TIME fraternities

Dear Wesleyan: Fraternities Should Never Be Co-Ed

Frat Party
The Sigma Pi and Phi Kappa Sigma fraternities have a waterfight on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. Gene Lester—Getty Images

Dillon Cheverere is Vice President of Media and a writer at Grandex, Inc., an Austin, TX-based media and apparel company that publishes TotalFratMove.com and TotalSororityMove.com.

How does mandating the inclusion of women in fraternities and frat culture solve the big issues? It doesn't.

Public perception says fraternities are bastions of heinous indiscretion and even crime—frat guys are drug-abusing, racist, misogynistic, alcoholic rapists. Fraternity members merely view their affiliations as means to a good time. The unfortunate reality, per usual, lies somewhere in the middle. Broad strokes are used to paint them in a terrible light, but the vast majority of fraternities in the United States are upstanding, respectable societal members. Their good deeds get buried under the dirt of the few—such as hazing deaths, or sexual assault.

Regardless of the proportion of offenders, problems within fraternity walls undeniably exist, and university administrators are forever trying to remedy them. Wesleyan University grabbed headlines this week after their administration ordered all on-campus fraternities to accept female students in order to remain in good standing with the university. Girls in fraternities: mandated.

Reasoning for this move includes terms “equity and inclusion” for all students, but reading between the lines tells us they are attempting to thwart fraternity behavior that typically grabs headlines, like the time when Wesleyan was in the news a couple years ago after its Beta Theta Pi chapter earned the moniker “Rape Factory.” All Wesleyan fraternities must “become fully co-educational over the next three years.” Failure to comply will result in disaffiliation from the university. Yet Wesleyan does have sororities. Their female students have options.

I suppose the administration’s idea of the best possible version of a fraternity involves guys and girls living together. But why? How? They don’t really say. Girls will soon sleep under the same roof as guys, they will be at the same parties, and they will soon get drunk and high with them—basically, nothing will change. The reasoning seems thin. How, exactly, does becoming co-ed help fraternities solve, or even mitigate, the bigger issues?

It won’t.

Fraternities—and sororities, for that matter—are seclusive by nature. They aim to accept like-minded people of similar interests and backgrounds. The fabric of a fraternity, as cliché as it may be, is the bond of brotherhood. The relationships forged in these houses are far from casual. These young men will live, fight, mourn, laugh, and trade sexual tales with each other. Each chapter is so much more than dues, chapter meetings, and parties. Lifelong bonds are taking place.

These organizations have been bringing guys together for over 150 years in many cases. Oh yeah, tradition is typically a pretty big deal to these guys. Irrelevant changes such as this mandated by school officials will undoubtedly be ill-received. And it will not work, because very few people will actually want it to.

Dillon Cheverere is Vice President of Media and a writer at Grandex, Inc., an Austin, TX-based media and apparel company that publishes TotalFratMove.com and TotalSororityMove.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Education

The Reason College Costs More Than You Think

The Lyceum, oldest building on the campus of the University of Mississippi on April 12, 2008 in Oxford, Mississippi.
The Lyceum, the oldest building on the campus of the University of Mississippi Wesley Hitt—Getty Images

Freshmen say they’ll finish in four years, but most will be paying tuition for five or six years

When Alex Nichols started as a freshman at the University of Mississippi, he felt sure he’d earn his bachelor’s degree in four years. Five years later, and Nichols is back on the Oxford, Miss. campus for what he hopes is truly his final semester.

“There are a lot more students staying another semester or another year than I thought there would be when I got here,” Nichols says. “I meet people once a week who say, ‘Yes, I’m a second-year senior,’ or, ‘I’ve been here for five years.’”

They’re likely as surprised as Nichols still to be toiling away in school.

Nearly nine out of 10 freshmen think they’ll earn their bachelor’s degrees within the traditional four years, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. But the U.S. Department of Education reports that fewer than half that many actually will. And about 45 percent won’t have finished even after six years.

That means the annual cost of college, a source of so much anxiety for families and students, often overlooks the enormous additional expense of the extra time it will actually take to graduate.

“It’s a huge inconvenience,” says Nichols, whose college career has been prolonged for the common reason that he changed majors and took courses he ended up not needing. His athletic scholarship — Nichols was a middle-distance runner on the cross-country team — ran out after four years. “I had to get some financial help from my parents.”

The average added cost of just one extra year at a four-year public university is $63,718 in tuition, fees, books, and living expenses, plus lost wages each of those many students could have been earning had they finished on time, according to the advocacy group Complete College America.

