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While the vast majority of international students adhere to high-quality practices when applying to U.S. higher education institutions, there is a real issue of those who don’t – and who take steps to game whatever systems are in place to gain access to an institution, misrepresenting themselves along the way.

The number of students identifying as belonging to a community of color has doubled since Frankin & Marshall College has invested more in need-based aid and phased out merit scholarships.

Financial aid is in a state of flux, but an institution’s size and selectivity offer clues to what kind of student assistance gets prioritized.

Some public flagships and less-selective private schools are using increased merit aid to lure higher achievers from more prestigious private schools, while some highly selective colleges and universities are phasing out merit aid as they give more need-based assistance to bring lower-income students to campus.

Colleges and universities are ramping up services for international freshmen and sophomores as administrators increasingly look abroad to further diversify their campuses and to expand enrollment with students who pay full tuition.

Whether it’s purchasing textbooks every semester or meeting daily needs such as meals, snacks or health and beauty aids, students who find the right dining and retail stores on campus have a better college experience.

Many higher ed institutions are adding shops and brand-name eateries, as well as renovating bookstores to keep up with current technology trends.

Here's how colleges and universities are using social media to connect with alumni.

If you build it, they will come. Your alumni are already Facebooking, tweeting and linking in, in ever-increasing numbers. Colleges and universities are taking advantage of this activity to launch and grow robust social networks of graduates that strengthen alumni engagement, boost volunteerism and stimulate giving.

Once again this July, recent Models of Efficiency honorees were recognized during the NACUBO conference at an awards dinner hosted by Higher One, the program’s sponsor. This year, award recipients were honored at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Seattle.

Casey McGuane, chief operations officer at Higher One, and Daniel Kinnaman, publisher of University Business, introduced the award recipients and summarized the projects for which they were recognized.

A sampling of sabbatical policies at colleges and universities. (Click to enlarge)

There’s a standard practice in academia that’s highly valued; yet, at many colleges and universities, the policies and procedures surrounding it haven’t changed in decades. Until now.

The setting was big, the company was good and the technology talk was buzzing at this year’s UBTech Conference, held June 16 to 18 at The Mirage Las Vegas.

And based on the feedback from our 1,273 attendees, the “Technology Changes Everything” tagline will be put into practice as administrators and educators from the more than 500 institutions represented at the event share information and propose projects and programs back on their own campuses.

“We include in our emails a link to a brief video that explains that we are counselors, not collectors, working on behalf of the college the borrower attended, and that we work with borrowers and their loan servicers to resolve their loan payment issues. The video invites the borrower to call us.”

—Craig P. Anderson, senior vice president, business development, USA Funds

Click to enlarge: UBTech 2014 racked up big numbers in attendees and activities. (Graphic: Rebecca Eller)

The accompanying infographic provides some of the key numbers for UBTech 2014, which took place in June at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

Click to enlarge the graphic to find stats for number of attendees, number of sessions and cups of coffee consumed -- and more. And don't forget to share our graphic on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. We all know a captivating image boosts the power of our posts.