Articles: Enrollment & Retention

One of the more dubious notions to attach itself to higher education is the brash “right to fail.” While the intent to demand maturity and accountability from college students is understandable, the reality, and certainly the wisdom of such an axiom, is another story.

Are the financial aid award letters your institution sends to returning and prospective students clear, correct, complete, and comparable to other institutions’ award letters? The federal government thinks that too many are misleading and difficult to compare.

Robert B. Smith

Deep admiration for the self-made men and women of business is all but encoded into Americans’ DNA. This is all well and good. Where would we be if innovators like the late Steve Jobs were reviled instead of admired?

At one time, each of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges ran its own financial aid office by its own rules. Ten years later, the Connecticut Community College System has doubled the number of students. Now all 12 colleges use FAFSA alone to determine eligibility.

Financial aid information is easy to find at Pierce College.

Working one’s way through college is the norm for community college students: 85 percent work part- or full-time. With an average tuition bill of $2,713 a year, only 13 percent turn to student loans.

Henry Ford brought efficiency to the forefront of American business with his assembly line, which introduced automobiles to the masses.

Five years of falling application numbers is hard to swallow in good times, but when the economy turns sour, as in recent years, the situation goes from disappointment to outright concern.

As if new student orientation wasn’t busy enough, the University of Oregon registrar’s staff was faced with processing thousands of pieces of paper containing Advanced Placement test scores that had arrived not long before the arrival of eager freshmen.

Laden with application forms, transcripts, financial aid documents, and more, the admissions function is awash in paperwork. As frustrating as it may be for prospective students who have to compile and send such documentation, imagine being on the receiving end.

The oft-noted statistics are grim: only about half of college students complete any degree or certificate within six years, according to the Information Center for Higher Education Policy Making and Analysis.

As I write this, the markets have tumbled again, the Chronicle notes "renewed jitters" at colleges and universities, and Moody's warns of a mounting backlog of deferred maintenance on campuses, a sign to rating agencies of weakened financial positions.

The presidential primary calendar is kicking off in just a couple months, and this is good news for those colleges and universities able to leverage the momentum of the presidential election process every four years to help gain visibility.

Very few colleges and universities have actually cut their tuition, according to a National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities survey of members released in June. Other measures have been taken, though.

  • 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy: Free program from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to help Americans understand their personal finances through every stage of life

Six years ago, when Ted Beck became president and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), a nonprofit dedicated to helping Americans become more financially capable, student financial literacy had been overlooked by colleges and universities for a number of years.

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