May 2010 Archives

Answers to Top-Ten Questions About Getting Into College

When parents and students are confused about the college-application process or how to pay for it, many go online for answers. The popular search engine Ask.com responds to 1 million questions every day and many deal with college. Here are the top-10 questions received by Ask.com about applying for college. They are ranked in order of frequency asked. If you have other answers, please chime in with a comment. 1. Is college tuition tax deductible? For 2009, you can deduct up to $4,000 of college tuition and fees paid for you, your spouse, or any other person ...


Some Colleges Pass on SAT/ACT

So, maybe there's no need for high school students to get stressed out about their SAT and ACT tests after all. According to The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, more colleges and universities are steering away from requiring applicants to submit SAT/ACT scores. Nearly 40 percent of all accredited, bachelor-degree granting schools in the county (843 in all) have test-optional policies. For a list click here. Four new institutions are announcing they will drop the testing requirement: Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania; St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont; SaintAnselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire; and Southern New ...


Helping Low-Income Students Onto Campus

Despite efforts to make college more accessible to low-income students, it's still a struggle. Check out the "5 Myths about who gets into college," by Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, in the Sunday Washington Post. It's disheartening to read the evidence that shows higher ed still has a long way to go in providing equal opportunity for all classes of students. For instance, 74 percent of students at the most selective universities come from the richest quarter of the population, and just 3 percent come from the bottom quarter. University leaders say they want socioeconomic diversity ...


Panel to Translate Research Into Policy Proposals for 12th Grade Preparedness

To be ready for college or job training after high school, what should a high school graduate know? This month, a special commission was formed to look at just what skills students should have mastered once they leave high school. The hope is that the initiative will increase awareness of the need for high school grads to be academically prepared to compete in today's economy. The new group—the National Assessment of Educational Progress High School Achievement Commission—will be led by former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and composed of public officials, educators, and business leaders. It was created ...


Debating the Value of College

With students wallowing in debt, defaulting on loans, and facing a bleak job market, some are questioning: Is college worth it? There is an interesting debate going on this past week on the topic—and one that will surely continue for some time. It started with an article Friday in The New York Times that quotes a small but influential group of economists and educators encouraging some students who are not ready or likely to be successful in college to skip it. Instead, they advocate intensive, short-term vocational and career training, through expanded high school programs and corporate apprenticeships. Part...


Paying a Portion of a Student's Tuition Is a Click Away

Do you feel for students who struggle to pay for college? Now there's an easy way to do something about it. Today, a new website debuted where you can click on the profile of a low-income student and pay anywhere from $1 to $2,500 toward his or her tuition. CO-Fund was established by an enterprising group of Brown University students led by 21-year-old Cody Simmons. Attending a large public high school in Florida, Simmons says he saw many students accepted to college who couldn't afford to go. This experience, along with his work with high-tech startups, inspired Simmons to ...


Princeton Review Backs Off From Test-Prep Claims

Maybe I was right to be skeptical of all the postcards that are flooding my mailbox with claims that SAT test-prep classes will boost my high school student's scores dramatically. On Wednesday, the Princeton Review dropped ad claims for test-score improvement through its test-preparation courses. It was a voluntary action that the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus found to be necessary and appropriate, following a challenge by Kaplan Inc., a competing test-preparation service. Kaplan complained the Princeton Review's score-improvement claims weren't based on improvement from one exam to another, but instead on the difference between ...


Worst Job Market in a Generation for New Grads

A report released today by the Economic Policy Institute paints a grim employment picture for 2010 high school and college graduates. The recession is to blame for the worst job market in a quarter of a century for young Americans, according to the report, The Class of 2010: Economic Prospects for Young Adults in the Recession by researchers Josh Bivens, Kathryn Anne Edwards, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, and Anna Turner The unemployment rate for college graduates younger than 25 grew from 5.4 percent before the recession in 2007 to an average of 9 percent over the last year. And that doesn't ...


New Trends Underscore Diversity and Demand for Education

Big changes are happening in America's cities and the changes could have a major impact on higher education. Educators and policy makers can learn a lot from a new report released on May 9 by the Brookings Institution, State of Metropolitan America: On the Front Lines of Demographic Transformation. The information is a preview, of sorts, of the 2010 U.S. Census, pulling data from the annual American Community Survey. New realities highlighted in the report included: Cities are leading the way. Large metropolitan areas on the frontlines of demographic change, growing by 10.9 percent from 2000-2009 compared to ...


AP Enrollment and Success Grows

It's AP exam time in high schools across the country. So, just who is taking Advanced Placement classes these days? Are students getting college credit? How can you help your student ace the exams? I spoke with Sue Landers, executive director of the AP program for the College Board, for some insight. More than 30 college-level courses are now offered through the College Board's Advanced Placement Program and the demand is growing. Students know that having AP classes will help them stand out in the college application process, says Landers. Educators like that AP challenges kids and prepares them for ...


More Students Defaulting on Student Loans

New numbers just released on student loan defaults reflect the tough economic times. The draft default rate on student loans rose to 7.2 percent in fiscal year 2008, up from 6.7 percent in 2007 and 5.2 percent in 2006, the U.S. Department of Education announced Sunday. Repaying student loans was toughest for borrowers who attended for-profit institutions (11.9 percent default rate). Those who attended public colleges had a default rate of 6.2 percent, and those from private colleges, 4.1 percent. Those who borrowed from bank-based programs had a higher default rate of 7.8...


Keep College Rankings in Perspective

With so many colleges to consider, it's easy to see why parents and educators rely on official rankings to help them decide. U.S. News and World Report is far better equipped than I am to sift through data from more than 1,800 colleges and universities to come up with its list of America's Best Colleges. Yet, it's important for readers to know how the list is assembled and to keep some perspective. A big factor (25%) of the U.S. News ranking is based on a reputation survey filled out by other college presidents, provosts, and admissions deans. ...


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