Higher Education News
President Obama’s proposal seems doomed in a Republican-led Congress. That hasn’t stopped advocates from pushing the idea in their own communities.
The trial I participated in shows why many experts think clinical studies need an overhaul.
Going public can be both satisfying and a survival strategy at a time of never enough money, especially for the humanities.
Columbia College Chicago lost 24 percent of its enrollment in the five years before Kwang-Wu Kim took over as president, in 2013.
You may have noticed we launched our new Ed.gov homepage today. This completes the third and final phase of our visual refresh for our main website. We released the second phase of the refresh back in June.
So, what’s new?Streamlined Homepage
The new homepage takes our efforts to streamline navigation on the website one big step further. There are fewer links and more open space on the homepage.
How did we decide what links and content are on the homepage? We used data that we get through the Digital Analytics Program and other feedback tools. The most popular, highest traffic sections and pages on the website have a spot on the homepage or in the navigation. Links that didn’t get many clicks moved to pages a level down.
The data shows that our customers use external search engines and site search as the primary ways to enter and navigate the site. In a way, every page is our homepage, and although it gets a lot of traffic, the homepage isn’t always the first stop or entry point.
After we rolled out the new top, bottom and side menus back in June, we’ve seen an upward trend in our online customer satisfaction score overall, and in navigation and look-and-feel in particular. More customers who reply to the satisfaction survey say they find what they’re looking for.More Mobile-Friendly
Now the entire flagship Ed.gov site offers a mobile-friendly web experience. All of our main website and blog content layouts use responsive design and Bootstrap styling, which means each webpage automatically adjusts to the size of your smartphone or tablet. There’s no more need to do that reverse pinch gesture to zoom in and so you can read the text on your phone.Online Press Room Updates
The press room content – press releases, media advisories, and speeches – are more easily readable anytime, anywhere and on any device.
You can get to the online press room quickly by visiting ed.gov/news or clicking on the “More News” link on the homepage.
We also launched a refreshed video page today that pulls in a feed of our most recently posted videos.Technical Upgrades
We made a number of improvements under the hood. We upgraded our content management system, Drupal, from version 6 to version 7, so we are keeping current with the version supported by the open source community. Moving from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 also made it easier to convert to a mobile-friendly, responsive design theme. Other technical improvements should mean that our webpages load more quickly now.
We hope these updates improve your Ed.gov experience! If you have comments or suggestions, please share them here on the blog.
Jill James is web director at the U.S. Department of Education and co-chair of the Department’s Open Government Working Group.
For us at the U.S. Department of Education, the start of a new year provides a fresh opportunity to remind parents, students, educators and others about the importance of submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ®). The Department’s office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) provides more than $150 billion in grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to help students pay for college or career school. Completing the FAFSA is the primary step for determining eligibility for federal student aid and subsequently accessing these funds. With the 2015-16 FAFSA having gone live on January 1, FSA is requesting your assistance in promoting FAFSA completion.
We are asking for your help in getting the message out through your social media channels about the importance of completing the FAFSA early in the year. To help you do that, FSA has developed some resources for you to use. They include sample Facebook posts, tweets, blogs, informative videos, photos and infographics. These and other great resources can be found on FSA’s Financial Aid Toolkit. These resources can be tailored to best fit your needs. If you’re new to social media or just looking for ideas on how to easily use these resources or how others are using them, view this presentation.
In addition, over the next few months, FSA’s Digital Engagement Group will be actively managing our own presence on social media with a strong focus on FAFSA completion. We highly encourage you to use and repost our content whenever applicable. Here are the places you can find us:
Susan Thares is the Digital Engagement Lead at the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.
Part-time faculty members at Columbia College Chicago say the Illinois Education Association didn’t help them when college staff members poached their work.
A large-scale effort to monitor career outcomes gets some traction, but five big challenges remain.
Educate them broadly, don’t just train them for jobs, was a key takeaway from a leaders’ forum organized by the Kettering Foundation.