A separate report by the Los Angeles-based Campaign for College Opportunity finds that the average student at a California State University campus who takes six years instead of four to earn a bachelor’s degree will spend an additional $58,000 and earn $52,900 less over their lifetimes than a student who graduates on time, for a total loss of $110,900.

“The cost of college isn’t just what students and their families pay in tuition or fees,” says Michele Siqueiros, the organization’s executive director. “It’s also about time. That’s the hidden cost of a college education.”

So hidden that most families still unknowingly plan on four years for a bachelor’s degree, says Sylvia Hurtado, director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA.

Although the institute does not poll parents in its annual survey, “that high percentage of freshmen [who are confident they’ll finish in four years] is probably reflecting their parents’ expectation — ‘This is costing me a lot, so you’re going to be out in four years.’ So the students think, ‘Sure, why not?’ I don’t think the parents even initially entertain or plan for six years or some possible outcome like that.”

Yet many students almost immediately doom themselves to taking longer, since they register for fewer courses than they need to stay on track. Surveys of incoming freshmen in California and Indiana who said they expected to graduate in four years found that half signed up for fewer courses than they’d needed to meet that goal, according to a new report by the higher-education consulting firm HCM Strategists.

It’s not entirely the students’ fault.

More than half of community-college students are slowed down by having to retake subjects such as math and reading that they should have learned in high school, says Complete College America. And at some schools, budget cuts have made it difficult to register for the courses students do need to take. Two-thirds of students at one California State University campus weren’t able to get into their required courses, according to a 2010 study by the University of California’s Civil Rights Project.

Most state financial-aid programs, meanwhile, cover only four years. “They do not fund a fifth or sixth year,” says Stan Jones, president of Complete College America and a former Indiana commissioner of higher education. “And by that time the parents’ resources and the students’ resources have run out. So that fifth year is where you borrow.”

Students at the most elite colleges and universities tend not to have this problem, which means that schools with some of the highest annual tuition can turn out to be relative bargains. These schools “would have a revolt if their students had to go a fifth year,” Jones says. “But that recognition has really not hit the public sector yet, about the hidden cost of that extra year.”

Policymakers urge speeding students through remedial classes more quickly, adding more sections of required courses so students can get in when they need them, and encouraging students to take 15 credits per semester instead of the typical 12.

Change won’t come soon enough for Nichols, who is determined that it won’t take more than one extra semester to finish his degree in integrated marketing communications.

“That’s time you’re wasting,” he says, “that you could be out making money.”

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet affiliated with Teachers College, Columbia University.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 17

1. Islamic State’s sexual violence is a war crime and U.S. leaders should call it out, seek ways to track it, and hold the terrorists to account. Instead, policymakers are ignoring it.

By Aki Peritz and Tara Maller in Foreign Policy

2. When the rich get richer, states get poorer. Income inequality is eating away at state tax revenue.

By Gabriel J. Petek at Standard and Poor’s Ratings Service

3. Does big philanthropy have too much power over policy?

By Gara LaMarche in Democracy

4. An innovative program is connecting high-performing low-income students with scholarship dollars and guiding them through the daunting financial aid process.

By David Leonhardt in the Upshot

5. Can a major redesign transform Union Station into the commercial and cultural heart of Washington?

By Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Post

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 16

1. America can offset China’s rising power and Russia’s influence in Asia by strengthening its relationship with India.

By Paul J. Leaf in the National Interest

2. MIT moms challenge engineers and students to pitch ways to improve breast pumps in a ‘hackathon.’

By Katie Levingston in Boston.com

3. College is disproportionately off limits to poor and minority students. Here are some critical steps to close that gap.

By Antoinette Flores at the Center for American Progress

4. State governments should stop paying off businesses to ‘create jobs.’ The tax incentives and other giveaways are a waste.

By Richard Florida in the Los Angeles Times

5. One way the NFL can address the mishandling of domestic violence by its players: paying to rebuild our nation’s depleted support system for survivors of abuse.

By Jonathan Cohn in the New Republic

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Education

Princeton Approves Revisions to Sexual Misconduct and Assault Policy

The changes will bring the institution into full compliance with Title IX

Princeton University faculty members approved recommended revisions to the university’s policies for addressing sexual misconduct and assault on Monday, the university announced.

