Blog: Higher Ed Beat
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.
Careful Coverage of Campus Sexual Assaults Can Spark Reforms
Experts offer four strategies for reporting on Title IX complaints.
Reporters are spending more and more time covering allegations of sexual assault on college campuses. A Nexis search finds more than 3,000 articles in U.S. newspapers in the last year using the terms “sexual assault,” “alleged” and “campus.”
Video Tutorial: How to Find and Use Free College Data
A 10-minute walk-through of the IPEDS database
Journalists reporting on U.S. colleges can access reams of free, public and newsworthy data through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS.
Beyond Protests: Better Ways to Cover Race Issues on Campus
Racial conflicts at colleges need deeper and more patient coverage.
Protests over statues honoring Confederate soldiers; shouting matches at presentations by white nationalist speakers; student drives to strip buildings of names honoring racist officials.
Such dramatic campus racial conflicts and controversies justifiably attract attention from reporters and the public, according to a pair of veteran education journalists, a researcher, and a college administrator who spoke on a panel at the Education Writers Association’s 2018 National Seminar.
Adult College Students: The Undercovered 6.6 Million
35% of the college population are veterans, working parents and perpetual students like James Franco.
Adult learners, or college students aged 25 and older, are typically referred to as “nontraditional students,” in contrast to their younger, “traditional” student peers.
But that’s an oversimplification of “tradition.” Adult students have long been an important part of the college student body – whether it was the World War II veterans who flooded campuses thanks to the GI Bill, or seemingly perennial students like James Franco.
Hispanic students, who make up the second largest racial demographic in schools today, are entering college in record numbers. But they are also dropping out of college at a far higher rate than white students. That reality has important implications for our educational and economic systems and the reporters who cover them, according to a group of researchers and experts gathered at the 2018 Education Writers Association National Seminar.
Public university systems have weathered wave after wave of difficulties in recent years – from shrinking state funding streams to intense public scrutiny and criticism – and it’s not likely to get easier anytime soon.
That’s according to the leaders of the two public university systems in California, a state that has long led the way on higher education for the rest of the nation.
College and graduate school have gotten so expensive, and lenders have been so willing to allow borrowers to put off repayment (and let the interest compound), that a few dozen Americans have managed to amass more than $1 million in student loan debt.
Campus speech has become one of the hottest topics in higher education — especially in recent months, as clashes have turned violent and drawn the attention of President Donald Trump and the Justice Department.
“Word on the Beat” is a regular feature of The Educated Reporter, breaking down the buzzwords and helping you understand the issues of the day.
Word on the beat: First-generation students