While international educators are hopeful about new links, some caution that improved relationships won't lift academic constraints in Cuba.
Last night, the President delivered the State of the Union Address. Following the Address, Secretary Duncan jumped on Twitter to hear your initial reaction to the SOTU and answer your questions.
— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) January 21, 2015
— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) January 21, 2015
— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) January 21, 2015
— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) January 21, 2015
— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) January 21, 2015
The Secretary finished off the quick chat by thanking everyone for the feedback and encouraging everyone to read or listen to the President’s speech.
During last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama reiterated his commitment to make two years of community college free for all Americans who are willing to work hard toward graduation. Inspired by similar programs in Tennessee and Chicago, the President’s proposal—America’s College Promise—would allow students to complete a certificate, an associate’s degree or the first two years of a bachelor’s degree at no cost.
This proposal comes at a time when it’s never been more important to earn some form of higher education. In previous generations, a high school diploma was sufficient to secure a middle-class job and support a family. Today, however, going to college and earning a credential 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 jobs will require some level of education and training beyond high school.
Over the last three decades, however, the cost of earning a college degree has risen sharply. During this period, the tuition for in-state students at public, four-year colleges increased by more than 200 percent, and the charges at community colleges increased by 150 percent, even after taking inflation into account.
As a result, today’s college students have to take on much more debt than their parents’ generation to access middle-class jobs. All hard-working Americans should have the opportunity to attain the knowledge and skills they need for good, well-paying jobs without having to take on unmanageable debt.
Given the demands that individuals face in the job market today and our need as a country to have the most educated and competitive workforce in the world, we must make two years of college as free and universal as high school. America thrived in the 20th century in large part because the movement to make high school widely available allowed us to dramatically improve the education and skills of our population. But other countries have caught up with us, and some are passing us by. The time has come for America to once again “skill-up.”
Community colleges are the natural focus of this effort. They are the backbone of the U.S. higher education system, enrolling about 40 percent of all college students each year. As low-cost, open-access institutions, community colleges also serve a high percentage of low-income, first-generation, and older college students. Community colleges provide an affordable option for millions of Americans to start college and work toward a bachelor’s degree. Community colleges educate more African American and Hispanic undergraduate students than any other higher education segment. They also have strong partnerships with local and regional businesses to develop critical training programs to meet the skilled workforce needs of high-demand industries like nursing, information technology, and advanced manufacturing.
As the President has said, this proposal will require everyone to do his or her part. Community colleges will need to offer high-quality programs and implement evidence-based reforms to increase the number of students who persist, graduate or transfer. Additionally, participating states must contribute matching funds, invest in higher education and training, and allocate a significant portion of funding based on performance, not enrollment alone.. And students must enroll at least on a half-time basis and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA so they can stay on track to graduate.
America’s College Promise will yield tremendous benefits to an estimated 9 million hard-working Americans who dream of earning a college degree and joining the middle class. Pamela Garcia, a recent graduate of Valencia College and the University of Central Florida, is someone who comes to mind. Pamela grew up in a low-income family with seven children and didn’t have many options to attend college. But her parents believed strongly in the value of education. So Pamela enrolled at Valencia College in Orlando, where she earned two associate’s degrees in electrical engineering technology, one with a specialization in electronics and another focused on laser and photonics. Based on her talent and strong work ethic, one of her professors recommended Pamela for an internship with a defense contractor – and she was subsequently hired for a job.
While working, Pamela chose to continue her education and eventually earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Central Florida. For the past 18 months, Pamela has been employed as an electrical engineer in Melbourne, Florida and earns more than $60,000 a year. Pamela credits her success to the affordable and high-quality education she received at Valencia College. America’s College Promise will ensure more hard-working students like Pamela have access to these kinds of life-changing opportunities.
Ted Mitchell is Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.
On Tuesday, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address. The President’s speech reflected his strong belief that education is a vital investment in America’s economic competitiveness, in its communities, and in its people.
