Tag Archives: community college

ObamaCare: PA Community College Cuts Prof Hours

obamacare fallout

 

From the Huffington Post:

The Community College of Allegheny County, PA will cut the hours of its part time employees due to the upcoming ObamaCare program. College President Alex Johnson sent an email announcement that these cuts would affect 200 adjunct professors and 200 other employees.

Employees who work at least 30 hours per week are considered full time under the ObamaCare plan. Because the plan will retroactively look at past scheduled hours the changes will take place n the new year.

From HP: “While it is of course the college’s preference to provide coverage to these positions, there simply are not fun

ds available to do so,” David Hoovler, executive assistant to the president of CCAC, told The Huffington Post. “Several years of cuts or largely flat funding from our government supporters have led to significant cost reductions by CCAC, leaving little room to trim the college’s budget further.”

Of course. Employees who voted for President Obama in the election should not be surprised at these cuts. These are dollars and cents decisions made by businesses who have to manage their budgets.

ObamaCare Fallout.

Read more at: Huffington Post

 

 

Student Loans-In Need of a Fix?

graduation

Part 2

Yesterday we talked about many of the problems inherent with student loans in our society. Today I’d like to share some common sense ideas. Do note, I’m just a mom and I’m not a professional. Also: there are plenty of websites dedicated to finding financial aid for college, do your research before starting school.

These suggestions are just a few ideas for parents of the recent high school graduate who is now wondering what to do next. The examples are real life people whose names have been changed, particularly to save the foolish ones from embarrassment.

  • Not interested in college? How about a technical program. Some are found through private programs but many are available for reasonable tuition at the community college (see next bullet). This week Lou Dobbs has a special on FNC discussing the job situation. There is a great need for skilled workers: machinists, mechanics, in the health care field, craftsmen and more. In recent years our children have been told that a four year degree is the only way to achieve quality employment. Our leaders seem to have forgotten that this country still needs to build, repair and care for both objects and people.
    • Tom had no desire to attend college but he liked working with his hands. In his town was a trade school. Tuition was less than $4,000 per year. In less than two years Tom had a certificate in tool and die manufacturing. He has had steady employment since school, paid his school loans and now bought a house.
  • Are students prepared to attend a university? Can they afford to attend a university? Community colleges in Arizona charge nearly 1/4 the tuition as the state universities. They offer freshman and sophomore courses for the student who desires to continue beyond an Associate’s Degree. If a student does not have college savings and is not eligible for scholarships or financial aid attending community college offers a great savings. Many students also choose community college for a specific degree or certificate which allows them to begin working as they continue their education.
    • Allen is attending the state university but quickly saw the downside of student loans. He attended the community college EMT program held during the summer and was able to find a hospital job where he could work and attend school. After a second summer school program he now has a benefits eligible job at the hospital and they are paying his college tuition.
    • Mary is paying for college herself. She works two part time jobs to pay for tuition while living at home. She attended community college and has now transferred to the state university. Through careful use of her money Mary has not needed student loans.
  • Are parents adequately preparing students for life beyond high school and employment? Some graduates are looking for jobs that start mid-scale or beyond. Are we parents raising the expectations unrealistically? Perhaps, we have given our children so much they expect to continue a lifestyle that used to come with time and effort. Are parents encouraging their students to get some work experience? Employers want to hire a person with known ability to handle a job. Especially, in these challenging economic times, why should an employer hire a new grad when he can get someone with years of experience?
    • I have no tales that can beat the example of this Wall Street Protester:

  • There is a great deal of scholarship money available for minority students or those looking for a particular field. Where there is great need there are often more scholarships and aid available (e.g. TEACH for America pays part of loans in return for work at rural or low income schools). Are students being encouraged to apply for scholarships? Filling out forms and answering essays can be a tedious process but the results can be very helpful. Our government also offers the generous Pell Grants to those financially eligible. They’ll cover up to 12 semesters tuition. And don’t forget that the military will pay a great deal of college costs after an honorable discharge. They also offer scholarships (in return for future service) for specific degrees. With recent cuts to the DoD the military is able to be more discriminating in who it accepts. Still, for those interested, it may be worth the effort.
    • Some parents choose to allow their student to do their own research and make all their own decisions. Personally, it seems a little parent intervention might help kids make better choices. Allowing a student to fail or miss a scholarship/financial aid opportunity may teach a point but does it help in the long run? You don’t have to be a helicopter mom, hovering all the time to remind your student of the down side to procrastination.
  • Are parents sharing some of their world experience with their college bound students? Do the students understand how interest compounds? How much less will be owed overall by paying down the principle a little each month. Just because someone is eligible for a loan to cover more than the cost of school does that mean she should take it and then use it on a shopping spree? Do you really want to be paying for those clothes for the next 20 years?  If all your costs are being paid by loans does it make sense to attend an out of state school? An Ivy League school? Is the degree at a specific school that much better than at a local school? (In Arizona annual tuition for residents is about $9,000; non-residents $22,000, while two area private schools charge between $16,000 and $22,000.)
    • An acquaintance of my daughter accrued over $96,000 in loans by her third year in college because she chose to attend an out of state school. She wanted to be a physician but couldn’t afford further debt for graduate school loans. The end result for this student was that she changed majors and applied to the nursing program expecting another two years of school.


