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Obama Says Students Should ‘Get the Best Skills Possible,’ Quickly and Cheaply

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 6, 2015 - 4:47pm

In a town-hall address at Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College, the president said his proposal for free community college could help achieve that goal.

Categories: Higher Education News

Principal Nadia Lopez: “We can take these children where they want to go”

U.S. Department of Education Blog - February 6, 2015 - 11:38am

Mott Hall Bridges Academy principal Nadia Lopez captured the attention of the nation after being spotlighted on Humans of New York. Since then, she has helped raise more than $1 million for her students and recently met with President Barack Obama and Secretary Duncan in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Lopez reflected on her experience, reminding educators of the impact their words can have on the success of their students.

Categories: Higher Education News

When Should You File Your FAFSA?

U.S. Department of Education Blog - February 6, 2015 - 6:00am

The short answer is … it depends.

There are school deadlines, state deadlines, and a federal deadline. An easy rule of thumb to remember is: You should submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) based on the earliest due date possible.

If you plan to attend college between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, and you want to be considered for financial aid, your deadline could be as early as February!

You don’t have to wait until you or your parents file your taxes to submit your FAFSA; you can estimate your tax information and update your FAFSA later.

For college deadlines, visit the school’s website or contact its financial aid office.

Check out the table below for information about states with first-come, first-served programs and information for states and territories that require checking in with your school’s financial aid office. If your state is not listed in the table below, click here to find your state’s FAFSA deadline.

For more specific deadline information from your state of legal residence, use this easy FAFSA deadlines tool.

April Jordan is a Senior Communications Specialist at Federal Student Aid.

Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Wisconsin Officials Settle In for a Long Lawmaking Session

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 6, 2015 - 2:56am

The university’s mission statement is safe for now. But system leaders must persuade state legislators to spare them from a proposed budget cut.

Categories: Higher Education News

Big Gifts and Low Profiles Help Conservative Centers Spread to Campuses

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 6, 2015 - 2:55am

There are now some 150 of the centers, says a report that credits the expansion partly to their leaders’ avoidance of conflict with faculties.

Categories: Higher Education News

Religious-College Leaders Reflect on ‘Calling’ in Today’s Academe

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 6, 2015 - 2:55am

A persistent problem, said three presidents, is that a secular society is skeptical about religion in academe, often assuming that faith is a barrier to learning.

Categories: Higher Education News

American Technical Training Fund: Creating a Strong Training Pipeline to Middle-Class Jobs

U.S. Department of Education Blog - February 5, 2015 - 8:51am

Juan Rodriguez is a 33-year-old son of migrant farm workers and the father of three school-aged children. He recently earned an associate’s degree in welding technology from Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWIT).

Before enrolling in the training program, Juan had been laid off from his job and was relying on unemployment benefits and federal food assistance to support his family. After graduating, Rodriguez was hired as a quality manager at Skyline Steel’s manufacturing mill. He has since moved his family to Texas, where he works as a welding engineer for Kiewit Offshore Services and earns more than $100,000 a year.

He credits the education and training he received at LWIT with helping him reach his dream of securing a good job that allows him to support his family without public assistance.

Rodriguez is just one of many Americans who has benefited from high-quality career and technical education (CTE) programs, which is why the American Technical Training Fund is so important.

President Obama recently proposed a bold plan to make two years of community college free for all Americans who are willing to work hard toward graduation. In addition to America’s College Promise, the President’s FY 2016 budget request includes a proposal to create a new $200 million American Technical Training Fund that would expand innovative, high-quality technical training programs that are aligned with the workforce needs of employers in high-demand industries.

This new fund would enable the creation of 100 technical training centers across the country, modeled on the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT), which have achieved impressive program completion and job placement rates with many non-traditional postsecondary students.

The President’s proposal comes at a time when earning a college certificate or degree has never been more important. In fact, some level of postsecondary education or training has become a prerequisite for joining the middle class. Labor market projections show this trend is only going to increase. By 2020, economists predict that nearly two thirds of all jobs will require some level of education and training beyond high school. However, less than 60 percent of Americans 25 years and older currently have this level of preparation. We also know that the U.S. needs to dramatically improve the skills of its adult population. In the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD)most recent Survey of Adult Skills, about 36 million working age adults in the U.S. scored at the lowest literacy and numeracy levels. We are risking America’s ability to be economically competitive if we ignore the call to increase the education and skills of our adult workforce.

If authorized by Congress, the American Technical Training Fund will help more community colleges and other postsecondary institutions develop and scale high-quality training programs aligned with the needs of employers in high-demand industries, ensuring more hard-working students will have access to the kinds of life-changing opportunities that Juan Rodriguez and countless others like him have benefited from.

Johan Uvin is the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) and Mark Mitsui is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges at the U.S. Department of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

College Freshmen Seek Financial Security Amid Emotional Insecurity

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 5, 2015 - 2:55am

They are confident in their smarts but less so in their interpersonal skills and emotional health.

