June 2010 Archives

Too often, high school grads just aren't academically prepared for college. The readiness gap is not only costly to students, families, institutions, and taxpayers, it is also a tremendous obstacle to increasing the nation's college-attainment levels. Beyond the Rhetoric: Improving College Readiness Through Coherent State Policy, a special report just released by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and the Southern Regional Education Board, addresses the state policy dimensions of college readiness and offers recommendations to governors, legislators, and state education leaders. "Increasingly, it appears that states or postsecondary institutions may be enrolling students under false pretenses," ...


College does matter. That is if you want a good job in the future. A new report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce finds that about 63 percent of the jobs created by 2018 will require workers with at least some college education. About one-third will require individuals with a bachelor's degree or higher. Why the boom in demand for more educated workers? The fastest-growing industries are information services, professional and business services, financial services, private education, health care, and government and public education. Each of these industries has workforces dominated—75 to 90 percent—by workers...


This fall, it will cost students on average 4.5 percent more to go to private, nonprofit colleges and universities, according to a survey of 500 members of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Last academic year, tuition and fees went up 4.3 percent. The 2010-11 increase is the second-lowest jump since 1972-73. Institutions will be offering an average of 6.8 percent in financial aid, the survey found. In 2009-10, aid increased by 9 percent. On average, the College Board reports that it cost $26,273 for tuition and fees at private universities and colleges in ...


Late last week, congressional negotiators reached final agreement on a financial-reform measure that includes changes affecting the student-loan industry. In a win for students, there will be greater oversight for private loans, if Congress adopts the measure. The newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would have authority for all kinds of student loans, including the growing sector of private, nonfederal loans that students who attend for-profit college often use. Also, the legislation would create a separate student-loan ombudsman to give borrowers a central place to turn for help with problems or concerns. One shortcoming: The proposed law does not require ...


U.S. senators today got an earful about the flood of taxpayer money going into for-profit colleges, questionable practices of the institutions, and problems many students face finishing school, paying back loans, and getting jobs. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing entitled: Emerging Risk? An Overview of the Federal Investment in For-Profit Education. (See complete testimony here.) This was the first in a series of hearings led by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to examine federal education spending at the for-profit institutions. "We have a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely ...


For-profit colleges are under the microscope again. This time, Democratic lawmakers are asking the Government Accounting Office to assess the quality of for-profit institutions and look at how much of their revenue is from federal funding sources, including student aid. On Monday, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee; Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.); and Reps. Timothy Bishop (D-N.Y.) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas) requested the probe by Congress' investigative arm. (See letter.) This sector is of particular interest to lawmakers as ...


The College Board offers a detailed response today accessible from its home page to the racial-bias research presented in the recent Harvard Educational Review, which I blogged about earlier today (see post)....


The controversy over the SAT possibly having a racial bias against African-American students has been reignited in the wake of a new study published in the Harvard Educational Review. The article by Maria Veronica Santelices and Mark Wilson in the Spring 2010 issue confirms research in 2003 by Roy Freedle that questions in the verbal section of the college- entrance test do function differently for black students than from whites. This may mean that the average test scores of black students lag behind their white counterpart not just because of economic disparities or school quality. The College Board, which runs ...


Some higher education groups were eager to have their say about proposed federal new rules that are expected to rein in college-recruitment practices, even before the Department of Education issues them. The tentative regulations, which are expected out tomorrow, would prohibit colleges from paying recruiters for students or engaging in misleading recruitment practices. The draft regulatory language would prevent the awarding of any bonus, commission, or incentive payment to individuals involved in admissions or financial aid at an institution of higher education. This was exactly what Congress intended when it banned incentive compensation in 1992, says Terry Hartle, senior vice ...


More students are headed to college, and a large proportion of those freshmen are minorities. A report, "Minorities and the Recession-Era College Enrollment Boom," released today by the Pew Research Center reveals the recent increase in the size of freshman classes at four-year colleges, community colleges, and trade schools has been driven largely by a sharp increase in minority-student enrollment. The analysis of new data from the U.S. Department of Education looks at the freshman classes at 6,100 institutions from the fall of 2007 to the fall of 2008. There was a 6 percent increase in enrollment—the ...


For-profit colleges are in the news today as this growing sector of higher education undergoes scrutiny. The federal government is considering new rules to increase oversight of for-profit colleges, including the possibility of cutting federal aid to schools if graduates spend more than 8 percent of their starting salaries to repay loans, The Washington Post reports. Beginning June 24, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) will hold hearings on the industry to examine federal education spending at for-profit institutions. The Career College Association is lobbying on behalf of for-profit colleges against these new proposals, according to the Associated Press. While enrollment in ...


Imagine graduating from high school and already having an associate degree. That's what more and more students are accomplishing when they leave early college high schools. These schools form partnerships with local community colleges and allow students to take college-level classes to get a head start on their careers. Take Mission Early College High School, located on El Paso Community College's Mission del Paso campus in far western Texas. This spring, more than 109 of the 115 seniors received two-year associate degrees along with their high school diplomas. (The other six are just a class or two away.) And all ...


Educators and policymakers are eager to know "what works" when it comes to helping low-income, underserved students graduate from high school and college. The College Success Foundation appears to have found some answers. The nonprofit foundation founded in 2000 in Washington state by Bob Craves and Ann Ramsey-Jenkins is a public-private partnership that provides mentoring, support, and scholarships for at-risk students in need. With programs in Washington state and the District of Columbia, the foundation has helped 11,000 students, providing some $107 million in scholarships and assistance. In its 10-year anniversary report released today, the foundation shares its success ...


Too time-strapped and daunted by the college search process to go it alone? Tired of nagging your child to decide on campus visits or study for the SAT? Looking to take some of the stress off the high school years? Enter the college consultant. For a package fee or by the hour, families can get advice for choosing the right high school courses, coming up with a list of potential colleges, preparing application packets, and navigating through financial aid. With the cost of college and competition going up, as well as the complexity of the process, the demand for consultants ...


Too many community college students are missing out on financial aid, simply because they aren't applying. A new report from the College Board and the American Association of Community Colleges shows that 58 percent of community college students who would be eligible for a federal Pell Grant applied in 2007-08 compared with 77 percent of those at four-year public institutions. It could be that tuition is lower at community colleges so students don't think they need aid. Or, community colleges are strapped for resources and find it challenging to do adequate outreach with financial aid. In any case, Pell Grant ...


As a nation, we're doing a better job at getting more kids into college. Where we could use some improvement is helping them graduate. Since 1970, college enrollment has grown nearly 35 percent. Yet completion rates have been flat, according to Complete College America, a national nonprofit working to change those figures. The organization wants to influence state policymakers to remove obstacles and redesign academic delivery to accelerate graduation rates. Today, the group is hosting a gathering in Nashville, Tenn., with representatives from 22 states to hash out ideas about how to graduate more students from college. The charter members ...


More kids are going to college, but it's much tougher for students who attend high-poverty schools. Study abroad is booming. And having a degree pays off big time in your paycheck. These are just some of the research findings in The Condition of Education 2010 report released May 27 by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The congressionally mandated report provides an annual portrait of education in the United States, including early childhood, post-secondary education, student achievement, educational outcomes, and school environments. Here are some of the highlights for those interested in higher ed issues: • About 69 percent of ...


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