Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Need Your Stories!

I need a few more stories for my upcoming book, with the working title "Hacking Education."
I want to hear from you if you have a nontraditional educational story--anything besides graduating high school at 18 and going straight to/through a 4 year college.

Online programs, vocational training, travel, volunteering, etc. . .

Thank you!

From My Inbox #2

Dear Ms. Kamenetz,

I am working in a grassroots effort to help students avoid massive college and student loan debts. I would appreciate very much if you could provide me with source information for the following statements from your article on higher education in the Sept 09 issue.

"College tuition has gone up more than any other good or service since 1990, and our nation's students and graduates hold a staggering $714 billion in outstanding student-loan debt. Once the world's most educated country, the United States today ranks 10th globally in the percentage of young people with postsecondary degrees."

Thank you very much. I have been concerned with escalating costs, as well as the need for recreation or reform in the higher ed industry, for years. I purchased the domain name three years ago and have always put off the project for tomorrow. Well, tomorrow has arrived!
Facts such as those you have stated above deserve to be repeatedly shouted from millions of students (and parents!). Please feel free to visit my website or contact me at any time. I would like to use this information, promote your article, and give the issue more attention on my blog.
Julie Hendrix"

Hi Julie,
For the 1990 figure, see the post below.
For the total amount of outstanding student loan debt, this is based on $590 billion of outstanding federal student loan debt and the rest private student loan debt. Mark Kantrowitz of Finaid and FastWeb, in this recent article, gives a slightly different figure of $730 billion--$598 billion in federal student loans and $132 billion of private student loans.
For America's relative world standing, this is a recent study (pdf) .

Sunday, August 23, 2009

From My Inbox

(thanks Gaping Void)
On Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 12:51 PM, W. wrote:
Hi Anya,

I haven't even finished your piece, but I think it's great, interesting topic, good info, and well written. I have a question, I feel is important so I hope you know; Why did "the college tuition rise more than any other good or service since 1990"?
What are the main factors that led to this huge cost in such a short time?
Please let me know or where you found that statistic. Thanks

Thank you for writing.
I am working on a book with the working title "Hacking Education" and I will address this question in an entire chapter. There are many different explanations; the combination of government subsidies, the secondary loan market, and cost shifting from states to the federal government are the top three. Imagine if people could take out a low-interest mortgage from the federal government to pay for their routine health care costs and you'd have pretty much the same situation, with hospitals charging even more than they do now to take advantage of that federal loan money, which was in turn sliced and diced and resold as derivatives.

The source for that fact is the American Institute of Economic Research. I realize people may find it amazing.

All the best,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BlogTalkRadio tonight at 7pm

Anya Kamenetz: Hacking Education (Higher Education in the Digital Age)

You can catch me live at 7pm tonight talking to the wonderful Dr. Hope May, director of the Ethics Center at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, and her delightful students. I met these folks on a speaking engagement last year. This is a wonderfully meta moment as I will be talking about the incorporation of technology into higher education, on a college-student-produced podcast.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Future of Higher Ed: Edupunks + Open Ed

My new article is out in Fast Company's September issue: "How Web-Savvy* Edupunks* Are Transforming* American* Higher Education*."

To annotate, if I may:
"Web-savvy" is of course, a distasteful term. Pls read something like "Internetty."
"Edupunks", and entrepreneurs, and investors, and open-education advocates, and educational technologists employed by universities large and small...with varying agendas.
"Transforming" Some seek to supplant it. Some to tinker with it. Some to destroy it.
"American" global, even more so.
"Higher Education." Learning, workforce preparation and accreditation.