Author Topic: college perks?  (Read 8095 times)

yorkville

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college perks?
« on: February 24, 2014, 08:47:36 AM »
Just saw this silly article, 10 colleges with best perks.

http://www.hercampus.com/high-school/preparing-college/10-colleges-best-perks

With the exception of free tixs to nyc museums and outdoor recreation stuff, the rest (lavish recreation center, laptop/ipad, steakhouse, laundry) are paid by the students through school tuition.

 

MrsPete

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 05:34:42 PM »
I teach high school seniors, so I hear them discuss and compare these perks all the time.  Free laundry is a fairly common item.  My daughter's school is getting it next year. 

Perks at my daughter's school:

- Free textbooks.  The students sign for them, and as long as they return them on time, no charge.
- Rec center includes great workout gear, pool, and rock climbing equipment.
- Over-the-counter drugs for super-low prices (think a dollar for a full-sized bottle of Robitussin). 
- Bus that takes college students all over town. 
- Steak dinners twice a month; I don't think this is actually a perk since I'm paying for the meal plan, but since it was a perk mentioned in the article, I'll throw it in. 

markstache

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 05:41:13 PM »
I'd love to be a chancellor/president/bigwig at a university. My plan:

1. Cut my own salary in half or more.
2. Seriously downsize the administration.
3. Privatize all the dorms, meal plans, rec centers, etc. Students could decide if they want these features.
4. Drastically cut tuition (easy given steps 1 to 3) and/or increase the size of need based grants.
5. If there's money left over, hire more faculty.


MgoSam

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2014, 11:55:59 PM »
I can't help but think that this is what is helping contribute to the ever-increasing tuition rates. It's like an arms race.

sol

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 12:47:28 AM »
I went to college.  Lots of college.  And the things that made those years fantastic had nothing to do with laundry service or fancy swimming pools. 

GuitarStv

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 06:36:46 AM »
Some perks make a lot of sense.

A great rec center is something that every university should offer.  Exercise and sports are the best/healthiest way to blow off steam and relax.  It might also help keep people from being such giant fatasses.  At our university we had free bus passes anywhere in town as well . . . which meant that very few people bothered to own/bring a car to university.  Again, I think this is money well spent.  The university has to worry less about parking spaces and security for vehicles, and the students get used to taking public transit and walking/biking to get around.  Both of these 'perks' seemed to be great ideas to me.

avonlea

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 11:27:26 AM »
Some perks make a lot of sense.

A great rec center is something that every university should offer.  Exercise and sports are the best/healthiest way to blow off steam and relax.  It might also help keep people from being such giant fatasses.  At our university we had free bus passes anywhere in town as well . . . which meant that very few people bothered to own/bring a car to university. Again, I think this is money well spent.  The university has to worry less about parking spaces and security for vehicles, and the students get used to taking public transit and walking/biking to get around.  Both of these 'perks' seemed to be great ideas to me.

We have something similar here, but it isn't exactly free.  All students pay a transportation fee; it's clumped together with other mandatory fees.  It's still a great perk for the students, and I'm pretty sure it works out to be cheaper than buying a bus pass each month.

grantmeaname

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 07:28:30 PM »
I'd love to be a chancellor/president/bigwig at a university. My plan:

1. Cut my own salary in half or more.
2. Seriously downsize the administration.
3. Privatize all the dorms, meal plans, rec centers, etc. Students could decide if they want these features.
4. Drastically cut tuition (easy given steps 1 to 3) and/or increase the size of need based grants.
5. If there's money left over, hire more faculty.
Which dramatic number of university features and services would you stop providing in order to cut the administrative headcount? Would you just tell the faculty to fix their own computers and keep their own payroll records or they could quit, and that if the students wanted to commit suicide or assault their roommates they should just go ahead and do it? Where is this slack that everyone imagines is in university budgets?

MrsPete

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 06:59:40 AM »
3. Privatize all the dorms, meal plans, rec centers, etc. Students could decide if they want these features.
Given that so many of the students -- probably a majority at most schools -- choose to leave the dorms to live in apartments, I think the desire for these features is pretty high.  Students want larger rooms, access to kitchens and washers/dryers, pools and work out rooms.  Thing is, they're not all smart enough to figure out whether they can afford to pay for these nice things.

