Rules could prompt colleges to pull online programs from some states

Half of colleges said they would not seek authorization in all 50 states.

Online college students in Massachusetts, Arkansas, and Minnesota soon could have more limited school options as colleges and universities plan to withdraw their online programs from those states in response to a much-debated set of regulations.

Colleges with large online course selections that draw students from every state have railed against the U.S. Education Department’s “state authorization” rules, which require schools to gain approval from every state in which they have even one online student.

And even after a federal judge voided part of the state authorization rule in July, online education experts say ED probably will reintroduce the regulations in 2012.

Read more about the state authorization rule in higher education…

ED sticks by controversial rule; online college officials concerned

As regulations loom, a call for cooperation between states

College officials have made it clear that they won’t serve students in states with the most onerous requirements to abide by. The costs of seeking approval in those states could prove to be too high, so many schools will provide online classes only for students who live in states that aren’t heavy-handed with compliance measures, according to a survey conducted by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WCET).

Six in 10 colleges and universities with online programs identified states they likely would not serve if state authorization rules are fully implemented. Twenty-nine schools said they would withdraw online classes from Massachusetts, 16 said they would leave Minnesota, and 15 wouldn’t serve college students in Arkansas.

“It’ll have a chilling effect on distance education, and students will start complaining and rising up about their freedom of taking classes being curtailed in the name of consumer protections,” said Russell Poulin, deputy director of WCET.

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UC Berkeley shooting: University spokesman confirms shots fired at Haas School of Business

A shooting at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business has put a segment of the campus on lock down for the rest of the day, university spokesman Dan Mogulof announced Tuesday afternoon, the Huffington Post reports. Berkeley campus paper Daily Cal reported that about ten shots were fired inside the business school computer lab. According to the Mercury News, an armed man brandished a gun and was subsequently shot by a police officer. The victim was then transported to a nearby hospital. His identity and condition remain unknown. Students were immediately told to evacuate the building, ABC news reported…

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Recruiting veterans, Columbia finds an impressive applicant pool

Two years ago, in an effort to attract more veterans to Columbia, Curtis Rodgers, a dean of admissions, began recruiting at military bases. Almost immediately he noticed differences between the Marines and the typical 18-year-old Ivy League applicant, the New York Times reports. Marines are less aggressive. When Mr. Rodgers asked Sgt. Tiffani Watts at the end of a recent interview if she had any questions, the Marine answered, “I do, sir, but I don’t want to make you late for your next interview, sir.”

Marines are open about academic weaknesses. “To be forthright, sir, I did very poorly in high school,” Cpl. Leland Dawson began his interview. “It was a bit shaky, sir.”

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California students are leaving the state for higher education

Budget cuts to higher education are causing students in California to study in different states, according to a report by Arizona State University News. On Nov. 1, ASU reported an approximate 42 percent increase of new freshmen from California between 2008 and 2010. The U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System conducted an annual fall enrollment survey. In each even-numbered year, colleges and universities are required to report the total number of first-time, full-time students by their states of origin. The report shows the growing trend of an increasing number of students migrating away from home to attend college in other states.

“I came to ASU because my best friend wanted to go here,” said Jenna Engstrom, a California native now attending ASU. “At the same time, I didn’t get into any schools in California that I wanted to go to.”

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10 colleges with the most students studying abroad

These schools reported the highest percentage of undergraduates who study abroad for credit, U.S News reports. According to the newly released “Open Doors 2011” report, 270,604 American students studied abroad for academic credit during the 2009-2010 school year. The report, published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE), notes that the most popular countries for those students are the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and China. Less traditional destinations, such as India, Israel, Brazil, New Zealand, and Egypt, have also seen a greater percentage of students, the report adds…

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How far will they go? UConn student government courts more controversy

The University of Connecticut’s student government has stripped senior class senator Colin Neary of his position following an early November event he organized in which rapper Jasiri X performed a song banned by a contract created by the student group’s comptroller, the Huffington Post reports. When Jasiri X was sent the agreement from student government comptroller Daniel Hanley prohibiting him from performing his Occupy Wall Street-inspired song, “Occupy (We the 99),” at the Nov. 4 event, the Pittsburgh native signed it, but then went on stage and refused to adhere to the student group’s demand. He performed the song after delivering a rant attacking the contract and the “gangster” who drafted it…

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For-profit colleges slow in response to prospective students

Some schools respond to prospective student eMails in minutes.