The President discussed America’s economic recovery, noting that since 2010, our nation has put more of its citizens back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined. At a time when millions of Americans now work in jobs that didn’t exist even 10 or 20 years ago, education—particularly higher education—is more important than ever before in the effort to equip our young people with the skills they’ll need to succeed in the well-paying jobs of the 21st century knowledge economy.
In his speech, the President noted the significant educational progress that our nation’s schools, teachers, and students have made – including young students earning math and reading scores at record levels, a high school graduation rate at an all-time high, and more Americans finishing college than ever before.
While celebrating progress, the President noted we must work to ensure that education lives up to its promise of bolstering and expanding the middle class and helping more young people to achieve their greatest potential.
He stated: “America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of GIs to college, and trained the best workforce in the world. But in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to step up our game; we need to do more.”
By the end of this decade, two in three jobs will require some form of higher education. Yet, as the President noted, too many bright, hard-working students are priced out of college. In his address, the President laid out his top priorities – all aimed at expanding opportunity and opening the gateway to the middle class to more Americans.
He committed to his recently announced America’s College Promise proposal, which would make two years of community college free for responsible students; and he asked more businesses to offer educational benefits and paid apprenticeships, giving workers the chance to advance in their careers, even if they haven’t achieved higher education. The President also pledged to make quality childcare more available and more affordable for every middle-class and low-income family with young children, and to extend the reach of technology and the Internet into every classroom.
Each year, the First Lady invites exceptional Americans—whose stories often reflect key themes in the speech—to join her in her viewing box. This year, several educators and students were selected. Learn more about these special guests.
Below are education excerpts from the speech:
“… I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college – to zero.
Keep in mind: forty percent of our college students choose community college. Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt. Understand, you’ve got to earn it – you’ve got to keep your grades up and graduate on time. Tennessee, a state with Republican leadership, and Chicago, a city with Democratic leadership, are showing that free community college is possible. I want to spread that idea all across America, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today. Let’s stay ahead of the curve. And I want to work with this Congress, to make sure those already burdened with student loans can reduce their monthly payments, so that student debt doesn’t derail anyone’s dreams.”
Job Training and Workforce Development:
“… To give working families a fair shot, we still need more employers to see beyond next quarter’s earnings and recognize that investing in their workforce is in their company’s long-term interest.”
“[T]o make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help Americans upgrade their skills. …
Thanks to Vice President Biden’s great work to update our job training system, we’re connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics. Tonight, I’m also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships – opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don’t have a higher education.”
“I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.”
“First – middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement – and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year. …
In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. And that’s why my plan will make quality childcare more available and more affordable, for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America – by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.”
State of the Union Resources
- Watch the speech or read the entire text
- Check out State of the Union “shareables” and other resources
Tiffany Taber is Chief of Staff for Communications Development at the U.S. Department of Education.
The association, noting a sharp rise in cheating, will also expand training for investigators in its new academic-integrity unit.
The president emphasized both ideas in a State of the Union address that focused on jobs and the economy.
Earlier today, Secretary Arne Duncan sent the following message to ED’s email list to let them know why he’ll be watching tonight’s State of the Union address. Didn’t get it? Sign up for email updates here.
Tonight, President Obama will deliver his sixth State of the Union address to the country.
In his past five addresses, the President has discussed big ideas to strengthen education, and to support and celebrate teachers, students, and parents.
There’s good reason the President devotes so much of his annual address to education. We have a lot to be proud of. The graduation rate is at its highest level, for the first time, four out of five students are completing high school on time, and a million more black and Hispanic students in college.
But we still have important work to do. America is at an educational crossroads, and we must ensure we are moving forward not back. We must recognize that educational opportunity is a national priority, and that equity and excellence matter more than ever.
Watch tonight to learn more about the President’s ideas on supporting success for America’s students.
Tonight, President Obama will deliver his sixth State of the Union Address to Congress and the Nation. From free Community College to early childhood education, we know that education will be one of the many topics the President discusses in the annual speech.
