Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hard times

We managed to have a rep from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in class today, speaking about their school.

While the school has a fairly decent academic record and their technical programs are respected, it is their financial aid program that prompted me to invite them.

Thad Stevens is a state owned college, but has some interesting features. Chief among them is the 'Founders Grant' which is available to any student who also qualifies for a federal Pell grant. The Founders Grant is a full 100% scholarship. It's not limited to a certain number of students, but is automatic to anyone who qualifies. Right now, about 47% of their students are riding a free Founders Grant scholarship.

Stevens has housing on campus, and food plans. Pell grants will pay 100% of both. Couple that with a Founders Grant, and students are getting a free two year associates degree, while living and eating on campus for free as well.

A two year associates degree with a technical major and a business minor, two years housing and food, and the school has a 97% placement rate in industry jobs. Free.

I made a few comments during the presentation, as I am acquainted with the school. I wouldn't have asked them in if it was a hack shop. When the man was done, I had some thoughts to share with my class.

I spoke about the state of our economy, and our industry. I asked how many knew someone who had been laid off (80% hands up). I asked how many had solid plans for after graduation (15% hands up). I asked how many were looking for jobs now (60% hands up). I asked how many had a free education lined up (1 hand up, army bound).

I pointed out..... if they were students, their parents medical insurance would cover them another few years. I pointed out...... a free two year degree, free room, free board, and the economy would possibly be turned around when they walk out with that degree. I pointed out.... that most of them would qualify for all this just by applying, but only if they hurried. I told them I know the instructors at that school, and they are not stupid.

I know I didn't reach them all, but I saw at least a dozen applications get tucked away, and two were filled out by the days end and headed to the counselors office for transcripts.

I tried my best for them, because I know what I normally teach won't be enough this year. It's getting too hard out there, too cold, and too dark. If I can't teach them what they need to make a living, then I needed to give them another choice. Another way to ride out the coming storm.


Old NFO said...

Sigh... you can lean a horse to water...

Earl said...

Good job, it is good there are real teachers that care and can reach those that will learn. Thanks

ksr said...

Good job. I didn't know all that... thanks!