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Monday, November 24, 2014 | Last updated: 5:12am

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In response to “ASU’s new model enables UA to become more elite” (by Dan Desrochers, Nov. 29):

Good article. Yet one mistake is your idea that, by allowing more admissions, ASU is devaluing degrees. They are not; students still must work towards their degrees. ASU is not handing them out. But they are arguably devaluing the prestige of the school and overpopulating classes.

But it’s also a far larger school, so maybe they can pull it off. But I do agree that UA has an opportunity to increase its prestige.

— Michael Carolin

“While ASU is doing great things in increasing the accessibility of a degree, it is also devaluing it. If just about anyone can get a degree from ASU, what does that degree even mean?”

This, exactly this. It will produce a watered down degree that becomes essentially the same as community college. Community college is there to be the affordable and accessible method that allows you to (hopefully) transition into a university level education. If you’re going to make a degree from a university essentially the same as community college by accepting everyone and lowering its quality, what’s the point?

Granted, as the article states it allows UA to take a sort of elite position which is nice, but universities should have some prestige associated with them in the first place. There should be a good reason why they are more expensive. What needs to be focused on is not the acceptance rates, but the scholarship award amounts that will allow more students to get a better education for cheap. There are several gifted low-income students, make things easier for them and keep the curriculum the same.

—CChocobo

There are a few problems with your assessment. For one, while U.S. News and World Report ranks ASU at 139 and UofA at 120, the ARWU (which is considered to be a more accurate system because it takes actual body of work into consideration) ranks UofA and ASU 45 and 46, respectively, in the nation…meaning that size has nothing to do with quality since the body of work behind them are of high regard.

Even in U.S. News rankings, ASU is consistently ranked in the Top 5 for “Up and Coming” National Universities while the UofA is not; therefore, ASU’s degrees are actually gaining in valuation and not being watered down.

To complicate matters, ASU’s individual schools and colleges (business, law, education, nursing, engineering, arts, etc) are ranked higher (in some cases, much higher) than the respective schools/colleges at the UofA.

While funding and some large class sizes might be an issue, most of the criticism comes from the large auditorium style classes taught at all research universities (even the Ivy Leagues). ASU students are known for complaining about class size, but do not take into consideration that large lecture halls and classrooms are often standard and that no class can be over-enrolled which makes the “overcrowding” argument moot.

Research universities require individuals to take advantage of assets and each student must to put in work to be succcessful. And because of that, both ASU and UofA have high dropout rates.

Those high drop out rates are due in large part to high acceptance rates for both schools. UofA has a 75.4% acceptance rate for all applicants while ASU’s is 88.6%, neither of which are elite. The reason for that is that the Arizona Board of Regents sets the admission standards for all Arizona’s public universities and all three (ASU, UofA, and NAU) have the same criteria for admission.

The UofA, or any of the other state universities, cannot raise their admissions standards because of state law. The lowest acceptance rate any of the universities would be able to achieve is around 65%…which is the acceptance rate at NAU.

—fjc2012


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