Each year, the First Lady invites exceptional Americans that match the themes of the State of the Union Address to join her in her viewing box. This year, several students and educators have been invited. Here’s a look at who’s attending:
Thirteen-year-old Malik Bryant sent a letter to Santa over the holidays, but rather than request the usual gifts, Malik wrote: “All I ask for is for safety I just wanna be safe.” And, rather than mail the letter to the North Pole, a non-profit organization – moved by Malik’s plea for the fundamental right to feel safe in his community – redirected the letter to the White House. The President wrote back to Malik, encouraging him and underscoring that Malik’s “security is a priority for me in everything I do as President.” Malik lives with his mother Keturah and his two sisters in a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. He is in seventh grade, and his favorite subject is math.
A native of Jefferson City, Tennessee Chelsey Davis decided that community college was the best path to re-enter her collegiate career with the ideal support and resources. In May 2015, Chelsey will graduate from Pellissippi State Community College with plans to pursue a B.A. in Nutritional Science. Chelsey currently serves on the Student Activities Board and as a New Student Orientation Leader at her community college. She also participates in the Knoxville Food Policy Council meetings and tutors elementary and middle school children in reading and mathematics at The First Tee of Greater Knoxville Learning Center. She has an interest in national and international humanitarian work and is excited to have an opportunity to study abroad in Segovia, Spain with the Tennessee Consortium of International Studies (TnCIS) this summer. After graduation, Chelsey plans to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Chelsey met President Obama, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden earlier this month at Pellissippi State Community College when the President announced his “America’s College Promise” proposal. It makes two years of community college free for responsible students. As someone who understands the benefits of community colleges first-hand, Chelsey hopes to encourage high school graduates to take full advantage of the opportunity.
William Elder, Jr. graduated from Stanford, and is currently a third year medical student at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University in Ohio. Bill was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was eight years old, at a time when most cystic fibrosis patients were only expected to live to early adulthood. But thanks to a unique collaboration between the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, patients, researchers, and a pharmaceutical company, Bill, now 27, expects to live a long, full life. He benefits from a medication that targets the underlying cause of the disease for a small subset of cystic fibrosis patients. Inspired by his doctors and care team, Bill plans to become a family practitioner with a focus on preventative care. Bill’s story is a testament to the promise of precision medicine, an emerging approach to treatment that takes into account patients’ individual characteristics, such as their genetic make-up, to improve treatment.
Growing up in the South Bronx with his mother and three siblings, Anthony Mendez names two experiences from his formative high school years. In ninth grade, his best friend was murdered in his neighborhood, and the next year his family was evicted from their home and moved into a homeless shelter. Living two hours away from school, for six months Anthony had to wake up at 4:30AM to continue his education. Overcoming these experiences, he became the first high school graduate in his family – his story of perseverance represents the core of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative. In July he met the First Lady and fellow students who never took their education for granted, and he said he learned to be proud of his past and never hide from it. Today Anthony is a freshman at the University of Hartford — where he plans to study Political Science – on a partial track and field scholarship.
In January 2012, Katrice Mubiru, a career-technical education teacher for the Los Angeles unified school district, sent a letter to the President encouraging him to support K-12, adult and career technical education. Katrice met and introduced the President in July when he visited Los Angeles Trade-Technical College to highlight programs for citizens to learn the skills that growing technical fields require. As a teacher, Katrice has witnessed how technical education can change lives, and she wrote the President to share stories of students who pursued an education, despite difficult financial odds, on their way to news jobs in the growing health care field. Katrice is a Los Angeles native who graduated from California State University Long Beach, and is married with four children ages 7, 9, 17 and 19.
Working for the local school system, Tiairris Woodward, 43, wasn’t making enough money to support herself and her three children, the youngest of whom has special needs. She started working for Chrysler in 2010 on the assembly line, and after doing both jobs full time, working 17 hours a day, Tiairris was in a position to move solely to Chrysler – a union job that makes her a member of United Auto Workers Local 7. After a year on the job, she saved enough to buy a car and rent a new apartment, and through Chrysler’s Tuition Assistance Program, Tiairris is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in business management. Tiairris’ story is one of many made possible through the comeback of Detroit and the American auto industry. The President is focused on ensuring more Americans like Tiairris – not just a fortunate few – share in the benefits of our American resurgence.
