Behind the News

Mobile College Searches Catching On?

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?

Creating a Culture of Inclusiveness

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.

Taking the LEED in Sustainability

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.

Stopping Out, Stepping Back In

How institutions are helping adult learners return to school

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.

From overseas to the American community college

Growing an international presence on two-year-college campuses

Lone Star College has the fourth highest number of international students among U.S. two-year institutions, but the Houston-area school does not recruit abroad aggressively. Like many community colleges, it relies on local immigrant communities to spread the word with friends and family in foreign countries.

Growing trend: Corporations providing college tuition as employee benefit

Number of larger corporations offering these programs expected to grow

Starbucks made headlines last spring as more than just a campus hot spot when it announced a free college tuition plan for its employees. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and health insurance company Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have now followed suit, and Starbucks has expanded its program.

While each corporation is partnering with a specific higher ed institution, the plans and stipulations vary:

Live videocasts hold promise for college marketers

Colleges and universities testing live-video-streaming app called Periscope

In March, Twitter unveiled its newest acquisition, a live video streaming app called Periscope. Following closely on the heels of a rival app called Meerkat, Periscope made waves by enabling anyone with a mobile device (iOS or Android) to broadcast from virtually anywhere. The apps allow viewers to interact with broadcasters through a chat feature.

Arizona State and edX offer full freshman year of MOOCs

Students can take classes for free but must pay fees to earn credits

Online learning, specifically MOOCs, has inspired many doomsday forecasts regarding the fate of traditional higher education—which, of course, has yet to collapse.

But the predicted death of MOOCs—due to erratic completion rates, lack of formal student support and concerns about the financial returns for institutions—hasn’t come true either.

Push for coed frats meets resistance

Gender equity or a move to shutter traditional fraternities?

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.

Containing the costs of commencement speakers

Getting a prominent, yet free, speaker is more time-consuming than simply hiring one, but it can be the only option

Commencement speakers have become another point of financial scrutiny in higher ed, with an annual flurry of students crying foul on both the person selected and fees incurred. Some colleges avoid charges by tapping their own faculty for the task (as University of Chicago has done since 1970). Others pursue prominent speakers willing to donate their services.

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