Parchment’s e-Transcript Network Continues Growth in Second Quarter, Doubling Volume of Transactions

More than 200 high schools and colleges select Docufide in the second quarter, as the exchange network handles nearly 1 million e-Transcripts in first half of 2012

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Aug. 9, 2012) – Propelled by the growing awareness among school leaders, students and alumni that electronic transcripts (e-Transcripts) offer a wide range of benefits, Docufide® by Parchment™ continued its strong growth in the second quarter of 2012. The industry-leading e-Transcript exchange network added more than 200 high schools and colleges between April and June.

Notable higher education institutions signing up with the Docufide Receiver or Sender paid service in the second quarter include Temple University, Northern Illinois University, Full Sail University and The College Network. On the secondary education side, Phoenix Union High School District, Scottsdale Unified School District, Montrose County School District, and Compton High School, among others, also signed up for Docufide Sender Full.

“We chose Docufide because it will provide an additional service that enables our students and alumni to easily request and send transcripts electronically,” said Don Fournier, division manager for information services at Phoenix Union High School District. “At the same time, district staff will benefit from reduced administrative burden associated with the fulfillment of transcript requests.”

Schools exchanged nearly 1 million transcripts through Docufide in the first half of 2012 – double the number exchanged in the first six months of last year. More than 30 percent of American high schools are in the Docufide network, with more than 1,600 higher education providers registered to receive transcripts electronically from Parchment. Students and alumni can visit Parchment.com or their school’s website to request and send transcripts through the Docufide network.

About Parchment
Parchment’s mission is to unleash education credentials by unlocking the critical data they embody. A credentials data company, Parchment works with institutions and corporations around the world helping people collect, promote, and share their education credentials in simple and secure ways. At Parchment.com, students can research colleges and discover their chances of admission, see how they compare with peers, get college recommendations, and send official transcripts when they are ready to apply. The company’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, Docufide® by Parchment™, is the leading transcript exchange and intelligence platform. The solution enables the secure, rapid exchange of millions of electronic transcripts and other student records among more than 9,000 schools and universities, six state education agencies, and hundreds of thousands of individuals. Founded in 2003, Parchment Inc. is a venture-backed company headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz. Visit www.parchment.com/company for more information.

Media Contacts
• Mark Cohen, Parchment, Inc., 480-719-1646 x1009, mcohen@parchment.com

• Kristen Plemon, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x18, kristen@cblohm.com

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Social media saves money, boosts efficiency for college recruiters

A new study examines social media’s impact on college spending.

It’s no secret that teenagers today practically live online—so online is where college recruiters should go to find potential students, reveals a study about increased social media use among admissions officers at U.S. colleges and universities.

The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth this month released a study that indicates significant changes in recruiting tactics as higher education warms up to social media.

The newly released data show for the first time that using social media cuts costs for college recruiters, and as a result, 86 percent of surveyed schools plan to increase investments in these tools during the next year.

From November to May of the 2011-12 school year, researchers conducted 570 interviews with admissions officers at four-year undergraduate schools. Schools included in the survey sample were 22 percent public and 78 percent private, and represented a range of enrollment sizes and tuition costs.

Seventy-eight percent of admissions officers surveyed reported that social media tools have changed the way they recruit.

“Social media is increasingly becoming the preferred way college-aged students obtain and absorb news today. Having a presence on social media outlets allows colleges to honestly be in the discussion when students are leveraging where to apply and enroll,” said Jeff Fuller, director of student recruitment at the University of Houston.

“The key is—meet them where they are,” said Jim Miller, immediate past president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

When he began his college admissions career, “it was all about letters, postcards, and phone calls,” Miller said. Since then, the conversation has moved to eMail, and then to social media and texting.

“So we’re just moving to the next stage,” he said.

The study shows that increases in social media use have reduced the cost of promoting the school through more traditional means: Schools reported spending 33 percent less on printing, 24 percent less on newspaper ads, and 17 percent less on radio and TV ads.

