A visualization of the United States Debt — from usdebt.kleptocracy.us

From DSC:
Though this is the U.S. debt, the ramifications of this affect the entire globe. I believe my cousin, Mr. Stephen Gibson, is correct when he says that we may well be heading towards a “Global Reset.”







Also see:


— as of 8/24/11 around noon


Addendums later on 8/24/11 from Academic Impressions:


First day of sessionMPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Just what are states pledging for higher ed these days?

  • Fidelity® study finds significant shifts over 5-yr period in how families tackle rising college costs
    Fifth Annual College Savings Indicator Study finds parents projected to meet only 16% of college costs, despite improved savings habits
    BOSTON – Fidelity Investments®, a leader in helping families save for college, today announced the results of its fifth annual College Savings Indicator study, which found significant shifts in savings behavior from 2007 to 2011, with more families: 1) starting to save in the preschool years despite financial pressures, 2) seeking guidance and saving for college using a dedicated account, such as a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan, and 3) making shared sacrifices to achieve their college savings goals.

    The study features the College Savings Indicator, a calculation of the percentage of projected college costs the typical American family is on track to cover, based on its current and expected savings. After four consecutive years of decline, the Indicator held steady to the prior year at 16 percent, down from 24 percent in 2007, when Fidelity first launched the study. While overall preparedness has declined, a larger percentage of parents — more than two-thirds (67 percent) — have begun saving for college costs, compared with 58 percent five years ago.

In college, without a home [Nelson]

In college, without a home — from InsideHigherEd.com by Libby Nelson


BOSTON — For homeless college students, even the smallest details can become big hurdles: a $5 student ID, a housing or enrollment deposit, a place to keep a birth certificate or Social Security card.

Financial aid officers are often the ones who have to confront these issues. And as homelessness has increased during the recession, the population of college students who are homeless and without their parents is likely to grow in the coming years, financial aid officials were told at the annual conference of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators here on Tuesday.

The population is also growing, she said. The number of homeless youth has increased 69 percent in the past two years, to 1.6 million. Some are runaways; others are from chaotic family situations, maintaining contact with parents and siblings but spending the majority of nights on friends’ couches or in cars or mobile homes.

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Last-minute tuition hikes hit students — from SmartMoney.com by Anna Maria Andriotis
Almost 20 states have cut funding for colleges, raising costs for students — starting now


With freshman orientation right around the corner, many college students and their parents are about to get a surprise that could derail years of careful financial planning: last-minute tuition increases and cuts to financial aid packages promised just a few short months ago.


From DSC:
Many already know that such budgetary pressures are a piece of the perfect storm within higher education; but what may not be as visible is the catalyzing effect that these pressure are having/will have towards creating a game-changing environment within higher education. For example, such escalating costs may cause people to pursue other avenues of obtaining knowledge and/or experience. Some examples off of the top of my head include: 

  • StraighterLine.com
  • More community college-based coursework
  • iTunes U
  • YouTube.edu
  • University of the People
  • Apprenticeships
  • More vocationally-based programs
  • Etc.



Number of the week: Class of 2011, most indebted ever — from The Wall Street Journal by Mark Whitehouse


$22,900: Average student debt of newly minted college graduates

The Class of 2011 will graduate this spring from America’s colleges and universities with a dubious distinction: the most indebted ever.

Poll: No matter what their major, today’s college students getting hard lessons in finance — from WashingtonPost.com by Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In these tight times, college students are getting a lesson in economics no matter what their major. Students say money influences everything from what school they attend and what career they pursue to how quickly they complete their degrees — or whether they graduate at all.

Money problems, not bad grades, are the reason cited by most college students who have considered dropping out, an Associated Press-Viacom poll finds.

Recession-battered parents have less money to spend on their kids’ tuition. Jobs that used to be waiting upon graduation aren’t there anymore — consumed by the nation’s 8.8 percent unemployment rate. And college prices keep going up, as states struggle with budget deficits. Average tuition, room and board rose to about $16,000 at in-state public schools this year and $37,000 at private schools.


From DSC:
I post this because this makes me mad! I don’t have time to verify each piece of information here. But I ask:

  • How is it that Wall Street gets bailed out? Or car manufactures, other corporations, or financial institutions too big to fail?
  • How is it that white-collar crime can strip the nest-eggs of millions of Americans?
  • How is it that our Senators and Representatives have a different health care plan than the rest of us?
  • What happened to our democracy?
  • What happened to our hearts?

Bottom line:
If you are a student, work as hard as you can to not get into debt — or at least not more debt than you can handle. Know what you are getting into. Have a plan for paying it off. Otherwise it looks like you will be hit with a major, expensive hurt!

