Looser PLUS Loan Standards - Under the new regulations, which will take effect next year, it will be easier for students and parents with damaged credit histories to take out PLUS loans. The rule reduces from five years to two the period of time that the Education Department reviews when evaluating a prospective borrower's history for adverse credit events. It will also exempt up to $2,085 in delinquent debt from counting against an applicant; that threshold will be adjusted for inflation.
These Are The States Where Kids Have The Best Opportunities In Education - NY ranks 19th. A new index released Monday from the nonprofit groups Opportunity Nation and Measure of America looks at the level of opportunity afforded to citizens around the country in the areas of education, jobs and local economy, community health and civic life. The top states for education are Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts, according to the index. The bottom states are Louisiana, West Virginia, Mississippi, and in last place, Nevada.
10 Richest-And Poorest-School Districts in America - Wealth appears to have an outsized effect on education at the local level. Residents who live in wealthy school districts have among the best schools in the nation based on graduation rates, test scores and independent ratings of academic success. Children who attend these schools are more likely to earn college degrees than the national average. To illustrate the influence wealth and poverty have on educational attainment, 24/7 Wall St. examined the wealthiest and poorest school districts in the country.
State education chiefs agree students being tested too often - State education chiefs and the leaders of big city school systems agreed to work together to reduce what they concede is over testing of public school students. But the two groups said they remain committed to continued annual standardized testing. The announcement by the Council of Chief State School Officers the two groups to eliminating redundant tests and insuring those that remain are high-quality, coherent and meaningful.
Most States Still Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession - States are providing less per-pupil funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did seven years ago - often far less. The reduced levels reflect primarily the lingering effects of the 2007-09 recession. At a time when states and the nation need workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, this decline in state educational investment is cause for concern. New York is actually up 2.4%!
SUNY To Expand Online Degree Programs - The State University of New York is adding 56 degree and certificate programs from 17 campuses to a year-old online initiative as part of the university system's goal of increasing enrollment by 100,000 students. The expansion of Open SUNY+ is expected to attract 6,000 students next semester, more than triple the number that have enrolled since the program was launched with eight degree programs in January.
District Trains Teachers in Using Inclusive Approach to Gender - After facing backlash from parents and the media, the public school district in Lincoln, Neb. is refusing to back down from programs designed to encourage the use of gender-inclusive language. In an attempt to increase teacher awareness about the issues facing transgender and gender non-conforming students, Lincoln Public Schools recently provided staff with additional training and information about gender sensitivity. One handout focused on "12 easy steps on the way to gender inclusiveness," while others explained the concept of gender as a spectrum, rather than a binary system.
School Income Level a Big Predictor of College Enrollment - The Center shows that enrolling in a four-year college is most closely linked to attending a high-income school. While 73 percent of students from high-income, low-minority, suburban schools enrolled in college right after high school graduation, the college-enrollment rate at low-income schools ranged from 47 percent to 58 percent, according to the report.
Can Focusing on Workplace Skills Increase College Completion Rates? - Diana Cobbe is the founder of OnCampus, a mobile app that links students and employers in a game-like environment. In the app, companies post jobs and the skills required for them. Students then pick courses and activities they either have done or will do that give them the appropriate skills. While Cobbe "believes in a liberal arts education," she thinks that connecting skills companies want with what students are doing on campus will improve success rates, because student will see the practical purpose of their educations.
Student loan defaults link to degree completion - More important indicators of student loan default is whether the student is employed or graduates with a bachelor's degree or better, according to a policy analyst at the New America Foundation. Of the students who started college during the 2003-2004 school year and six years later were in default, more than 60% failed to earn a degree.
College loans crowding out other debts - The truth is that many smart kids won't get nearly enough scholarship money to pay for the four, five or even six years they will spend in college. And for that matter, most students won't get free money at all. So it's no surprise that many college students are loaded down with loans. Student loans are to young adults what mortgages were to many people during the housing crisis: too large and burdensome. And a new report found that education debt is crowding out many other forms of debt for young adults.
More than half of SAT takers not ready for college - Only 43% of students taking the SAT this year are ready for college, according to the College Board, the company that administers the college entrance exam. Test takers who score 1550 have a 65% chance of having at least a B- average in their first year of college, according to the College Board. The score also indicates that the student is likely to graduate from college within four years. Minority students made up 47.5% of the 1.67 million SAT test takers in 2014 and students with financial need, taking the test with a fee waiver, were 23.6% of the total.
