Last Tuesday marked the inaugural meeting of the new NASFAA Readers Club, during which a small group of members joined to discuss issues and ideas presented in "The College Dropout Scandal" by David Kirp.
The key theme that came up throughout various conversations about the book centered around appreciation for Kirk's assessment of issues and examples of real-life solutions and frustration for a perceived gap between how easy his solutions sounded in the book versus the difficulty of implementing real change in reality. Kirk's examples of institutions always involved a “champion” who made the task of bringing about change their primary focus and worked toward it relentlessly, and there was a consensus that actually finding or being said champion was harder than his examples suggested.
A key line from one of the participants that resonated with many was: "We are the first ones blamed [when the institution faces problems], but the last ones invited to table [to discuss solutions]." This seemed to really highlight the struggle many felt in being able to facilitate change, and there was a strong feeling of hope that they could use lessons from the book to inspire colleagues and other offices to see the value in everyone working together.
The discussion wrapped up with ideas for how to spark conversations, and many noted they planned to ask their colleagues to read the book. There was a particular focus on the desire to break down institutional silos and get financial aid offices more involved in business planning.
Those who participated expressed appreciation for being able to discuss these issues with others who had similar experiences and understand the unique situation of financial aid offices.
Interested in being part of the next discussion? Head to the Readers Club web page to submit an interest form for the next book and meeting date.
Publication Date: 12/18/2019