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Long-Term Planning Necessary for Financial Stability

Stories about the financial challenges faced by higher education institutions are common and point to the need for boards and administration to adopt an approach to financial planning that ensures long-term stability. In the March 24 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Mark Keierleber writes about a number of smaller colleges that are adjusting to lower enrollments and the lagging economic recovery in “Financially Strapped Colleges Grow More Vulnerable.”

The article features a story about Ashland University, which borrowed money to build a recreation center, an education building, and an addition to its science center.

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“The Rising Cost of Not Going to College” – Food for Thought

Pew Research Center has just published a compelling report,

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The Future of Financing College

Sallie Mae Annual Report

In July, 2013, Sallie Mae released its annual report, “How America Pays for College.” Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the survey, which focuses on undergraduate students, ages 18 to 24 years old. Half of the survey population were enrolled students; the other half included parents of enrolled undergraduate students. The most recent edition of the report examines how Americans paid for college for the 2012-13 academic year, most likely relevant only for “traditional” students (18-24 year olds attending college full-time after high school graduation).A report that focuses on non-traditional college students’ funding of college would be of interest as well.

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Online Disruption, MOOC Mania, and Change in Higher Education – How Crazy (or Bad) Will it Get?

(keynote delivered at the Distance Learning Administration Conference on June 5, 2013)

I began writing this speech nearly three months ago.  A week and a half ago, I wrapped it up and thought I had better run through it one last time in case any new educational technology had been released that I needed to discuss today. 

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Considering the Rising Cost of College and Administrative Bloat

During the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, fewer articles about higher education are published, primarily because colleges and universities are closed and faculty, students, and administrators are not around.  On December 28, 2012, however, The Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Deans List: Hiring Spree Fattens College Bureaucracy- and Tuition.”  The article doesn’t appear to have been picked up in too many other places. 

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What to Make of All the Rapid Innovations in Higher Education?

I was a panel participant at a conference last Thursday in Washington, DC.  The conference was sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and was called Stretching the Higher Education Dollar.  The five panels that were convened included:  The Case for Reform, Opportunities and Obstacles at Existing Institutions, Unbundling College Degrees in Theory and Practice, College in Pieces: Cost Effective Approaches to Student Services and Credentialing, and Implications for State and Federal Policy. 

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Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials

Researchers at Ithaka S+R including William G. Bowen (former president of Princeton University), Matthew M. Chingos (also a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy), Kelly A. Lack, and Thomas I. Nygren, have followed Ithaka S+R’s recent report titled “Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education” with a second that reports the findings of a series of randomized trials related to online learning conducted at six public universities. 

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Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education

Ithaka S+R recently published a report funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and titled, “Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education.”  I have written extensively on this blog about the economic constraints facing institutions of higher education, issues of student persistence and retention, and the litany of other issues daunting the American higher education system today. 

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In the clamor for increasing graduation and persistence rates, are we ignoring the student at risk factors and student characteristics?

In the early days of online education, a commonly discussed phenomenon was the low completion rates of students.  Some chose to explain the departure of students using characteristics such as lack of social integration and academic integration for students matriculating in online programs as identified by Vincent Tinto and others.  As technologies utilized in the classroom improved and subsequently, online teaching techniques, student persistence improved as well, but not close to the levels sustained by some of the best face-to-face programs. 

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Alternative Certification – A Good Idea?

I have read three articles in the last three days about alternatives to earning a college degree, primarily through certification of one kind or another.

The first article, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, discusses the concept of “badges” that are awarded by various websites, training companies, individuals, etc. The concept is that the badge is relatively easy to earn (to keep the learner motivated and engaged) and indicates that they have achieved a certain skill level or learning competency. 

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