Only a third of re-enrolling college students graduate - A new study from InsideTrack and the American Council on Education shows that students who re-enroll in college after spending at least one year away complete their degree only 33.7% of the time, compared to 54.1% for first-time students. The study's authors say the data shows that the higher education system needs to do a much better job supporting adults with some college experience who decide to re-enroll.
Student loans plus financial illiteracy equals big debts for some older women - After hearing her tale, it became clear that the real problem isn't so much that the government is garnishing benefits, but that so many people make bad financial decisions that they find themselves in these onerous positions. Too many Americans are functionally "financially illiterate." And, despite the importance of finance in everyone's lives, the problem is getting worse over time, especially for women. How is it that so many elderly people have such large student loan debt? One reason is because people, in general, don't have a good grasp of their finances. Survey after survey shows that Americans are financially illiterate.
Poverty and School Funding: Why Low-Income Students Often Suffer - Recently, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that 34 states are contributing less funding on a per student basis than they did prior to the recession years. Since states are responsible for 44 percent of total education funding in the U.S., these dismal numbers mean a continued crack down on school budgets despite an improving economy. In extreme cases, like in Philadelphia and Chicago, individual districts have had to tap into other money and reserves to cover the basics of public education in their areas.
National Adjunct Walkout Day Planned - What would academe look like without adjuncts? That question could be answered, at least for a day, on the first-ever National Adjunct Walkout Day, planned for Feb. 25, 2015. The protest to highlight adjuncts' relatively low wages and working conditions - despite the fact that they make up the majority of instructors - is gaining traction on social media, including on Facebook and on Twitter at #NAWD.
Community College Students Face a Very Long Road to Graduation - Community colleges have 7.7 million students enrolled, 45 percent of all undergraduates in the country. Among community college students, work and child rearing present the biggest barriers to consistent attendance. Unlike the students at private universities, who are offered an array of supports - academic, social, psychological - community college students rarely get the help they need from their chronically underfunded institutions. Many students come to community college struggling with how to navigate bureaucracies, and battling issues with executive function and time management. They arrive, in effect, having little understanding of how to be students.
The Reason College Costs More Than You Think - Freshmen say they'll finish in four years, but most will be paying tuition for five or six years. The average added cost of just one extra year at a four-year public university is $63,718 in tuition, fees, books, and living expenses, plus lost wages each of those many students could have been earning had they finished on time, according to the advocacy group Complete College America.
Cornell names its first woman president - Elizabeth Garrett, provost of the University of Southern California, will be Cornell University's 13th president and its first woman to hold the post, the university's board of trustees.
Need proof that a degree is worth it? Check out these high-paying majors - Research shows that earnings are higher for college grads. But some majors pay a lot more than others. Topping the list are the engineering fields; the report found that regardless of major, "median earnings of bachelor's degree graduates are higher than median earnings of high school graduates for all 80 majors studied. This is true at career entry, mid-career and end of career," the authors write.
College-Going Rates for High School Graduates Higher Than Anticipated - A new study finds 79 percent of high school graduates go to a two- or four-year college by age 20 and 88 percent enroll by age 26-a much higher rate than researchers previously thought. Some graduates are realizing they need more education once they try to enter the workforce and then find their way back into the education pipeline. Schools should embrace rigorous curriculum and supports for all students, the report says. It's important for high schools to prepare students to be lifelong learners, regardless of whether or not they go on to college.
Judge dismisses teachers' challenge to tax cap - In the decision signed Tuesday, state Supreme Court Justice Patrick McGrath rejected arguments from the New York State United Teachers that the cap is unconstitutional and unfair to poorer districts. But his ruling allows the union to amend its lawsuit, and the union said it will likely continue its legal fight.
Census Bureau: Enrollment Dropped in 2013 - College enrollments dropped for the second straight year in 2013, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. But those drops are but a fraction of the large gains that came first. Enrollments fell by nearly half a million -- 460,000 -- between 2012 and 2013. That brought the two-year decline to 930,000, which was larger than enrollment drop before the recent recession. But enrollments grew substantially -- by 3.2 million -- as the economic downturn hit. Between 2006 and 2011, enrollment grew by 3.2 million. In the last year analyzed (2012 to 2013), community colleges saw the largest enrollment drops (10 percent), while four-year institutions saw a very small increase.
