Monday, November 13, 2006

Scale diseconomies 

After reading an article on how much is spent tutoring athletes, Stephen Karlson wonders what we could do for student-non-athletes. Here's the line that impresses me most from the article:
Mr. McFoy [a student-athlete at USC] said his academic career had not been without incident. Once or twice, he said, he was fined $10, which was taken from his athletic stipend, for missing an appointment with a tutor.
I KNOW I can get Littlest to study if I charged her a buck for each missing of the books. (Probably even less, but she's never been a problem that way.) But take $10 in beer money out of your average SCSU student for missing reading their assignments? They'd all have 3.7 GPAs.

But the bigger issue, as Stephen points out, is that yo u can't duplicate this on a larger scale. SCSU tries now by building a first-year experience program, which keeps students in smaller classes tracking together and has outside-class experiences planned. That's great for some students, but scale it up to 2000 entering freshmen? And what to do about the increasing number of students who transfer from a two-year school?