Categories: Higher Education News

What's in a President's Inbox the Day He Gets Fired?

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 5, 2015 - 2:55am

Emails to Thomas W. Ross on the day he was forced out as president of the University of North Carolina system give a glimpse of a college leader's personal connections at a trying moment in his career.

Categories: Higher Education News

Backgrounds and Beliefs of College Freshmen

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 5, 2015 - 2:55am

Use this exclusive interactive tool to explore nearly 50 years of statistics from UCLA's Freshman Survey.

Categories: Higher Education News

Teaching is Leading: Takeaways from the Teach to Lead Summits

U.S. Department of Education Blog - February 4, 2015 - 8:34am

The room was electric. Just a year ago, back in my own classroom, this scene would have been unimaginable to me.

I watched as hundreds of teachers, overflowing with formidable drive, shared innovative ideas and engaged in deep discussion on teaching and leading in Denver, Co. The same dynamic played out weeks before in another packed venue in Louisville, Ky.

What drove these teachers to Denver and Louisville?

Despite diverse backgrounds, each was prompted by a desire for authentic, meaningful opportunities for leadership in their schools and beyond – without leaving their classroom and students.

And Teach to Lead is the vehicle through which so many teachers are fighting to make their leadership dreams a reality.

Born of a partnership between the Department of Education and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Teach to Lead is spotlighting and scaling up promising projects across the country to expand teacher leadership opportunities and to improve student achievement.

To accomplish these goals, Teach to Lead is hosting three regional summits – in Louisville, Denver and, soon, Boston. Later this year, local leadership labs will help select projects culled through the summits and the online community at Commit to Lead to develop further.

The moments I experienced in Louisville and in Denver have filled me with certainty: this effort will lead to real change for teachers and kids, and these amazing teachers (alongside principals and advocates who support them) will be the ones to lead it.

I felt this certainty as I watched 2015 Principal of the Year Jayne Ellspermann help teachers at the summit understand how to develop an alliance with their principals as part of their efforts to lead.

I felt this certainty when State Teachers of the Year shared tried and tested advice about how to make their voices heard with administrators and policymakers alike.

And, more than anything, I felt this certainty when I heard the voices of energetic, empowered teachers like Sean from Oklahoma, who said, “It’s so powerful to be in a room with all of you … and to know that we share the same struggles. That gives me the motivation to continue moving forward.”

The expectation of Teach to Lead is not that every idea will be successful. We know that, in some places, the appetite or room for real teacher leadership is lacking.

But, Teach to Lead is not about any single idea. It’s not even about the summits.

It’s about helping teachers build a sense of empowerment and the skills to lead adults as confidently as they lead youth. And it’s about equipping teachers to replicate great leadership in their communities so that teacher leadership is not just an idea in the halls of the Department, in the heads of aspiring teacher leaders, or in forward-looking states and districts like Iowa, Hawaii, Kentucky, Denver, and Long Beach.

Teacher by teacher, we’re building a movement – one that says our nation’s hard-working educators should undeniably have a voice in the decisions that shape their work and lives; that they should lead their schools, districts, and states; and that their expertise shouldn’t be honored simply with words, but with actions.

And all of this leads me back to my own path as a teacher leader.

I loved teaching. My students constantly amazed me with their intellect, spirit, and joyful approach to learning. But I felt stymied by the limitations of my role. Though my classes and school were high achieving, my ability to make a difference was obstructed by the walls of my classroom and the attitudes of others toward me – that I was “just a teacher.”

So, I left. And, though serving the President and Secretary Duncan is an immense honor, I paid a heartbreaking price.

This is the real power of Teach to Lead. I know there are many teachers out there like me – who yearn to use their leadership skills and to be heard by decision-makers. Our nation is losing an unquantifiable resource as teachers make the tough choice to leave the classroom year after year.

It’s time that we recognize that the toughest problems facing education today cannot be solved without teachers, their input, or their leadership. We must build systems at the federal, state, and local levels to equip teachers with the resources and support to develop as educators and as leaders.

In these efforts, Teach to Lead is undoubtedly moving the needle. And as the movement heads to Boston and beyond, I feel incredibly lucky to play a part.

Kelly Fitzpatrick is a confidential assistant in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

U.S. Plans to Send 1,000 Academics to India as Part of New Exchange

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 4, 2015 - 8:12am

The program will bring top expertise to teach in India, but some Indian professors are concerned about the expense and the one-sided nature of it. 

Categories: Higher Education News

Tell Us How The Budget Affects You

U.S. Department of Education Blog - February 4, 2015 - 6:05am
“Budgets aren’t just about numbers, they reflect our values.”
– Secretary Arne Duncan

Earlier this week, President Obama sent his Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget proposal to Congress. We know that you’re busy, and you may not have had the chance to dig through the details of the budget. For us, the big takeaway is that the budget request demonstrates the Obama Administration’s commitment to education as a means to strengthen America’s middle class, help hard-working families, and ensure that every child has the opportunity to fulfill his or her greatest potential.