Makes me think of a tiny, non-elite private school in our area.  A friend of my daughter's absolutely fell in love with the place because of the perks.  They offer some pretty ridiculous things:  Granite countertops in the kitchens on every dorm floor, walk-in closets, ipads and X-boxes that can be checked out from the dorm's front desk, textbooks included in the cost of tuition, and more.  She was super excited about these wonderful things!  Though the school costs 3Xs as much as our typical state school, she was sure it was well worth it . . . 'til I pointed out that with the cost difference of just one semester, she could buy all the equipment she was looking forward to borrowing short-term.  She was smart enough to see the truth.

Makes me remember the two things we could check out from the dorm lobby when I was in college:  A broom or a vacuum cleaner. 

GuitarStv

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 07:35:57 AM »
I lived in residence for three years. . . and don't know if it was possible to check a vacuum cleaner from the dorm.  Not sure what this says about my hygiene standards.

galliver

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2014, 09:41:51 AM »
The school that gives out laptops actually sounds pretty clever...I don't know if it saves them money, but I bet it saves headaches to have everyone have the same computer, with the same software that they don't have to buy student versions of, but have with them 24/7 (vs being tied to computer lab locations/hours). And Thinkpads are a pretty good value, as computers go.  I don't know about replacing them every 2 years or having them technically owned by the school the whole time. Seems like it's inviting a 'tragedy of the commons' type situation. Maybe that's why they need to upgrade them after 2 years.

Better strategy, anyway, than the iPads my former school started giving out right after I graduated. I guess the idea was that professors could develop apps for their classes? But no one did that. I'm sure the more studious use them for reading and notetaking, while the rest play AngryBirds in class, or whatever the latest game sensation is.

jba302

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 10:51:25 AM »
My college had free transportation and free condoms. Both were appreciated by all.

yyc-phil

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2014, 12:05:25 PM »
The only "perk" my university had was that it was located right in the middle of downtown Montreal. No gyms, no freebies, no dorms, etc. But incredible architecture, public libraries, lively streets with bars and pubs and cheap eateries, basically everything you need to enjoy those last years of freedom before real life kicks in. In those days, that particular university was considered the poor man's way to get an education. Turned out it ranked over the years among the best in Canada in areas such as international law, business and accounting, environmental sciences, arts and social sciences, etc.. Most of my classmates in the early late 70s and early 80s, myself included, had no problem competing for jobs with graduates from other prestigious universities.

Nords

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2014, 09:57:51 AM »
3. Privatize all the dorms, meal plans, rec centers, etc. Students could decide if they want these features.
Given that so many of the students -- probably a majority at most schools -- choose to leave the dorms to live in apartments, I think the desire for these features is pretty high.  Students want larger rooms, access to kitchens and washers/dryers, pools and work out rooms.  Thing is, they're not all smart enough to figure out whether they can afford to pay for these nice things.
Maybe they just want to live someplace without loud music, out-of-control parties, marijuana/tobacco smoke, 2 AM fire alarm pranks, and people projectile-vomiting off the balconies.  Someplace where the word "maintenance" means "staff who come to your residence to fix broken stuff".  Someplace where you don't have to move out of the room every nine months for summer programs or overhauls.

Our daughter decided to move off-campus when (2 AM Sunday, in the middle of winter) two of her fellow dorm residents wanted to get rid of a gallon of gasoline.  They poured it into what they thought was a sewer drain but what was actually the ventilation intake plenum for the entire dorm building. 

As people woke up from the smell of gas permeating their rooms, students were worried that pulling a fire alarm would create a spark at any of the bell boxes.  It took nearly 30 minutes to get the fire department on the scene, and then it took hours to figure out how to clear the vapors.

Her cost of living off-campus has been 10%-20% lower than the cost of living on campus.

GuitarStv

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 10:05:24 AM »
Maybe they just want to live someplace without loud music, out-of-control parties, marijuana/tobacco smoke, 2 AM fire alarm pranks, and people projectile-vomiting off the balconies.  Someplace where the word "maintenance" means "staff who come to your residence to fix broken stuff".  Someplace where you don't have to move out of the room every nine months for summer programs or overhauls.

Our daughter decided to move off-campus when (2 AM Sunday, in the middle of winter) two of her fellow dorm residents wanted to get rid of a gallon of gasoline.  They poured it into what they thought was a sewer drain but what was actually the ventilation intake plenum for the entire dorm building. 

As people woke up from the smell of gas permeating their rooms, students were worried that pulling a fire alarm would create a spark at any of the bell boxes.  It took nearly 30 minutes to get the fire department on the scene, and then it took hours to figure out how to clear the vapors.

Her cost of living off-campus has been 10%-20% lower than the cost of living on campus.