For an industry known for its aggressive student recruitment techniques, many private, for-profit colleges take as long as 12 hours to return a prospective student’s phone call—and two days to respond to eMail inquiries from potential students.

Four in 10 for-profit schools don’t respond to student phone calls within a day, and seven in 10 schools have a same-day eMail response, according to a white paper released this week by Leads360, a California-based company that sells enrollment management technology.

In the survey of 28 for-profit colleges—including well-known schools like Grand Canyon University (GCU) and American Public University (APU)—“none showed consistent across-the-board success that would maximize their chances of enrolling the highest number of qualified prospects,” the white paper says.

Read more about for-profit colleges in higher education…

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“In addition, several schools showed a complete disregard for the value of a consistent, efficient approach to converting inquiries into enrolled students,” the white paper said.

The white paper results might be surprising to higher education officials who have followed the consistent criticism of for-profit college recruitment practices, as detailed in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report last year.

For-profit schools have developed a reputation for high-pressure approaches and questionable claims while registering students considering a return to college.

The Leads360 research, however, showed that while some for-profits respond to prospective students’ phone calls within 10 hours, others—such as Keiser University and Rasmussen College—wait more than two days to respond.

Ashford University, an Iowa-based institution that drew scrutiny for having one of the nation’s highest withdrawal rates in a 2011 U.S. Senate report on higher education, took almost two weeks on average to call prospective students who had contacted the university.

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Review: Kindle Fire sacrifices to get under $200

Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet went on sale Nov. 14 for $199.

Amazon.com caused quite a stir in early October when it announced a new tablet computer for less than half the cost of Apple’s iPad. The Kindle Fire went on sale Nov. 14 for $199, but Associated Press technology writer Peter Svensson cautioned in a review that Amazon’s tablet doesn’t quite measure up to the iPad—in screen size or in other features.

Here’s Svensson’s review…

“The Kindle Fire is the first full-color, touch-screen Kindle. … The Fire is the best Kindle yet, no doubt about it. It’s amazing that it costs half of what the first Kindle cost, just four years ago, yet does so much more than display books. … But it has to be weighed against the competition. When you do that, it becomes apparent just how spare Amazon had to keep the device to limbo under that $200 price level.

“The Kindle’s design is even starker than the iPad’s. It’s a black monolith with only one button—the power switch—and two jacks, for headphones and power. All the controls are on the screen.

“The screen measures 7 inches diagonally, a bit larger than the monochrome Kindles and a bit less than half the size of the iPad’s. The smaller size does make the Fire more portable than an iPad; it will fit nicely into a handbag, for instance.

“The size of the screen wasn’t much of an issue on the monochrome Kindles, because they were mainly good for showing text anyway. But the responsive color screen of the Fire opens up a lot of possibilities, such as showing magazine and comic book pages.

“Here, the small size of the screen gets in the way. It’s just too far from standard page sizes to do them justice. Magazine pages look tiny. Amazon has to jump through some hoops to make them readable, like including a mode that shows just the text. But flicking through a magazine is still a lot of work—and that’s one thing that should not be like work.

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Klout scores: Do they belong on résumés?

This morning CNN reported that some people list their Klout scores on their résumés. My first few thoughts: Really? Seriously? Is this true? And if true, is it a good idea? Asks Jenna Johnson, columnist for the Washington Post. Klout says it measures the amount of influence people have through social media, especially Twitter. It calculates scores based on the number of people you reach (a.k.a. followers), how much you influence them (a.k.a. how often they re-tweet or respond to you) and the influence of your followers (a.k.a. their Klout scores). Scores range from 1 to 100, but the company says most people fall around 20…

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