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Fri Oct 25, 2019, 11:05 PM

Are liberal arts colleges doomed?

Two days before classes started at Hampshire College in September, the school’s incoming first-year students – all 13 of them – attended a welcome reception in the campus’ new R.W. Kern Center. A motley mix of plaids, khakis and combat boots, the group lined up to shake hands with the college president and receive small bells – symbols of the large brass bell they’ll ring upon completing their “Division III,” the epic independent project required to graduate. If, that is, Hampshire survives long enough for them to graduate.

Nine months earlier, the Massachusetts college – mired in financial trouble – had launched a search for a partner to merge with and announced that it might not admit a new freshman class in the fall. Coming after a series of mergers and closures of New England schools, the announcement provoked alarm in the world of higher ed. Eventually, Hampshire offered a place to 70-odd students it had accepted early or who had taken a gap year before enrolling – but warned that there was no guarantee it would stay open.

Among the baker’s dozen who decided to take the risk was Devin Forgue. Despite its strapped budget, Hampshire offered him better financial aid than the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He considered the less expensive Holyoke Community College, but he didn’t want to give up on his dream. Forgue has an unusually specific life ambition: to broker a global compromise to increase funding for space research. He plans to study a combination of political science, anthropology, international relations and astrophysics. And he thought that Hampshire, an experimental college that asks students to design their own course of study, was the best place to do that.

After four days of orientation with “the 13,” as his class was known (one student has since dropped out), Forgue felt he’d made the right decision. A slight 19-year-old with longish brown hair, he’d already experienced the kind of bull sessions about politics and philosophy that make college so special. “Every single one of the 13 is the type of person … I was hoping to meet,” he told me.

Read more: https://www.boston.com/news/education/2019/10/23/are-liberal-arts-colleges-doomed

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Reply Are liberal arts colleges doomed? (Original post)
TexasTowelie Oct 2019 OP
no_hypocrisy Oct 2019 #1
Jake Stern Oct 2019 #3
Jake Stern Oct 2019 #2
democratisphere Oct 2019 #4
PoindexterOglethorpe Oct 2019 #5
kennetha Oct 2019 #6
Post removed Nov 2019 #7
Name removed Nov 2019 #8
TexasTowelie Nov 2019 #9
rayshow Mar 2020 #10
TexasTowelie Mar 2020 #11

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Fri Oct 25, 2019, 11:34 PM

1. I hope not.

I went to an all women's liberal arts college in rural Virginia.

Over four years, I completed these courses: German, Italian, Spanish, European Civilization, Photography, Modern Dance, Logic, Theater History, D.H. Lawrence, Creative Writing, Chemistry, Piano, Clarinet, in addition to majoring in Music.

Most importantly, I learned to be prepared to go to class and once there, how to be a critical thinker and to participate actively.

Liberal arts is more than learning about the past. It's about how to use what you've learned whether for pedestrian endeavors or an important purpose.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Fri Oct 25, 2019, 11:40 PM

2. Time to lighten up on the hyper-selectivity and slash the eye popping tuition

Miami University in Oxford, Ohio is a public Liberal Arts university with a similar (actually slightly higher) acceptance rate to Hampshire College (65 vs 63%) but costs only half as much. Even factoring in the out of state surcharge the tuition is still far less and the quality of education is just as good.

Never understood the draw and, in my opinion, when I see someone wearing a Swarthmore or Wellesley shirt it practically screams "I'm better than you!".





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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sat Oct 26, 2019, 12:06 AM

4. Ever higher tuition, cost of student loans and artificial intelligence

will wipeout this type of degree in the future.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sat Oct 26, 2019, 12:48 AM

5. I'd say the essential problem with Hampshire is that it's too small to be viable,

although it does have a healthy endowment, I'd say, at $48 million.

This is hardly a typical liberal arts college, so as sad as it might be if this one folds, there are still lots of others out there.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #5)

Sat Oct 26, 2019, 01:47 AM

6. 52 million dollars is a piss poor endowment!

As the article makes clear

“The problem is the business model. Colleges have long counted on wealthy students to subsidize the cost of education for those who can’t afford it. But for many institutions, that is becoming untenable. With only a $52 million endowment, Hampshire is especially vulnerable to this reality, but enrollment experts say it will affect many schools outside the most elite. Schools like Harvard, Princeton, Yale and MIT will be fine, says Jon Boeckenstedt, Oregon State University’s vice provost of enrollment management. “It’s those colleges in the middle of the curve, with good, solid, well-known reputations but not spectacular financial resources or academic reputation, that are feeling the pinch,” he explains.“

Smith College has over 1 billion. Amherst College has over 2 billion. Even weak sister Mount Holyoke has almost 800 M

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Response to Name removed (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 6, 2019, 05:25 AM

9. I'm biased since I went to a liberal arts university in Texas.

Welcome to DU!

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Response to rayshow (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 6, 2020, 10:47 AM

11. One of my friends from high school went to the same private liberal arts university as I did,

then he completed an engineering program at Texas A&M. He had excellent writing skills and his minor in college was history. His ability as a writer placed him ahead of his contemporaries who only studied engineering. I believe that a liberal arts education provides some additional ability to express oneself and also have a sense of social consciousness that sometimes isn't found among individuals who focus on a single field. About one-third of the students at the university I graduated from are involved in social activities such as volunteer work in the community and there is also a decent percentage of students that are involved in study abroad programs.

Liberal arts students are also more adaptable to changes in the work environment and transitioning to new employment. In the modern economy it is unlikely that someone is going to working within the same type of job for their entire careers so being flexible and having an education that is diverse is a major advantage. My degree was in mathematics with chemistry as a minor, but now that I've been out of college for more than 30 years I've found new interests in politics, history, social advocacy, and music that came from a well-rounded education.

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