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Virtual Computing: Saving Time, Money, and Headaches

In the current economic climate, campus leaders must do more with less. And many are finding that virtualizing their computer hardware and/or software can help save time and energy—while providing resources to more students at a fraction of the cost.

With the generous support of NComputing, we’ve put together this collection of stories to help you determine how virtual computing might meet the needs of your own school.

—The Editors

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StudySync Teams With Northfield Mount Hermon To Spearhead National VOTES Project

Via Its Innovative Blast Tool, Collaborative Online Learning Platform Will Host Election-Focused Conversation Among Students Nationwide

SONOMA, Calif. (August 8, 2012) – StudySync (www.studysync.com), the web-based collaborative curriculum from BookheadEd Learning, LLC, will join with Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH), a prestigious private school in Massachusetts, to add a dynamic technology component to NMH’s national VOTES project. The VOTES (Voting Opportunities for Teenagers in Every State) project brings together more than 100 public and private schools nationwide, as well as schools internationally, to give students a voice in the 2012 election.

A coed independent boarding school for grades 9-12, Northfield Mount Hermon is a member of the Eight Schools Association, along with Choate Rosemary Hall, Deerfield Academy, Hotchkiss School, Lawrenceville School, Phillips Academy Andover, Phillips Exeter Academy and St. Paul’s School.
NMH created VOTES 1988 and has run the program for all six presidential elections since then. In 2008, 60,000 students from every state in the nation cast ballots of their own and sent them to Northfield Mount Hermon a week before Election Day. The VOTES project is the only program of its kind in the country.

StudySync will bring a compelling new electronic component to the long-standing VOTES project. Participating VOTES schools will use StudySync’s exclusive Blast feature to enlist students in a national conversation about election issues. “Blasts” are short reading and writing assignments based on timely, high-interest topics of cultural significance. Students respond in short answer format, engaging in a thoughtful discussion with students within the wider StudySync community.

Election-related Blasts will be sent to students weekly, leading up to the November election. At the time of the election, high school students will be asked to vote for the candidate of their choice. The VOTES project election results will be made available to participating schools, and to local and national news media.

“The VOTES project has proven to be a remarkably effective and fun way of teaching our high school students about the electoral process in the United States,” said Jim Shea, NMH history teacher and VOTES co-founder. “The hands-on mock election experience allows teenagers to be active participants in the political process, rather than merely passive observers.”

“The VOTES project is an exciting extension of our product offering for the fall,” said Robert Romano, StudySync CEO. “We are pleased to join NMH in its mission to encourage thoughtful discourse around the upcoming election, giving voice to the opinions of young people at this pivotal moment in American politics. We are looking forward to documenting the nationwide discussion that students will be having through StudySync Blasts, and anxious to share the election results as they come in through VOTES.”

In addition to counting the popular vote, NMH’s mock election simulates the Electoral College process. According to NMH, teen voters have correctly predicted the results of the national presidential election in every race since 1988, with the exception of the 2004 contest. Turnout in participating schools approaches 80 percent — twice the average turnout in national elections. The project teaches students about the democratic process, tests their political savvy, and reveals the age group’s political leanings through an issues poll.

An innovative, web‐delivered academic tool, StudySync was created by leading national educators with the goal of inspiring higher levels of critical thinking and academic collaboration. Aligned to the Common Core State Standards, StudySync targets middle and high school students, enlisting broadcast-quality video, digital media, mobile platforms and social learning to advance students’ reading, writing and critical thinking abilities.

Flexible and easy‐to‐navigate, StudySync places control fully in the hands of the educator, enabling teachers to integrate the product into their current classroom curriculum any way they see fit. Teachers can, for example, customize the experience by using StudySync lessons in sequence as a complete unit or assigning individual components to supplement existing lesson plans; the teacher can track progress and make assessments at any time. StudySync is also intended to be used across disciplines – for language arts classrooms and for science, social studies, history and other subject areas as well.

