Suit seeks relief for trade school students with years of debt but no career

The Wilfred Academy promised her “everything you’ll need for your beauty career.” When she enrolled, Ana Salazar, a single mother of four, then 40, believed it was a ticket out of her minimum wage job as a security guard, the New York Times reports. But 26 years later, Ms. Salazar, who is retired and lives on government assistance, still doesn’t know how to cut hair. The Wilfred branch at West 50th Street and Broadway, one in a nationwide chain of beauty schools, was shuttered before she could complete the course. The only thing she has to show for her time there is a pile of repayment requests for a federally guaranteed loan that has ballooned to more than $16,000 with interest and fees…

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The shortcomings of MOOCs

The University offers 12 Massive Open Online Courses on the Coursera platform — some current and some upcoming. The University first offered MOOCs last fall with a whirlwind of controversy surrounding them, reports. A year later, we examine the potential successes and failures of MOOCs, as well as their uncertain future in the competitive and expensive world of higher education. The obvious drawback to MOOCs is economic. The University receives no revenue from them, and they require professors to devote extensive hours of work for no additional pay. Physics Prof. Lou Bloomfield expressed a great deal of satisfaction from creating the “How Things Work” MOOC, but questions whether MOOCs will be sustainable for the future, having seen first hand the amount of time and energy necessary to create one…

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Google wants to teach everyday folk to interpret data

If you’ve been to a tech conference, or even just browsed through the odd tech site, then you’ve probably seen the term “Big Data” used over and over again in the past couple of years, memeburn reports. The trouble is that the term’s made any form of data seem pretty scary and impenetrable. Enter Google’s new massively open online course (MOOC) “Making Sense of Data“. The course, which is available from 18 March to 4 April, aims to help anyone who wants to learn more about how to structure, visualize, and manipulate data…

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University data breach prompts ‘top-to-bottom’ IT review

One week after a sophisticated cyberattack exposed more than 300,000 personal records of University of Maryland (UMD) students and alumni, university President Wallace Loh said he would launch a comprehensive investigation of the school’s computing and information systems.


“State and federal law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Secret Service, consultants from the MITRE Corporation, and our own campus IT security personnel are working together to find out how the attackers penetrated our multiple layers of security,” Loh said in a recent message to students and alumni.

The investigation will seek to accomplish three goals that will identify and resolve vulnerabilities in UMD’s network infrastructure, according to the message Loh released on the university’s website.

The investigation will scan existing databases on the university’s servers to determine where personal information is located, and then depending on the database destroy the personal information or add more digital security measures to protect them.

Register now for our free webinar on March 18 at 2:00 p.m. EST for a special session on how campuses can leverage cloud-based storage solutions to cut costs and protect their database.

In addition to determining where sensitive data is stored, the investigation will determine how strong UMD’s cybersecurity is through a series of penetration tests which will highlight potential security shortcomings that could be exploited by cybercriminals.

The President’s Task Force will also review UMD’s existing IT systems to find a balance between centralized systems, or those operated by the university, and decentralized systems, which are unit operated.

The review will ensure that that the security measures for both systems are up to UMD’s standards.


8 pressing challenges for campus IT departments

Campus IT departments will need to master a wide range of new skills and tools in order to take full advantage of innovative mobile technologies in the coming years.

campusIn a blog post last week, Nick Jones, vice president of Gartner, pointed out essential skills and tools IT departments worldwide will have to master if they hope to remain ahead of the mobile technology curve.

Multiplatform/multiarchitecture application development tools

Picking and choosing which operating systems to develop for is no longer an option. Accessibility on all platforms is essential, and according to Jones organizations will need new development tools that support Andriod, iOS and Windows. IT teams will also need to balance technical and nontechnical issues, “such as such as productivity versus vendor stability,” in order to support three architectures – native, hybrid, and mobile.

Register now for our free webinar on March 18 at 2:00 p.m. EST for a special session on how campuses can leverage cloud-based storage solutions to cut costs and protect their database.


HTML5 – the next step in HTML the main markup language used to create webpages — is not as easy to use for mobile development due to security and implementation risks. Despite its current problems, as HTML5 becomes more popular among web developers it will become an “essential technology for organizations delivering applications across multiple platforms.”

Advanced mobile user experience design

Who wants boring apps? New mobile apps will have to deliver user experiences with well-designed, interactive interfaces, which consumers have come to expect. Top consumer apps have set high standard for interface and interaction, campus IT needs to live up to consumers’ high expectations.


Three ways to keep ‘Millennials’ engaged

Follow these tried-and-true tips for communicating with Millennials, or next-generation students who have grown up with technology


Growing up when online was always “in,” Millennials constantly consume information and media.

