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The Top 10 Higher Education Issues We All Agree On

Forbes – Ama Nyamekye

“It’s easy to see how extreme partisanship could extend beyond for-profit colleges into core higher education. Raucous debates about immigration and freedom of speech are highly relevant to colleges and universities. So as we witness today’s inauguration of President Trump, it’s important to recognize that the many challenges and opportunities facing higher education lend themselves to bipartisan consensus – perhaps more than any other area of public policy. Because areas of agreement in higher education far exceed areas of disagreement, both sides of the aisle ought to be able to support a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that will materially improve outcomes – particularly for the nearly half of working adults (and especially young adults) who feel that no matter what they do, they’re unable to get ahead and, in fact, are falling behind, and whom traditional colleges and universities are not adequately serving. One area of agreement is that rankings are far too important in setting direction for America’s colleges and universities. To draw attention to this fact (and, cravenly, to draw rankings-obsessed readers), what follows is a ranking of what we all agree on as President Trump takes office.”(more)

The pay gap between college grads and everyone else is now wider than ever

The Denver Post – Christopher S. Rugaber

“Americans with no more than a high school diploma have fallen so far behind college graduates in their economic lives that the earnings gap between college grads and everyone else has reached its widest point on record. The growing disparity has become a source of frustration for millions of Americans worried that they — and their children — are losing economic ground. College graduates, on average, earned 56 percent more than high school grads in 2015, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute. That was up from 51 percent in 1999 and is the largest such gap in EPI’s figures dating to 1973.”(more)

Why STEM Majors Need the Humanities

The Chronicle of Higher Education – Neal Koblitz

“When I was a freshman, half a century ago, I asked one of my professors — an eminent mathematician named Lars Ahlfors — for advice on my academic program. As a budding mathematician, I knew about a lot of math courses I should take and some physics courses as well. I asked what other courses in math and science I should include in my program. Ahlfors replied, “Don’t take more courses in those subjects. Once you get to graduate school, you’ll be studying nothing but mathematics. Now is your chance to become well-educated. Study literature, history, and foreign languages.” I sometimes repeat this story to my students and hope that the message is not drowned out by what they might be hearing from parents, friends, and the media.”(more)

What science says about avoiding student debt

USA today – Jen Zettel

“Researchers at the Wisconsin HOPE Lab study how people pay for college, whether college is considered affordable and how public policy affects universities, students and their families. The lab is composed of people from various disciplines — economists like Anderson, sociologists, public policy analysts — who ask questions about college in Wisconsin and find the answers. A few of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab’s findings.”(more)

The Higher Ed Learning Revolution: Tracking Each Student’s Every Move

NPR – Eric Westervelt

“On campuses today almost every educational interaction leaves digital traces. Assignments and feedback are given through online portals; debates and discussions happen via learning management systems as well as in classrooms, cafes and dorm rooms. Those and other digital crumbs give technologists the opportunities to examine the processes, practices and goals of higher education in ways that were largely impossible a decade or so ago. We’ve reported here and here on Stanford physics Noble Laureate Carl Wieman’s “active learning” revolution.”(more)

Help your kid graduate college debt-free

USA Today – Devon Delfino

“Today, most parents are saving money for their children’s college education – 72% of them, according to a study by Fidelity Investments. But some 68% of students still graduate school with student loan debt, at an average of $30,000. Here are three ways you can elevate your savings strategy to help your kid graduate without debt.”(more)