President Obama's focus on college access and affordability in last night's State of the Union Address was welcomed in the higher education community. But his strong language of putting colleges "on notice" to rein in tuition costs left some wondering how that could be achieved in the current economic environment. Just this week, news came out that colleges lost $6 billion in state support, an average of nearly 8 percent in the past year. Yet the president said college shouldn't be a luxury and threatened to decrease federal support for colleges if tuition keeps rising. "We can't just keep subsidizing ...


More students than ever are headed to college, but the funds to support them are not following. Total state fiscal support for higher education nationwide declined by 7.6 percent from fiscal year 2011 to FY2012, according to the annual Grapevine survey from the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University, a joint project with State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). Losing $6 billion translated into fewer course offerings and larger class sizes for students. State universities also used more adjunct faculty, froze hiring, and merged academic departments. The cuts occurred in 41 states, ranging from ...


The competitive college-admission process has many high school students in a frenzy over grades, activities, and testing. Jay Mathews' recent column in The Washington Post, 5 Wrong Ideas About College Admission, adds some needed perspective. The myths he spells out give hope to the less-than-perfect student. Mathew's wrong ideas: 1. Colleges are impressed by a lot of extracurricular activities. 2. The more Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes and tests, the better. 3. Every high school grade counts. 4. A student has little chance to get into a top school without an SAT prep course. 5. The harder a college ...


Ask kids in 8th grade if they plan to attend college, and there is almost universal enthusiasm. Research shows this is true even among low-income students and those who are low performing. But something happens along the way for many that ends the dream. For some, it's academic struggles or the challenge of being a first-generation college student; for others it's lack of money—or some combination of the three. How to help students stay on the college track and finish was discussed at The State of College Access Forum Wednesday, sponsored by National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators...


Student financial-aid experts gathered at a forum at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to discuss the need to make the 40-year-old federal program more efficient and the importance of providing academic and social supports for students to boost college completion. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), a Washington-based nonprofit member organization of student financial-aid professionals, hosted The State of College Access 2012 Forum. As part of the event, NASFAA released an issue brief about the role of Pell Grants in access, persistence, and completion. While participants agreed that protecting the maximum Pell Grant award of $5,550 ...


Many seniors are feeling relieved that their college applications are in, but for some the toughest part of the process still lies ahead: Making the final decision. Since students send off so many apps these days, they will likely have many offers this spring. Lionel Anderson in The New York Times gives seniors a solid list of factors to consider when choosing a college: from affordability and size, to student life, diversity, and academics. The article is worth reading and passing along to students weighing their options come April....


While developing countries have increased investment in higher education and produced more science and engineering graduates, the United States has reduced funding at major research universities, and American students are not keeping up with degrees in those fields. That information was released today by the National Science Board in the 2012 "Science and Engineering Indicators" report. In 2008, U.S. students earned 4 percent of the world's engineering degrees, while 56 percent were awarded in Asia, including one-third in China. The number of natural-science and engineering degrees in China went from 280,000 annually to 1 million between 2000 and ...


Like many who attend community college, immigrant students often are struggling to pay for college while juggling jobs and families. They also face unique challenges as they learn a new language, adjust to a new culture, and try to navigate the unfamiliar system of the college and community services. To better serve this growing population, the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education issued a report Monday with recommendations and strategies for campus administrators. Much of the expansion of the workforce in the coming years is expected to come from immigrants, and many will turn to community colleges for job training. ...


Most people can look back and point to a special person or two who made a difference in their journey to where they are today. Having a mentor can be especially important in college, as students try to figure out their career path, stay focused in school, and get the right experience to prepare them for life beyond campus. Ashton Jafari, 25, and Stephanie Bravo, 26, felt so strongly about the impact that mentors had on their lives that they set up a national network to pair students and professionals. StudentMentor.org was launched two years ago as an online ...


Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan went on the road today in Gahanna, Ohio, to talk about the need for colleges to contain costs to keep higher education within reach of everyday Americans. "We have to make sure that going to college stays a fundamental part of the American dream," said Duncan, speaking at Lincoln High School. He outlined efforts by the Obama administration to simplify federal financial-aid forms, increase funding for Pell Grants, improve repayment terms on student loans, and maintain higher education tax credits. "We have to challenge universities to do their part. ...


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