Well, the Texas State Legislature is at it again. As with most states, the number of students not graduating from college has become a grave concern in these economic times. We gotta fix this. That is for certain. However the way in which they are addressing this situation is going to create more grave problems.
The new deal is that the Legislatures Legislatures now want to pay according to students that graduate and not students that attend classes. This is a boom to colleges that have rigorous entrance requirements and, hence, high graduation rates.
For those colleges that are open enrollment, this is a predicament. The same reason we have open enrollment colleges is the same reason these colleges have low graduation rates. We can't penalize students who have had poor preparation in high school, situations that their family and social life create, and just plain immaturity. They deserve a second chance. However we all know that many of thee students take these challenges with them and are not going to make it through college without a great deal of perspiration and support. You can't penalize colleges for doing the right thing by giving students a second or even third chance.
And yes, colleges with extremely low graduation rates should get help re-evaluating what they are doing.
We also know that, like Sara Palin and I (I can see Mexico from my office!), many folks that pay for their own college, have to stop in and out as they regenerate funds and transfer to colleges close to work or family.
So, If a student stops out for a semester or a year to build resources and is committed to go back because of his or her experiences, however transfered to a different school, should the original school be punished? In this scenario they first college would. The second college will win the jackpot.
Well, we just track students; that will cost one cazillioin dollars. We just lost the financial advantage.
We could go on forever with examples that this new way of funding colleges is teh right way to police colleges. Perhaps their is an elephant in the room and we are at a really at a complete stand still here with how/why/where/what for we educate students. The system is beyond tweaking, we are in for some major repairs. This economic condition will make this more immanent.
Tough questions are on the horizon about technical programs, certificates, length of time it requires to educate students, liberal education, and how we pay for education.