November 2011 Archives

Call for Colleges to Contain Costs Takes Center Stage

Talk of containing the soaring cost of college took center stage yesterday and today in a speech by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and in a hearing on Capitol Hill. Yesterday, Duncan spoke at the Federal Student Aid conference in Las Vegas and challenged colleges to do more to be innovative and efficient in the way they operate. In his speech, Duncan said containing the costs of college and student debt is some of the most controversial and thankless work in all of higher education. "There are no ribbon-cutting ceremonies and named chairs for college leaders who increase ...


Weighing the Option of Applying to College Early Decision II

Decisions, decisions. Many high school seniors are inundated with them right now. With transcript requests due this week, students need to finalize their list of colleges. For those with a strong favorite, there is the dilemma about whether to apply Early Decision II. A quick review of the terms: Early Decision I - Students apply to one top-choice school in the fall and, if chosen, enter into a binding agreement to attend. Early Action - Students send in their applications ahead of the normal deadline, and colleges let them know early if they are accepted, but the student does not ...


Report Sheds Light on Factors Influencing College Graduation

A report out today looks at just who is getting a college degree, offering schools insight into the factors that lead to success and ways to better serve students. Completing College: Assessing Graduation Rates at Four-Year Institutions by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests looking beyond raw graduation rates as a measure of quality and take into account the types of students that enroll in various institutions. For instance, students at private schools have better graduation rates compared with those at public schools, but they also tend to be more academically prepared. First-generation ...


Another College-Readiness Angle: Helping Teens Manage Sleep

As I bumped into friends with college-age kids home over the long weekend, I found myself asking them if their children were exhausted. Many were. Others might have been tired, but still found time to go out with their high school friends to the wee hours of the morning much to their parents' chagrin. I remember collapsing over breaks at home, sleep deprived from late nights of studying—and having fun. Especially as a freshman, it was an adjustment to set my own schedule without anyone reminding me to get my rest. And, I didn't have a cellphone buzzing at all...


De-Stress Over the Holidays With Seniors and College Students

Word to the wise, parents: Your vision of the Thanksgiving holiday may be different from that of your high school senior or returning college student. While there may well be relaxing times feasting around the dinner table or watching a football game, your kids will likely have a different agenda now that they have either left the nest or are preparing to do so soon. For high school seniors, the last big round of college applications are due in just over a month so deadlines are looming. That is, perhaps, in your mind. Not necessarily theirs. If you haven't already, ...


Federal Consumer Bureau Seeking Info on Private Student Loans

Too often, college students take out private loans when federal ones have better terms. It's a problem that can cost students more in the long run and one that the government wants to address. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a Notice and Request for Information on private loans to help it prepare a report to Congress on private student lending. It is seeking information, including: Available information to shop for private student loans The role of schools in the marketplace Underwriting criteria Repayment terms and behavior Impact on choice of study and career choice Servicing and loan modification Financial ...


Community College Students Feel Unprepared From High School

Just over half of community college students in a recent survey said they felt unprepared for the rigors of college-level work. The nonprofit Pearson Foundation and Harris Interactive asked current college students this fall about their experience in an online survey, and the results illuminate the need for improved college readiness. Students felt their high school could have done more by placing a stronger emphasis on basic skills (48 percent), offering more courses (52 percent) and offering more challenging courses (48 percent). Of the recent high school graduates surveyed, 71 percent say they are working harder in community college than ...


Study Habits of College Students Revealed in New Survey

Just how much are college students hitting the books these days? The 2011 annual National Survey of Student Engagement found full-time students put in about 15 hours a week, on average. It depends on your major, however, and how much your professor pushes you. Engineering was more demanding, while business and social science majors had lighter workloads. The survey found faculty expectations for study time generally matched what students reported, but professors in some fields wanted students to study more, and students weren't always prepared for class even when they put in 20 hours. With the challenge of paying for ...


Chat Today on Improving College Readiness in High School

When young people are surveyed about the value of college, they get it. Overwhelming numbers realize that higher education is the path of the future for higher earnings and job opportunity. Studies reinforce the increasing need for a degree, the limitations of a high school diploma, and the pay boost of college, and the public agrees in polls. And as much as teenagers may grouse about tough classes in high school, many realize it's essential to be challenged if they are going to make it in college. This fall, the College Board released the findings of a survey of students ...


Half of Undergrads Benefit From Tax Credits and Deductions

It's not as direct as getting a grant check, but it's just as real when it comes to cost savings for college: education tax benefits. Nearly half of American undergraduates cut their college expenses by an average of $700 by taking advantage of tax credit or deduction, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics yesterday. Looking at students in 2007-08, the NCES estimates 47 percent either saved money through the Hope tax credit, the lifetime-learning tax credit, or the tuition and fees deduction. These savings are traced back to ...


