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Articles: Student Services

The Consumer Financial ProtectionBureau’s forthcoming “Payback Playbook” intends to simplify the student loan repayment process by presenting clear, customized repayment options.

In April, the agency offered a sneak peek. The initiative will provide borrowers with simple repayment plan options any time they log into their student loan account. The Playbook summary will also be included with their monthly loan bills or in regular emails from their student loan servicers.

Just 30 percent of financial aid professionals reported using social media to provide financial literacy content to students.

Financial aid offices that invest time on the major platforms say social media lightens the workload. On a higher level, social networks represent another way to provide students with financial literacy education that can advance institutional goals, including better retention and lower cohort default rates.

Jennifer Wick is vice president of Scannell & Kurz higher education enrollment consultants, a Ruffalo Cody company.

The shift to the use of families’ Prior-Prior Year (PPY) financial data on the FAFSA has come to pass. This shift has far-reaching implications not only for timing of financial aid awards, but also in other aspects of enrollment, such as marketing, recruitment and institutional budgeting.

The Red Folder, created by the University of California, is being adapted statewide as a resource for guidance on distressed student interaction.

Recent studies suggest that up to one-third of college students suffer mental health problems. California’s colleges and universities have made strides in providing mental health care to students—when higher ed as a whole has struggled to keep up with a growing demand for services.

Most colleges and universities will continue to face financial hurdles, and although there is much crossover, certain issues will be more or less of a concern based on the size of the university and its student population. One thing is true across the board: Student expectations are changing.

Effective student success initiatives begin long before that first day of classes and often continue beyond graduation. The colleges and universities highlighted in the third round of UB’s national Models of Excellence awards program demonstrate a commitment to that holistic experience.

Participants in Austin Peay State University’s Full Spectrum Learning spend an hour per week covering the transition to college, social and independence skills, and academic success strategies.

Programs for students on the autism spectrum are no longer a unique campus concept, but Austin Peay State University’s Full Spectrum Learning (FSL) initiative stands out from the crowd.

Input in shaping FSL comes from all groups involved—especially students with autism who participate in the program and their upperclassmen mentors. In addition, the effort is housed in the Tennessee university’s education department rather than in the disabilities services office.

Orientation and engagement activities introduced by Iowa Lakes Community College administrators have driven down the student loan default rate. President Valerie Newhouse says the two trends are intertwined.

Community college students who take out the smallest loans default at the highest rates, and many borrowers who get into trouble make no effort to fix their problems.

Those are two findings in a new report, “A Closer Look at the Trillion,” which calls for institutional and federal policy changes to help students and community colleges better manage debt.

Brian E. Cartier is CEO of the National Association of College Stores, based in Oberlin, Ohio.

With student debt in the trillions and other economic concerns looming over families, college stores often bear the brunt of public anger over course material costs. But stores are working harder than ever to provide students with affordable options that will help them learn, succeed and get that coveted degree.

Fulfilling a connection need: Troy University’s Trojan Cafe (left) has had more than 19,000 users in the past year, and Northern Virginia Community College’s virtual student union (right), still in expansion mode, has had about 500 users so far.

For all the advantages of online learning—flexibility, personalization and affordability among them—there can be downsides for some students. Online students may feel isolated and disconnected from their peers and from their college or university—and risk losing the engagement so crucial to student success.

Salisbury University alum Carey Haddock, here in front of Manokin Hall, was once an RA herself. Now she’s the trainer and supervisor for RAs at the school.

Parents and students expect RAs to solve roommate problems and ensure dorms are conducive to study and sleep. But with an amplified national discourse on sexual assault, gun violence and mental illness, today’s resident assistants are on the front lines of a whole host of issues related to safety and overall wellness.

Today's RAs receive enhanced training on a range of issues, from sex assault to homesickness. (Click to enlarge)

Even if an incident doesn’t happen in a residence hall, RAs must know what to expect during a potential crisis on campus, and how to better help their students, says David L. Perry, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

Just as campus officials across the nation are engaged in active shooter response training because of tragedies like at Virginia Tech, RAs need to master the proper response procedures, including building lockdowns. They might be the only authority figures in the residence halls during a potential threat.

“Parents need a thorough understanding of the costs related to college and the options for paying college expenses. The need for timely, understandable information is especially acute in households with no previous experience with the going-to-college process. Colleges often assume parents already have knowledge about budgeting for college, the cost of student loans and effective repayment strategies, so they often don’t address these issues when they provide parents with information.”

—George Covino, vice president of consulting, USA Funds

The Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, also known as DKE, sued Wesleyan University after  its members were told they wouldn’t be allowed to live in their house next school year.

A push for coed fraternities has spawned a lawsuit at Wesleyan University, while a directive from the administration at Trinity College, also in Connecticut, has so far failed to further integrate Greek organizations.

Delta Kappa Epsilon, or DKE, sued Wesleyan in February after the fraternity’s members were informed they would not be able to live in their house in the 2015-16 school year. The fraternity is seeking an injunction against that decision.

While it can be risky for people with physical disabilities to navigate between facilities outdoors, tunnels on campuses such as Wright State U allow for smooth building-to-building movement.

Rumors about the nearly two miles of tunnels that lie beneath Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, often revolve around its location near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Some people have suspected the tunnels were designed as an Air Force/Wright State bomb shelter—or even that top-secret military experiments have been conducted in laboratories there.

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