Sunday, October 25, 2015
Because That’s Where the Money Is…
Or we can pretend that “where the money is” now makes sense. How’s that working out?
The opposite seems to be going on here, where the emphasis is on a high rate of small losses that might not add up to the same cost (to taxpayers) as a lower rate of large losses. It would be useful to know that info to help us understand why CCs are of more concern than law schools.
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But these faculty members have to spend so much of their time in applying for grants (as well as in reporting to the funding agencies for the grants that they already have) that they have very little time left over for actual research. For that reason, they have to rely on graduate students, post-docs, assistant professors, and other such lower forms of life to do their actual research for them. These people are used as little more that cheap labor to perform the research for the senior tenured faculty. Very often, these senior faculty members add little more than their names to the papers written by their students. These senior faculty members have absolutely secure employment, they sit in fancy offices, they knock down six-figure salaries, and they travel on the government dime to exotic places attending conferences to report on the work done by their graduate students, who slave away at odd hours in the morning, make virtually starvation wages, and live in constant fear of not being able to get a decent job upon graduation. As a friend of mine once said, the graduate students do all the work, whereas the principal investigator on the grant gets all the credit.
The primary output of many graduate programs isn’t really scholarly papers or the pursuit of external grant support—it is the production of new PhDs. Each new grant and each new faculty member requires so many additional graduate students that there is now a massive oversupply of new PhDs, so many that only a few of them have any hope of attaining permanent full-time employment in the disciplines for which they spent so much time in training. Graduate school in many disciplines has become little more than a Ponzi scheme, one which depends for its survival primarily on the recruiting of more and more graduate students.
As Matt says, it would be good idea to apply the gainful employment regulations that have been proposed for proprietary schools to graduate education as well. The government is spending so much money in supporting this system of graduate education that it would just and fair for them to insist that graduate students have a reasonable prospect of attaining gainful employment once they finish their education. It would be worthwhile to ask how many of these recent PhDs have attained tenure-track positions at colleges or universities or who are working in industry in fields for which they spent so much time in training, versus how many of them are now driving taxicabs, flipping burgers at Wendy’s, bagging groceries in the local supermarket, or who are freeway-flying adjuncts trying to cobble together a meager living while trying to land that elusive full-time academic position.
We don't have Federally subsidized loans for jetskis or Lamar Odom parties. There's a reason for that.