 . . . that's like half the fun of being in university!

Numbers Man

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2014, 10:08:34 AM »
The only perk that my university had was that they wouldn't tow your car if you paid the parking meter.

Lorin

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2014, 12:13:31 PM »
3. Privatize all the dorms, meal plans, rec centers, etc. Students could decide if they want these features.
Given that so many of the students -- probably a majority at most schools -- choose to leave the dorms to live in apartments, I think the desire for these features is pretty high.  Students want larger rooms, access to kitchens and washers/dryers, pools and work out rooms.  Thing is, they're not all smart enough to figure out whether they can afford to pay for these nice things.
Maybe they just want to live someplace without loud music, out-of-control parties, marijuana/tobacco smoke, 2 AM fire alarm pranks, and people projectile-vomiting off the balconies.  Someplace where the word "maintenance" means "staff who come to your residence to fix broken stuff".  Someplace where you don't have to move out of the room every nine months for summer programs or overhauls.

... off-campus has been 10%-20% lower than the cost of living on campus.

My undergrad university required 1st year students to live in dorms and buy a meal plan. Both were ridiculously overpriced. I think I calculated that even if I ate every single meal on grounds that year, each meal cost something like $7. Cheaper than most restaurants, sure, but way more than cooking for myself. And not nearly as tasty.

grantmeaname

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2014, 12:22:26 PM »
Maybe they just want to live someplace without loud music, out-of-control parties, marijuana/tobacco smoke, 2 AM fire alarm pranks, and people projectile-vomiting off the balconies.  Someplace where the word "maintenance" means "staff who come to your residence to fix broken stuff".  Someplace where you don't have to move out of the room every nine months for summer programs or overhauls.

Our daughter decided to move off-campus when (2 AM Sunday, in the middle of winter) two of her fellow dorm residents wanted to get rid of a gallon of gasoline.  They poured it into what they thought was a sewer drain but what was actually the ventilation intake plenum for the entire dorm building. 

As people woke up from the smell of gas permeating their rooms, students were worried that pulling a fire alarm would create a spark at any of the bell boxes.  It took nearly 30 minutes to get the fire department on the scene, and then it took hours to figure out how to clear the vapors.

Her cost of living off-campus has been 10%-20% lower than the cost of living on campus.
Your daughter's school is weird. The dorms here are so much tamer than the off-campus world in general. Though some aspects of the party life do not bug your neighbors, many do: the marijuana smoke, the loud music, the people talking on their front porch until the wee hours of the night, the litter and the bums it attracts, the vomit - there's plenty of that off campus too. Did your daughter live in a "non-student" neighborhood?

Elyse

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2014, 12:49:28 PM »
I'd love to be a chancellor/president/bigwig at a university. My plan:

1. Cut my own salary in half or more.
2. Seriously downsize the administration.
3. Privatize all the dorms, meal plans, rec centers, etc. Students could decide if they want these features.
4. Drastically cut tuition (easy given steps 1 to 3) and/or increase the size of need based grants.
5. If there's money left over, hire more faculty.
Which dramatic number of university features and services would you stop providing in order to cut the administrative headcount? Would you just tell the faculty to fix their own computers and keep their own payroll records or they could quit, and that if the students wanted to commit suicide or assault their roommates they should just go ahead and do it? Where is this slack that everyone imagines is in university budgets?

While I agree with you on the most part...

I worked for my university while in school.  There were a lot of excess spending going on because "if we don't spend it today, they'll cut our budget tomorrow!"  Rooms were remodeled for no reason other than to eat up the budget.  I was in the meetings.  There was seriously no other reason that to look like we needed the full budget.

There are several areas where the budget can be cut.  You just have to do it on a case-by-case basis.

grantmeaname

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2014, 01:01:02 PM »
I don't think massive layoffs will solve the problem that people don't feel enough commitment to the university's mission to be good stewards of its resources.

dragoncar

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2014, 03:41:44 PM »
It's silly if you look at it as a free perk.  But it's beneficial to take advantage of these perks to the extent that you are being subsidized by the rest of the student body (for example, by heavily using transit when others drive, or using free recreation/entertainment when others would rather spend money)

galliver

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2014, 04:32:56 PM »
The only perk that my university had was that they wouldn't tow your car if you paid the parking meter.

You had a CAR? In COLLEGE!?

(For those who may not recognize it: I'm totally joking. It's legitimate...at some schools.)

