Report: More government involvement needed in college search process

Prospective students and their parents need more and far better information–particularly about outcomes–in order to help them decide the best school to attend and the federal government should take the lead to distribute this information and mandate new data requirements, reports U.S. News & World Report. This conclusion is from a just released report, “Grading Higher Education Giving Consumers the Information They Need,” by Harvard University professor Bridget Terry Long.

The report’s key conclusion is:

“for the federal government to expand the types of information that are available and allow users to compare indicators like cost, financial aid, student debt, employment outcomes, and average salaries following graduation, across peer institutions. An important part of the proposal is dissemination. To make sure the information is available to all who could benefit, additional effort must be taken to translate and circulate this information to an audience that may understand little about higher education offerings, pricing, aid, or quality. The federal government should actively reach out to potential students where they live, study and work. This should be done not only through an online interface but also partnerships with educational, social services, and employment organizations along with other government agencies.”…Read More

Prospective college students finding answers online

Juwanna Brown, a 16-year-old junior at Illinois’ Lane Tech High School, found answers to many of her questions about college in a virtual environment, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Brown attended CollegeWeekLive.com, an online event that lets students and parents chat via text and video with hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide without leaving their computer. “I got to explore the types of programs the colleges offer,” said Brown, who is on her high school golf team and wants to be an attorney specializing in sports. “I asked questions about student-teacher ratios, scholarship opportunities, and the types of sororities and organizations on campus.” Asha Mannancheril, a 17-year-old senior at Niles West High School, found CollegeWeekLive to be “really, really cool.” She visited twice to learn about scholarships and biology classes. “The event goes on all day, so you can log on whenever it’s convenient,” she said. Students sign in to the event, and their contact information is shared with the schools whose booths they visit in the virtual world. The students use a text box to ask questions and get information in real time. The CollegeLive event features streaming-video appearances by representatives of college admissions and financial aid offices, as well as students, parents, higher-education consultants, and authors of college guides and how-to books. Because so many students and colleges need financial help, such virtual events can save money and enable otherwise expensive outreach and travel—both for students and for participating colleges…

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