The value in nontraditional college completion paths

A new report explains that value of acknowledging nontraditional paths to college completion.

In the past few years, the road to degree completion has diverged into multiple pathways to that lead to that singular, shining destination: graduation day.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center recently released a state-by-state comparative study of student attainment rates based on student-level data from more than 3,300 participating colleges and universities. The study follows college enrollment behaviors beginning in the fall of 2006 through the spring of 2012.

“Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates” found that when nontraditional paths to college completion are acknowledged, the national completion rate hovers just above 75 percent. Nontraditional students are commonly regarded as “invisible” students and include those who transfer, maintain part-time or mixed enrollment status, or are adult learners.

“By including students [in the study] who are on these nontraditional trajectories, and by using student-level as opposed to institutional-level data, a much more complete view of college completion comes into focus, which can better inform policy,” the press release reads.

Though the report is broken down into multiple comparative tables of states, its national implications also were highlighted.

Nationally, transfers were somewhat common: 12 percent of students who started at a four-year public institution completed their degree at an institution other than the one they started at. Interestingly, in 20 states, students who started at four-year public institutions had a higher completion rate at another institution; Minnesota had the highest student transfer completion rate, at 27 percent.

Similarly, 9.4 percent of all students who started at a two-year public institution received their first credential at a four-year institution, and 3.2 percent of all students who started at a four-year public institution received their first credential or degree at a two-year institution.

Also, 15 percent of students who started at a two-year public institution finished college at a four-year institution, though more than one in six students did so in eight states. Of all the states, Virginia had the most successful two-year to four-year college conversion and completion rates—one in five.

In nearly every state, traditional-age students that started at four-year public institutions had higher six-year completion rates than adult learners.

Researchers say administrators and policy makers can benefit from looking beyond the national data, into the state-specific data, as each state has its own sets of successes and places for improvement.

“By drilling down to individual states’ completion rates, we are able to see student behavior in a very specific way,” said Doug Shapiro, executive director of the research center. “This information will help each state included in the study—as well as institutions, school districts, and the federal government—inform policy as they work toward meeting college completion goals.”

It appears that once the stigma is removed, nontraditional college completion pathways can produce just as much success as traditional ones.

Follow Assistant Editor Sarah Langmead @eCN_Sarah.


Bloxx’s eBook on Social Media in Education Helps Schools Set Social Media Policies

Boston, Mass., (February 28, 2013) – It doesn’t take a scholar to appreciate how new social media tools are changing education for both students and teachers. A new e-book, Social Media in Education: Enhancing Learning and Managing eSafety, from Bloxx, addresses the challenges schools face in harnessing social media information and collaborative learning tools, while protecting students from inappropriate content and dangerous malware.

“Giving students access to the wealth of content and learning applications on the Internet, while protecting them again harmful content and complying with COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1988), is a major challenge for those in education,” says Eamonn Doyle, president of Bloxx Inc., a leader in Web content filtering and email security. “Our new e-book is a primer for school administrators and IT professionals to integrate social media into the curriculum, along with a step-by-step guide for creating flexible social media and Internet access policies for their schools or districts.”

The Social Media in Education: Enhancing Learning and Managing e-Safety e-book highlights research which shows how social media can enhance traditional education models, build collaboration, support home-school and distance learning, and open channels to real-time data and relevant content.

Major sections of the e-book address the cultural, communications and technology challenges in creating a workable social media policy. According to the book’s author, leading educational technologist and award-winning teacher Ollie Bray, “It’s important to communicate the reason for a consistent social media policy across any educational organization. A good policy begins with good and open communication.”

“Equally important are some of the technology challenges, particularly around content filtering and security,” continued Bray. “Many schools are so concerned about risks from social media that they try to implement blanket ‘lock and block” policies that shut down access, but too broadly limit important educational content.” The Bloxx e-book describes some of the new generation web filtering technology that analyzes and categorizes web page content, rather than just blocking sites based on broad key word or URL restrictions. “These new content-based filtering tools,” concludes Bray, “let administrators set and control reasonable access according to grade level, subject matter and different roles such as students, faculty and staff.”

A free copy of Social Media in Education: Enhancing Learning and Managing eSafety, is available for download at or by emailing

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About Bloxx
Headquartered in Boston, Bloxx Inc. offers Web and email filtering and security for medium and large organizations in both the business and public sectors. Bloxx has achieved unrivalled sales growth year-on-year to become a leading Web filtering provider with an estimated 5 million+ users worldwide. To find out more about Bloxx Web filtering, call 617-924-1500, email or visit to book an online demonstration.

