As the Trump administration ramps up the pace of college-refunding and college-planning, it’s looking to give colleges more latitude in the design of their courses.
The Department of Education recently gave colleges permission to choose the name of courses they want to promote in their online marketing and admissions materials.
The Trump education secretary, Betsy DeVos, also wants to give schools more flexibility in the way they promote their courses, including how many people enroll in them, the types of students they teach and how many credit hours students need to earn.
DeVos has previously criticized the College Board and others for failing to do a better job of explaining to prospective students what colleges are and aren’t about.
But the Trump education team seems to want to give more leeway to schools, as long as they don’t put undue pressure on students to attend.
“It’s a really important thing for students, especially if you’re a first-generation college student,” says Chris Wilson, executive director of the Association of Title IX Administrators.
“If you have a lot of people who are not first-gen students who have trouble grasping what it’s like to go to college and why it’s important, then you really have a really difficult time with the idea of not putting enough pressure on them.”
The Trump team’s move to give students more leeching power over how their college is advertised is particularly notable because colleges have traditionally been in the business of marketing to potential students.
“They were very much an extension of the student body,” says Mark D. Pardee, president of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.
“College has always been an extension.
We’ve seen it over the years.”
And even though students aren’t expected to pay full price, colleges have been very much in the student’s pocket since the 1950s, Pard, who also served as dean of the University of Colorado Law School, tells National Review.
“There are students in college who are willing to pay the full price for a degree.
In fact, the first major college-admission requirement was for students to pay a fee, which was based on their family’s annual income, according to a 2010 article in The New York Times. “
So that was always the way it worked.”
In fact, the first major college-admission requirement was for students to pay a fee, which was based on their family’s annual income, according to a 2010 article in The New York Times.
Pardon the pun, but a $50 fee for tuition and fees was considered the “full price” of a college education.
This led to a lot more student debt than today, Pards says.
“A lot of schools have gone from having to go out of business, and they’re just not able to get into the private market because of the fees, because the private markets have been shut down, and because of that, they’re trying to find ways to charge more and make more money.”
But in the past few years, colleges are beginning to adjust.
According to the Association for College Admission Counseling, the number of applicants who applied for a bachelor’s degree has fallen from 1.3 million in 2012 to 775,000 in 2017.
And according to the American Council on Education, the percentage of students who earn at least a bachelor of science has increased from 18 percent to 30 percent.
But while colleges are trying to be more accommodating of students’ preferences, they may be losing some of their own leverage, Wilson says.
He says colleges may want to get creative with how they advertise courses.
“What I think the Trump team is trying to do is say, ‘You can’t have a free-market college education where you’re not putting a premium on student retention,'” he says.
That’s because students may not be as motivated to attend college as they once were, says Wilson.
And he argues that students may be less likely to take the plunge.
“I think it’s a little bit of a misnomer to say that the reason that enrollment is down is because we’re not offering a lot to people.
We’re not spending as much as we used to,” he says, “but the reason it’s down is the students aren.
And if you give students something that’s not worth the money they have to spend on it, they won’t go to the college.
So the problem is not really the money, it is the willingness of students to take that risk.”
But the college-recovery proposal may not have a clear winner.
“The Trump administration is doing a good job of being responsive to the needs of students and colleges, but I think there’s going to be a lot about this that’s just going to get watered down,” says Wilson, who thinks that the Trump approach may backfire.
“That’s not a recipe for success.
It’s not going to solve the problems.
It may be just going back to the way things were.
But it’s going back in a different direction.”