Talking Points: A Question of Need
CURRENTS Article The concept of a need-aware admissions approach can put people on their heels because they view the term as code for giving preferential treatment to wealthier students. Rather, the decision to use need-blind or need-aware admissions strategies rests largely upon an institution's resources. There isn't one right answer that applies to each college or university.
Outlook: Focus on Learning
CURRENTS Article Colleges and universities should be held accountable for student outcomes, but the policy prescriptions for assessing student learning and improving graduation rates being debated are problematic for several reasons, argues the head of a regional higher education accreditation agency.
Talking Points: Lightening the Load
CURRENTS Article As the tuition at U.S. colleges and universities grows more expensive each year, the number of students who graduate with excessive debt swells. Students, parents, and institutions, must be better informed about loan and repayment options. Increased awareness about the dangers of debt and improved assistance for borrowers in distress will help graduates enter the professional world on more solid footing.
Talking Points: A MOOC Point
CURRENTS Article Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, burst onto the higher education scene last year. Yet while MOOCs offer several tangible benefits for colleges and universities, the technology also has drawbacks that institutions must consider.
A Vested Interest
CURRENTS Article A new endeavor recruits alumni to advance loans students at their alma maters need to stay in school.
CURRENTS Article The story of an Alabama sharecropper's financial contribution to his son's college education is the inspiration behind a new scholarship fund at Morgan State University.
Odds and Ends: A Chat About Change
CURRENTS Article Paul Heaton, director of the CASE Center for Community College Advancement, talks to Jeff Selingo, vice president and editorial director at the Chronicle of Higher Education, about the debate over the value of a college degree, the future of higher education, and the death of the press release.
Talking Points: Keeping the Door Open
CURRENTS Article Rising college cost is a complex problem that is not easily solved. However, financial aid remains instrumental in ensuring students who can least afford college can still attend.
The Debt Threat
CURRENTS Article A young alumnus would like to give to the annual fund, but his student loan debt is holding him back. What can advancement do to address this burgeoning problem?
Talking Points: Making the Grade
CURRENTS Article Policymakers and higher education officials are often focused on college access, cost, and completion rather than the quality of learning taking place at U.S. colleges and universities.
Study Explores Student Reaction to Higher Tuition Fees in England
Article Although students attending university in England will face higher tuition fees in September, most say an institution’s reputation and available courses are more important than fees when it comes to selecting an institution. That’s according to a recent study on the impact of higher tuition fees on 2012 university applicants.
Odds and Ends: The Passion of a Legend
CURRENTS Article Singer and philanthropist John Legend shines a light on education inequality
Outlook: Rhetoric and Priorities
CURRENTS Article The writer, an employee of Syracuse University, argues that all higher education institutions need to go to the mat to make college more affordable and provide all students with an appropriately broad and deep liberal arts education that at the same time prepares them to take on the complex challenges of the world.
CURRENTS Article In the view of many college presidents, the economic crisis of 2008 was a tipping point. In its aftermath, a "new normal" is redefining higher education realities and reshaping the traditional role of college and university presidencies. Higher education leaders say they are less focused on empire-building and more attuned to financial management, institutional marketing, improving the customer experience, and finding ways of helping financially strapped families pay for college.
Odds and Ends: Weird Is Where It’s At
CURRENTS Article In this Q-and-A format interview, Seth Godin jumps into the debate on the value of higher education, talks about his tribes and what makes him "weird," and offers college and university presidents some advice on how they could change the education landscape.
Talking Points: Finding the Way Forward
CURRENTS Article A report on the educational attainment of U.S. men of color sounds alarm about the need to address the barriers that keep some men from earning college degrees.
Serving Those Who've Served
CURRENTS Article This article discusses Operation Education, an individualized scholarship program that provides financial, academic, and social support to U.S. military veterans disabled in combat after Sept. 11, 2001. The brainchild of Karen White, a professor and spouse of University of California, Riverside President Tim White, the program exists at three U.S. institutions. The Whites have encouraged other higher education leaders to develop the program at their institutions as well.