Higher Ed Inflation Doubles - The inflation rate calculated specifically for higher education institutions was 3 percent for the fiscal year that ended for most colleges this summer. That's nearly double inflation rate of the previous year, according to a new report by the Commonfund Institute. The Higher Education Price Index includes salaries, fringe benefits, "miscellaneous services," utilities, supplies and materials. HEPI, as it's known, is also higher than the Consumer Price Index, the more commonly talked-about inflation rate, which was about 1.6 percent over the same period.
Survey Finds More Parents Troubled by Their Children's Homework - A national survey revealed that more than half of parents with children in grades K-8 admit that they aren't up to the task of helping their children with homework. The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) survey found that 60 percent of parents admitted that their children's homework was a struggle. That's up about 10 percent from last year's survey, which found 49 percent of parents suffered from chronic homework headaches.
Report calls for Federal Work-Study reform - Less than 2% of two-year public community college students have work-study jobs, compared to 21% at four-year private non-profit higher ed institutions, according to the report, titled "A Federal Work Study Reform Agenda to Better Serve Low-Income Students." The report makes several recommendations, including creating a new formula to distribute FWS funding with a focus on enrolling and graduating Pell Grant students. Also, FWS should be promoted as a career-centric program with outside employers, instead of placing students in clerical or office work on campus, which is common.
The Subprime Education Scandal - Education With a Debt Sentence - For-profit colleges can be up to twice as expensive as Ivy League universities, and routinely cost five or six times the price of a community college education. 96% of students who manage to graduate from for-profits leave owing money, and they typically carry twice the debt load of students from more traditional schools. For profit schools now enroll around 10% of America's college students, but take in more than a quarter of all federal financial aid -- as much as $33 billion in a single year.
AFT Backs Newest Proposal to Reduce Testing - Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., is the latest member of Congress to introduce a bill that would significantly shrink the federal footprint on standardized testing. The Tackling Excessive Standardized Testing (TEST) Act, introduced Thursday with the backing of the American Federation of Teachers, would allow states to choose an alternative testing regimen for students in grades 3 through 8. The America Federation of Teachers is throwing its support behind the bill.
Wage Data Done Right - The Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment conducts research in five states and receives funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The research from the center focused on certificates for programs that took one year or less to complete. The researchers found both an earnings bump and a higher likelihood of employment for short-term certificate holders. Short-term certificates are growing in popularity. They accounted for 38 percent of the credentials community colleges issue nationwide in 2011.
Making College Access a Local Reality - The Buffalo school district in upstate New York announced earlier this year that it had experienced that very uptick in college matriculation in the fall of 2013, when compared with a year earlier. Specifically, 66 percent of the 2013 Buffalo high school graduating class enrolled in a two- or four-year college, compared with 57 percent in 2012, according to the National Student Clearinghouse.
High Impact, Low Participation - Community colleges now have solid data on which strategies work best to help students get to graduation. While more colleges are using those techniques, far too few students are benefiting from them. The Center for Community College Student released new research adds to the case for 13 specific practices that work particularly well. Some can have a big impact on student retention and graduation rates.
11 universities join forces to help first-gen, low-income students - Eleven public universities have formed an alliance to help low-income and first-generation college students get degrees. The group, called the University Innovation Alliance, will share and test best practices from its member schools for retaining students and helping them graduate. The alliance will match the $5.6 million it has raised to help its cause.
Report: Community colleges succeeding with students over 50 - The American Association of Community Colleges' Plus 50 Completion Strategy, funded by Lumina Foundation, has been deemed a success. The four-year program provided grants to 17 community colleges for job training and career development programs for people over age 50, and it ended up with more than double its goal for participants and graduates, according to a new report.
New York May Ease Test Requirements for Graduation - According to local news media reports, the board is considering reducing from five to four the number of Regents exams that students must pass in order to earn a diploma. Federal law requires that students take tests in English/language arts, mathematics, and science, so the test that would be dropped would be one of the social studies exams: U.S. history or global history.
Saying they aren't adequately funded, charter schools sue state - A coalition of charter schools is suing the state, claiming they have been systemically underfunded compared to neighboring mainstream public schools, thus denying their students to a constitutionally guaranteed "sound basic education." Much of the gap comes from the lack of building aid that is given out each year for mainstream schools but not charters.