The changes will bring the institution into full compliance with Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination at schools that receive federal funding. Princeton is one of 76 institutions being investigated for possible violations of Title IX, which also has requirements about how educational institutions handle sexual assault claims.

One of the changes Princeton faculty approved shifts the burden of proof from the “clear and persuasive” standard, which mandates that three-quarters of evidence must indicate guilt, to the “preponderance of evidence” standard, which is less rigid. The Department of Education recommended the “preponderance” standard in a 2011 guide to how colleges could comply with Title IX.

Other changes include allowing rights to appeal a case afforded equally to both the alleged offender and the victim; allowing both sides to appoint advisers outside of the university; and the removal of students from adjudication panels, the Daily Princetonian reports.

Princeton’s Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy first recommended the revisions, which were drafted over the summer, earlier this month. The changes will be brought to the Council of the Princeton University Community for incorporation into Princeton’s rules on Sept 29.

MONEY Jobs

The 15 Highest-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

A bush plane performs take off in Alaska with Chugach Mountains in the Background.
You don't need a college degree to make this your workplace. Chris Boswell—Alamy

Not every lucrative job demands years of study. For these, a high school diploma (and some training) will do.

Conventional wisdom holds that earning a bachelor’s degree is the best path to a stable job that provides a livable income, but not every high-paying job requires a four-year college education.

In fact, 345 out of the 787 occupations listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in their 2012 to 2022 employment projections report require only a high school diploma. In 45 of the fields, the median wage is above the national median of $51,058 a year, according to an analysis by the research engine FindTheBest.

However, while many jobs don’t demand a bachelor’s degree, a number of the best-paying ones call for additional training. Elevator installers and repairers, for example, earn a median income of $76,650 a year but have to complete an apprenticeship before entering the field full-time. Commercial pilots who handle charters, rescue operations, and aerial photography flights need a license from the Federal Aviation Administration. Nuclear power reactor operators must be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

What’s more, many of the best-paid positions are growing more slowly than the average 11% growth rate for all occupations for 2012 to 2022—or even shrinking. Postal workers, for example, earn a median of $53,100 a year, but the number of mail carriers, mail sorters, and clerks is forecast to decline by 28% by 2022.

But for a handful of these professions, the outlook is healthy. That includes elevator installers and repairers, who are expected to increase their numbers by nearly 25% by 2022, and transportation inspectors and construction and building inspectors, all fields that are forecast to grow at double-digit rates.

Here are 15 professions you can enter with a high school diploma and still earn above the median U.S. income. You can use FindTheBest’s tool to sort through more jobs by projected growth, median pay, and education required.

Rank Job Category Median Annual Pay Projected Job Growth, 2012 to 2022
1 Supervisors/Managers of Police and Detectives $78,270 4.9%
2 Elevator Installers and Repairers $76,650 24.6%
3 Nuclear Power Reactor Operators $74,990 0.5%
4 Detectives and Criminal Investigators $74,300 2.0%
5 Commercial Pilots $73,280 9.4%
6 Power Distributors and Dispatchers $71,690 -0.9%
7 Supervisors/Managers of Non-Retail Sales Workers $70,060 -0.8%
8 Media and Communication Equipment Workers $68,810 -1.5%
9 Power Plant Operators $66,130 -10.8%
10 Business Operations Specialists $65,120 7.4%
11 Transportation Inspectors $63,680 11.2%
12 Electrical Power Line Installers and Repairers $63,250 8.9%
13 Subway and Streetcar Operators $62,730 6.5%
14 Petroleum, Refinery and Pump System Operators and Gaugers $61,850 -5.1%
15 Gas Plant Operators $61,140 -8.8%

 

MONEY College

21 Schools Where a Liberal Arts Degree Can Pay Off Big

140910_FF_GradsEarn100K_Carleton
Carleton College, where grads clear $118,000 on average 10 years out. Steve Skjold—Alamy

It's not just math and science programs that launch college graduates into six-figure careers, a new study finds.

Updated: Sept. 10, 2014

Good news, poets and philosophers. At nearly two dozen liberal arts colleges, graduates typically go on to earn at least $100,000 a year by the time they reach their thirties, according to a new report from the salary website PayScale.com.

At Harvey Mudd College, the top school on the list, alums earn $134,000 on average a decade out of school. To be fair, many Mudd students get degrees in math and science, but other schools in the top 10, including Carleton, Haverford and Williams, focus on the humanities.

Of course, many graduates of even the top-earning schools—especially those who choose public service jobs such as teaching—make much less. And at many of the colleges, alumni typically earn six-figure salaries only after getting a graduate degree.

