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Articles: Student Services

Textbooks are a big ticket purchase for college students, but that cost has declined slightly over the past five years. That’s not to say students are buying fewer books—or that textbook prices have gone down—but that they have found ways to bring the cost down, often with the help of campus bookstores.

At the end of July, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released “For Profit Higher Education: The Failure to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success.”

Despite Federal District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras’ ruling that negates a primary metric of the U.S. Department of Education’s “gainful employment” regulations, the DOE still has authority to regulate gainful employment programs and schools should continue to look for ways to promote the financial success of their students.

Apps help new students build social bonds and keep up on campus news.

Students and technology go hand in hand, especially when you hand out smartphones at orientation. Seton Hall University (N.J.) did just that with Nokia Lumia 900 smartphones during orientation in June. “It’s an exciting time here at Seton Hall,” says David Middleton, assistant vice president for administration and executive director of the university’s Center for Mobile Research and Innovation. “This is part of an ongoing effort we’ve been taking on for a few years,” he says, adding that students also receive a PC.

Now that we have all waved our classes of 2012 on their way with pomp and circumstance—and hopefully with sunny graduation days—it’s only natural to turn our attention to the classes of ’13, ’14, and ’15. But to read the headlines of the past few months, there’s still plenty to worry about concerning the graduates who are just entering the workforce and for whom the forecast is considerably cloudy.

Harvard President Drew Faust (left) and MIT President Susan Hockfield announce edX.

At the beginning of the 21st century, MIT began a bold, pioneering experiment in bringing higher learning to the masses. Originally intended for students traveling abroad to keep up with their studies, the OpenCourseWare Project enabled anyone to access the OCW site and read course materials from more than 2,000 MIT classes. While there was no interaction with faculty and no grades or credit given for doing any of the work, it opened the door to a variety of possibilities for online learning.

A common objective for business schools across the country is development of leadership skills. For this reason, MBA programs utilize team-based assignments, incorporate leader development in the core curriculum, and include a plethora of leadership and service opportunities in co-curricular offerings.

As new high school graduates anxiously await acceptance letters from their favorite colleges, many will start to plan for this new chapter in their lives by seeking student loans and financial aid to pay for it. After running the gauntlet of qualifying for loans and assistance, many will forget all about it.

Time is running out for Congress to take action to stop a scheduled interest rate increase on Stafford loans this summer. In July, interest rates are set to double for almost 8 million students. The average subsidized Stafford loan borrower will pay an extra $2,800 on their loans, and students borrowing the maximum $23,000 in subsidized loans starting next year would pay almost $5,000 more over a 10-year repayment period.

Few students—traditional or nontraditional—complete their work within the 9-5 work day. Rather, libraries and dorm rooms are bustling late into the night with students burning the midnight oil. But, according to findings from the 2012 ACUTA (The Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education) ResNet Survey, only 9 percent of colleges and universities offer 24/7 network support.

Six months into the net price calculator (NPC) requirement, the experiences of many colleges and universities can be best described as “a mixed bag.” Questions or concerns that numerous schools expressed as they put together their plans for the NPC launch have not necessarily been answered: Will the phones start ringing off the hook? How accurate will comparisons be? What is the best location on our website: Should we highlight the NPC or bury it in a hard-to-find spot?

Student retention is a big problem that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. About one-third of college students fail to obtain a degree six years after taking their first college course, and the United States is no longer in the top 10 list of countries with the highest graduation rates, according to the College Board. The drop-out rate affects long-term economic prosperity nationwide. This is particularly true in an age where knowledge, creativity, and innovation are key drivers in a globalized economy.

Anna Maria College football players on the field

The University of Texas at San Antonio campus is dominated by modern cream-colored buildings with dark red tile roofs and acres of parking lots, testimony to 40 years of serving largely as a commuter school for students from the surrounding area.

Textbooks for rent

In this digital age, at a time when everybody is tightening their belts, it should come as no surprise that students are buying fewer textbooks. How many fewer? Two recent surveys show that 70 percent of students polled at the University of California, Riverside say the rising costs of higher ed have caused them to skip buying textbooks altogether. And findings from a 2011 Pew survey, “The Digital Revolution and Higher Education,” indicate that 62 percent of college presidents anticipate more than half of textbooks used by their undergraduates will be digital within 10 years.

A student speaking with her advisor

Community colleges have always been a popular place for students to begin their higher education career. Often smaller, closer, and more affordable than their four-year counterparts, they can help students get accustomed to college-level work or simply save on tuition. The national goal of producing more college graduates has increased the focus on ensuring students actually transfer on. Keith Coates, a student services advisor at Columbus State Community College, Delaware Campus (Ohio), reports that they’re seeing a lot of students who want to transfer but may not know to where.