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 ...


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...


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 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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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...


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.; ...


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 ...


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...


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