But overall this new data backs up other research that has identified a long, slow—yet real—payoff to the pursuit of a liberal arts degree.

In a study published in January, the American Association of Colleges and Universities found that by their fifties, college grads who had majored in liberal arts were earning, on average, about $2,000 more per year than those who had majored in pre-professional subjects.

“It is not all gloom and doom” for liberal arts graduates, says Patrick Kelly, a co-author of the AAC&U study and a senior associate at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

How To Improve Your Earnings Potential

Kelly and his co-author, Debra Humphreys, AAC&U’s vice president for policy and public engagement, point out that as a liberal arts student you need to do three things to improve your chances of working your way up to six figures:

1. Budget time and money for graduate study. “If you expect to have reasonably high earnings, statistically speaking, you need to go to graduate school,” Kelly says. While their research didn’t identify which graduate degrees paid off the most, Kelly notes that many high-earning liberal arts majors work in the legal profession, in finance, or in business.

2. Work and intern during college. “You have to demonstrate workforce readiness to employers through means other than your schoolwork,” says Humphreys. That could include job experience, on-the-job training, or a technical certificate.

3. Spend a few years working and exploring before picking a grad program. “Don’t go to graduate school right away,” says Humphreys. “You might borrow $200,000 to go to law school and discover you hate being a lawyer.” Know what you want to do, and make sure that there are jobs in that field, before you spend time and money on more coursework.

The Liberal Arts Leaders

This new earnings report is based on surveys filled out on PayScale.com by some 1.4 million Americans over the past two years. It reflects the self-reported earnings of college graduates with at least 10 years of work experience.

The 21 liberal arts colleges below that offer the best shot at a six-figure income tend to have tough admissions standards. The easiest one to get into is Whitman College in Washington State, which accepts half of applicants. The most selective is Pomona College in California, which accepts just over one in ten.

Other elite liberal colleges that didn’t make the list because too few grads filled out PayScale surveys over the past two years, including Amherst, Bowdoin, and Earlham, likely have high-earning alums as well. In Money’s rankings of the best liberal arts colleges, based on earnings data collected by PayScale in the past three years, those colleges produce high earners. What’s more, in our rankings, we only considered the early- and mid-career earnings of those with bachelors’ degrees, not students who had gone on to graduate school.

College State Avg. earnings with a B.A. only and 10 years of work experience Avg. earnings with a graduate degree and 10 years of work experience Acceptance rate Money Value Rank
Harvey Mudd College Calif. $134,000 $138,000 19% 8
Colgate University N.Y. $127,000 $122,000 29% 28
Washington and Lee University Va. $124,000 $134,000 19% 40
Carleton College Minn. $118,000 $112,000 26% 80
Haverford College Penn. $115,000 N.A. 23% 123
Virginia Military Institute Va. $115,000 $116,000 46% 19
Williams College Mass. $111,000 $114,000 17% 15
Swarthmore College Penn. $109,000 N.A. 14% 33
Kenyon College Ohio $103,000 $108,000 36% 95
Lafayette College Penn. $103,000 $103,000 34% 29
Occidental College Calif. $102,000 $103,000 39% 286
Bucknell University Penn. $102,000 $106,000 27% 46
Union College N.Y. $101,000 $114,000 38% 167
Gettysburg College Penn. $100,000 $101,000 40% 139
College of the Holy Cross Mass. $100,000 $104,000 34% 102
Whitman College Wash. $98,000 $111,000 49% 215
Franklin & Marshall College Penn. $98,000 $110,000 39% 249
Pomona College Calif. $92,000 $107,000 13% 51
Wesleyan University Conn. $91,000 $100,000 24% 170
Davidson College N.C. $90,000 $100,000 25% 73
Skidmore College N.Y. $90,000 $100,000 42% 28
TIME

The College Transition: How to Parent When Your Child Leaves Home

College move-in
Chloe Bradley, left front, and Logan Laney, right front, help Tori Bradley, middle front, move into campus housing on Aug. 14, 2014, at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Chattanooga, Tenn. Angela Lewis Foster—AP

There has never been a more emotionally challenging time to be a college student in the United States, especially for freshmen.

College is supposed to be the best four years of a child’s life, a time with few responsibilities and maybe mom and dad footing the bill. All your kid has to do is learn and maybe hit a party or two, right?