CURRENTS Article In anticipation of the increase in U.K. university fees, British parents are saving more for college, and both teenagers and parents are reconsidering higher education.
Talking Points: Opening Up Education
CURRENTS Article In the 10 years since the Massachusetts Institute of Technology decided to publish online the core academic content of all of its courses, there's been a wealth of activity in the creation and sharing of open educational resources that has created unprecedented opportunities for learners.
Conference Speakers Find Gold in Community College Partnerships
Article "America's community colleges are probably the most democratic, influential institutions in our country. They give everyone who wants it a chance to fulfill their potential." That's according to Brian Haller, director of foundation and corporate relations at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and presenter at a recent CASE conference.
Odds and Ends: Community Opportunity
CURRENTS Article In this interview, CURRENTS talks with Kweisi Mfume about the impact community college had on his life. He also talks about rising tuition costs and the role of the government.
CURRENTS Article Higher education affordability results from the Global Higher Education Rankings project.
Talking Points: The Shift to Savings
CURRENTS Article In this column, Peter Mazareas, chair emeritus of the College Savings Foundation, discusses the findings from the foundation's 2010 survey of nearly 800 American parents about their saving habits and expectations for paying college tuition. Overall, the number of parents who save for their children's higher education is increasing. Mazareas also discusses what higher education institutions can do to help families avoid debt.
The Price of Competition
CURRENTS Article This article looks at the recently passed tuition changes to the U.K.'s higher education system, how the higher education marketplace may change as a result, and the role that marketing efforts may play under this new scheme.
Parental Education May Determine Children's College Attendance
Article Two new studies of Canadian youth reveal that a parent's education has a greater positive impact on whether a son or daughter will attend college or university than family income.
Outlook: Rethinking Restrictions
CURRENTS Article Despite growing indications that scholarly mobility is hugely beneficial both to the students leaving their home countries and the institutions and countries that receive them, there remains intermittent resistance around the world to free movement of students and professors.
Talking Points: An Overlooked Resource
CURRENTS Article Many of today's community college students are among the best students in America and have the potential to thrive at elite four-year colleges and universities. However, too few of them have the opportunity to transfer. This article discusses the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Community College Transfer Initiative, which makes grants to highly selective four-year institutions that agree to increase admissions of, establish programs for, and provide financial aid to low- to moderate-income community college students.
Tuition Fees Vote Signifies Need to Grow Philanthropy to Support Higher Education
Article The passing of the Commons vote on tuition fees earlier this month marks a "real shift in the funding of universities in England," says Joanna Motion, vice president of international operations for CASE.
Outlook: The Shortfall
CURRENTS Article The director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce cites a recent study by the center showing that the United States will come up 3 million degrees short of the 22 million new college graduates needed for employment in 2018. Anthony P. Carnevale argues that all institutions of higher education should work to fill the void.
Talking Points: Money Misperceptions
CURRENTS Article Recent research shows that despite the array of financial aid workshops, brochures, and online tools that institutions provide to estimate college costs, prospective students and their families are making judgments about the affordability of a U.S. college education without complete, accurate information.
U.S. Study: Parents, Students Strongly Agree on Importance of College Degree
Article A national study reveals that families in the United States are digging deeper to invest in a college degree as the economic uncertainty continues.
Talking Points: Funding Efficiency
CURRENTS Article The U.S. Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act puts the federal government in charge of student loans, and uses the resultant savings for a variety of priority higher education programs, including increased Pell Grant allotments and dedicated funding to community colleges and minority-serving institutions.
Low Water Mark
CURRENTS Article Budget constraints for public higher education have become the norm in virtually every state. This article focuses on the ways in which different systems and institutions are coping, and the role of advancement in the fight to maintain quality.
To the Rescue?
CURRENTS Article Faced with large and continued cuts in state funding, U.S. public postsecondary institutions are looking for new ways to both communicate their needs and garner support. This article discusses how they are calling on long-time supporters, enlisting new allies, developing strategic alliances, and crafting new messages and campaigns, all to underscore the importance of higher education.