At more than 80 million strong, the Millennial generation is the largest age grouping in American history.

Growing up when online was always “in,” Millennials have earned a distinct reputation for the way in which they constantly consume information and media. Texting, search engines, online portals, chat, mobile and social media have all empowered the next-generation student to obtain information without ever having to speak with someone on the phone or in person.

Colleges and universities today face a serious challenge: They must offer services, support, and information that are readily accessible on a growing list of “round-the-cloud” engagement channels. Higher-education technology must be relevant and seamless across whichever channel each student prefers to engage.

Follow these three tried-and-true tips for communicating with next-generation Millennials:

Focus on engagement.

Because Millennials are more immersed in technology than those in other generations, they search for and request information online first. And in the same fast-paced way they text, tweet, post information on Facebook, and communicate on the go, Millennials expect an equally fast response. Higher-education institutions must present information to Millennials in a way that grabs and holds their attention, while quickly answering their question.

Colleges and universities, no matter how large, should keep website content organized, brief, and easily digestible and add screenshots, video, and engaging multimedia whenever possible. A common question for Millennials is, “What’s in it for me?”—so make your content worth their time. The more accessible your web and mobile portal is, the more likely they are to engage with your site and return to it seeking answers in the future.


How One University Saved on Storage, Boosted Performance 700% with Tegile

TegileWP200To meet its need for highly reliable, high-performance data storage and backup, and to support a new virtualization platform that would improve remote access to the campus network, Washington and Lee University turned to the Zebi storage array from Tegile. The result has been a 70% reduction in storage needs for its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and a sevenfold increase in VDI performance.


Are online college degrees really cheaper?

The average cost of an online bachelor’s degree is now more expensive than many face-to-face bachelor’s degrees.

online-college-degreeExamining data from nearly 700 colleges and universities in the Peterson’s Distance Learning Database, Hanover Research found that the average cost of an online bachelor’s degree in the United States is $43,477.

According to the College Board, the average cost of a face-to-face bachelor’s degree for an in-state student at a public university is just more than $35,000. Neither cost accounts for deductions due to financial aid, however.

“Our analysis serves to provide a useful base through which to outline the current types of degrees offered online, the most popular subject fields, and tuition rates,” Gretchen Novak, Hanover Research’s chief marketing officer, said in announcing the findings.

The 699 institutions examined by Hanover offer almost 9,000 online certificates and degree programs, the researchers said.

Many of the programs were offered by public non-profit colleges and universities.

The average cost of an online master’s degree program was $21,959, less than half of what it costs to earn a bachelor’s.

This is not too far from the College Board’s estimate for the average public, face-to-face master’s degree, which costs around $15,000 to $20,000, depending on the length of the program.


Yale likes the view through Google Glass

It’s not just Yale University’s quarterback who’s experimenting with Google Glass. It’s any student who visits the campus’s library.

yale-google-glassThe wearable technology has made its way into higher education over the past year, including last September when Yale’s quarterback, Henry Furman, wore Google Glass during a team practice. The recording offered a point-of-view look at the action from behind center.

The wearable device resembles a pair of glasses and allows users to take pictures, shoot video, search the web, write eMails and check schedules.

The prestigious university recently announced that students could rent out the futuristic eyewear at the Yale University Library, thanks to collaboration between the school’s Instructional Technology Group (ITG) and the Student Technology Collaborative (STC).

The devices, which will be known as “Yale Bass Glass,” will be available during the fall 2014 semester. Students and educators were encouraged to contact STC and ITG to propose ways in which they could experiment with Google Glass available at the library.

Survey: Most Americans don’t want wearable tech like iWatch, Google Glass

Brad Warren, director of access services at Yale University Library, said the school would make Google Glass available for students and faculty in part because experimentation with other once-cutting edge technologies like the Apple iPad proved successful and popular.

Warren said Google Glass will be used to assist handicapped library patrons as they peruse the various selections, and as a “first person scanner” that would let library staffers to fill student scanning requests directly from the library’s book stacks.


Ellucian® and National Student Clearinghouse® Automate Electronic Transcript Processing and Delivery

FAIRFAX, Va. – February 27, 2014 – Ellucian® and the National Student Clearinghouse® announced today the delivery of Ellucian eTranscripts, an interface that automates the time-consuming administrative tasks required to process and release transcripts, reducing the workload of the registrar’s office and improving the service quality to students and alumni. eTranscripts is a secure interface for institutions to authenticate, produce, and transfer transcripts electronically and in real-time between the National Student Clearinghouse and Ellucian’s administrative systems.