About BookheadEd Learning, LLC
BookheadEd Learning connects high school and middle school students to the great ideas of mankind through technology, multimedia, and a rich library of classic and modern texts. StudySync, its award-winning flagship product, uses web-delivered educational tools – including broadcast-quality video, digital media, mobile platforms and social networking —to help teachers inspire higher levels of students’ reading, writing, critical thinking, academic discourse and peer-to-peer collaboration. An AEC and SIIA CODiE Awards finalist, StudySync is the recipient of two BESSIE Awards and the EDDIE Award from ComputED Gazette, “Trendsetter” recognition from EdTech Digest, and District Administration’s “Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products” award. CEO/co-founder Robert Romano is among EdTech Digest’s “50 Fascinating Entrepreneurs.” Based in Sonoma, Calif. with an office in Cambridge, Mass., BookheadEd is comprised of educators and experts who believe “Together We’re Smarter.” To learn more about BookheadEd Learning and its StudySync educational platform, visit www.studysync.com.

Media contact:
Ken Greenberg
Edge Communications, Inc.
323-469-3397
ken@edgecommunicationsinc.com

About Northfield Mount Hermon
Northfield Mount Hermon, commonly referred to as NMH, is a co-educational independent boarding school for students in grades 9–12 and postgraduate. The school is located on the banks of the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts near Gill, Massachusetts. NMH was founded in 1879. The school provides, “Education of the head, the heart, and the hand.” Our mission is to engage the intellect, compassion, and talents of our students, empowering them to act with humanity and purpose. The school enrolls 650 students who come from more than 45 states and 35 countries. NMH is a member of the Eight Schools Association, which comprises Phillips Academy (known as Andover), Phillips Exeter Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall, Deerfield Academy, Hotchkiss School, Lawrenceville School, and St. Paul’s School.

Media contact:
Cheri Cross
Director of Communications
Northfield Mount Hermon
413-498-3322
ccross@nmhschool.org

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StudyBlue Unveils Free iPad App for Back to School

The iPad release enables seamless studying on StudyBlue across multiple platforms

MADISON, Wis. (Aug. 7, 2012) – As students and educators increasingly turn to Apple tablets for learning purposes, mobile study service StudyBlue announces the launch of its free iPad® app. According to Apple, 1.5 million iPads were used in schools and educational institutions last school year. The growing influence of tablet computing is evident in K-12 classrooms and college lecture halls, where there will be more iPads this fall than ever before.

Students can use the StudyBlue app to search, create and study flashcards and notes with their iPads. The free app leverages iPad’s multimedia features to create an efficient and effective studying experience for all students. Students can make and edit flashcards on their iPads using text, audio and images. The StudyBlue iPad app also enables students to re-study concepts they’ve not yet mastered, using Study Filters to personalize the process.

“StudyBlue is a must-have app for students in my classroom,” said Tammy Howell, teacher at Central York School District in Pennsylvania. “Since repetitions and reinforcement increase the familiarity and comfort of study material, this iPad app is the ideal learning tool that allows for an increase in student achievement.” And educators aren’t the only ones excited about the StudyBlue iPad app. Sam Marchant, a university student from England, commented, “The iPad app is a superb blend of new age technology and old school revision aid.”

The StudyBlue iPad app is the capstone of the company’s suite of mobile study tools, which includes native apps for iPhone® and Android™ devices. Demonstrated by user login data, mobile studying among high school and college students continues to gain momentum. Students are organizing their class material on computers and studying it through mobile phones and tablets, which explains why StudyBlue CEO Becky Splitt believes the new iPad app will be a big benefit for students and educators heading into the 2012-13 academic year.

“From computers to phones and now iPads, students can create and study their material anytime, anywhere,” said Splitt. “This consistent studying experience enables students to turn normally unproductive time, such as waiting for the bus, into study sessions to improve their comprehension and ultimately master course material.”

About StudyBlue
StudyBlue delivers the mobile study service that helps students learn the stuff their teachers teach, for free. StudyBlue provides a Digital Backpack for students to store, study, share, compare and ultimately master course material – working alone or together. Flashcards with images and audio, cloud storage for notes, personalized practice quizzes and crowdsourced study guides are among the tools offered. For more information, visit www.studyblue.com.