Don’t get me wrong, we need to pay off our debts. If we take out loans, we need to pay for them.  One quick scripture along these lines says:

Romans 13:8
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

But some of the “fees” and “charges” below make me sick.

Infographic by College Scholarships.org


Student Loans Scheme.

Infographic by College Scholarships.org

On track for $1 trillion: Student loan debt greater than credit card debt — from GOOD Education by Liz Dwyer


Last June, for the first time in history, Americans owed more on their student loans, a record $833 billion, than on their credit cards, $826.5 billion. The amount owed on student loans increases at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second, meaning we’re on track for total student debt to cross the $1 trillion mark sometime this year.

According to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, this increasing student debt has long term, macroeconomic implications for our society. He told NPR’s Marketplace that the amount of money students owe—on average, $24,000—is usually repaid over a 20-year time frame, which means

more and more students are going to still be repaying their own student loans when their children enroll in college. That may make those families less willing to borrow to pay for their children’s educations. It also means that they aren’t going to be as capable of saving for their children’s education or even for their own retirement.

The other insidious consequence of the debt is that students are less likely to purse nonprofit careers or work they truly enjoy.

The ultimate financial terms glossary — my thanks to Alex Tenorio (Seattle, WA) for this resource

Also relevant/see:



Addendum (3/22/11):



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The Higher Ed Landscape -- February 2011

From DSC:
As I was reviewing Mel’s presentation, I couldn’t help but think of the amazing amount of pressure colleges and universities will be under towards “standardization” — or at minimum, institutions may need to accept much of what has occurred at another school.  The costs are too high not to — and the expectations from parents, students, legislatures, and the general public may force this to occur.

Along these lines, I think that the dynamics of teaching and learning change when we talk about the cost of an education going from a few thousand to 150,000+ for 4 years. Expectations are one thing that change; Mel’s presentation points to this a bit. But I also wondered…how will institutions of higher education differentiate themselves if these pressures for portability continue to build? How will they keep from becoming a commodity?

Also noteworthy was Mel’s slide re: what students can ultimately DO as a result of their educations — this may become more of the Holy Grail of Assessment.

Trends in college pricing

The world changed, colleges missed it — from edreformer.com by Tom Vander Ark

A bunch of colleges are going out of business, only they don’t know it. They pretend that trimming costs and jacking tuition is a solution.  They haven’t come to terms with a world where anyone can learn anything almost anywhere for free or cheap. Art Levine, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, sees three major change forces: new competition, a convergence of knowledge producers, and changing demographics.

To Art’s list of three big change forces, add shrinking government support, the press for more accountability, and emerging technology…the next few decades will be marked by a lumpy move to competency-based learninginstant information and the ability to learn anything anywhere.

The shift to personal digital learning is on.  Some colleges get that.  Others will seek bailouts until they go out of business.  Working adults are getting smart on their own terms.


From DSC:
Time will tell if Tom’s assertions are too harsh here, but personally, I think he’s right.

I have it that:

  • There is a bubble in higher ed
  • There also exists a perfect storm that’s been forming for years within higher ed and the waves are cresting
    .The perfect storm in higher ed -- by Daniel S. Christian

  • Institutions of higher education need to check themselves before they become the next Blockbuster
    .Do not underestimate the disruptive impact of technology -- June 2009

  • We must not discount the disruptive powers of technology nor the trends taking place today (for a list of some of these trends, see the work of Gary Marx, as well as Yankelovish’s (2005) Ferment and Change: Higher Education in 2015)
  • Innovation is not an option for those who want to survive and thrive in the future.

Specifically, I have it that we should be experimenting with:

  • Significantly lowering the price of getting an education (by 50%+)
  • Providing greater access (worldwide)
  • Offering content in as many different ways as we can afford to produce
  • Seeking to provide interactive, multimedia-based content that is created by teams of specialists — for anytime, anywhere, on any-device type of learning (24x7x365)at any pace!
  • “Breaking down the walls” of the physical classroom
  • Pooling resources and creating consortiums
  • Reflecting on what it will mean if online-based exchanges are setup to help folks develop competencies
  • Working to change our cultures to be more willing to innovate and change
  • Thinking about how to become more nimble as organizations
  • Turning more control over to individual learner and having them create the content
  • Creating and implementing more cross-disciplinary assignments



From DSC:
If you are a parent and you have hopes of your son(s) or daughter(s) obtaining athletic scholarships, your days may be numbered. I come from an athletic scholarship background and I’m glad that I do. However, the days of athletic scholarships may be pruned down a bit in these next few years as budgets continue to get tighter and tighter.