Not exactly. Every year at the college orientation programs I run in New England, I watch parents idealize an experience that is actually filled with huge anxiety and change for teenagers on the brink of adulthood. If you want to parent effectively through the transition, take some time to understand what your child’s life is really like at school.

Launching a kid into college is about more than having the money to pay for it. Parents invest so much of their time and identities in the process that it can feel like a part time job. For many parents, the college your child ends up attending becomes a parenting grade. It’s far from easy to hear that your child is depressed, unhappy or failing, especially when many have sacrificed so much to get their kids across the finish line. Ask almost any adult, and most will say college sure beats working.

But that attitude ignores the fact that there has never been a more emotionally challenging time to be a college student in the United States, especially for freshmen. Nearly half of all college students reported feeling hopeless at least once over the past year, according to the 2013 National College Health Assessment. In 2010, a study by the University of California at Los Angeles found the highest-ever recorded levels of stress among first year students, especially women.

I run skills-building programs focused on healthy risk taking, failure resilience, and self-care for undergraduates around the country. Like any life change, college is filled with anxiety, insecurity, social misfires and the occasional crying in one’s bed at night (I wouldn’t personally know anything about that).

In a much talked about new book, Excellent Sheep, former Yale professor William Deresiewicz calls foul on a system that turns its most elite students into robotic, failure-avoidant machines, hell-bent on success but disconnected from a genuine desire to learn or contribute. “Look beneath the façade of seamless well-adjustment,” he writes, “and what you often find are toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation.” He calls for a wholesale change in how we educate young adults: more service learning and character building, less resume stuffing and wealth obsession.

If your child is the first in your family to go to college – there are about 4.5 million of them starting at universities each year — they are less likely to be academically prepared, understand the financial obligations involved or even graduate. If your child comes from the bottom quarter of income distribution, college is a place where she’s in the extreme minority: In a survey of the top 100 schools, Deresiewicz reports, only 3 percent of undergraduates came from families in the bottom quarter of the income distribution, while 75 percent were from the top quarter.

Besides, the right school still might not make a child happy and, according to new research, students aren’t even learning very much anyway. Last week, authors Richard Arum and Josipa Roska released an update of their shocking book, Academically Adrift, in which they revealed many students had “limited or no learning at school.” In a new follow-up study, the researchers found the now graduated students unable to settle on careers because of a lack of critical thinking skills.

We hate seeing our kids in pain. But trying to fast forward through a child’s struggle can have the opposite effect. “Pain and struggle build muscle,” says Julie Mencher, a psychotherapist in Northampton, MA who consults with colleges on mental health issues. “They are part of the college process. You wouldn’t want them to sail through. They won’t be prepared for life.”

Remember when they were learning to walk? They would face plant, then look right at you. If you freaked, their faces crumpled. If you said, “Oopsie, you fell! You’re okay,” and helped them up, they toddled right on. All these years later, little has changed. The right mix of empathy and optimism will teach your children how to respond to their new experiences away from home. “You have to model the ability to cope with feelings,” Mencher says. “Your reaction will influence theirs.”

Taking full advantage of all that college offers can be tough for teens facing a major life transition under pressure to perform. Perhaps we should all lower our expectations and let kids find their way. You can give them the opportunity to thrive, but when it comes to finding happiness or success, kids are really on their own. The good news is that an adolescent’s emotional roller coaster comes with one plum benefit: feelings pass and shift quickly. Last night’s despondent text can turn into tomorrow morning’s happy hello. Kids also reserve their foulest feelings for parents and most college students don’t want to get pegged a downer by their new friends. That leaves you as the receptacle for their anger and frustration.

If your kid seems happy, godspeed. But just because she rocked college last year doesn’t mean she won’t minor in heartbreak or identity crisis next semester. Be prepared. Look your kids’ struggles in the eye, and don’t blink. They’ll thank you for it – and text you more often.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 5

1. Our nation’s racial divide starts early: America’s public schools are still highly segregated.

By Reed Jordan at the Urban Institute

2. The Pentagon is getting bad advice about responsibly managing its budget and our national defense.

By Nora Bensahel in Defense One

3. “We need to step up our game to make sure that Putin’s rules do not govern the 21st century.”

By Madeleine Albright in Foreign Policy

4. Over a lifetime, and despite the high cost of tuition, a college education is still a great deal.

By Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

5. Reality television – MTV’s “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant” – triggered a plunge in the teen birthrate.

By Phil Schneider in the Aspen Journal of Ideas

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

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