeves at the National Association of Scholars took a look at Rojstaczer’s research and has a recap.

It is no secret that grade inflation is common within contemporary academia. The extent of it, however, is known to comparatively few. One student of the topic, Stuart Rojstaczer of Duke University, recently published data showing a steady increase in undergraduate grades from 1991 to 2007. In public institutions the average GPA rose from 2.93 to 3.11. In private schools the average GPA climbed from 3.09 to 3.30.

This escalation appears more dramatic within a historical context. Rojstaczer observed that in the 1930s the average GPA at American colleges and universities was about 2.35; in the 1950s, it was about 2.52. In the turbulent 1960s, grades soared; they leveled off somewhat in the 1970s, and then began again to escalate in the 1980s. “The grade inflation that began in the 1980s has yet to end.” And this is true at all sorts and conditions of colleges and universities in both the sciences and humanities.

Walter Williams comments today

Some college administrators will tell us that the higher grades merely reflect higher-quality students. Balderdash! SAT scores have been in decline for four decades and at least a third of entering freshmen must enroll in a remedial course either in math, writing or reading, which indicates academic fraud at the high school level. A recent survey of more than 30,000 first-year students revealed that nearly half spent more hours drinking than study. Another survey found that a third of students expected B’s just for attending class, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the assigned reading.

Parents with kids in college… how does this make you feel?

Should Congress get involved with college football?

That’s the question, and your comments are welcome below. My first thought is “no.”  But since many schools are government subsidized in some way – including the UCONN Huskies and the Texas A&M Aggies – and media cash involved, the United States Congress is thinking about getting their all knowing legislators involved.

Here’s a clip from Breitbart.

The current system “leaves nearly half of all the teams in college football at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for the millions of dollars paid out every year,” the Senate Judiciary’s subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights said in a statement Wednesday announcing the hearings.

Under the BCS, some conferences get automatic bids to participate in series, while others do not.

Obama and some members of Congress favor a playoff-type system to determine the national champion. The BCS features a championship game between the two top teams in the BCS standings, based on two polls and six computer ratings.

I’m not a huge college football fan, but I do have a couple of dogs in the hunt since I like UCONN and the Aggies. When you have 120 teams just in the bowl subdivision, how are you supposed to work out a playoff system? Football is not like baseball where a team can play five or six games in a week.

Even if you picked just the top eight teams, you’re talking three weeks and only seven games. If you went with the top 16 teams, you’re talking adding another week.

Either way, you’ve got to figure out the best eight or 16 teams somehow; someone will get pretty mad every year. Just this year, there were 34 bowl games, so of the 120 teams more than half of them got to play post-season and were able to generate some TV money.

You know my opinion. The government should not be involved in education at all, which would keep Congress out of the issue, but…


Up next: student loan forgiveness

Last fall it started. Congressional legislators like Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) proposed – and president-elect Obama supported –  “cram down” legislation allowing bankruptcy judges the ability to modify mortgages of primary residences. If lawmakers thought this was a good idea, it was certain that future legislation would allow modification of other loans including automobiles, credit card debt and student loans.

Business Week writer Alison Damast introduces us to Robert Applebaum and the Web site Loan justicewhat a hoot.

In just two short months, Robert Applebaum has become something of a spokesman for a generation of people burdened with student loan debt. Applebaum, a 35-year-old attorney in New York, started a Facebook group in January called “Cancel Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy,” fed up with news reports about bank executives spending millions to redecorate their offices and receiving hefty bonuses. “I wanted to rant, so instead of sending an e-mail to a couple of my friends, I decided to start a Facebook group,” says Applebaum, who finished law school owing $80,000 in student loans. “I figured maybe just a few of my friends would join.”

He was wrong. By the end of the second week 2,500 people had joined, and the group now has more than 138,500 members, many of whom are pressing their representatives in Congress for legislation that would forgive student loan debt. “It’s just snowballed,” says Applebaum.

More class warfare. It’s not fair that you have a job that pays more than I get. Wahhhh, wahhhhh, WAHHHH! I deserve it! I want it!

Applebaum, who graduated from Fordham Law School in 1998, took a job as an attorney at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office after graduation, at a starting salary of $36,000 a year. His salary was so low that he put his loans in forbearance for five years, until they ballooned to $100,000. “Despite having a law degree, I’m middle class and I don’t have any money at all,” he says. “I don’t own a house or a car. My only assets are my couch and television.”

Applebaum seems to have made a bad investment choice. He elected to go to law school, get into serious debt and made assumptions about what his salary would be after law school.

Chances are, he never researched what his salary would be after law school.

Alan Collinge is another victim, with my emphasis added.

Alan Collinge, author of The Student Loan Scam and founder of, has been a student loan activist for nearly four years. He is working to reverse the bankruptcy laws and establish limits on how lenders pursue borrowers. Collinge graduated with three degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of California several years ago and $38,000 in student debt, which he’s still working to pay off. He’s traveled around the country talking to elected officials and working to restore what he considers “basic consumer” rights. As of yet, he’s had no luck, but he hasn’t given up hope. “Until someone shows me why student loans should specifically be exempt from bankruptcy protections, it’s definitely a fight worth fighting,” he says.

Looks to me that Collinge is not even looking for a job in aerospace. Maybe he likes what he sees in the community organizer field.

Damast missed an important part of this story. Sure, she’s pulling heart strings by telling stories of victims who had to take drastic measures – like have mom and dad mortgage the house to help – but what is the root cause?

College costs have gone through the roof. Tuition inflation rates have average twice that of general inflation since the mid-1970s. With tuition hikes averaging about 8 percent per year, that means that tuition can double in nine to ten years.

Recently, college tuition cost increases have slowed down due to demand, but they still are going up. What are colleges and universities doing to keep costs reasonable? State schools certainly do not seem to be cutting off illegal aliens getting in-state tuition rates, they love these programs since more government funding is guaranteed to come their way.

At the federal level, reduced student loan interest rates, tax deductions for loan interest, tax deductions for tuition, and more Pell Grants simply provide an environment where schools can increase tuition at will. In Florida this week, the state claims a 15 percent increase in tuition at state universities is justified because rates are below average in the United States. They note some of the tuition increase will be offset by increased Pell Grant funding provided in the stimulus package.

Your comments?

Update: Yup, Allah Hot Air is on this topic earlier this afternoon, and I heard Howie Carr was discussing as well. Allah seems to have his own student loans to pay off…

Unfair to those who repaid their loans or didn’t have loans in the first place? Sure — but no more so than dumping oceans of TARP cash on the banks that created the crisis. And if, if the stimulus effect of loan forgiveness is as profound as these guys think, taxpayers would be repaid in the form of a quicker economic rebound. One question, though: Why do they assume forgiven debtors would spend the savings instead of pocketing them or using them to pay off other debt a la tax rebate checks? The answer, maybe, is the sheer amount of money we’re talking about. In my case, forgiving federal loans would save me north of $8,000 a year; toss private loans in there and it’s a cool ten grand. I’d sock some of that away, but with tens of thousands dollars suddenly freed up, I’d also start looking at home prices in the area. Stimulating! Exit question: Who’s onboard?

Dude, I like your stuff, but I’m not paying anyone else’s mortgage and I don’t want to pay your student loans. I paid mine off years ago, and we’re still paying off my wife’s loans – at an interest rate of about 1 percent (that’s free money folks). What more do you want?