Renascence School Education News - private school

Sunday, March 1, 2015

America’s High-Risk, High-Reward Higher Education System

Forbes – Andrew Kelly

“Last month, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) added to a familiar refrain, releasing a new report on how American Millennials lag behind their peers in other countries on measures of literacy, numeracy, and “problem-solving in technology rich environments.” Using data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), the authors showed that American Millennials ranked at the bottom in both numeracy and problem-solving. Fully 64 percent of Americans scored below the lowest proficiency rating on the numeracy exam, compared to about 1/3 of Millennials in places like Finland, the Netherlands, and Japan. The picture wasn’t much brighter among young workers with bachelors and graduate degrees. On the numeracy exam, American BA holders outscored their peers in only two countries—Italy and Poland. Those with grad degrees outscored counterparts in Italy, Poland, and Spain.”(more)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This Formula Can Help You Figure Out How Much to Save for College

Time – Kerri Anne Renzulli

“Congratulations for starting the saving process early and taking full advantage of compounding in that 529 account. That’s less money you’ll have to borrow later. Now for the bad news: By the time your eldest child enters college, four years at an in-state public school will cost an average $130,000 and a private-school education will run $235,000 if prices continue rising at the rate they have for the last five years. Footing the full freight will be unrealistic for most folks, especially those like you who have more than one child to put through school. Besides, you should also be saving for your own retirement—since you can’t fund that stage of life with loans as you can your kid’s education.”(more)

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Discussion On Higher Education Accountability

Forbes – John Ebersole

“A recent New York Times op-ed, “How to hold colleges accountable,” lists a number of problems with contemporary higher education and offers the solution of greater accountability. While I commend the authors, Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler of the Washington think tank Third Way for their multi-dimensional assessment, their conclusion warrants further discussion, along with acknowledgement of progress already being made. These authors present their concerns under three umbrella headings – quality of instruction, outcome transparency, and financial aid. In looking at each, there is much to applaud. For instance they hit the mark in regard to the uneven quality of teaching and its impact on retention. As MIT president Rafael Reif noted in his 2013 remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, “We have spectacular researchers [at MIT] who are lousy teachers.” Many can relate to Reif’s assessment as they think of the need to endure, the relentless monotone of a brilliant professor reading from notes or dense slides. Yet, how can we be critical when the average classroom instructor has had no formal training or preparation. The fact that 80% of faculty are not using innovative teaching methods (per the cited Gates study) is neither surprising, nor defensible.”(more)

College freshmen need to beware of bait-and-switch aid offers

Reuters – Liz Weston

“Families receiving college financial aid offers this spring should beware: what they see this year may not be what they get next year. Some colleges make their most generous offers to high school seniors as a lure to attend, a practice known as “front-loading.” But those returning for their sophomore and subsequent years at university may get thousands of dollars less in grants and scholarships than they did as freshmen. Often, the free money is replaced by student loans. About half of all colleges front-load their grants, according to financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, who analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistic’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.”(more)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The most common college financial aid mistakes — and how to avoid them

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a gateway to money for college. Not only is it used to apply for federal student aid, such as the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Stafford Loans, but it is also used to apply for student financial aid from state governments and most colleges and universities. But, applying for financial aid can be complicated. Financial aid involves an alphabet soup of acronyms, like FAFSA, EFC and SAR, and is like speaking a foreign language. has more than 750 terms defined in its financial aid glossary. The FAFSA itself has more than 100 numbered questions, presenting many opportunities for potential errors. The “Filing the FAFSA” book, available for free download at, offers hundreds of pages of advice and insights into completing the FAFSA correctly. Some of the most common errors involving the FAFSA that affect financial aid eligibility include:.”(more)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The problem(s) with Obama’s community college plan — and an alternative

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“President Obama last month unveiled a plan to offer free community college tuition to students who meet specific criteria in what this Washington Post story called “one of his most ambitious, expensive and likely controversial initiatives for the coming year. The cost estimate, the White House said, would be around $60 billion over 10 years, most of it paid by the federal government but some by states. While there are huge questions about whether the Republican-led Congress would approve the plan and appropriate money towards it, the proposal has generated a great deal of debate nationally.”(more)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

US seeks more diverse students from China

China Daily – Staff Writer

“Guo Yupei does not fit the mold of the traditional Ivy League student from China: Her journalist parents are neither rich nor members of the governing elite. Growing up, she thought the cost would make it impossible for her to attend one of the famed universities in the United States. But by the time she applied to Yale, it was among the US schools investing in more economic diversity among their growing ranks of international students. Guo, 19, is now a second-year student at Yale, happily settled among the school’s gothic buildings. Most would never guess university grants cover much of the Beijing native’s tuition, at least not judging by the questions she gets around New Haven. I did get asked if I were some sort of distant royal family member, which I’m not,” she said. Top US universities that worked to overcome reputations for serving only children of the US elite are now pushing to do the same with their international students. With more undergraduates coming from overseas than ever, Yale, Harvard and other schools-with help from the US State Department-are trying to attract students of more varied financial backgrounds.”(more)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Is Your First Grader College Ready?

The New York Times – Laura Pappano

“Matriculation is years away for the Class of 2030, but the first graders in Kelli Rigo’s class at Johnsonville Elementary School in rural Harnett County, N.C., already have campuses picked out…“The age old question is: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ You always ask kids that,” Ms. Rigo said. “We need to ask them, ‘How will you get there?’ Even if I am teaching preschool, the word ‘college’ has to be in there.” Forget meandering — the messaging now is about goals and focus…Credit President Obama and the Common Core Standards for putting the “college and career ready” mantra on the lips of K12 educators across the country. Or blame a competitive culture that has turned wide open years of childhood into a checklist of readiness skills. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that college prep has hit the playground set…This may sound overwrought, but Joan Nachman, the guidance counselor at Magnolia Elementary School, points out that colleges want Advanced Placement courses on transcripts but high school students can’t just sign up. They must prepare with honors courses in middle school, which means strong work in elementary school. “You have to set the groundwork now,” she said.”(more)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Financial Sense 201: Going Beyond the Classroom and Making Smart Financial Choices Now

The Huffington Post – Chris Mettler

“Tom Hanks said, “While I was (in college) I was exposed to this world that I didn’t know was possible.” College is definitely a time of discovery. We’re exposed to new ways of thinking and begin to form our own ideas about the world. Of course, it’s also a time for fun. College students are straddling the line between still being young and being faced with adult decisions. Straddling that line between teenager and adult can be difficult to manage for some students. College may be their first time away from home, which adds to the stress of managing a budget, paying bills and making decisions that will directly impact their future. For many, it is tempting to rack up debt now and worry about it later. College should be fun, but it’s also vital that students start thinking about their future and what life will be like after graduation.”(more)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Michelle Obama: Counselors build the bridge to college

USA Today – Michelle Obama

“Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, it wasn’t exactly a forgone conclusion that I would go to college. Neither of my parents and hardly anyone in my neighborhood had gone beyond high school, and while my folks were determined to see me and my brother Craig get a good education, they weren’t exactly sure how to make that happen. I worked hard and got good grades, but I didn’t have much in the way of college counseling in high school. Fortunately, Craig was a couple of years ahead of me, and he had managed to get himself into Princeton University. So in addition to applying to one school because I liked the pictures in the brochure and to another because it was close to home, I also applied to Princeton, and my brother helped guide me through the process.”(more)