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December 2011 Archives

Top 2011 College Bound Posts Span Access to Completion

Looking back at the most-read College Bound posts of the year, you can see a range of issues. From policymakers to parents to educators, you were drawn to stories about applications and access, completion and jobs. So, a drum roll please.....The top 10 stories, as measured by hits on this blog, for 2011 were: 10. Common Application Essay Limited to 500 Words - Again. The move is a good way to force students to be more focused and disciplined in their writing, not to mention lightening the reading load for overworked admissions counselors. 9. Study Offers Insight Into What ...


Community Colleges Enrollment Drops, Pell Grants Increase

After four years of continuous growth at community colleges, new numbers out this week show enrollment has dropped slightly this fall. The American Association of Community Colleges and the National Student Clearinghouse report an enrollment decrease of 1 percent from fall 2010 to this fall. Still, overall there are 21.8 percent more students at community colleges today than in fall 2007. Looking at reasons for this year's drop, the report notes that while there were fewer full-time students, there was a slight increase in those attending part time. The authors did not indicate the change was linked to an ...


Confusion Over Net-Price College Costs May Deter Students

It's true that college is expensive. But with financial aid, it's more accessible than many families—particularly low-income families—realize. Too often, families overestimate the cost of college and are unaware of the grants and scholarships available to help finance it, according to a paper released Monday by Andrew Kelly of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. At the heart of the confusion is the sticker price for attending college versus the net price—the amount that students pay minus financial aid. Six in 10 families rule out some colleges because of sticker price and don't realize the net price...


Report: Counselors Are Untapped Resource in College Readiness

Too often, high school counselors are stuck with menial tasks or bogged down helping a few troubled students. A better use of their time would be to guide students for life beyond high school and would lead to a college- and career-ready agenda, according to a new report from the Education Trust. Counselors have access to achievement data and are able to watch patterns across the school that give them a unique vantage point in helping students map out their future, says Richard Lemons, vice president for K-12 policy and a co-author of the report, Poised to Lead: How School ...


Word of Early Decision and Early Action Has Students Buzzing

Word was trickling out last week to high school seniors anxiously waiting to hear early if they got in to their top choice college. So, it's time when lots of people are talking about Early Decision and Early Action and how it works. Early Decision (a binding commitment) is offered by 22 percent of colleges and Early Action (not binding) is offered by 30 percent of colleges surveyed by the National Association of College Admission Counseling in 2011. Private colleges are much more likely than publics to offer ED policies. More-selective colleges are more likely to offer ED, while colleges ...


Strategies for Last Push in College-Admissions Process

It's crunch time for high school seniors applying to college. While many may have had visions of completing their applications before the holidays, the reality is that many will be working on them up until New Year's Eve. So, how to best manage the last weeks of the process? Tempting as it may be to skip the optional essay, experts say don't take that short cut. If you do, "it's a missed opportunity," says Don Fraser, director of education and training at the National Association of College Admission Counseling in Arlington, Va. "There are few places to express yourself. If ...


College Trustees Hesitant to Proactively Push for Major Reform

For higher education reform to take hold, many say college trustees need to become advocates for change. Yet a new report out today finds many governing boards are caught up instead on short-term challenges on their campuses and defer to the institution's leadership. Still on the Sidelines: What Role Will Trustees Plan in Higher Education Reform? by John Immerwahr with Jean Johnson, Jon Rochkind, Samantha DuPont, and Jeremy Hess was produced by Public Agenda, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in New York and funded by the Lumina Foundation. (The Lumina Foundation underwrites coverage of the alignment between K-12 schools and ...


College Board Reports Sluggish Progress on Completion Rates

While more Americans are getting college degrees every year, the pace of progress is slower than many have hoped. A new report from the College Board shows 41.1 percent of adults ages 25 to 34 have an associate degree or higher, up from 38.1 percent in 2000. At this rate, the completion rate will be just 46 percent by 2025—far below the target of 55 percent set by a College Board commission and others. According to the College Board, the states with the highest completion rates: Massachusetts - 53.7 percent North Dakota - 50.5 percent...


