A Proposal for Two Years of Free Tuition for All Students in Wisconsin

There has been a ton of data out there showing how terrible and predatory for-profit colleges are, and two educational policy studies professors at the University of Wisconsin, Madison are putting together a paper that will show how reallocating financial aid money given to for-profit colleges and putting it back into the public sector could benefit all students by making the first two years of public university free.

Stand By Your Adjunct Professors

Aaron Barlow the executive editor of Academe Magazine, and an English professor at New York City College of Technology, wrote a blog post encouraging tenured faculty members to consider their adjunct professors as equals instead of "others," and then to stand with them to "help make their work situations livable and financially viable." Sounds reasonable!

Magic: The Scholarship

When I was in high school, my parents encouraged me to apply to every scholarship I was eligible for, and the ones I did get were from small organizations, like the Asian American Scholarship Fund. If I had known about a scholarship for young "Magic: The Gathering" players, I would have been all over it.

Welcome, Freshmen, to the 1495 Academic School Year

“Statute Forbidding Any One to Annoy or Unduly Injure the Freshmen. Each and every one attached to this university is forbidden to offend with insult, torment, harass, drench with water or urine, throw on or defile with dust or any filth, mock by whistling, cry at them with a terrifying voice, or dare to molest in any way whatsoever physically or severely, any, who are called freshmen, in the market, streets, courts, colleges and living houses, or any place whatsoever, and particularly in the present college, when they have entered in order to matriculate or are leaving after matriculation.” — Leipzig University Statute (1495) [via]

Starving on Campus

College students are known for being broke, heavily in debt, and surviving off of instant ramen, but there is also an invisible population of students who have "food insecurity"—not having enough to eat on daily basis. These students are often hidden because they feel ashamed about their circumstances.

Another Take on “Pay It Forward, Pay It Back”

At Jacobin, two members of Strike Debt, Ann Larson and Michael Checque, argue that "Pay It Forward, Pay It Back" is a the "neoliberal solution" with lots of problems to figure out, and what we should really be fighting for is free education for all with no strings attached.

Women Choosing Lucrative Majors Often Don’t Choose Lucrative Jobs

Planet Money's Lisa Chow talked to an economist who has been looking at how majoring in certain fields affects the incomes of graduates, and she discovered that women like herself who study what are supposed to be high-reward majors (in the monetary sense) often take lower-paying jobs after they graduate. Chow says she loves her job and that matters so much more than money. Of course, people don't decide to study early childhood education or social work and think about the big bucks they're going to make—it's not always about that, which is why charts showing the highest paid majors aren't always that helpful (oh, engineers make a lot of money, and studio art majors don't? SURPRISE).

President Obama’s New College-Ranking System

President Obama is starting a two-day bus tour of college campuses today to talk about his proposal for making colleges more affordable. The gist of the proposal is a new college rankings system based on metrics like graduation rates and earnings of graduates and tying financial aid to the best performing colleges.

A List of Foods Associated With Jobs I’ve Held

To save money I packed lunches, which due to living in a dorm included the tried and true Annie's mac & cheese in a single serving packet. I figured they were healthier than the cheaper Kraft Easy Mac version and doused them using the kitchen's communal Tapatío bottle. My older coworkers, self-identified as retail queens, would often order in from Juan's down the street and gave me their castoff, fresh-fried flour tortilla chips.

Roommate Living

A recent episode of The Colin McEnroe Show discussed the joys and challenges of living with roommates, with guests like Susan Salisbury, the director of residential life at Trinity College, who talks about how she matches college roommates together in residence halls (she looks at the surveys students fill out saying whether or not they're early or late risers and what their study habits are like, and then matches everyone using pen and paper), The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, who talks about some of the economic consequences of more millennials rooming together for longer periods of time (instead of buying houses and starting families, which they're postponing for monetary reasons), and an appearance from two of those dudes from Fortress Astoria (those best friends and roommates who have been living together for nearly two decades). A caller asks something like, "How do you keep the peace when your roommates have a hard time doing things like taking out the trash when it's their turn on the chore board?" (CHORE BOARD!). The Fortress Astoria dudes respond, "The only agreements we have are to pay the rent, and wash your dishes. Everyone just has to be conscientious of each other." If only it were that easy.

‘Auxiliary Enterprises’ and the Rising Cost of College

At the Washington Post, Dylan Matthews has been writing a series called "The Tuition is Too Damn High" (his previous columns are conveniently listed in a box) and yesterday, he looked at how updating facilities to lure students with deep pockets may be contributing to the rising cost of college. Of course, this kind of argument has been made time and again, but at least Matthews considers some data this time around.

I Was a Collegiate Lab Rat

Some of you may have walked past those bulletin boards covered in red and white notices in search of participants to ingest this, or attach themselves to that. Perhaps you’ve gone so far as to take one of the tear-off tabs home with you. It always comes down to one question: “Can it really be that bad?”

Medical research for academic studies has so many variations and degrees of invasiveness. All of it comes down to one thing: a way to make money that requires no previous skills, education, or experience.

I’ve found myself scanning those flyers and considering the possibilities. Sometime before the winter of 2012, I decided science could have its way with me. I found out that it wasn’t free money, but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever been through, either. Presented now are my experiences and reflections. Hopefully, this can help guide you in the future, when you’re standing in front of those bulletin boards wondering, “What if I did this?”