The volume of transcript requests is rising, driven by the increasing mobility of today’s college students. One-third of students transfer or change schools at least once in five years, according to the Transfer and Mobility report published by the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™. Fulfilling requests manually takes institutions an average of four days to process and send the transcripts. With eTranscripts, the process is automated and the transcript is ready for electronic delivery or pick up in minutes; and 90% of transcripts are processed without manual intervention.

“eTranscripts provides an outstanding ‘touch-free’ electronic transcript processing and delivery option for students,” said Lee M. Colaw, chief information officer at Amarillo College which processes thousands of transcripts annually. “The processes for student authentication and identification, transcript order submission, and transcript PDF generation and customization are all automated, providing immediate and secure electronic transcript delivery. Students can submit a transcript request outside of normal office hours and receive an official transcript PDF within 20 to 30 minutes. This is a great service for them when they are applying for jobs, scholarships, or admission to a university.” The popularity of transcripts PDFs, which account for nearly one-third of Amarillo’s transcript volume, is increasing rapidly at the college.

Ellucian eTranscripts supports the Banner by Ellucian and Colleague by Ellucian administrative systems. The solution, developed in partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse, creates a secure interface between institutions participating in the Clearinghouse’s Transcript OrderingSM service and the institution’s Ellucian administrative system. eTranscripts is available at no additional cost to Ellucian support customers that choose to activate the API and that also participate in Transcript Ordering, which is free to institutions. The interface is implemented using the PESC XML Transcript standards, minimizing the institutions’ development time and maintenance investment.

“Together the National Student Clearinghouse and Ellucian teams have worked very hard to finally provide higher education with a world-class solution that simplifies and accelerates the transition from paper to electronic data exchange. I look forward to the great enhancements that will be enabled on the electronic data front through our continued collaboration,” said Rick Torres, president and CEO of the National Student Clearinghouse. “We’re also excited about the opportunity to help as many schools as possible take advantage of our touch-free automated and integrated solution, a clear and unique benefit to the entire higher education community made possible through our strategic partnership.”

“Integrating our administrative systems with other solutions and services to improve efficiency on campus is a core goal of Ellucian’s Extensible Ecosystem,” said Mark Jones, chief product officer, Ellucian. “eTranscripts is a simple, no-cost solution that eases the workload on staff and lets the institution serve its students better.”

The Ellucian Extensible Ecosystem is a flexible and open foundation that spans the company’s core administrative systems. One of the ways that Ellucian delivers on this architectural approach is through a robust API and web services strategy that wraps around the core ERP platforms, supporting deep, standards-based integration and extending interoperability with new and existing software solutions from Ellucian, its partners, and other third parties.

The National Student Clearinghouse is demonstrating the new interface at the 2014 AACRAO Annual Meeting and at Ellucian Live. Institutions can contact their Clearinghouse Regional Director for more information or to schedule a demo at the AACRAO or Ellucian Live meetings.

About Ellucian
Ellucian helps education institutions thrive in an open and dynamic world. We deliver a broad portfolio of technology solutions, developed in collaboration with a global education community, and provide strategic guidance to help education institutions of all kinds navigate change, achieve greater transparency, and drive efficiencies. More than 2,400 institutions in 40 countries around the world look to Ellucian for the ideas and insights that will move education forward, helping people everywhere discover their futures through learning. Visit Ellucian at, follow Ellucian on Twitter (@EllucianInc), and like Ellucian on Facebook (/EllucianInc).

About The National Student Clearinghouse
The National Student Clearinghouse (a nonprofit formed in 1993) is the trusted source for and leading provider of higher education verifications and electronic education record exchanges, handling more than 700 million verification requests and 250 million education record exchanges annually. The Clearinghouse serves as a single point of contact for the collection and timely exchange of accurate and comprehensive enrollment, degree, and certificate records on behalf of its more than 3,500 participating higher education institutions, which represent 98 percent of all students in public and private U.S. institutions. The Clearinghouse also provides thousands of high schools and districts with continuing collegiate enrollment, progression, and completion statistics on their alumni.

Through its verification, electronic exchange, and reporting services, the Clearinghouse saves the education community cumulatively more than 500 million dollars annually. Most Clearinghouse services are provided to colleges and universities at little or no charge, including enhanced transcript and research services, enabling institutions to redistribute limited staff and budget resources to more important student service efforts. Clearinghouse services are designed to facilitate an institution’s compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, The Higher Education Act, and other applicable laws.

In addition, the Clearinghouse provides accurate, timely enrollment and degree verifications to student loan providers, employers, student credit issuers, the U.S. Department of Education, and others who access its registry more than half a billion times annually. For more information, visit

Trademark information: Banner®, Colleague®, and Ellucian®, are trademarks of Ellucian Company L.P. or its affiliates and are registered in the U.S. and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. © 2009–2014 Ellucian Company L.P. and its affiliates.