My guess at this point is that the smaller team sports — such as tennis, golf, wrestling, softball, lacrosse, etc. — may see fewer teams competing in the future. I don’t have data here (so I may be wrong), but I would guess that programs will have to be self-sustaining in order to remain open. The larger, revenue-producing sports will probably survive.

This article points to this topic:
‘Curriculum Review’ for Athletics — from InsideHigherEd.com

So if you are counting on a college scholarship, I hope your kids are at least in high school…if not, I would not count on this source of funding in the future…at least for smaller sports (and even that may be generous w/ the time frames here).

Michigan towns attempt to replicate Kalamazoo Promise program despite money limitations — Kalamazoo Gazette by Julie Mack

KALAMAZOO, MI — Lack of wealthy donors shouldn’t stop communities from replicating The Kalamazoo Promise, speakers said Wednesday at the opening session of PromiseNet 2010, a three-day national conference in Kalamazoo.

Consider Baldwin, a community of 11,000 people about an 80-minute drive north of Grand Rapids.

It took several years of organizing and fund-raising, but the 23 students in Baldwin High School’s Class of 2010 are all guaranteed scholarships worth $20,000 over four years.

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From DSC:
I read two things this morning that were very disturbing:

1) The first was an email from Senator Levin, where he summarized the Financial Crisis Investigation Hearings. He provided a link to his Senate website where it concludes with the following:

These findings are deeply troubling. They show a Wall Street culture that, while it may once have focused on serving clients and promoting commerce, is now all too often simply self-serving. The ultimate harm here is not just to clients poorly served by their investment bank. It’s to all of us. The toxic mortgages and related instruments that these firms injected into our financial system have done incalculable harm to people who had never heard of a mortgage-backed security or a CDO, and who have no defenses against the harm such exotic Wall Street creations can cause.

Running through our findings and these hearings is a thread that connects the reckless actions of mortgage brokers at WaMu with market-driven credit rating agencies and the Wall Street executives designing the next synthetic. That thread is unbridled greed, and the absence of a cop on the beat to control it.

As we speak, lobbyists fill the halls of Congress, hoping to weaken or kill legislation aimed at reforming these abuses. Wall Street is on the wrong side of this fight. It insists that reining in its excesses would unduly restrict a free market that is the engine of American progress. But this market isn’t free of self-dealing or conflict of interest. It is not free of gambling debts that taxpayers end up paying.

I hope the executives before us today, and their colleagues on Wall Street, will recognize the harm that their actions have caused to so many of their fellow citizens. But whether or not they take responsibility for their role, I hope this Congress will follow the example of another Congress, eight decades ago, and enact the reforms that will put a cop back on the Wall Street beat.

2) …and I thought of posting it. But I thought, no…I won’t go there. Who am I to point this out? How does this affect higher ed and the rest of us? (BTW, I don’t know enough about Senator Levin to support or not support him or his efforts here). But then I saw this article immediately after that:

E-mail Suggests Goldman Knew Harvard Would Lose –The Boston Globe

A Goldman Sachs e-mail from February 2007 acknowledged that a large trade in complex mortgage-related securities would be “good for us’’ but bad for several customers, including Harvard University.

The e-mail was part of a large batch of correspondence released over the weekend by the Senate subcommittee that grilled Goldman executives yesterday about their alleged role in the financial crisis.

The Harvard e-mail was one of many portraying the Wall Street giant as having profited on the housing bust — indeed, betting against the sector — while rivals and even esteemed clients lost money.

Harvard declined to disclose how much it lost on the trade. The Senate-released e-mails, however, show Harvard was on the losing end of a $500 million derivatives trade. Essentially, by entering into an exotic collateralized debt obligation — a wager on the direction of mortgage securities — Harvard lost money when the mortgages went bad. Full Story

From DSC:
…and when I saw this second item, I had to write something here.

We are affected by the actions of others. We impact others with our actions. We are all in this boat together.

Is there — or should there be a place for — a role of those of us in higher education to attempt to instill some morals and values into our students?  It seems to me we at least need to point out that the future actions of our students will have positive or negative affects on others, and to not just look out for themselves, but also look to the interests of others.

I don’t mean to come off as high-and-mighty, full of finger pointing. But it seems to me that during an influential point in our students’ lives, we should be helping make the world a better place…not raising up students who hungrily move into the Wall Street offices and repeat the same types of behavior that got us into a heap of trouble — or to students who can’t wait to get into a lucrative lobbying position, while shutting off their consciences in their pursuit of obtaining the almighty dollar.

© 2021 | Daniel Christian