CURRENTS Article James C. Garland, retired president of Miami University of Ohio, discusses the problems he perceives with the typical business plan of today's public higher education institutions. He proposes a student subsidy system that would give state funding directly to needy students and let them choose which public institution to attend. Public colleges and universities would have to compete for state dollars, which would mean they would either improve and offer more value to students or eventually shut their doors.
CURRENTS Article The Kresge Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to the Michigan College Access Network to help the state in its attempt to double the percentage of adults with a two-year degree. The money will bring together educators, community leaders, business people, and government agencies to provide services to students such as course planning, entrance test prep, application workshops, and financial aid advice.
More than a Penny for Your Thoughts
CURRENTS Article The College of Santa Fe awards scholarships to students who are recommended by an alumna or alumnus. It's a way for alumni to feel they are giving back to the school without costing them anything.
Private Gifts Support Emergency Aid at Community Colleges
Article Most emergency aid funds available to help community college students with unanticipated expenses come from private gifts, according to the results of a recent CASE survey on community college emergency aid programs. Nearly 70 percent of respondents at institutions that offer emergency aid say that requests for aid have increased during the last two years, and nearly 60 percent indicate that the pool of available funds is inadequate to meet needs.
Talking Points: Operation Graduation
CURRENTS Article There is growing evidence that U.S. students who work their way through college are more likely to drop out. This column discusses results of a survey that focused on why students drop out and what institutions can do to help them stay in school.
Report: Majority in U.S. Say Higher Ed Degree Vital, Harder to Attain
Article While 55 percent of Americans believe a higher education degree is essential for success, 69 percent say it is becoming less and less available to qualified people.
New Report Backs Increase in Undergrad Fees for UK Students
Article A report released earlier this month recommends that the UK government increase undergraduate student fees by at least 55 percent or a minimum of £5,000 (US$7,834) per year.
UK Funding Cuts Threaten to Undermine Work of Universities
Article Top education leaders say recent UK government announcements indicate that nearly £1 billion or US$1.63 billion could be slashed from the higher education budget as part of the government’s plan to address the national debt by 2013.
CURRENTS Article San Francisco's Drew School is guaranteeing new students that their tuition will stay the same for all four years of their high school career. The new policy is called "YES Tuition," which stands for Year of Entry Set Tuition, and this case study examines its beginnings and how the policy is affecting marketing and development at the independent school.
New Report Shows Strong UK Commitment to Education Fundraising
Article A new UK government blueprint for higher education shows a “commitment to educational fundraising for the long term.”
Advance Work: Test Driving E-Textbooks
CURRENTS Article Northwest Missouri State recently undertook a research trial for e-books in which some students could only use electronic textbooks while others could use e-books or traditional books.
Growing Demand for Higher Learning Leads to Funding, Quality Challenges
Article A new study reports that governments around the world will need to invest more than money to meet the soaring demand for higher education.
Advance Work: Where There's a Will
CURRENTS Article A report by Public Agenda looks at the feelings among the public about the cost of higher education.
Talking Points: Caught Up
CURRENTS Article This article provides an overview of the student loan scandal, which started with an investigation of potential conflicts of interest between higher ed and the lending industry and expanded to alumni associations in an effort to determine whether these groups are steering students toward specific loan consolidation companies in exchange for certain benefits.
Out of Reach
CURRENTS Article It is not certain how high the cost of education will rise, but it is a given that it will keep on increasing, at least in the near future. Writer John Pulley sums up the current state of tuition creep and talked with higher education leaders about what their institutions are doing to help make college more affordable and more accessible to a wider audience.
Closing Remarks: A Level Playing Field
CURRENTS Article Two prestigious universities were the first to drop early admissions. Others have followed. Will there be more? Will doing away with early admissions help or hurt equalization of access to higher education? Will it benefit students or learning? The author weighs in on these issues and more.