Editorial contacts

In the U.K.
.Carolyn Bowick
+44 (0) 1506 42976

In the U.S.
Roger Bridgeman
Bridgeman Communications


Canadian University of Dubai selects CAMS Enterprise ERP as key to its international market growth via online services

St. Louis — February 28, 2013 — With an eye to expanding in new international markets via Web services such as student mobility portals and online registration, Canadian University of Dubai has chosen CAMS® Enterprise, the flagship disruptive academic management solution from Three Rivers Systems Inc. as its new enterprise resource planning system. A disruptive technology is an innovation creating a new market and value network to “disrupt” an existing market by displacing earlier technology.

In selecting CAMS Enterprise over Ellucian Banner, Dubai-based CUD signals its desire for a fundamentally different academic ERP systems built for the 21st century from the ground up with the latest Microsoft technology. CUD’s selection committee lauded CAMS’ major functional and feature areas such as ease of use, strong admissions, registration and financial-aid packages, degree-audit and billing modules, a variety of portals and business analytics tools.

CUD decision-makers also cited CAMS’ interoperability with other systems and Three Rivers Systems’ ability to execute an aggressive installation timeline. CAMS Enterprise implementations typically take half the time of others.

CAMS provides everything institutions need to manage the entire student lifecycle, including: online applications; registration and payment; business analytics; mobility; integrated financial aid; built-in degree audit; built-in portals; government-mandated reports and much more.

Canadian University of Dubai Chief Advancement Officer and CIO Chris Savard said references for CAMS Enterprise were impeccable and unanimously positive. “As part of our due diligence, we spoke with people at many of Three Rivers Systems’ prestigious international clients like Hult International Business School, The American University of Paris and The Petroleum Institute of Abu Dhabi. They all had rave reviews about the CAMS product and Three Rivers Systems’ customer support,” he said.

About The Canadian University of Dubai
The Canadian University of Dubai (CUD), an initiative of Emirates Investment and Development PSC, offers programs ranging from Bachelor and Master degree programs, professional certificates, corporate training, etc. from its campus. From September 2012, it will offer a newly accredited Arabic program in English Language and Translation. CUD is accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and has affiliations with reputed and well-known international universities and institutions from Canada, France, Ireland and USA. CUD provides education services at the Tertiary Level, providing a gateway for students to pursue Higher Education in Canada by providing high-quality education in the UAE. CUD attracts students from across the globe with over 86 different nationalities currently pursuing degrees in various disciplines.

About CAMS Enterprise
CAMS Enterprise’s disruptive technology makes it a fundamentally different academic ERP unlike all others that were designed for the past and are incapable of operating efficiently in the modern world. CAMS Enterprise is an easy-to-use and implement, totally integrated, Web-native management system with everything in one place — admissions; student information; financial aid; student services; fiscal management with HR and payroll; fund-raising; alumni relations; document management, learning management, a full suite of portals, and more for managing the entire student life cycle. With an out-of-the-box configuration and self-service customization, CAMS Enterprise removes all barriers to success seen with conventional systems. CAMS’ affordable licensing, off-the-shelf configuration and easy implementation translate into the lowest total cost of ownership of any academic ERP while yielding the quickest and highest ROI.

About Three Rivers Systems Inc.
Three Rivers Systems Inc. is the only privately held, independent, debt-free, one-stop company focused solely on high-quality academic ERP solutions exclusively for higher education. For more than 25 years from its St. Louis headquarters, the company is keenly focused on innovation and service to its worldwide customers. Always innovating, the company invests significant revenues back into product R&D to improve existing products while developing new ones so users always get the exact functionality, industry experience and accurate project management they need. Its business model and products are designed to ensure institutional effectiveness, more-efficient business processes, student success and satisfaction.

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Contact: Ron Kalb, Three Rivers Systems Inc., Director of Communications, 636-779-1518 (office), 702-498-8916 (cell),

Products or service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.


Full Sail University, In Partnership with Valencia College, Was Proud to Host the First Take Stock In Children of Orange County Graduation & Scholarship Ceremony

Winter Park, FL, February 28, 2013 – Today, Full Sail University in partnership with Valencia College was proud to host the first Take Stock In Children of Orange County’s graduation and scholarship ceremony. During the event, 49 high school students who have participated in the Take Stock In Children mentorship program for five years each received a 2+2 Florida Prepaid $30,000 scholarship.

Take Stock in Children was established in 1995 as a non-profit organization in Florida that provides a unique opportunity for deserving low-income youth/students, many from minority families, to escape the cycle of poverty through education. This unique mentorship program begins when the children are in seventh grade and provides volunteer mentors, early intervention and long-term support. If the students meet with their mentors weekly, keep their grades up and stay away from drugs and alcohol, they will earn a four-year college scholarship, paid for by corporate sponsors.

