Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Metal Detectors are No Longer Enough

School districts have begun using x-ray machines in schools to increase the level of safety. There have been over 100 installed in Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and New York. People who support using x-rays in schools argue that this way, security officers can see what is in a bag, rather than just knowing that there is metal in it. While this makes sense, I went to a school that had no security checks at all. The thought of metal detectors is strange to me, but to put an x-ray machine in a school? It would make me feel as if I was trying to get on a plane, not go to class. I feel very mixed about this issue; I feel that it is a good idea, and that certain schools probably do need this amount of security, but at the same time, it could really disrupt the way students enter school. Is there going to be a machine at every single entrance? I went to a very small school and we still had 8 or 9 doors around the building. A school would almost have to block off every entrance other than the one that had the machine to truly keep the students safe. And blocking off these entrances could create a huge line of students waiting to get into the building.

New Possible Changes for Higher Education

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.