Nords

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2014, 07:28:00 PM »
Maybe they just want to live someplace without loud music, out-of-control parties, marijuana/tobacco smoke, 2 AM fire alarm pranks, and people projectile-vomiting off the balconies.  Someplace where the word "maintenance" means "staff who come to your residence to fix broken stuff".  Someplace where you don't have to move out of the room every nine months for summer programs or overhauls.

Our daughter decided to move off-campus when (2 AM Sunday, in the middle of winter) two of her fellow dorm residents wanted to get rid of a gallon of gasoline.  They poured it into what they thought was a sewer drain but what was actually the ventilation intake plenum for the entire dorm building. 

As people woke up from the smell of gas permeating their rooms, students were worried that pulling a fire alarm would create a spark at any of the bell boxes.  It took nearly 30 minutes to get the fire department on the scene, and then it took hours to figure out how to clear the vapors.

Her cost of living off-campus has been 10%-20% lower than the cost of living on campus.
Your daughter's school is weird. The dorms here are so much tamer than the off-campus world in general. Though some aspects of the party life do not bug your neighbors, many do: the marijuana smoke, the loud music, the people talking on their front porch until the wee hours of the night, the litter and the bums it attracts, the vomit - there's plenty of that off campus too. Did your daughter live in a "non-student" neighborhood?
I think most of the Rice University students would be proud of that characterization!

She's in a large apartment complex a couple miles from the campus, and the building is owned/managed by TIAA (of the TIAA-CREF company).  We've stayed at a one-bedroom unit there, and it's mostly college students or young professionals in their 20s.  A few families, not many older folks.  But it's orders of magnitude quieter than the Lovett College dorm.  A comparison of the police blotters of Rice University PD and Houston PD (along with EMTs) would probably reach the same conclusion.

Maybe the apartments are quiet because so many of the off-campus residents are partying in the Lovett College dorm.  But (as far as we know) most of her time is spent in the library or the civil engineering labs or the NROTC unit building...

dragoncar

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2014, 09:25:12 PM »
The only perk that my university had was that they wouldn't tow your car if you paid the parking meter.

You had a CAR? In COLLEGE!?

(For those who may not recognize it: I'm totally joking. It's legitimate...at some schools.)

At which schools?  I'm guessing it's only cost effective if student housing is ridiculously expensive and low cost housing is very far away... And public transit is bad?

galliver

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2014, 10:45:00 PM »
The only perk that my university had was that they wouldn't tow your car if you paid the parking meter.

You had a CAR? In COLLEGE!?

(For those who may not recognize it: I'm totally joking. It's legitimate...at some schools.)

At which schools?  I'm guessing it's only cost effective if student housing is ridiculously expensive and low cost housing is very far away... And public transit is bad?

I think it's been established that student housing is *always* expensive.

I was thinking bad public transit, either at/around the college (to grocery store, etc) or where the student goes home. There are places in this country not accessible by PT (or where it takes like 4x more time). If you're from a small town more than like 1.5 hrs away from school/any public transit options, getting picked up when you go home doesn't make sense. My bf's sister is in this situation.

Rural

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2014, 10:40:51 PM »
The only perk that my university had was that they wouldn't tow your car if you paid the parking meter.

You had a CAR? In COLLEGE!?

(For those who may not recognize it: I'm totally joking. It's legitimate...at some schools.)

At which schools?  I'm guessing it's only cost effective if student housing is ridiculously expensive and low cost housing is very far away... And public transit is bad?

Commuter schools without student housing in areas without pubic transit. The first part of that, at least, describes  the majority of technical and community colleges in the country, and I would not be surprised if the latter did, too.

My own institution (neither a technical nor a community college) has enough housing for less than 1% of the student body and no public transit available whatsoever.

Numbers Man

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Re: college perks?
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2014, 02:16:05 PM »
The only perk that my university had was that they wouldn't tow your car if you paid the parking meter.

You had a CAR? In COLLEGE!?

(For those who may not recognize it: I'm totally joking. It's legitimate...at some schools.)

At which schools?  I'm guessing it's only cost effective if student housing is ridiculously expensive and low cost housing is very far away... And public transit is bad?

Commuter schools without student housing in areas without pubic transit. The first part of that, at least, describes  the majority of technical and community colleges in the country, and I would not be surprised if the latter did, too.

My own institution (neither a technical nor a community college) has enough housing for less than 1% of the student body and no public transit available whatsoever.

Yes - I had a car in college and I also lived on my own (moved out of the house after my 18th birthday) and worked and paid for college. I rented a trailer off campus.

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