Advance Work: Financial Aid Simplified
CURRENTS Article Pima Community College offers gift certificates to use for tuition or fees. They aren't the flashiest gifts to give, but they make sense.
Closing Remarks: Access Roads
CURRENTS Article This column, adapted from a presentation Stanley O. Ikenberry made at a November 2005 TIAA-CREF Institute conference, discusses the need for a national conversation between higher education and the American public about the possible roles colleges and universities can play in the future. It includes a discussion about the Solutions for Our Future initiative, led by the American Council on Education.
Grading the American Higher Education System
CURRENTS Article Ultimately, making quality education available to more students from diverse backgrounds depends on how well the American education system addresses a range of problems that limit the college preparedness of many young people. This articles talks about how to do this, and why it is important.
Advance Work: Latinos Get Less
CURRENTS Article Latino undergraduates in the United States receive less aid, on average, from federal, state, and institutional sources than other undergraduates, according to a recent report. They are just as or more likely to receive aid, but the aid amounts are lower.
Closing Remarks: States of Emergency
CURRENTS Article Even as federal and state dollars for U.S. higher education decline, for public institutions the proportion of public funding from all sources still exceeds that of private gifts. With that in mind, the author questions why public institutions spend so little time and money on state and federal government relations. Using alumni and donors as campus champions and understanding state and federal budget cycles are two strategies she suggests for improving government relations.
Talking Points: The Same but Different
CURRENTS Article Tuition discounting--using financial aid to help defray students' expenses and to influence their enrollment decisions--is standard practice at most private institutions. This article examines the practice and how it has changed over the years. It’s become an integral part of enrollment-management strategies that colleges use to try to build enrollments, increase net revenue, and shape incoming classes to fit institutional missions and preferences.
AdvanceWork: Mixed Signals
CURRENTS Article A recent report from the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education found that students from low-income families are far less likely to complete their degrees by age 24 than students from middle- and high-income families.
Talking Points: Aiding and Abetting
CURRENTS Article Higher education costs have been steadliy increasing over the years, but funding for student aid programs has not kept pace. Students are now borrowing and working more than ever before to pay for higher education, and without adequate financial assistance to help cover these costs, nearly 170,000 qualified students each year are unable to go to college. With loans becoming an increasingly important component of most students' financial strategy, it's important to understand two major government loan programs--Federal Family Education Loans and Direct Loans--and how each can affect access.
AdvanceWork: Tuition Check
CURRENTS Article U.S. college and university alumni are concerned about higher education’s costs, and they think their alma maters should be doing something about it. So says a recent Opinion Dynamics Corp. study, in which nearly half of the 350 alumni surveyed cited “making college more affordable” as the most pressing issue facing campus leaders today. One-fifth of respondents said their alma maters should focus on “improving academic programs.”
Talking Points: Back to the Future
CURRENTS Article The focus and philosophy of the U.S. financial aid system has shifted over the years to the point where the neediest students cannot be assured that their college education will be affordable. This article chronicles the changes the system has gone through over the past two decades, including its need-based origins and mandate to help students from low-income families; the current grant/loan imbalance; the trend toward merit-based aid; and the shift of aid to more affluent households caused by the growth of 529 plans.
Checks and Balances
CURRENTS Article Determing the value of higher education worldwide is the kind of analysis that keeps policy makers, education leaders, and politicians occupied for years. Answers require reflecting on the interrelated issues of funding, accountability, access and demand, and who benefits. This article provides an overview of these topics as they affect campuses in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and Australia; offers insights from economists, institution chief executives, political leaders, and analysts; and features research from a variety of government-sponsored reports on education quality and reform initatives.
A Balancing Act
CURRENTS Article Numerous studies have shown that independent school students tend to enjoy more personal and professional success than their public school peers. But an independent school education comes at an extraordinarily high price. These schools aren’t accessible to many lower- and middle-class families, and they can “cherry pick,” to some extent, whom they educate--two facts that perpetuate the idea that independent schools are nothing more than “elitist institutions that exist to perpetuate a well-connected ruling class.” Whether the myriad benefits students who attend independent schools reap from their experiences nullify the social implications of the increasingly limited access to such benefits by the general public is a broad question that might have no definitive answer. Part of the issue focus on valuing education.
