5 Things You Can do to Avoid the $1.2 Trillion Student Debt Dilemma

The Huffington Post – Jeff Ray

“This fall, an estimated 20.2 million students are attending American colleges and universities. Whether at two- or four-year institutions, the first step to fulfilling the American Dream is earning a degree that will provide a foot in the door to an amazing career, higher earnings and social capital. But year after year, that dream seems more out of reach for the 40 million students who collectively owe more than $1.2 trillion in student loan debt…We realize that borrowing a manageable amount for higher education is one of the best investments students can make in their futures, as long as they successfully complete their degrees in a timely manner. However, fewer than half of students pursuing a higher education degree in the United States will actually complete their programs on time. So, what can be done? While there are some things out of the student’s control — rising tuition, interest rates, etc. — students and their families can take steps to pursue the education they need and want without going into crippling debt, namely by taking on a business mindset. Here are some options that can put that mindset into practice and ensure a financially secure future:”(more)

Why the price tag of a college degree continues to rise

The Washington Post – Jeffrey J. Selingo

“Why does college cost so much? It’s a question parents, students, and politicians often ask and the answer is often elusive. There is much speculation about what is exactly to blame for college costs that tick up more and more every year above the rate of inflation and well above lagging family incomes. You’ve probably heard about a lot of reasons for the price surge: tenured professors, climbing walls, luxury dorms, too many administrators, overpaid presidents. But it’s almost impossible to isolate one or two causes…every year, researchers at the Delta Cost Project, which is run by the American Institutes for Research, attempt to make sense of higher education spending by explaining in detailed reports where the money to pay for college comes from and where it’s spent. Its latest report was released this month. Here are two key reasons its researchers said colleges costs continue to rise even in an era of low inflation:”(more)

Progress on Remediation

Inside Higher Ed – Ashley A. Smith

“College and state officials in Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia and other places where they’ve been working to reform remedial education are seeing dramatic increases in students completing college-level courses. Those are the findings in a new report from Complete College America, a nonprofit group that advocates for one approach to improve remedial education known as corequisite remediation. CCA released a report Thursday showing significant gains in states that have partnered with the organization to eliminate traditional remediation. The corequisite approach encourages colleges to take students who need remediation and place them in college-level, or gateway, English and math courses, but to pair those courses with additional supports. However, this type of remediation has faced controversy.”(more)

4 Trends Shaping Higher Education in 2016

EdSurge – Tim Coley, Ph.D

“What changes will 2016 bring? The answers are complex, especially in an environment where the definition of what it means to be a “student” (18-to-21 years old, living on campus) now encompasses more non-traditional learners who range in age, occupation, location and needs…I remain optimistic as ever about the future of higher education in 2016 and beyond; it’s already been elevated to a national conversation. Some of the country’s brightest minds are devoting countless hours to ensuring higher education is more accessible, affordable and effective. As our definition of higher education evolves, so too will the solutions that support increasingly diverse learners.”(more)

The Obama Administration Proposes $2 Billion More In College Aid

NPR Ed – Anya Kamenetz

“President Obama has increased college aid by over $50 billion since coming into office. And he’s trying to do more. Acting Education Secretary John King announced two new proposals today that would expand the Pell Grant program, the biggest pot of federal money for students with financial need…Both of these ideas are examples of a current trend in higher education: financial aid used as a carrot to encourage students to complete their degrees.”(more)

Challenge Yourself to Learn More Than Is Being Taught

The Huffington Post – Elizabeth Santiago

“Most of us, myself included, came to the university with career goals in place, and college was a vital piece to the puzzle. Even now, many students I know view their colleges as vocational schools rather than institutions that promote learning…In 2006, a panel of higher education representatives released the following statement: “We are disturbed by evidence that the quality of student learning at U.S. colleges and universities is inadequate and, in some cases, declining…” and “Employers report repeatedly that many new graduates they hire are not prepared to work, lacking the critical thinking, writing and problem-solving skills needed in today’s workplaces.” Though our opportunity and technology has increased significantly, many students are still finding themselves unprepared to take on the world. I believe that students have moved into an era in which many study with the purpose of passing exams rather than studying to truly learn and understand the material and the tools that are provided.”(more)