Monday, June 08, 2015
Acceleration done right is too good an idea to become a marker of lower-class status. I’m surprised to see Wesleyan try it, though not surprised that very few students took them up on it. They don’t have to. They have the luxury of time. I hope that doesn’t become the latest marker of status. We have enough of those already.
I think it would be interesting for commenters here to tell us what they thought they'd be when they started high school, and what they would up doing. And I';; go first.
I thought I'd go to law school and eventually go into electoral politics.
I got a Ph.D. in economics and taught for 40 years.
I live about ten miles from Wesleyan. A few years ago, I gave a lift to Wesleyan cyclist with a flat tire. He was a senior, about to graduate. He told me that Wesleyan had not matched his expectations, its was far more politically correct and, shall we say, strict in enforcing its liberal orthodoxy. He had majored in philosophy. He didn't exactly regret it, but he readily admitted it wasn't going to help him career-wise. He planned next to join some friends in his home town who had started a restaurant.
Anyway. A recurring issue at UConn is the high number of students taking 5 years to graduate. From what I hear, it's sometimes not the student's fault, the University is not offering enough slots in required courses to allow timely completion by many students. Juniors frequently discover the next course in their sequence is full before they can apply. Suddenly, the "bargain price" of UConn got 25% higher for some families.
If Wesleyan can reliably get students to completion in three years with a well-structured and administered plan, they will have a product that many parents and students will want to consider. And it won't be just for the "proles." It will more likely be for those who want to get to graduate school quicker.
Students who are full-time in the fall semester get to attend the winter session for free. Likewise, students who are full-time in the spring semester get to attend the summer sessions for free. I believe that they can also use the combination to reach full-time status (e.g., someone who takes 9 credits in the fall and 6 in the winter can just pay the full-time student fee instead of two part-time per credit fees). In order for this to work, we bill students a combined fall/winter tuition and a combined spring/summer tuition; this had the added bonus of letting students use financial aid year-round because the aid the covers the spring tuition bill is actually really covering the tuition for both spring and summer.
While nearly every institution has a summer session and many have winter sessions, our winter and summer session are unique in that (1) you have more financial aid options because of the way we count them in billing and (2) they're effectively free if you take enough credits.