“We’ve proven that it works,” said Sandy Shugart, President of Valencia College, speaking in regards to the Take Stock In Children of Orange County initiative. Valencia College brought the program to Orange County in 2008, thanks to a $1 million gift from the Florida Citrus Sports Foundation. Full Sail University partnered with Valencia in launching the program during its inception five years ago, and hosted the graduation and scholarship ceremony as the program came full circle during today’s event.

“Full Sail University is proud to stand alongside Valencia College and all of the community leaders who have recognized the vital need to support education in our local community through the tremendous efforts of Take Stock in Children of Orange County,” said Full Sail University President Garry Jones. “We are humbled by the dedication demonstrated by each of the students within the program and we commend the mentors who have devoted their time and talents to making a difference in the life of a child.”

In addition to hosting the event, Full Sail University is the title sponsor of the Annual Take Stock In Children Golf Tournament held in Lake Nona. Proceeds raised during the tournament go directly toward the scholarship fund benefitting the local students within the program.

About Full Sail University:
Full Sail University is an award-winning educational leader for those pursuing careers in the entertainment and media industry. Founded in 1979, Full Sail has been recognized as one of the Top Five Game Degree Programs by Electronic Gaming Monthly, one of the Best Music Programs by Rolling Stone Magazine, and one of the Best Film Programs by UNleashed Magazine. In 2011, Full Sail received the “21st Century Best Practices in Distance Learning Award” from the United States Distance Learning Association, was named the “School/College of the Year” by the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges, and was recognized as one of the Top 100 Social Media Colleges by

Full Sail offers Master, Bachelor, and Associate campus and online degree programs in areas related to animation, art, business, education, graphic design, film, marketing, web development, music, recording arts, sports, and video games. Full Sail graduate credits include work on OSCAR®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, ADDY®, MTV Video Music Award, and Spike Video Game Award nominated and winning projects.



Which universities are ranked highest by college officials?

Have you ever wondered which universities have the best reputations among college officials? To answer that question, U.S. News is publishing the reputation rankings for schools in the National Universities rankings category that placed highest in terms of undergraduate academic reputation in our Best Colleges 2013 rankings. Reputation is very important to prospective students. In a survey of freshmen by the University of California–Los Angeles, students rated whether a college has a good academic reputation as the No. 1 factor that influenced their school choice, indicating their firm belief that reputation matters to a significant degree. These results also support a key premise in the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings methodology, which gives undergraduate academic reputation a weight of 15 percent in our National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges ranking categories…

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Cuts imminent, Senate rejects stopgap efforts

Squabbling away the hours, the Senate last night swatted aside last-ditch plans to block $85 billion in federal spending reductions as President Barack Obama and Republicans blamed each other for the gridlock and the administration readied plans to put the sequestration cuts into effect, reports the Associated Press. So entrenched were the two parties that the Senate chaplain, Barry Black, opened the day’s session with a prayer that beseeched a higher power to intervene. “Rise up, O God, and save us from ourselves,” he said of cuts due to take effect sometime on March 1. On the Senate floor, a Republican proposal requiring Obama to propose alternative cuts that would cause less disruption in essential government services fell to overwhelming Democratic opposition, 62-38. Moments later, a Democratic alternative to spread the cuts over a decade and replace half with higher taxes on millionaires and corporations won a bare majority, 51-49, but that was well shy of the 60 needed to advance. Republicans opposed it without exception.  So it appears that school leaders will have to brace for what could be devastating cuts to services that affect mostly poor and minority students…

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Feds’ loan changes hamper black college enrollment

Thousands of students this year unexpectedly had to stay at home, transfer to a less expensive school, or find new money after the U.S. Department of Education quietly changed how it evaluated the credit of parents applying for a federal PLUS loan, reports the Associated Press. The greater scrutiny affected families and schools everywhere, but historically black colleges were hit particularly hard, because so many of their students come from low-income families dependent on PLUS loans. In recent years, as many as a third of all black college graduates had used PLUS loans, a proportion twice as high as the rate for all schools, according to one estimate. The Education Department said the changes were made as part of an effort to more closely align government lending programs with industry standards and decrease default rates. Before the changes, the loan program looked at whether an applicant had an adverse credit history for an account in the past 90 days. Now, the program looks for delinquent accounts during the last five years. While many colleges worried about the denials, others said the changes prevented lower-income families from being saddled with debt they can’t afford…

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