Ana wrote to the President in September, “As with any other dreamer, my parents came to this country with a dream of a better future for their children.” And through the Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Ana is closer than ever to fulfilling those dreams. In 2012, she qualified and was granted temporary relief and work authorization – an opportunity Ana credits with getting a job in line with her career path and a better livelihood while finishing up her last year at Northwood University in Texas. Ana’s life has fundamentally changed for the better as a result of DACA. And because she has siblings who are U.S. citizens, her parents, a small business owner and a construction worker, are among the millions of people who are potentially eligible for the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program announced by the President last November. She hopes others can learn from her experience and mentors fellow students hoping to request temporary relief through DACA. After college Ana hopes to continue her studies and attend graduate school. She will also remain committed to supporting young students looking for an opportunity like she’s been afforded. Ana celebrated her first birthday in the U.S. and as she wrote the President, “The United States is my country. It is where I grew up, took my first steps, learned to read, write, play, graduated from high school, and will graduate from college.”
Congratulations! You submitted your 2015-2016 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)! Wondering what happens next? Here are a few things to look out for:
- Review Your Student Aid Report (SAR)
After you submit your FAFSA, you’ll get a Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR is a summary of the FAFSA data you submitted. Once you have submitted your FAFSA, you’ll get your SAR within three days (if you signed your FAFSA online) to three weeks (if you mailed a signature page.)
Any student with a Federal Student Aid PIN can view and print his or her SAR by logging in to fafsa.gov and clicking on the appropriate school year. This is also where you can check the status of your application if you have not received your SAR yet. Once you get your SAR, you should review it carefully to make sure it’s correct and complete.
- Review Your EFC
When reviewing your SAR, look for the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number. Your EFC can be found in the box at the top of the first page of your SAR, under your Social Security number.
Your EFC is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. This formula considers your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) as well as your family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year.
Schools use your EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and your financial aid award. However, it’s important to remember that your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by your school to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. Contact your school’s financial aid office if you have any questions about how they calculate financial aid.
- Make Corrections If You Need To
It’s important to make sure that everything on your FAFSA is correct and complete, as your school may ask you to verify some of the information.
Do you need to update any information?
- It’s easy to make corrections at gov. Simply log in and click “Make FAFSA Corrections.” You’ll need to enter your Federal Student Aid PIN to make any corrections. Corrections should be processed in 3-5 days and you should receive a revised SAR. Detailed instructions here.
- Did you submit your FAFSA using income and tax estimates?
To correct your application after filing your taxes, click “Make FAFSA Corrections” after logging in to gov. Navigate to the “Finances” section and indicate that you have already completed your taxes. More details here.
- Has your situation changed?
Most information cannot be updated because it must be accurate as of the day you originally signed your FAFSA. You should speak to the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend if there will be a significant change in your or your parent’s income for the present year or if your family has other circumstances that cannot be reported on the FAFSA. There are, however, certain items that you must update. Click here to find out what those are.
- Review Your Financial Aid History
The last page of your SAR includes information about your financial aid history, specifically the student loans you have taken out. It’s important to keep track of how much you’re borrowing and to understand the terms and conditions of the loan. Click here to learn more about federal student loans.
Remember: You can always access your financial aid history by logging into My Federal Student Aid. Make sure you have your PIN and Social Security number ready.
- Double-Check With Your Schools
Lastly, make sure that you double-check with the financial aid offices at the schools you applied to. Sometimes schools need additional paperwork or have other deadlines. You never want to leave money on the table!
Sandra Vuong is a Digital Engagement Strategist at Federal Student Aid.
The chance that the United States will lead the world by 2020 seems small. But that doesn’t mean the president’s ambitious talk was for naught.
Just like Comcast, institutions offer "low introductory rates" as bait, then raise net prices once the consumer swallows the hook.