$336 million up for grabs, is it yours?

According to the L.A. Times, $336 million could be yours! Wait, seriously though. The hefty Powerball jackpot was recently won in none other than the tiny great state of Rhode Island, and (even after taxes) will amount to the largest lump sum payment in Powerball history. There’s only one problem: not a single Rhode Islander has yet stepped forward to claim the cold, hard ca$h.

The winning ticket (1-10-37-52-57; Powerball number: 11) was recently purchased at a local Stop & Shop in Newport, despite the fact that the identity of the lucky buyer still remains a mystery. Interestingly enough, however, due to a Rhode Island law that makes the names of lottery winners a matter of public record, he she phe will soon be a local celebrity whether phe likes it or not.

Now, as you may know, we Bloggers are all for modesty. But when there’s more than a quarter-billion dollars at stake (yes, billion with a big ole “B”) we usually draw the line. Here’s hoping the lucky winner has an @brown.edu suffix attached to his/her email address…

Dolla’ Dolla’ Bills Y’all!

…because whoever names our buildings has really dropped the ball

People, this is an incredible opportunity.

Like, seriously.

You know how Faunce is ostensibly the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center?  Rolls off the tongue like a bad lisp.  I die a little inside every time I see that name in print.  Stephen is so ridiculously invested in making things un-fun to read that he might very well be the man to whom they handed a copy of the Adobe suite and said, “Design the ProJo website.”

The point is, people with millions of dollars are naming our buildings without realizing that built into the process is a potential for batshit insanity.  But never fear, the answer is only a few hundred dollars away.

According to Brown’s “giving page” (one can only assume we are supposed to be the Shel Silverstein of higher ed), it costs a mere $3 million to name an existing building on campus.

$3 million.

Wut.  Continue Reading

Beast op-ed says B.A. overvalued

In a recently published piece on The Daily Beast, Professor X challenges the majority of American educators, economists and employers by claiming that a bachelor’s degree isn’t valuable. You might be wondering who Professor X is, besides a nerdy writer fulfilling his childhood dream of growing up to be a wheelchair-bound, British, mind-reading mutant. Well, he’s actually a community/private college professor (and college degree holder) slash author who wrote a book about his accidental foray into academia and has since become a critic of widespread university education. This most recent piece frames the college premium as an “artificial construct” and goes on to stress how little effect a B.A. has on the skills of employees who earn more than their high school-educated counterparts. Read more after the jump. Continue Reading

Berkeley, je t’aime?

Why are French academics saying au revoir to the Sorbonne?

Rumblings within the French academic system are nothing new. Ditto prominent French intellectuals coming to the United States to teach.

But as a recent New York Times article discussed, academics now make up a disproportionate amount of French migrants to the United States, leaving France worrying about “brain drain.” Apparently shocked that anyone would ever want to leave a land known for valuing its intellectuals (not to mention the food), the NYT’s Room for Debate has helpfully surveyed scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, asking them about possible causes for the trend. Unsurprisingly, most point to money: American universities simply pay better (where do you think all that tuition goes, anyway?)

Still, the whole section is worth a read for some interesting musings about academic life in both countries, even if we’re still confused about what the author of French Women Don’t Get Fat is supposed to contribute to the discussion. Maybe she brought the champagne?

Northeastern grad’s loan repayment plan? You.

Look familiar?

Kelli Space graduated from Northwestern in 2009 and landed a job on Wall Street, but even the money she saved by moving back in with her parents isn’t enough to offset the $1600 a month she’s slated to start paying Sallie Mae next fall. So she’s taking a leaf out of the Wall St. playbook and asking America to help her out by sending paypal donations to her website, twohundredthou.com.

How did Space get herself into $200K worth of debt? She blames herself for choosing such an expensive school and for failing to apply for enough scholarships but also points a finger at the student loan industry as a whole, which has been criticized for encouraging students to take on too much debt. On her website, Space writes:

This website was about putting it out there that I made a mistake, letting people know the extent of the debt burden I’m under because of it — that I’m not the only one in this position — and asking for help if anyone was so inclined to give it. If not, absolutely fine. If this is what it took to address the issues of student loan practices, I’m happy to have helped get the dialogue going, as obviously I’m an extreme case.

Whatever its faults, Space’s strategy seems to be working. Since the HuffPo featured her site last week, Space has raised over $6,000.

Only $193,716.94 to go.

We (don’t) need money!

Gawker, a media news blog, published a post yesterday by blogger Hamilton Nolan about how Ivy League schools are “the world’s worst charity.” Citing a recent $100 million dollar donation by Henry Kravis to the Columbia University Business School, Nolan argues that the large sums of money that go towards augmenting the already ginormous endowments of schools like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and…er…Brown could be put to better use.   Continue Reading