Why Budgets Matter

This week’s budget announcement is a big deal for teachers, parents, and students. In fact, if you’re like the President and our team at the Department of Education, you probably believe that education is at the core of a successful and economically competitive America.

Find out what the President’s budget means for education.

Tell Us Your Story

In the coming weeks, Secretary Duncan will testify before Congress on the President’s budget proposal, but before he goes, he wants to hear from you. In the form below, tell us what the budget means for you, so he can share that message when he testifies before Congress.

We know that at schools around the country, dollars are stretched thin, and that every penny in education makes a difference. That’s why budgets are important. They reflect our belief that education is at the core of what makes our country great.


Categories: Higher Education News

Anonymous Feedback, Fine. Insults? Not on These Platforms.

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 4, 2015 - 2:57am

Colleges are trying new services that let students comment anonymously on professors and courses—and setting guidelines to avoid the vitriol seen on apps like Yik Yak.

Categories: Higher Education News

Video: President's Job Was to 'Raise Lazarus From the Dead'

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 4, 2015 - 2:55am

Gen. Charles C. Krulak talks about the steps that he took to restore stability to Birmingham-Southern College.

Categories: Higher Education News

Would New Students Be Prepared for ‘Free’ Community College?

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 4, 2015 - 2:55am

A surge in demand for remedial coursework could tax the existing system. Here are some ways institutions are meeting the challenge.

Categories: Higher Education News

In Faculty Hiring, Temporary Less Often Means Part-Time

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 4, 2015 - 2:54am

Colleges increasingly turn to full-time, contingent instructors to handle work once done by tenure-track professors, a new study of federal data shows.

Categories: Higher Education News

The White House Honors the 2015 School Counselor of the Year

U.S. Department of Education Blog - February 3, 2015 - 2:05pm

Cross-posted from the White House blog.

First Lady Michelle Obama and actor and singer Connie Britton, right, applaud as Counselor of the Year Cory Notestine, a school counselor at Alamosa High School in Alamosa, Colo., delivers remarks during the Counselor of the Year event in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative closed out the week with a very special thank you to some of the hardest-working, caring, and critically important adults charged with putting young people on the path to college: America’s school counselors.

In collaboration with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the White House, for the first time ever, hosted the Counselor of the Year Ceremony. The First Lady, along with television star Connie Britton, spoke in the East Room to honor the 36 finalists and semi-finalists, and 2015 School Counselor of the Year, Cory Notestine.

This past July, when the First Lady spoke at the ASCA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, she declared that “school counseling is a necessity to ensure that all our young people get the education they need to succeed in today’s economy.” She also promised to bring the Counselor of the Year Ceremony to the White House – and this afternoon, that promise became a reality.

Starting things off, Connie Britton reflected on her stint portraying high school counselor Tami Taylor in the hit TV series “Friday Night Lights.” She commended the room full of counselors for their efforts, stressing that “we all owe our school counselors a great debt of gratitude” as they work to support and nurture our students, putting them on the path to higher education.

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a Counselor of the Year event for Cory Notestine, left, a school counselor at Alamosa High School in Alamosa, Colo., in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Following Ms. Britton, the First Lady took the stage and emphasized that counselors are the ones who “track students down who don’t think they’re college material, or who don’t think they can afford it, and they shake them up and they tell them, ‘You have what it takes, I believe in you, now fill out those FAFSA forms and sign up for those AP classes, get started on those college essays.’”

To close out the program, Cory Notestine, a counselor at Alamosa High School in Colorado, took to the stage. “I know when I started my career,” he said, “I wanted nothing more than to be an advocate for those without a voice, and to collaborate to make systemic changes in my school to provide a more equal educational environment.” 

The Reach Higher initiative believes that terrific, well-trained counselors like Cory are essential if the United States wants to meet President Obama’s goal of once again leading the world in terms of having the highest proportion of young people with college degrees. And with Cory’s help, we’re going to get there. 

To read more about Cory and the exemplary strides that he has made within Alamosa High School’s counseling department, check out the First Lady’s remarks here.

Eric Waldo is Executive Director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative.
Categories: Higher Education News

How Students' Economic Diversity Varies by College Type

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 3, 2015 - 3:00am

A new report highlights many measures of inequality in higher education, including the concentration of high- and low-income students in different corners of academe.

Categories: Higher Education News

What Obama's 2016 Budget Means for Higher Ed

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 3, 2015 - 2:56am

Key proposals include a noticeable uptick in research spending and a huge expansion of the Education Department office charged with enforcing Title IX.

Categories: Higher Education News


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