Although their leaders might claim otherwise, ratings by U.S. News, Princeton Review and others are of outsized importance to universities today. But what about the many colleges that didn’t rank high with these reviewers? How can they compete with the list-toppers?
Enrollment & Retention
Just hours before it was scheduled to be administered in June, the ACT college admission test was canceled in South Korea and Hong Kong. Approximately 5,500 international students were turned away from testing centers after ACT Inc. announced that it had received credible evidence that test materials in these regions had been leaked in advance, thus compromising the integrity of the exams.
Remember the “Flutie Effect”? That’s the claim that Boston College applications increased as a result of Doug Flutie’s last-second Hail Mary pass that won a football game against the defending champs from the University of Miami. Now we may be seeing the opposite—let’s call it the Scandal Side Effect—where a school’s bad publicity can drive applicants away.
Sometimes, well-known propositions lead to predictable conclusions. But not always. Occasionally, they lead to surprises—and even busted myths. Here’s one: Wealthy, private institutions willing to invest large endowments in financial aid for poorer students do the best job of expanding access to higher education.
A few dozen community colleges will get financial backing to design degree programs based wholly on free, open educational resources (OER) in a sweeping effort to make higher ed more affordable. Full-time community college students spend about $1,300 a year on textbooks, ultimately representing about a third of the cost of their associate degrees.