A Precarious Position
CURRENTS Article The United States is approaching a crisis in public higher education. Colleges and universities are facing rising costs and public funding cuts. Forced to increase tuition, they are becoming less affordable for low- and middle-income families at the same time that federal student aid has dropped in value and greatly shifted from grants to loans. Critics say that too many public institutions have lost sight of their missions in attempts to become more prestigious--or that they're not providing good value for the education dollar. Is the solution to seek a greater public investment in higher education, or to further privatize and let market forces prevail?
CURRENTS Article Private higher education has a classic “wicked problem,” in which several interrelated factors are at play and for which there is no easy solution. Affordability, access, demand, and accountability are just some of the sector's most pressing issues. This article, part of a special issue on valuing education, presents an in-depth discussion of rising costs, tuition discounting, the value of a liberal arts education, increased expectations about quality, and unconventional solutions.
The Value Proposition
CURRENTS Article As the education environment grows more complex, one twist is the cost/value dilemma. Education costs too much, say critics and friends, yet enrollment is at record-breaking levels. The reason for high cost and high demand, as every advancement officer knows, is that education has high value. Education’s value is a keystone of the profession. Advancement officers persuade others that the general purpose of education and specific missions of institutions are worthy of support. This article introduces a special issue of CURRENTS on valuing education.
AdvanceWork: What's Wrong?
CURRENTS Article An Education Testing Service survey reveals that, when asked what's the biggest problem facing higher education, more of the public names rising tuition and other costs than names decreased government funding.
Fair Market Value
CURRENTS Article Has higher education become a commodity? Where does that leave the lofty pursuit of knowledge that once drove college admissions? Four higher education observers and advancement practitioners weigh in on the public's evolving perceptions of higher education. Part of the issue focus on five forces shaping advancement.
AdvanceWork: Pork Pays the Bills
CURRENTS Article This Advancework item tells of three ways to ease the tuition crunch. Lindenwood College lets farm families barter meat for tuition. Defiance College promotes community service by a awarding a half-tuition scholarship to students who donate 150 volunteer hours during the year. William Woods University offers students tuition awards for participating in a requisite number of campus activities. This item is of interest to advancement managers and public relations officers concerned with community relations and tuition issues.
Talking Points: The Fading Color of Money
CURRENTS Article During the economic slowdown of the early 21st century, American higher education endured a painful combination of spending cuts and tuition increases. This article reviews the varied ways in which states have handled tuition hikes for public campuses, how private institutions were affected, and the problems springing from the failure to think in the long term. This Talking Points column is of interest to all advancement managers, but especially chief advancement officers, government relations officers, and communications directors.
CURRENTS Article To communicate to varied audiences about the complex effects of tough economic times on college and universities, public relations officers need to do four things: explain the benefits from and the needs of higher education; anticipate and manage difficult issues; devise coordinated communications and lobbying efforts; and connect with institutional friends, alumni, and taxpayers. A short accompanying article lists cost-saving measures. This article is of interest to advancement managers and managers of media relations and public relations programs.
Forever in Your Debt
CURRENTS Article Heavy student loan debt can make young alumni feel they can’t afford to make a gift. The author explores trends in student debt and proposes four strategies for addressing the problem in appeals to young alumni. This article is of interest to annual giving officers and development and alumni professionals who work with young alumni.
What Are We Doing Wrong?
CURRENTS Article In an interview with CURRENTS staff, Chronicle of Higher Education managing editor Scott Jaschik describes how those who cover the education beat approach sensitive issues like campus crime, or tuition costs, why journalists may feel thwarted by campus administrators in trying to cover these stories, and how providing more information may be beneficial to educational institutions in presenting an accurate picture of these often difficult situations. Specific examples of the types of information the media may want on various issues are presented.