Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Many of us in the Boomer generation took the traditional route through education: graduate from high school and then off to college: maybe a two-year degree, maybe a four-year degree. But with education costs skyrocketing and the rest of life not always offering an easy path, institutions are beginning to offer realistic and creative options for eager learners to integrate their “life learning” into their college education.
Online universities, independent learning options, and assessments of education through life experience can translate into earned credits and eventually a degree. Finally, some common sense and wisdom applied to institutions of higher learning.
(S-R archives photo)
Washington State University freshman Kenneth Hummel’s death last month brought the issue of alcohol abuse on college campuses back into the spotlight. The student had a blood alcohol level of 0.40 when he died. But the weekend before Hummel died, three WSU students ended up in the hospital because of overdrinking, said Cassandra Nichols, the university’s director of counseling services. Pullman Regional Hospital has seen four patients since August whose alcohol poisoning was so severe that they “needed life support because they drank too much, and that is rare,” said Alison Weigley, community relations coordinator. “Typically we might have one, maybe two in a year”/Jody Lawrence Turner, SR. More here. (Tyler Tjomsland SR photo: Officer Ruben Harris, second from right, handcuffs a highly intoxicated man who was arrested for trespassing on private property on Nov. 10 during a patrol of College Hill in Pullman)
Question: Looking back, can you remember times in your college days when you probably drank way too much?
(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)
If you were to ask me if I believe in heaven as a place where I’ll join all the people I’ve known and lost, and with whom I can spend eternity laughing and eating potato salad at one idyllic family reunion, I’d stall for time and finally fall back on that old relationship standard, “It’s complicated.”
But if you were to ask me to believe heaven is a place where I can be reunited with all the little things I’ve lost here on earth, especially the gold and silver that has slipped through my fingers, I’d have myself sent away like King Tut, laid out in style and surrounded by approximately half the jewelry I’ve ever owned. The hope would be I could finally find the missing half.
My personal history is full of stories of the ones that got away. Starting with my school ring which I slipped off my finger and dropped into my purse. This would have been fine if I hadn’t put my purse on the top of my car and driven off. The purse, and the ring, were never seen again.
Then there was that pair of tiny diamond earrings I lost in college. I remember taking them out before I went to sleep and pinning them to a piece of college rule (naturally) notepaper. I also remember thinking I should get up and put them in my jewelry box. Unfortunately, the next time I went to put them on, I couldn’t remember where exactly I put that particular piece of paper. My roommate probably wadded it around her gum and tossed it. Or, it might have been me…
As I grew up and began to travel, the trail of lost jewelry just got longer. There was that little gold chain that broke and slipped off somewhere on Broadway in New York City. And the bracelet I left behind in Memphis. And the silver hoop that went missing in Budapest. And the pearl earring that disappeared in Tuscany. And while it wasn’t a piece of jewelry, I’m still grieving for the cashmere scarf - five feet of comfort and warmth that cost more than I’d made that week- the wind picked up and carried away while I was waiting for a bus in Reykjavik, Iceland. Really. The wind is fierce in Reykjavik, Iceland.
I’m a sceptic when it comes to pearly gates and streets of gold, but I would become a willing believer in the idea of an accessory afterlife. Until, of course, I misplaced my halo. It would be all downhill from there.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Is not being able to remember the name of your first college dorm. (Yes, I realize not everyone went to college.)
Eventually I came up with it: Adams Hall. I suspect 25 percent of all who went to (or, in my case, started) school in New England spent time living in an Adams Hall.
I remember that the Dorm Council elections featured a full slate of candidates from the Party Party. At the head of that ticket was a guy named Bass. The upperclassmen in my four-room suite enjoyed tacking on “hole” when referring to him.
Anyway, I brought this up because last night I thought of either a fortune-cookie game or a “determine your porn star moniker” exercise that somehow involved dorm names. But now I've forgotten how it was supposed to work.
Good morning, Netizens…
Back when I attended college, wise students could economically survive obtaining a four or eight year college degree, and if they were truly astute, with little debt left over when they set forth into the job market to find employment. Modern-day kids, unfortunately, face megatons of debt in order to accomplish that same goal, and even worse, the job market is not robust enough for them to find gainful, meaningful employment in some cases.