Demand for Jobs That Require High School Diploma Declines

For all the talk of the value of a college degree, there are decent jobs for those with just a high school diploma. The problem is there are not enough of those jobs to go around, according to a report released yesterday by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. The report, Career Clusters: Forecasting Demand for High School Through College Jobs, 2008-2018, produced in collaboration with the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education, analyzes 16 career areas and compares educational requirements and pay. It ...


College Students Increasingly Opt for International Experience

It's increasingly a small world, after all, with news today of more students than ever studying outside their home countries in college. The Institute of International Education, a nonprofit organization in Washington, found a 4 percent increase in American students studying abroad in 2009-2010 over the previous year and 5 percent more international students coming to the U.S. in 2010-11 than the year before. The growth in U.S. students studying outside the country comes after a 1 percent dip in 2008-09. About 14 percent of U.S. undergraduates pursuing a bachelor's degree (230,752) participated in some kind ...


International News in Higher Education Comes to Fore This Week

It was a busy week in international higher education circles. There was the forum of leaders from the European Union and the United States and these other global headlines: The Council of Graduate Schools released data showing international student graduate school enrollment in the U.S. grew by 8 percent in 2011. That was a significant gain, after five years of flat to 4 percent increases. The surge is likely linked to the continued double-digit growth in Chinese graduate enrollment. American universities are facing increased pressure from Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom for graduate students. The American Council on ...


Europe and U.S. Share Vision and Challenge for College Goals

Common themes on college completion challenges emerge at a U.S-European Union forum that brought together about 25 education officials from Europe and the United States.


Young Adults Realize Importance of College, But Balk at Costs

A survey out today of young people ages 18 to 34 shows they embrace the value of a college education, but are frustrated with the rising cost of tuition and increased debt they take on to afford it. The nationwide, bipartisan survey was commissioned by the The Institute for College Access and Success, Demos and Young Invincibles, three national policy organizations. Young people agree (79 percent) that a college education and training are more important today than they were when their parents were growing up. Yet, 76 percent feel college has become harder to afford in the past five years, ...


Public Education Network Sets College- and Career-Ready Goal

Getting more students ready for college and careers is a job that's too big for schools to do alone, says Amanda Broun, senior vice president for the Public Education Network, a national association of local education funds (LEFs) and individuals working to advance public school reform in low-income communities. At its conference in Washington this week, the PEN membership unanimously voted to adopt a goal of increasing the numbers of college- and career-ready students by 100,000 in the next two years. This represents about a 3.5 percent increase. To meet this goal, LEFs will work in partnership with ...


Designing Policies to Encourage Early High School Graduation

There is a lot of money to be saved when high school students graduate early, so many states are offering incentives for high-achieving students who take this route. But as states craft policies, researchers at Jobs for the Future, a Boston-based national nonprofit, looked into the best way to encourage this education fast-track. Incentives for Early Graduation: How Can State Policies Encourage Students to Complete High School in Less Than Four Years? by Diane Ward and Joel Vargas notes that a growing number of states are offering financial rewards for students who graduate early from high school. Their brief suggests ...


Some Public Colleges Offer Deals to Out-of-State Students

While some public schools may be eager to get the additional revenue that comes with out-of-state students, others are actually making deals to lure them in. (See the post I wrote on Monday about how more students were looking beyond their home state for college.) U.S. News and World Report identified public colleges that have affordable tuition for out-of-state students and ones that are willing to waive fees to attract students from other parts of the country. Some schools offering incentives or lower tuition for out-of-stater students are in areas eager to boost their student body, such as Kansas, ...


Debt for College Grads Averages $25K; Unemployment Climbs

The latest numbers are out today from the Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access & Success, and they're not encouraging. Along with their degrees, two-thirds of seniors left college owing an average of $25,250 in student loans—5 percent more than a year ago. Unemployment for the class of 2010 was 9.1 percent, up from 8.7 percent in last year's report. Discouraging, but better than the unemployment rate of 20.4 percent for young adults with only a high school diploma. Debt levels by state show graduates form the Northeast and Midwest had the ...


Where Do Students Get the Most Merit Aid for College?

Incoming college students can receive financial help based on need, merit, or a combination of the two. Increasingly, states are rewarding students with grants and scholarships linked to academic performance. State grants not based on need have grown at triple the rate of need-based grants over the past 10 years, according to a report by the Education Trust this summer. Institutions, too, are distributing nearly $15 billion on grant aid, often in a regressive manner, the report found, giving out more money to students from high-income families than from low-income ones. A recent report by the College Board showed that ...


California Looks at Ways to Up Community College Completion

Since California is often a step ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to everything from trends to public policy, it may be smart to follow the discussion happening there about community college completion. A Student Success Task Force has produced a draft report with 23 recommendations to improve educational attainment for students at the state's 112 community colleges. The plan is being floated around the state at town hall meetings all month to get feedback before presenting it to the board of governors and state legislature by March. Among the recommendations of the task force, which ...


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