Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sobering Fact about Founders

For those who may regard the whole controversy of Founders College and its links to ARI to be trivial, consider the actual tuition fees:
Tuition: $22,000
Room and Board: $7,500
Registration Fees: $500
Student Health Fee: $1,500
Total Fees: $31,500
Total Fees, 4 years: $126,000

Now I realize that tuition fees for private colleges are often enormous, but why would anyone want to pay out such an exorbitant sum to an institution that won't even come clean on its obvious ARI links and which, perhaps even more critically, has no track record to speak of—none whatsoever? Why would anyone, even someone sympathetic with ARI, take such a financial risk, particularly when you consider that there exists no guarantee that a degree from Founders will have any value at all in the job market?

Addendum: Average cost for private four year college in 2004-2005: $26,489

13 comments:

Neil Parille said...

Greg,

I agree, but I think much the same could be said of any start-up college.

Michael Prescott said...

Do you think they got the idea for Founders College from this movie?

Tagline: "When a high school burnout discovers he's been rejected from every college he's applied to, he creates a fake university in order to fool his overzealous parents."

The movie came out in 2006. Founders was established in 2006.

Coincidence?

; )

Daniel Barnes said...

One would have to seriously wonder, for example, what value a psychology course based upon the work of a novelist and conducted by "the Rogue Psychologist" would have in the job market.

Anonymous said...

L. O. L. (loosely):
WHAT Psychology?

(this isn't in the first two years.)
Philosophy 307: Consciousness

This advanced course in metaphysics investigates the nature of consciousness and its relationship to existence. It includes advanced discussion on perception, concepts, free will, and a theory of personal identity.

Anonymous said...

Other than self-publishing your anti-Randian polemic, what are your credentials? Are you a university administrator with professional experience in launching new colleges? Are you in any way an expert in the field of education? In what peer-reviewed journals have you published your thoughts on education or the philosophy of education? Do you live at home with your mom? Does she pay for your internet connection?

I ask these questions because there is nothing that I see on this website that indicates why I should take your opinion seriously beyond the mere fact that you assert it.

Daniel Barnes said...

Anon:
>Other than self-publishing your anti-Randian polemic, what are your credentials?

Er, speaking personally, none whatsoever. You need to have credentials to run a blog these days?Whether you take this blog seriously or not is entirely up to you.

On the other hand, send me $31,500 a year and maybe I'd go get some for ya...;-)

Anonymous said...

You have been very tough on Founders College, unjustly I believe.

If you genuinely want to know what's going on at Founders, you should watch this video of the college's opening:

http://www.founderscollege.com/openingceremonies/streamingvideos.html

Daniel Barnes said...

Anon:
>You have been very tough on Founders College, unjustly I believe.

Look, even CEO Tamara Fuller said there's been "a lot of mystery" surrounding it. And Founders College has been entirely evasive and misleading to deal with in terms of clearing it up. They refuse to answer a straight question, and what little they say flies in the face of what they do. Robert Garmong came on this blog and denied it was an "Objectivist college" and inveighed against "bizarre and irrelevant criticism of Founders, based on nothing but their own bias against Ayn Rand's ideas."

Yet, for example, our comparison of the reading list and drama course demonstrated a near perfect match with Ayn Rand's reading list, and the drama course lifted bodily from Peikoff's.

"Bizarre and irrelevant"? "Based on nothing"? Actually perfectly reasonable assumptions, with strong evidence, which Garmong's and Founders subsequent cone-of-silence response only tends to confirm.

If we have been hard on the college we are not alone. I think they have to take responsibility for for the PR mess they're in.

Daniel Barnes said...

In fact Tamara Fuller seems to be deliberately misrepresenting the situation:

Here she is on July 13th:

"She says Founders never intended to teach objectivism, and points out that only two of the college's six academics have ties to objectivist groups."

Yet in fact it was even then 3 of 6. Now it is 6 of 9.

She's not dealing from a straight deck.

Anonymous said...

Let's assume for a moment that agents of that institution would take note of this exchange. The points that seem to be emerging: the college does a disservice to itself by not identifying clearly and forthrightly the influences and orientations so evident to the most casual observers; and that in an age where so much information is so easily assembled and disseminated, the public relations aspects of this proprietary project ought to be better managed. Especially, I might add, since higher education is so heavily politicized - they haven't begun to see what that establishment will do with the openings they've allowed.

Since there's precious little discussion of this situation in other supposedly friendly forums, an old saying comes to mind: "welcome all criticism - only my enemies don't want me to succeed."

Jay said...

As someone who is considering attending Founders I have some of the same concerns. On the one hand, the educational experience sounds like a thrilling challenge by the looks of their website. In my heart I want this college to be what it claims.

But on the other hand, I wonder "What if a Founders degree has a market value on par with sandpaper in a few years?"

I'm speaking to a few students there and going to see the place in October. I guess that's really all I can do.

gregnyquist said...

Jay: "But on the other hand, I wonder 'What if a Founders degree has a market value on par with sandpaper in a few years?'"

The problem is that liberal arts degrees, in general, don't have much market value, unless they're from an Ivy League school. That is simply the kind of culture we live in--for better or worse! That is why Founders College is such a quixotic enterprise. And this would be true even if they didn't have strong ties with ARI-orientated Objectivists.

Founders is a very ill-conceived venture. College start-ups, if they're going to have any chance of succeeding, must begin as trade or business schools. At least then, the institution would have a bit more than a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding. And if it does succeed, then it can start adding liberal arts classes. Founders has started this process backwards. The institution has made some noises about a business department, but little if anything has been done in that direction.

Any student who would go there is taking a huge risk. There's no guarantee that the institution will be around long enough to get out degrees. But if so, how many of the classes will be transferable to other institutions?

Jay said...

Since commenting I've spoken to a few students there and they seem very happy with the experience.

Personally, I'm hoping to attend law school so it matters more how grad schools view my degree than the job market, if I decide to attend.

Ultimately, I'm going to go down in October and evaluate Founders first-hand.