Blog: Higher Ed Beat
EWA’s 66th National Seminar, held at Stanford University, took place earlier this month. We asked some of the journalists attending to contribute posts from the sessions. The majority of the content will soon be available at EdMedia Commons. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a few of the posts, including the ones from our keynote sessions. Justin Pope, higher education reporter for the Associated Press, is today’s guest blogger.
The biggest obstacles that many undergraduates face en route to a college degree are the remedial or developmental courses in which they will be placed for their first year. These courses, which students must pass before they can take classes that carry college credit, add to the expense and time it takes to earn a degree. Are such classes really needed? Or can schools replace them with other forms of academic support?
In May of my senior year at Union College (See photo), the only thing I was thinking about was passing finals and completing papers with pretentious titles. Postgraduation plans, like a job, were nothing more than vapors momentarily wafting in the way of those footnotes buried in my textbooks. I had no idea what kind of job I’d get, but I did know one thing for certain: I’d wrap up my college education with roughly $17,000 in federally subsidized debt.
To do their jobs, education reporters on the federal beat depend on access to congressional staffers. But what happens when those staffers want anonymity while discussing policy at a public forum? I asked two reporters – Libby Nelson of Inside Higher Ed and Eric Kelderman of The Chronicle of Higher Education – to explain why they’re pushing back against what they contend is an unreasonable expectation.
James Dao of the New York Times has a fascinating story about active-duty troops and veterans taking advantage of federal tuition assistance for higher education, often in unusually challenging circumstances.
From Dao’s story, here’s the scene at a U.S. military airfield in Afghanistan moments after humanities class’ discussion of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” was interrupted by a rocket attack:
With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan moving toward an end, tens
of thousands of U.S. veterans will be making the transition back
to civilian life. For many of them, that means taking advantage
of government funding for higher education.
Student loans have become a focal point in the national debate over college affordability. This session examines the impact that loan debt has on students, both while they are pursuing their degrees and after they have graduated. Panelists: Stephen Burd, New America Foundation (moderator); Vic Borden, Indiana University School of Education; Chris LoCascio, Fix UC; Vasti Torres, Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. Recorded at EWA’s Seminar for Higher Education Reporters at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Nov. 2-3, 2012.
Are there alternatives that can either prevent students from accumulating loan debt while they are in school or assist them in repaying their debt after they have earned a degree? In this session, we examine the pros and cons of options such as income-based repayment and student loan bankruptcy reform. Panelists: Kim Clark, Money (moderator); Lauren Asher, The Institute for College Access and Success; Rohit Chopra, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Nicholas Hillman, University of Utah; Lynn O’Shaughnessy, The College Solution.
The latest on what we know about how students learn best, what institutions should be looking for, and how they determine if it’s happening. Panelists: Kenneth Terrell, Education Writers Association (moderator); George Kuh (NILOA) and Robert Gonyea (NSSE); Trudy Banta and Gary Pike, IUPUI. Recorded at EWA’s Seminar for Higher Education Reporters at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Nov. 2-3, 2012.
When students pay different amounts to take the same courses, does one student’s tuition go toward another’s education? We take close look at this debate as part of a discussion of the factors that college and university administrators consider when they determine tuition prices. Panlists: Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report (moderator); Steve Hurlburt, Delta Cost Project; Paul Lingenfelter, State Higher Education Executive Officers; Richard Vedder, Ohio University/Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
In recent years, various options have emerged to trim the costs of earning a degree. In this session, we will examine whether options such as three-year degree programs and online education can make higher education more affordable. Panelists: Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed (moderator); Kris Clerkin, Southern New Hampshire University; David Daniels, Pearson; Tom Harnisch, American Association of State Colleges & Universities; Burck Smith, StraighterLine; Tom Snyder, Ivy Tech Community College.