CAMPAIGN REJECTS THE “NEW NORMAL” OF HIGHER EDUCATION

At a recent forum sponsored by the Center for the Future of Higher Education, faculty members from institutions across the country challenged the so-called “new normal” of higher education – that tuition at public institutions must continue to rise at a rate greater than inflation due to market and political realities.

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OUTSOURCING FINANCIAL AID SERVICES

Financial aid offices are finding that keeping up with an increasing demand for financial aid, adapting to more complex aid scenarios, and staying current with frequent regulatory changes have left them with little time for meaningful student interaction. As a result, a number of colleges have begun to outsource various financial aid functions, including customer service, processing, and even verification, to third party firms.

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SACRIFICING FOR COLLEGE IN CHINA

And you thought college was expensive—relative to income—in  the U.S. Consider the situation in China, where a year of college can cost a family more than a single year’s total income, and there’s little financial aid offer any meaningful subsidy. Yet 8 million Chinese students will graduate with college degrees, a sign of how willing working-class Chinese parents are to sacrifice for their children’s future.

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COLLEGES AND THE WRISTWATCH: WILL BOTH KEEP ON TICKING?

Who would have ever thought we’d want to take pictures with a phone? Or read a book through a “tablet”? These are just two examples of paradigm shifts that have come through innovation and changed the way we live our lives. And now, traditional liberal arts colleges may be facing their own paradigm shift as alternate delivery channels emerge and cost-conscious administrators explore more cost-effective ways of educating undergraduates.

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KEYS TO CLEAR, CONCISE FINANCIAL AID COMMUNICATION

For many families (and a fair number of college administrators!) financial aid continues to be “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” So how can colleges and universities communicate effectively—and positively—about financial aid and institutional affordability? These are the questions that Kathy Kurz of Scannell & Kurz addressed in a recent article to university business leaders.

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CAN STUDENTS STILL WORK THEIR WAY THROUGH COLLEGE?

There are some great stories out there about students working their way through college—even in today’s financial climate. But, as college costs continue to increase at a much faster pace than inflation, these stories are becoming few and far between—even when there’s financial help available from parents and students are willing to incur significant debt. So what happens when you’ve exhausted all of your options?

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SELECTIVITY “BEYOND THE RATIONAL”

Just when you think news about misreported or manipulated admissions data has disappeared, another incident emerges. This time it’s Bucknell University that has come forward and admitted to misreporting its SAT and ACT averages from 2006-2012. In response, David Hawkins, director of public policy and research for NACAC, says that ” the emphasis placed on an institution’s selectivity…has gone beyond the rational and become something of an obsession.”

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THE PELL GRANT AS AN ENTITLEMENT

Expanding the federal Pell Grant program, reducing student-loan debt, and eliminating tuition tax breaks are necessary steps toward improving the federal financial-aid system, according to recommendations released recently by the New America Foundation. The report is based on the foundation’s study of the student-aid system, one of 16 commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a part of its $3.6-million Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery project.

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INVEST IN AMENITIES NOT ACADEMICS

Rock-climbing walls and smoothie bars. For many colleges, these are just a couple of examples of amenities that could actually drive enrollments and revenues more successfully than enhanced academic programs. At least that’s one finding from a new paper issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research entitled “College As Country Club: Do Colleges Cater to Students’ Preferences for Consumption?”

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THE NFL AS A MODEL FOR ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT?

A week ago, millions of Americans watched the Super Bowl, and it’s likely that more than a few college admissions officials were part of that group. If not, they should have been. That’s because well-known enrollment management guru Jerry Lucido thinks that by emulating the NFL, colleges could gain a better understanding of how to control harmful competition, regain the trust of the public, and highlight academic results as a true measure of quality.

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A TOUGH ASSESSMENT OF COLLEGE COSTS AND DEBT

Universities charge too much, deliver too little and channel too many students into a lifetime of debt. Other than that, things are really great in higher education! Well, that’s the opinion of Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

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CIRP SURVEY RESULTS TIE COLLEGE TO JOBS, MONEY

According to the CIRP Freshman Survey (UCLA’s annual survey of students entering colleges and universities), the economic situation in the United States is having a large influence on students’ decisions about which college to attend and is reflected in their reasons for pursuing higher education.

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