Blog: Higher Ed Beat
Is Your Community’s “Free College” Program “Bait and Switch”?
By asking the five Ws, journalists can identify the fine print in College Promise programs.
“Free college” is an increasingly popular rallying cry for politicians. There are now more than 200 programs that seek to deliver on that promise around the country, and more being proposed nearly every month.
The Surprising Real-World Impacts of Edu-Jargon Debates
Washington's battles over the definitions of terms like "credit hour" could affect millions of college students.
Millions of Americans could be affected by ongoing inside-the-beltway debates over the exact definitions of wonky terms such as ”credit hour” or “gainful employment,” according to two veteran Washington policy insiders.
The 2018 midterm “blue wave” that split party control of the U.S. Congress and narrowed the Republican edge among governors to 27-23 will likely mean political battles over several higher education issues.
The details of bribery and fraud involving some of the nation’s most elite colleges unveiled in the “Operation Varsity Blues” admissions scandal are jaw-dropping. But the underlying premise — that wealth can buy entry to prestigious universities – has been a subject of many journalistic investigations over recent decades.
Changing Demographics Mean Better College Odds for “Slugs”
A baby bust is forcing newsworthy changes to college admissions.
America’s declining birth rate has sweeping implications for the U.S. economy and society – especially its education system. Already, a decline in the number of 18-year-olds is forcing many colleges to take actions that journalists should cover, such as: changing recruiting practices, cutting costs, and, in some cases, going out of business, according to a panel of college officials, researchers and journalists speaking at a recent Education Writers Association seminar.
Where to Find College Hate Crime Data
Five organizations publish numbers and information on hate crimes.
Reporters looking for data and background on college campus hate crimes have limited and less-than-ideal options, says Dan Bauman, a data reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Three Rules for Covering Campus Hate Incidents
Get the legalities right, put the data in context, and do followup.
Hate crimes on university campuses have spiked since 2015. The U.S. Department of Education reported a 25 percent jump in 2016. A recent FBI report said the bureau’s count of hate crime reports at schools or colleges jumped 36 percent in 2017.
Some of the nation’s most influential education policymakers and legislators will address more than 30 journalists at a Jan. 28-29 Education Writers Association seminar examining the impact of the 2018 elections on higher education.
Newer, Fresher Ways to Cover Student Mental Health Emerge
Colleges experiment with low-cost screening and counseling.
The alarming rise in college students seeking mental health services at campus counseling centers has garnered plenty of headlines in the last few years.
But there’s a fresher, more hopeful story emerging at many campuses, said mental health experts convened at the Education Writers Association’s 2018 Higher Education Seminar in Las Vegas. Some colleges are trying to meet the new needs creatively and affordably using programs like online tools, peer-led discussion groups or dorm-based healthy living workshops.
Declining Demand for Liberal Arts Has Surprising Causes and Repercussions
Shifting humanities landscape should raise questions for education journalists
Educating Americans in the liberal arts – teaching them to write, understand history, and philosophize – was traditionally a main purpose of college.
But today’s students are shunning that tradition. The number of undergraduates earning bachelor’s degrees in some of the mainstay liberal arts subjects – English, history and philosophy – fell by at least 15 percent between 2008 and 2016, even though the total number of bachelors rose 31 percent during that time, one recent study found.
Small colleges struggling because of declining enrollment and tuition revenues face stark choices: If they can’t rebound, financial realities may force them to shut down.
Surveys indicate that the costs of college are now bigger worries for most applicants and families than the traditional anxieties about getting in.
It’s not just because of the shockingly high prices, such as the private colleges sporting sticker prices (tuition, room, board, books and miscellaneous expenses) north of $70,000 a year. Families are obsessed with costs in part because of the surprising complexity and opacity of college prices.