October 2011 Archives

High school students applying to colleges this fall are often looking beyond the borders of their home states. More students are migrating to out-of-state schools, and colleges are eager for their fatter tuition checks. An article today in the Chronicle of Higher Education examines the trend and provides an interactive map where you can search by college or by state. Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts top the list for attracting the most out-of-state freshmen. The University of Maryland was the most popular in-state school, with 67 percent of freshmen coming from Maryland. Why are more students going out of state? ...


Today, yet another new ranking of colleges is out—this listing ordered by student choice. Parchment, an education data company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., released Parchment Top-Choice College Rankings based on actual student-enrollment decisions. The colleges were ranked based solely on the decisions of 12,300 students who were admitted to multiple colleges and chose to attend one. The students had accounts with Parchment and responded via email about where they were accepted and ultimately decided to attend. Each time a school was a student's first choice, it got points, and the totals translated into the listing. While the results...


President Obama's latest push to help student-loan borrowers includes an initiative to better inform them before they take on debt. Speaking at the University of Colorado in Denver Wednesday, Obama outlined his executive order to accelerate the income-based loan-repayment plan Congress approved last year so students would be eligible in 2012. The plan caps loan repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income and was slated to go into effect in 2014. (See the Politics K-12 blog for details.) Obama also announced a new fact sheet, "Know Before You Owe," being developed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The financial-aid shopping ...


The College Board came out with its annual trend reports that once again show the cost of college rising, but financial aid and grants cushioning the impact of the increases. Published in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions were up 8.3 percent in 2011-12 over last year, to $17,131, including room and board. The total cost of attending a private nonprofit four-year college and university was $38,589, up about 4.4 percent. Inflation rose 3.6 percent in the same period. Thanks primarily to an increase in aid from the federal government, the net price that ...


In hopes of saving Pell Grants from getting slashed by the congressional "Super Committee" charged with deficit reduction, a new lobbying effort is under way by the Student Aid Alliance, a group of 74 higher education associations, advocacy groups, and other organizations. The alliance issued a statement yesterday defending the nearly 40-year-old student-aid program as vital to the economic future of the country. So far, the statement has nearly 1,800 signatures of support. "Recent budget deals have already cut $30 billion from the student-aid programs, sacrificing some students' benefits to pay for others. States across the country are cutting ...


Don't know what to get a teenager or young adult in your life for the next holiday? You could pool your money with other friends and relatives to pay for college expenses. A new website, ShareAGift.com, allows people (or a friend or family member on their behalf ) to create gift pages for a specific purpose—to raise money for a laptop, trip, or college tuition. An email invitation can go out to friends and family, along with updates on the money contributed and reminders. The contributor pays $1, plus PayPal transaction fees. Justine Angelli is founder and chief executive...


There is a high cost to federal, state, and local governments when full-time community college students don't return for a second year. A new report by the American Institutes of Research estimates the cost of freshman dropouts over five years is $4 billion. The Hidden Cost of Community Colleges by Mark Schneider, vice president of AIR and Lu (Michelle) Yin, researcher at AIR, breaks down the financial price of those who drop out by state and institution in an interactive map here. Looking at academic years 2004-05 through 2008-09, AIR arrived at the cost figure by adding up $3 billion ...


More students are applying to an increasing number of colleges, while acceptance rates are slightly down, a report released by the National Association for College Admission Counseling today reveals. The 2011 State of College Admission by the Arlington, Va.-based education association, finds that 73 percent of colleges reported an increase in applications for fall 2010 over the previous year. Even as the number of high school graduates declines, more nontraditional students are seeking higher education, the report found. After remaining stable for three years, the average acceptance rate at four-year colleges and universities declined by 1 percentage point to ...


Although colleges and universities give most of their aid to need-based students, a growing proportion is being awarded to students based on academic achievement without regard to finances, according to a report released Tuesday. The National Center for Education Statistics examined trends in merit aid for college undergraduates from 1995-1996 and 2007-08. Here are the key findings from the report: In 2007-08, about 14 percent of undergraduates received merit aid ($4,700 on average) compared with 6 percent in 1995-96 (average of $4,000 in constant 2007 dollars). The proportion of students receiving need-based aid was larger in 2007-08 (37 ...


There is no shortage of ideas for how to improve education. But the key to making any of them work is implementation. "It's process, process, process," said C. Jackson Grayson, chairman of the American Productivity & Quality Center, at a Global Education Roundtable his organization hosted at the National Education Association in Washington today. The nonprofit based in Houston, Texas, hosted the gathering of government, education, military, business, and health-care leaders to discuss the importance of process and performance management in transforming education at all levels. Some participated by video conference from remote locations around the world. APQC was founded by ...


