Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The University of Phoenix, the nation's largest online university, will begin offering a free, 3-week trial run for potential students, in which time they will be able to tell if they can handle online courses and at the difficulty level of the university. This program is in response to the federal government re-evaluating its regulation of for-profit colleges and universities, due to the amount of debt students are leaving with. The company that runs the University of Phoenix, Apollo Group Inc., thinks that the government’s re-vamping of colleges and universities is only going to lower the chances of lower-income students to be able to get into college. The university is going to have fewer people enrolling, which translates into less revenue.
This program ultimately comes from the fact that the government believes that universities are recruiting students that simply are not ready for, or cannot handle, the life of a college student. These students drop out without another, better-paying, job prospect, but still need to pay back their students loans. When students cannot pay back their loans, the loan goes into default and taxpayers end up paying for it. The government has decided that if students are leaving a college or university with too much debt, or if too few students repay their loans, it will limit the amount of federal financial aid a school receives, which makes it harder for lower-income students to attend. Because of the new changes to the school, Apollo Group expects the enrollment rate at the University of Phoenix to drop by 40%, which of course lowers the amount of revenue the school receives. Investors are worried this trend is going to continue in the world of higher education.
While I agree that students do leave college with too much debt, I do not think it is right for the government to without federal financial aid that is given to students. What will happen to lower-income students that try to get into a school like Wesleyan? Because in general, our students do leave college with quite a bit of debt, that means that if we are affected by this change, some of our financial aid could be getting cut. I know that if it were not for my financial aid, I could not afford to come here, so what will happen to the lower-income students? Are they expected to go to a cheaper school that may not have the academics that we have simply because they are lower-income? I sincerely hope the government realizes the problems with this new plan before it gets implemented at any other schools.