Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Starbucks, ASU, and Pearson Scam

If you thought wow! yesterday when Starbucks announced that CoffeeCorp will fund its employees' college educations from here on out, look a little closer before you fill up your mug.  

First off, Arizona State has joined the state-run exploitation college model perfected by the University of Maryland, whereby overseas military personnel and the stateside poor pay for junk degrees while funding lavish campus health clubs and libraries that only the on-campus college crowd can take advantage of.  UMaryland's profits were $350 million annually in 2012.  

ASU hopes to be raking in $200 million a year by 2020 to make party central even more fun the youngsters who can afford to go there.  And who is managing ASU's online biz?  Who else--Pearson.  Alway Earning!

With the help of Starbucks public relations gimmick, ASU may reach its goal sooner than 2020. From MSNBC on Starbucks "free college education":

. . . Sounds great, right? Not according to Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who said she found it “incredibly problematic” that Starbucks has decided to limit its tuition assistance to a single online university.

“ASU Online is a profit venture,” said Goldrick-Rab. “And basically, these two businesses have gotten together and created a monopoly on college ventures for Starbucks employees.”
Although ASU is a public university, its online wing is definitely a revenue-generating enterprise, helping the university manage its finances in an era of declining state aid. Online courses are taught by ASU professors, but much of the technical and administrative work that goes into managing ASU Online has been handed over to a private company, Pearson.
In addition to limiting student choices, Goldrick-Rab said she believes it will leave them with a shoddier education. Recent research [follow the link] has suggested that online-only classes may leave low-income students at a disadvantage. Those are precisely the people, said Goldrick-Rab, who are mostly likely to enroll in ASU Online through the Starbucks program.

“These studies indicate that online education not only doesn’t work well for them, but can also propel them backwards,” she said. Students would also expected to become full-time students, while still working an average 20 hours per week at Starbucks. . . .

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