As the emphasis moves from college access to completion, the issue of retention is a hot topic in higher education circles. Just how do you keep students coming back after their freshman year and engaged all the way to graduation? And just whose responsibility is it—high schools, colleges, nonprofits? There are so many reasons that students drop out of college: Some are struggling academically. Others lack direction. Often, it's a matter of finances. To keep students on track, colleges and nonprofits are trying all kind of ideas. There are peer-mentoring programs, tutoring services, financial-aid guidance, and help with the ...


High school students across the country are busily wrapping up their Common Apps this month to make the first round of deadlines in a college-application season that, for many, will not end until Dec. 31. So much for the plan to do it over the summer. The reality is that there will be many late nights ahead for applicants, which means last-minute questions and the potential for errors. So I asked Scott Anderson, director of Common Application Inc. in Arlington, Va., about some of the common mistakes and FAQS that the support center at the Common Application for Undergraduate Admissions ...


The deadline of Oct. 29 is fast approaching for colleges to meet a federal requirement to have cost calculators on their websites. While designed to be a helpful way for families to comparison shop for colleges, the quality of what's been put online is mixed and not always user-friendly. The Institute for College Access & Success looked at some of the early attempts at net-price calculators in its report Adding It All Up: An Early Look at Net Price Calculators and saw room for improvement. The concept behind the mandate is to allow students to figure out what the exact cost ...


Along with polishing up essays, students applying for college might be smart to spend time reviewing their online presence and revising their social-media profiles. Admissions counselors are checking out applicants' Facebook pages. The latest survey by Kaplan Test Prep shows 24 percent say they have gone to an applicant's Facebook or other social-networking page to learn more about the person, and 20 percent have Googled him or her. Others, such as Schools.com, say as many as 70 percent of colleges use Facebook as a medium to high priority in the admissions process. Online profiles can help or hurt a ...


Despite being one of the fastest-growing minorities in the United States, the Asian American and Pacific Islander population has not been adequately researched or its needs considered in the the higher education agenda, a new report released today says. The Relevance of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in the College Completion Agenda, a publication by the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, aims to draw attention to this minority group that is expected to reach 40 million by 2050. AAPIs are diverse and include 16 subgroups: Chinese, Japanese, ...


Just what is the Occupy Wall Street thing all about? I found it hard to explain to my kids at the dinner table the other night. It's about people being angry at the system, I said. The financial system. Big corporations. Now, I can expand that to include frustration with and from higher education. The Collective Bargaining Congress and national Council of the American Association of University Professors have issued a statement expressing solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The group criticizes the growing gap between the rich and poor, rising tuition, and job uncertainty. "The dedicated students whom ...


Madena Henderson tells her story of beating the odds in Troy, N.Y., in the documentary "The Haves and the Have Nots".


In the past two decades, the percent increase in credentials awarded at community colleges has been double the percent increase in enrollment, and improved minority student performance is narrowing the achievement gap, a policy brief released Wednesday from the American Association of Community Colleges shows. "The Road Ahead: A Look at Trends in Educational Attainment at Community Colleges" by Christopher M. Mullin, a program director for policy analysis at AACC, is welcome news for a sector that has been stretched with an influx of students, dwindling resources, and perceptions of low graduation rates. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of ...


If states want to get serious about college and career readiness, they need to track student completion of college-level coursework in high school. A policy brief by Jobs for the Future, a national Boston-based nonprofit, advocates better accountability and incentives for schools to prepare students for college success. Most states provide opportunities for high school students to take college courses for credit through Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or dual enrollment, but few states have instituted reporting requirements on the progress of students who take advantage of these options, according to What Gets Measured Gets Done: Adding College Completion to K-12 ...


A website—Acceptly.com—launches today to help high school students keep organized and tap into resources needed in the college-search process. The free, online site has sections with information on academics, activities, testing, college choice, applications, and financial aid. There are tip sheets, links to resources, and space for students to input their information. Under activities, for instance, there are suggestions for how to create a brag sheet and start a high school club, as well as links to summer programs and volunteer opportunities. Acceptly also has a feature that allows users to post questions and a college-preparation...


The conventional wisdom is that the hardest transition in college is freshman year—adjusting to a new campus, ramped-up academics, and the social scene. But now, there is a new concern dubbed the "the sophomore slump," and efforts are emerging to keep second-year students engaged and on track. Some research suggests that 20 percent to 25 percent of second-year students experience dissatisfaction or disillusionment, often linked to feeling less support and attention from the school compared with their freshman year, according to Inside Higher Education's piece last week, "Dump the Slump." Some colleges are developing programs especially for sophomores to reignite...


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