Cartoonist David Horsey depicts one of those scenarios this morning, one that I am reasonably certain are taking place every day. If you stroll into a fast food restaurant, you are apt to encounter everything from college graduates to septuagenarians for whom retirement consists of flipping burgers for a secondary income after Social Insecurity.
What is truly disheartening is the number of students who actually attain advanced college degrees are steadily on the decrease, but at the current prices, who can afford a college degree? Of course, your results may differ…
Arkansas ended Washington State’s season Monday night at Baum Stadium, defeating the Cougars 7-2 in the winner-take-all championship game of the Fayetteville Regional. Click here for our story out of Fayetteville.
We are quickly approaching summer, and with it, college tours and/or visits. Incoming juniors might just be looking at colleges they are interested in, or even just looking at colleges in cities they are visiting anyway. Incoming seniors have probably narrowed it down, and are visiting colleges they are planning to apply to. As College Confidential says,
Consider the advantage of visiting schools over the summer. If your senior-to-be has a list of, say, five or six candidate schools, a summer visit might help him or her refine the list to three or four before the new school year begins. College campuses are always lovely during the summer.
Are you planning to visit any colleges over the summer? Have any seniors already visited colleges? Any tips?
Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton, this morning introduced HB 2344, which would do away with the existing 7 percent limit on tuition increases at the state’s four-year colleges.
Under the bill, lawmakers would set tuition levels every two years when they write the budget.
Haigh suggests that higher tuition is better than the $700 million in higher ed budget cuts proposed in the House budget. College officials have said that that would mean thousands of layoffs and would force many students to stay in school for a semester or a year more in order to get into classes needed to graduate.
“We cannot afford to choose between quality and access,” she said in a statement. “The demand for higher education is higher than ever, and the need for a highly educated workforce is growing. We are not doing right by students when we close the door to a college dream, and we are not doing right by our state when we cut the flow of educated workers into our workforce.”
(Side note: Committee staffer Debbie Driver’s bill report, by the way, has an excellent breakdown of tuition increase limits over the past 8 years in Washington. The short form: they’ve fluctuated wildly, from 3.6 percent (2000-2001) to 16 percent for the biggest schools during the last state budget crisis in 2002-2003.)
As if in response, the Economic Opportunity Institute also happened to issue this policy brief this morning. Written by Gabriel Nishimura, it blasts lawmakers idea of a high-tuition, high-financial-aid model for the state’s colleges. Among the findings:
-sticker shock from high tuition drives away low-income and minority students,
-top students are more likely to go to private colleges instead,
-quality drops as schools shift around money to try to compensate for the high tuition costs,
-and the financial aid is heavy on loans that students are saddled with upon graduation.
There’s a lot of good data in the report. Among the facts cited: the average University of Washington undergraduate today walks away with a degree and $16,481 in debt.
In tomorrow’s paper:
OLYMPIA _ Emotions ran high Wednesday, as state lawmakers discussed allowing illegal immigrant students – many of them brought to this country as young children – to qualify for millions of dollars in state college grants.
“As I look into their eyes and their hope for the future, I say let’s not draw a line around them,” said Rep. Dave Quall, D-Mount Vernon, who’s proposed House Bill 1706.
The proposal faces heated objections, however, from citizens unhappy about illegal immigration.
“Please turn off the bird feeder,” said Yakima valley resident Robert West. “The pie is only so big…I wonder what you’re going to tell those students who are U.S. students: `I’m sorry, but we gave your money to others who are here illegally.’”
One after another Wednesday, high school and college students, some without immigration papers, urged lawmakers to expand eligibility for state “need grants.” The grants are available to state residents whose families live on 70 percent or less of median income. Last year, some 72,000 students qualified for $182 million in help.
“We’re here and we’re ready to do something for this country. We love this country,” said Luis Ortega, a university student who said he’s maintaining a 3.5 grade point average.
“We are not asking for a free pass,” he said. “I believe in hard work. All I’m asking for is the opportunity to share the American dream.”
Over and over, the students described watching their parents toiling to make things better for their families. College is the ticket to a better future, they said.
“These are the doctors, the engineers, the teachers,” one woman told lawmakers, indicating rows