All the things Newt Gingrich doesn’t know about college students

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich apparently doesn’t think very highly of college students, who he described as “coddled” in a recent Washington Post article.

“Students take fewer classes per semester. They take more years to get through. Why? Because they have free money,” Gingrich said. “I would tell students: ‘Get through as quick as you can. Borrow as little as you can. Have a part-time job.’ But that’s very different from the culture that has grown up in the last 20 years.”

But Post writer Karen Tumulty was quick to cite a 1995 Vanity Fair profile on Gingrich, which describes how Gingrich relied on his then-wife, adoptive father and biological father to support him financially.

Additionally, PolitiFact — a fact checking organization out of the Tampa Bay Times — investigated Gingrich’s claim about students taking longer to graduate and found he was largely inaccurate when it comes to four-year institutions.

According to PolitiFact, “the percentage of students completing degrees within four years has actually risen incrementally in recent years. Between the graduating classes of 2000 and 2006, the percentage of students graduating in four years increased by one-sixth.”

And this university also defies Gingrich’s claim about graduation rates: According to a February 2011 article in The Diamondback, the university had a six-year graduation rate of less than 65 percent in the early 1990s. But by 2004 — the last year the university made its graduation rates public — that number had jumped to 81.5 percent.

Furthermore, this state ranks among the top 10 in the nation with an overall 60 percent graduation rate.

But it’s not just Gingrich’s (misguided) view of graduation rates that gets him riled up — he also thinks college students are spoiled. In the same Washington Post article, Gingrich took shots at universities with generous accommodations — including “luxury dorms” and “lobster nights in their dining halls.”

On this campus, the only students experiencing “luxury dorms” are Oakland Hall residents (those lucky bastards…). What about Carroll Hall residents who have mice for roommates? Or last year’s Hagerstown Hall inhabitants who surrendered lounge privileges to overflow students?

And it may seem as though the 251 North whips up some five course meals every night, but for students who live on south campus, they’re stuck with, well:

It seems Gingrich is more than a little out of touch with the average University of Maryland student. Only 62 days until the Maryland primary, Newt. We can’t wait to meet you.

— Erin Egan

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