Aspen Institute Honors Top Community Colleges With Prize

The winners of the first Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence were announced in Washington this afternoon. Valencia College in Orlando, Fla., won the top honor and $600,000. The college, which has 70,000 students on eight campuses, was recognized for its high completion rates, employment of graduates, commitment to low-income and minority students, and the best record of transfers to four-year schools than any other college in the country. The Aspen Institute recognized four finalists with distinction, awarding each $100,000. They are: Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, S.D.; Miami Dade Community College in Miami, Fla.; ...


Report Shows Dual Enrollment Best When on College Campus

High school students can benefit from dual enrollment in college-level courses, but how much depends on the content of the course and where it takes place. New research from the National Center for Postsecondary Research at Teachers College, Columbia University shows dual enrollment has strong positive effects on college enrollment and completion. One study that followed all high school seniors in Florida from the classes of 2000-01 and 2001-02 found that those in dual-enrollment classes taken on college campuses were 12 percent more likely to go to college and 7 percent more likely to earn a bachelor's degree than similar ...


High Schools Bolstering College-Readiness Assessments

Some states are dropping the requirement that students pass exit exams to earn a high school degree—the first time there has been a decline in the practice in six years. However, college- and career-readiness assessments are gaining popularity, and many states are gearing up for new assessments based on the Common Core State Standards. The 10th annual report out today from the Center on Education Policy outlines trends in high school testing. (See State Ed Watch and Curriculum Matters for more.) Of interest to college-bound students: -Eleven states require juniors to take the ACT or SAT in school during...


Lack of Funding and Planning Hurts College Access, Completion

Continued state budget cuts, increased enrollment, rising tuition, and lack of long-term planning paint a dim picture for higher education in a new report released today from the University of Alabama's Education Policy Center. "It seems like an almost impossible task to increase the college-completion agenda," says Janice Friedel, associate professor in the community college leadership program at Iowa State University and co-author of the report, Challenging Success: Can College Degree Completion Be Increased as States Cut Budgets? along with Stephen G. Katsinas of the University of Alabama and Mark M. D'Amico of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. ...


International College Students Add to Culture and Economy

More students than ever are studying abroad, according to a recent report by the Institute for International Education. So, what does it mean to American colleges hosting international students? Students from around the world not only enrich the culture on campuses, they also enrich the local economy. NAFSA: Association of International Educators estimates that foreign students and their families contributed nearly $20.23 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2010-11 academic year. NAFSA's annual Economic Impact Statements estimates the amount of money foreign students bring to the United States to support their education, not including any multiplier effect. ...


Income and Gender Gap in College Attainment Widens

Your odds of going to college and finishing are much greater if you are a woman and from a family with money. While not particularly a news flash to many, a study by University of Michigan researchers traces these trends back more than 70 years and documents growing gaps in attainment by income and gender. Gains and Gaps: Changing Inequity in U.S. College Entry and Completion, a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper by Martha Bailey and Susan Dynarski was just released. From a big-picture perspective, college entry has increased nearly 50 percent for Americans born between 1921 ...


Obama Calls In College Presidents to Talk About Affordability

President Obama is meeting with college presidents and higher education leaders today at the White House to talk about college affordability, access, and success, Inside Higher Education and UPI are reporting. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is also expected. The guest list is reported to include: Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas System William E. (Brit) Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland Holden Thorp, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York Freeman Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore ...


Data Quality Campaign Reports Progress, But More Work to Do

While every state now has the ability to use data to guide education policy decisions, the reality is many don't still take advantage of it. The latest snapshot of state-by-state progress on information sharing, Data for Action 2011, was released yesterday by the Data Quality Campaign, a national collaborative based in Washington that encourages the use of data to improve student achievement. The DQC outlines what it calls 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems to measure how states are doing. In this seventh annual report, the DQC found 36 states have implemented all of the DQC's elements and ...


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