Behind the News

ESL staff learn, students teach

Students volunteer to teach English to catering and facilities staff

In Project Bridge—what may be a first-of-its-kind program—student volunteers at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. are giving English lessons to catering and facilities staff.

The project was originally conceived by Patricia Tome, a modern languages professor who assigned her intermediate-level Spanish classes to tutor Rollins’ staff for a short time. In January 2012, the then-president of the Latin American Student Association, Tasha Bianchi-Macaraig, took over the program as student advisor.

Lawmakers pitch 'pay it forward’ model to ease Michigan tuition

In-state students could attend college for free and pay percentage of incomes back after graduation

Michigan legislators have introduced a plan that would allow in-state college-bound students to attend college for free and then, as graduates, pay a percentage of their income back. Known as a “pay it forward” model, the money paid back would go into a special fund to help other students attend college using the same plan.

Study debunks community college completion myths

Transfer students just as likely to graduate from four-year colleges as direct university entrants

Dozens of reports written over the last four decades have created the generally accepted theory that community college students who transfer to universities graduate at lower rate than do students who start out at four-year institutions.

So when David Monaghan and Paul Attewell, researchers at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, began to analyze those studies to uncover when and why it was happening, they got a surprise: the theory, they determined, is actually a myth.

Required: On-campus housing, all four years

Students more attached to campus when required to live there

Next fall, Susquehanna University will begin enforcing a long-standing policy requiring most students to live on campus all four years, officials at the Pennsylvania school say.

Infographic: 2015 state budgets

Slow climb to pre-recession funding

After years of budget cuts, some states are finally putting money back into higher education for FY2015. 

Digital donations hit higher education

Entrepreneurs bet on Bitcoin as the future of money

The University of Puget Sound in February became the first higher ed institution to accept a gift of digital currency, when alumnus Nicolas Cary gave the Washington school 14.5 bitcoins—equal to $10,000.

HBCU collaborative designed to inspire innovation

First HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative Symposium taking place in late March

Historically black colleges and universities are coming together to encourage entrepreneurial ventures and thinking among their students and faculty. Kicking off the initiative is the first HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative Symposium in late March in conjunction with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance’s Annual OPEN Conference.

Survey: Adminstrators of public institutions saw bigger raises

First time in four years public colleges have taken the lead

Administrators at public colleges and universities received larger raises in 2013 than did their private-institution counterparts. That’s a key finding in the “2013-14 Administrators in Higher Education Salary Survey,” conducted by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

Will coursework replace tests as learning gauge?

Universities look to papers and coursework as stronger assessments

Institutions in nine states are experimenting with using papers and coursework—instead of tests—to judge whether students are learning skills employers need.

University representatives from these states will develop standards for judging students’ critical thinking, problem solving, intercultural competence and more. These skills were determined to be what employees most value in graduates, says Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Colorado’s pot law trumped on campus by federal law

Despite legalization, possession, use and sale of marijuana on state campuses is forbidden

When Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use in January, many people also noted a simultaneous jump—nearly 30 percent—in out-of-state student applications to the University of Colorado, Boulder. The reason, says Director of Admissions Kevin MacLennan, was not the pursuit of “higher education” but merely the fact that the state also began allowing the Common Application.

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