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Behind the News

More than one-quarter of teenage cell phone users have gone online with their devices, and online usage is greatest among students in households with less than $30,000 annual income, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, released in 2010. While that’s based on 2009 data, a May 2011 Pew survey of American adults revealed that more than one-third own a smartphone, so it’s likely teen use has increased also. Are prospective students using their mobile phones for the college search?

Research has shown that minority students are more likely to succeed when faculty and staff are equally diverse. While many institutions are still trying to boost campus diversity, Ivy Tech Community College (Ind.) doesn't have that problem.

Harvard University has long been known to take the lead in research, public administration, and business and law studies, so why not sustainability? The university has become the first higher education institution to have earned 50 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications for new construction or renovation to existing buildings. LEED-certified buildings save money on energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment.

In this tough job climate, a college degree is more important than ever. That’s why the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) is helping students who’ve put their education on hold before completing a degree—or “stopped out”—return to finish their bachelor’s degrees. Stop-outs are different from drop-outs in that they don’t want to leave school.
Grad TX aims to connect the 3 million adults over 25 in the state who have some college credit and no degree.

Professional and continuing education students at Oregon State University can earn a digital badge for completing a course, workshop or certificate program.

More colleges and universities now offer digital badges as a form of micro-credential or “subdegree” to students who pass individual courses or certifications, and want to show potential employers what they’ve learned. The programs target professionals needing a skills boosts and hobbyists.

States not in compliance with The Choice Act risk losing GI Bill funding. (Click to enlarge)

States that have not offered veterans discounted tuition at public universities are now required by law to do so, reflecting the oft-nomadic lifestyle of vets and their need for greater access to higher education.

In-state tuition for this group, which includes 17 states and the District of Columbia, became nationally mandated on July 1, 2015, through a new provision of the GI Bill known as the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (since dubbed the “Choice Act”).

Robin Engel, University of Cincinnati’s new vice president for safety and reform.

Criminal justice professor and public safety expert Robin Engel’s extensive background working with both law enforcement and community advocates should give plenty of credibility to her leadership of the police reform initiative launched by University of Cincinnati after an officer-involved shooting near campus this summer.

President Obama scrapped his long proposed college rating system in favor of a “scorecard” system unveiled in September. The news caught higher ed leaders by surprise, leaving some dismayed to be left out of the planning process.

Incoming Kent State freshmen studying at the university’s Florence, Italy, campus have opportunities to take sightseeing trips to Bologna and other cities.

Study abroad has been reserved traditionally for upperclassmen, but institutions that include Michigan State, Kent State, Florida State, American University and the University of New Haven are offering students the chance to learn overseas before or during their first year of college.

About 70 students are currently enrolled in the Goucher Prison Education Partnership, which receives no public funding. (Photo: Rob Ferrell courtesy of Goucher College)

A small-scale program that will give prisoners Pell Grants to pursue college degrees represents a symbolic step toward expanding access to higher education. But only a fraction of the inmates who could benefit will receive financial aid, experts say.