Media Contacts
• Jenny Bradley, StudyBlue, 608-441-1149, jenny@studyblue.com
• Emily Embury, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x19, emily@cblohm.com

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Google to include people’s Gmail in search results

Google is creating an information bridge between its influential internet search engine and its widely used Gmail service in its latest attempt to deliver more personal responses more quickly, the Associated Press reports. The experimental feature unveiled Wednesday will enable Google’s search engine to mine the correspondence stored within a user’s Gmail account for any data tied to a search request. For example, a query containing the word “Amazon” would pull emails with shipping information sent by the online retailer. Such Gmail results will typically be shown to the right of the main results, though in some instances, the top of the search page will highlight an answer extracted directly from an email. For example, the request “my flight” will show specific airline information imported from Gmail. Something similar could eventually happen when searching for a restaurant reservation or tickets to a concert…

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Higher One making restitution of $11M to students

Higher One Holdings Inc. has agreed to make restitution for about $11 million to college students for overcharging them for fees on its debit cards and other practices, federal regulators said Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Higher One is also paying a $110,000 civil fine and agreed to change the way it imposes fees. In addition, the FDIC said that Bancorp Bank, which issued the OneAccount debit card administered by Higher One, is paying a $172,000 fine. Higher One said it began voluntarily refunding the fees in December 2011, and has already returned $4.7 million in fees to students. In addition, the company said it previously has waived about $6 million in fees that were incurred but not yet paid by the cardholders…

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Do college students who evaluate their professors have a right to anonymity?

Students who pack their backpacks to head off to colleges and universities carry with them a bundle of legal rights – more than their younger brothers and sisters have in high schools or elementary schools, the National Constitution Center reports. If they go to state-supported institutions, they very likely will have more rights than those who go to private schools. But not all of the rights students have come from the Constitution, and not all of them can be enforced by the individual students themselves. For generations, the nation’s courts have been busy defining college students’ rights to free speech, to the free exercise of their religious faith, and to personal privacy for themselves and their belongings. Those rights do emerge in the Constitution – the First and Fourth Amendments, specifically. But they are enforceable for students at state institutions, since those campuses are the ones directly bound by the Constitution. More importantly, perhaps, those rights and not absolute: the administrators of colleges, and state and local police, retain a good deal of authority to maintain order and to ensure student safety, whether or not the campus is a part of a state system or is private…

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‘Crowdfunding’ company Upstart looks to universities to connect students, pros

Upstart “provides mentorship and some financial security so that a student can follow an entrepreneurial path.”

For Vincent Lucero, Upstart came along at the right time. His gaming company, Soaring Squirrels, was just lifting off in the spring and he was looking for money.

A friend directed the recent University of Washington graduate to Upstart, which offers a platform for multiple investors to drop relatively small investments into the accounts of budding entrepreneurs — a phenomenon called crowdfunding.

Lucero was part of a pilot project for Upstart, itself a startup only 4 months old. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company officially launched on Aug. 8 and, starting in September, plans to expand its service to students at five universities, including UW.

The money Lucero received was not for his company, however. It was an investment in him. Rather than funding startups, Upstart investors fund individuals.

“[Upstart] provides mentorship and some financial security so that a student can follow an entrepreneurial path,” said Matt O’Donnell, professor of bioengineering at UW, by eMail.

Besides providing financial support of $25,000, Upstart linked Lucero with tech professionals to guide his entrepreneurial pursuits. One was Russel Simmons, co-founder of Yelp.

Simmons was one who invested in Lucero, so Upstart organized a lunch between the budding entrepreneur and the seasoned high-tech pro.

“He ran me through what made Yelp successful,” Lucero said.

The funds Lucero received were not a loan. Upstart founder Dave Girouard says the financing is more “equity-like.”

Recipients repay the investors a maximum of 7 percent of their income for up to 15 years after the deal is made. They pay nothing in years when their income is less than $30,000 a year.

Investors’ returns are capped at 15 percent annually, and recipients can buy out their payment obligations at any date.

Ed Lazowska, who holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at UW, says this financing model will give students an incentive to take more risks and look at options away from the region’s tech giants.

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