• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

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Friday Fragments

FAFSA, debt relief, comic relief.

October 19, 2018
 
 

I felt a little guilty about the post earlier this week about the EFC calculation on the FAFSA, but judging by the emails it generated, it struck a nerve.

An industry that forces so many of its customers into material deprivation can’t last.  My fearless prediction is that the next recession will cause an industry bloodbath.

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Speaking of terrible policies, 99 percent of the people who applied for Public Service Loan Forgiveness were denied.

It’s horrifying. In the community college world, we have many younger faculty with significant student loan burdens who have been planning on loan forgiveness as a part of being able to have families and move forward with their lives.  To get the rug yanked out from under them after many years is appalling.

Yes, glitches happen. I’ve been in management long enough to know that no system is seamless.  But a 99 percent fail rate is not a glitch. It’s a feature.

I understand that different administrations have different priorities.  For an administration that’s opposed, I could see closing it to new enrollees. But cutting people off at the knees after years of material sacrifices made with the warranted expectation of the benefit is not okay at all.

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Finally, two excellent bits of comic relief caught my eye this week. The first, from McSweeney’s, is the college application essay every student secretly wants to write.

The second is a tweet from Gritty, the new Philadelphia Flyers mascot who looks like what would result if Sweetums and Animal had a baby. It’s in response to a dismissive tweet from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I don’t even want to admit how long I laughed at that.

Apparently, Gritty has also taken on an unintended second life as an icon of Antifa.  Twitter is chockablock with memes of Gritty beheading, punching, or otherwise visiting violence upon Pepe the Frog.  As mascots go, Gritty is a bit of a badass.

I don’t pretend to understand it, and the underlying politics can be harrowing, but there’s a basic silliness to Gritty that wins me over.  And if there’s a better adjective for the city of Philadelphia, I haven’t seen it. You do you, Gritty.
 

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