At Harvard they just secretly filmed lectures and identified students from their ID pics. Nothing creepy about that, eh?
Skipping class undetected for a game of ultimate Frisbee might become a thing of the past as more universities adopt mandatory-attendance policies and acquire high-tech trackers that snitch when students skip.
At Villanova University, student ID cards track attendance at some lectures. Administrators at University of Arkansas last semester began electronically monitoring the class attendance of 750 freshmen as part of a pilot program they might extend to all underclassman. And at Harvard, researchers secretly filmed classrooms to learn how many students were skipping lectures.
The moves reflect the rising financial consequence of skipping too many classes and, consequently, dropping out. More than four in 10 full-time college students fail to graduate in six years. Many are stuck with crippling student debt and no credentials to help them pay it back. Graduation rates also figure into closely watched school rankings.
As usual, they pretend concern for the students, but the real deal is they're concerned about student loans. There's something like a trillion dollars worth of outstanding student loans out there right now, because it costs a couple hundred grand to get an MA these days. Less than an MA doesn't get you squat, PhD's are better but still no guarantee.