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Articles: Student Services

While community colleges are supposed to be two-year institutions, many students take longer than that to graduate. Some four-year institutions, meanwhile, allow ambitious students to earn a bachelor’s degree in three years. Pima Community College (Ariz.) has come up with a new twist to the accelerated degree trend, giving East Campus students enrolling in the Sprint Schedule pilot program the chance to be done in just one. 

Simpler for graduating students, the new process is also a moneysaver.

After doubling its number of graduates, Polk needed to automate its graduation applications process. A customized Access database was created with built-in reporting capabilities. An automated download capability was added to link graduate information with the reporting database. The result: Advising hours have been reduced by 1,600 per year and the additional clerical help is no longer needed.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, with students and teachers behind him, gestures during a news conference after voting Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 in Oakland, Calif. The governor talked about his support for Proposition 30 that will increase funding for schools and public safety. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

While voters across the nation were glued to their screens last night counting electoral votes, the higher education community was holding its breath awaiting the answers on a number of important ballot initiatives, proving this year’s election was truly about more than blue and red for higher ed.

NMU's Foundation Scholarship application and selection process was inefficient and labor intensive. A web application was designed that matched selection criteria to the student's academic and biographical profile. The new system reduced data entry, paper, timing, and labor costs, while increasing data accuracy and providing more information to selection committees.

Successful business incubation at universities is about much more than a capable technology transfer office (TTO) and strong commercialization policies. New businesses are born at universities because faculty and students have the freedom to develop innovative ideas and pursue new lines of inquiry. To emerge from the university successfully, these pioneering ideas must be accompanied by prototype development, market research, commercialization strategy, and effective fundraising.

In a step toward improving college access and affordability, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law two bills that will provide students with free access to digital textbooks.

Bills 1052 and 1053, passed in late September, call for creating free, open source digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken introductory courses among the University of California, The California State University, and California Community Colleges systems, and creating a state digital open source library to house the texts.

In a step toward improving college access and affordability, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law two bills that will provide students with free access to digital textbooks.

Bills 1052 and 1053, passed last week, call for creating free, open source digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken introductory courses among the University of California, and California Community College systems, and creating a state digital open source library to house the texts.

The Stockton Campus  Center at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Prior to 2011, the sports and events facilities at the University of Mary Washington (Va.) were nothing to write home about. The university’s Dodd Auditorium had a capacity of 1,300 for concerts and other special events, and the Woodard Campus Center gymnasium, which was built in the 1950s, could only seat 500 and couldn’t be used for anything but sporting events.

With the 2012 election only weeks away, Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney are furiously campaigning for that segment of undecided voters that could make or break their efforts.

At the top of nearly every list of voter concerns this year, of course, is the economy. And because one of the keys to growing the economy is an educated workforce, voters are anxious to hear where each candidate stands on higher education. For the most part, the discussion centers on two issues—affordability and accountability—and the differences are stark.

The vast majority of independent, private sector, higher education institutions are more than 80 percent dependent on tuition and student fees—the exception of course being that small cadre of elite, well-endowed institutions that comprise a small portion (less than 10 percent) of private schools. Even most of the nation’s public colleges and universities are increasingly dependent on tuition revenues and often student headcount affects the allocation of state support.

  • Emphasize the cost savings. By paying even a portion of their tuition through an installment plan now, rather than amassing larger post-college debt, families can save big.
  • Make it multichannel. Communications about the option should ideally be on-paper (mailed and posted on campus), online, via email, and by phone. 
  • Reach out often. Students and parents should hear about the payment plan option several times during both the admissions process and after enrollment—and especially when financial aid programs are explained.

The cost of a college education continues to rise, despite declining consumer ability to pay for it. And with 70 percent of college students and parents agreeing that college is needed now more than ever, according to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College 2012,” finding an affordable institution is key. The College Board’s annual report on “Trends in Pricing” states that the total cost of attending a four-year public university rose 6 percent in-state and, at four-year private universities, costs rose 4.4 percent in the last year.

  • Campus Management, a provider of enterprise software products and services, has announced a strategic alliance with EC Group, a professional services company specializing in financial aid management, regulatory compliance and institutional effectiveness.
  • The Texas Partners Federal Credit Union has joined the pool of about 500 credit unions that offer Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan referral program.
The Westphalia Training Center, a new Prince George's Community  College extension site, establishes construction industry partnerships to provide training in several trade areas.

Employers believe their employees must be committed to continuing education to remain on top of their industries and their jobs, according to research commissioned by Destiny Solutions in October 2011.

“The Voice of the Employer on the Effects and Opportunities of Professional Development,” based on a study of 200 employers across North America, reveals that  70 percent of employers feel their employees need continuous training just to keep up with their jobs. Ninety-five percent of employers financially support employee continuing education.

In 2011, four community college system chancellors began discussing how community colleges help build a stronger, more competitive workforce and, therefore, a strong middle class. “What we were seeing was increased recognition of the role of community colleges in terms of solving a number of problems being faced by individuals, employers, and states, but along with that recognition were increased expectations,” says Joe D. May, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

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