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Useless Education Information Of The Day

January 19, 2007

Today’s New York Times picked up this AP story:

Headline: Cost May Keep Students From First-Choice Colleges

First few lines: “Many students are settling for their second- and third-choice colleges, at least partly for financial reasons, a new survey says. The study, by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, surveyed more than 271,000 students at 393 colleges and universities. It found 32.7 percent of freshmen at a college other than their first choice.”


I don’t want to be vicious grump on a Friday afternoon, but how is this “news” in any sense of the word? There seems to be the following assumption behind the UCLA study, at least as excerpted for this story: – Students historically and/or habitually overreach intellectually in choosing schools, but we at the Higher Education Research Institute are surprised to learn that some also financially over-reach with their choices.

Now I don’t recall my teenage, college decision-making process in its entirety, but I knew that private schools were expensive, so I didn’t apply to any unless I had been made aware of some financial aid offer. I mean, I applied to zero Ivy League schools on account of finances: intellectual factors never made it into my equation. If anything, I may have under-reached financially in terms of admission.

And, at what point in history have some students not over-reached financially with some of their college choices? How is this a new phenomenon deserving of a costly study?

I think I’ve now dispensed with my daily rottweiler quotient. – TL


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  1. Yes, imagine that – cost influencing college decision. Next we'll hear about the multi-million dollar study that reveals that some students even choose community college for financial reasons! And here we thought community college was their first choice!

    Anyway, enjoying reading the blog.

    Tiffany W.
    History Instructor in California


  2. Tiffany: Thanks for the post. This is the beauty of a web log. I had hoped I wasn't the only one who felt this “study,” or at least this NYT/AP presentation of that study, had an asinine quality about it. – TL


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