  • And speaking of degrees, are students being encouraged to look at what kind of job their major will offer? Some businesses want to hire people with a college degree and are not picky which one. But… Where can one work with an Art History degree? Life Sciences? Philosophy? If there are jobs related to the degree are there many openings? Maybe every boy wants to be a paleontologist, but how many are there in the US?
    • Libby qualifies financially for full coverage under the Pell Grant program. Right now she wants to be a musician and is taking two or three classes each semester related to singing and writing music. At the rate she is going she will run out of Pell funds before she gets an associate degree. Additionally, no one seems to have explained the low odds of finding a job as a musician.
    • A number of my daughter’s friends wanted to be doctors. Their undergraduate degree is in Life Science. Eighty percent lost interest along the way. Some changed their major to one where they could find a job after graduation. Others got that degree in Life Science and now are discovering they are not qualified for any specific job. While some companies (e.g. UPS) merely want all their employees to have a college degree, more are looking for a specific skill set. Of the students who are now floundering, some are returning to school to become teachers while others are looking at health care field options.


  • Lastly, when looking at loans it might be a good idea to consider what income bracket your future employment will be.  Common sense should prevail, if starting salary will be less than $50K and it will cost $120,000 to attend private university, you may have a hard time paying back your loans. (Refer back to private vs state school costs.)
    • One student I know attended a private school to become a teacher. After four years she owed $100,000 in student loans and found it very hard to start paying back when her job only paid $33,000 (starting teacher in AZ at the time). She is now teaching at a Title IX school (for the loan repayment benefits) and living at home trying to get ahead.

This column has generated a great deal of interest. I will post some of your well thought comments in a conclusion later this week. I promise Part 3 will be much shorter. . .

 

The Science of Ridicule: Flat Earth Progressives Denounce Non-Climate Change Fanatics

In a perfect world, the words “science” and “skeptic” would go together like biscuits and gravy. Alas, we live in that enlightened era when so-called scientists grab oodles of cash from the gubmint and lambaste anyone who doesn’t agree with their theories as ideologues or even Nazis (actually, I think Nazis would be quite warm to the theory which provided them with the rationale for controlling all property, natural resources, and human life). But wait — wouldn’t so-called scientists calling out any opposition to their theories whatsoever as ideological  be, I don’t know, inherently ideological?

Here is an idea, chaps. Instead of running your insipid mouths about how we little-brains can’t understand the nuances of climate science, why don’t you cut your hyper-arcane arguments down to size with an Occam’s razor, and just for kaka and giggles, quantify how much impact man has on the greenhouse effect? Wouldn’t that be a more potent form of argument than running around like chicken littles with your heads cut off yelling “the earth is warming!” or “the climate is changing!” for decades on end?

Oh, wait. That would pretty much end the hysteria right there, wouldn’t it? Because extrapolating from government figures, man’s impact on the greenhouse effect is less than 1/300. Yes, that’s right. All the claims for global control of natural resources in order to supposedly prevent mankind from destroying itself and our sum contribution to the greenhouse effect (we’re not even talking major warming variables that humans have no control over, such as solar activity) is roughly 1/33rd (man’s contribution to the yearly rise of CO2) of 3.618% (CO2’s impact on the greenhouse effect). And I would love to see a climate scientist prove me wrong, here’s a novel thought, by showing his work.

And just to prove how politicized science has become, let’s observe the petty, pathetic behavior of the man who calls himself the President of the United States. Barack Obama, that brilliant scientific scholar, recently had the temerity to condemn climate skeptics (a term that should be synonymous with climate scientists) as members of the “flat earth society.” Here is what the lecturer who doesn’t even have the fundamentals right had to say:

“Now, here’s the sad thing. Lately, we have heard a lot of professional politicians, a lot of the folks who were running for a certain office, who shall go unnamed, they’ve been talking down new sources of energy. They dismiss wind power. They dismiss solar power. They make jokes about biofuels. They were against raising fuel standards. I guess they like gas guzzlers. They think that’s good for our future. We’re trying to move towards the future. They want to be stuck in the past!” Obama exclaimed to cheers from the crowd. “If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they probably must have been founding members of the flat earth society. They would not believe that the world was round!”

No, Mr. President, the sad thing is that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you are usurping the power to dictate economic policy based on a big lie. On the bright side, here’s my chance to give the smartest president in the history of presidents a public lesson in science, economics, and history. Oh, lucky day!

First off, we just showed (again, novel idea) that the claim man is irredeemably harming the planet through burning fossil fuels rests on feet of clay. This is probably why the theory is sinking in the public muckity muck faster than Obama’s approval rating.

Secondly, supply and demand dictates that when a good or resource becomes scarcer, it also becomes more expensive. This means that the more fossil fuels we use, the more price-competitive alternative energy resources become. Such price pressures are historically a major driver of innovation and efficiency improvements. But to hear Obama and friends tell it, the United States became an industrial-technological powerhouse through state planning. Wrong! Eli Whitney, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford all innovated due to competition and/or the profit motive.

The U.S. did not become the world’s foremost power by accident. Take your hands off the wheel, Mr. President, and enjoy the ride to the future.

Lastly, comparing free market advocates who believe that competition is the engine of progress and scientists who hold to the method of reasoned hypothesis falsification to flat earthers is absurd. In fact, the notion of there being a flat earth was debunked in Western Civilization by Eratosthenes in 230 B.C. (but we should cut Obama some slack because he’s obviously not a big fan of the West; well, maybe on his NCAA brackets). But for the Double Jeopardy daily double, the idea that people believed in a flat earth and therefore Columbus set out to prove them wrong was a myth manufactured by Washington Irving.

Science has rarely if ever advanced under the auspices of state planning, and when it has, it has usually been in those “noble” areas of endeavor as nuking other human beings into oblivion or otherwise contriving nefarious ways to control them. This isn’t a surprising state of affairs when government is at the helm of science. Government exists to control people. That’s what it does. A market, on the other hand, embeds the values of average citizens into the manufacturing of goods: products are devised and distributed according to the tastes for leisure, pleasure, comfort, desire, and needs of consumers. Put that way, free market capitalism and a healthy skepticism of state-run science doesn’t seem like such a backwards idea, does it?