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Behind the News

Sixteen states have joined the "15 to Finish” campaign to encourage students to take full course loads each semester.

West Virginia is the latest state to encourage college students to take 15 credits or more every semester so they can graduate on time.

Sponsored by the nonprofit Complete College America, the “15 to Finish” campaign is already in 15 other states, most notably Hawaii, which first developed the program. In its first year, 2011-12, the state was able to increase the number of students taking 15 hours per semester by more than 17 percent.

Student success and retention, along with recruitment and enrollment, lead the way among the many areas that will see a fresh commitment of funding and other resources over the next 18 months.

Colleges and universities of all types and sizes are planning new investments in virtually all areas of operations as economic recovery entrenches itself in higher education, according to a University Business survey of campus leaders.

For the first time, students are paying, on average, half or more of their tuition’s cost. (Click to enlarge graphic)

Subsidies for public higher ed institutions are the lowest in a decade—and for the first time, students are paying, on average, half or more of their tuition’s cost. Those are a few of the financial trends substantiated by a recent American Institutes for Research (AIR) study.

MOOC SuperText could improve the student experience and reduce costs, a research team says.

“SuperText”—the interactive video and assessments within MOOCs—may be a threat or an opportunity to full-time business schools and MBA programs.

It depends on which path officials take in deploying the technology, says the “Will Video Kill the Classroom Star?” report from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Despite technology’s critical role in higher ed, there remains a gap between central IT and the rest of campus that can lead to unnecessary spending.

Institutions that are successful in preventing loan defaults make it a campuswide effort, according to a recent survey by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) and The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS).

Nine community college administrators from institutions of varying sizes and locations were asked about traits of their borrowers and defaulters, as well as about default prevention efforts.

A recent report suggests that while new technologies enable adaptive learning to play a major role in the future of higher ed, most instructors have yet to use the philosophy to its full potential because they are not connecting it with other important innovations.

Immersion in a long-distance tour is easy when videos are turned into 360-degree experiences through the OculusRift headset.

Admissions officers: Would more students enroll if you could bring your campus and its top-flight learning spaces along on recruiting trips?

That technology—powered by’s online campus tours and a virtual reality headset called the OculusRift—is just over the horizon, now being tested by a small group of institutions.

College sports should be recognized as a business, a federal judge has ruled.

Quick, what business makes more money than the NFL yet pays most of its workers next to nothing? The answer is college sports, which generate $10.5 billion in revenue, the bulk of it coming from football and basketball. Less than 30 percent of that money goes toward scholarships and financial aid for players.

A 20-year agreement to bring solar power from North Carolina to D.C. could become a model for how large urban organizations can meet energy needs by tapping offsite solar energy.

The partnership, involving The George Washington University, American University and The George Washington University Hospital, is the latest step the two universities are taking toward carbon neutrality, which both have pledged to reach.