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……Read More
Delaware announced on Wednesday a new effort to encourage high-achieving low-income students to apply to top colleges, saying it would send application fee waivers and other information to every such high school senior in the state, the New York Times reports. The program — a collaboration between Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, and the College Board, which administers the SAT — is a response to recent research showing that most poor students with high grades do not apply to any top colleges. Instead, many attend colleges with fewer resources and fail to graduate, at a time when the wage gap between college graduates and everyone else is near a record high. The pattern contributes to income inequality and holds down social mobility, economists say……Read More
Alumni of elite colleges are accustomed to getting requests for money from their alma mater, but the appeal that Harvard sent to thousands of graduates on Monday was something new: a plea to donate their time and intellects to the rapidly expanding field of online education, the New York Times reports. For the first time, Harvard has opened a humanities course, The Ancient Greek Hero, as a free online class. In an e-mail sent Monday, it asked alumni who had taken the course at the university to volunteer as online mentors and discussion group managers. The new online course is based on Professor Gregory Nagy’s Concepts of the Ancient Greek Hero, a popular offering since the late 1970s that has been taken by some 10,000 students. The online version, which began last week and will run through late June, has 27,000 students enrolled. Its syllabus includes Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” dialogues by Plato, poetry by Sappho and other works……Read More
Most low-income students who have top test scores and grades do not even apply to the nation’s best colleges, according to a new analysis of every high school student who took the SAT in a recent year, the New York Times reports. The pattern contributes to widening economic inequality and low levels of mobility in this country, economists say, because college graduates earn so much more on average than nongraduates do. Low-income students who excel in high school often do not graduate from the less selective colleges they attend. Only 34 percent of high-achieving high school seniors in the bottom fourth of income distribution attended any one of the country’s 238 most selective colleges, according to the analysis, conducted by Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford and Christopher Avery of Harvard, two longtime education researchers. Among top students in the highest income quartile, that figure was 78 percent……Read More
Tongs in hand, you lean over to take in the smoky sizzle of a steak on the grill, and your thoughts naturally turn to … your alma mater? That is the plan, the New York Times reports. Food stopped being a punch line at most colleges years ago, as salad and burrito bars supplanted the overcooked broccoli and beans. Now, Washington State, a big public university in farm country that has been raising its own cattle for generations to train veterinarians and farmers, is trying to put a brand name on the college’s meat. It shipped the first introductory orders of packed and frozen W.S.U. Premium Beef in January. Students conducted surveys at football games to determine whether there was an appetite for well-marbled, expensive cuts of Wagyu, a Japanese breed raised here since the 1990s. Unsurprisingly, in a sea of tailgate parties, they found ample evidence for a market share……Read More
Over the last year, elite American universities have raced to stake out a place in the new world of free online courses — and now, universities around the globe are following suit, the New York Times reports. This week, the two largest ventures providing what are known as MOOCs — massive open online courses — are announcing new partnerships with leading universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe, China, Singapore, Japan and Australia, and signing additional American universities. Coursera, founded by two Stanford University computer professors, is adding 29 universities — including École Polytechnique in France, the National University of Singapore, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and National Autonomous University of Mexico — to its current 33 partners. Meanwhile, edX, a nonprofit venture started by Harvard and M.I.T., is doubling its university partners to 12, adding Rice University, the Australian National University, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland and, in Canada, McGill and the University of Toronto……Read More
Public colleges and universities have become a major front in the nation’s debate over guns as gun-rights advocates press to expand the right to carry concealed weapons, a campaign that gained steam after the 2007 shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, which left 33 people dead, the New York Times reports. And though guns remain banned from most state colleges, pro-gun forces, in a series of high-decibel legal and political battles, have made inroads on the issue in a handful of states, most recently Colorado. But the clashes seem divorced from realities on campus. On both sides, arguments are built largely on anecdotal evidence and on behalf of a student population that shows little passion for the dispute. After a high-profile fight over guns at the University of Colorado, Boulder, a court ruling last winter forced the university to allow concealed weapons. Students and administrators said the new policy had made no noticeable difference in life on campus……Read More
The annual ritual of college admissions has shifted from the season of applying to the season of waiting, the New York Times reports. While that means an anxious vigil for millions of teenagers like Zachary Ewell, it goes double for their parents. Heidi and Mike Ewell must wait not only to learn where Zachary will go, but also how many thousands of dollars they will have to pay. Zachary, a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School near Chicago, and his parents have a new window into college pricing that millions of families before them did not. Federal rules require colleges to provide online calculators that generate a personalized estimate of the net price of attendance, based on answers to a series of questions about a family’s finances. Many families are approaching these new tools with caution, however, finding that they vary widely in thoroughness and clarity. Moreover, there is no publicly available information for gauging how accurate they are……Read More
Parents saving for college costs, take heed: A new national study has found that the more college money parents provide — whether in absolute terms or as a share of total costs — the lower their children’s college grades, the New York Times reports. Students from wealthy families are more likely than those from poor families to go to college, and those whose parents pay their way are more likely to graduate. But according to “More Is More or More Is Less? Parent Financial Investments During College,” a study by Laura Hamilton, a sociology professor at the University of California, Merced, greater parental contributions were linked with lower grades across all kinds of four-year institutions.
“It’s a modest effect, not big enough to make the kid flunk out of college,” said Dr. Hamilton, whose study was published in this month’s American Sociological Review. “But it was surprising because everybody has always assumed that the more you give, the better your child does.”
An annual survey of colleges and universities found that a growing number of schools face declining enrollment and less revenue from tuition, the New York Times reports. The survey, released by the credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday, found that nearly half of colleges and universities that responded expected enrollment declines for full-time students, and a third of the schools expected tuition revenue to decline or to grow at less than the rate of inflation.
“The cumulative effects of years of depressed family income and net worth, as well as uncertain job prospects for many recent graduates, are combining to soften student market demand at current tuition prices,” Emily Schwarz, a Moody’s analyst and lead author of the report, said in a statement.
The growing financial challenges for colleges and universities come as students and graduates have amassed more than $1 trillion in student debt, and many are struggling to pay their bills. Nearly one in six people with an outstanding federal student loan balance is in default, the federal government says……Read More