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Articles: Campus Life

Along with enrollment, public funding and debt, providing health care to employees will be among the top financial pressures on higher education in the coming years, say several campus administrators.

Several universities, spurred by student groups, are considering adding trigger warnings to course material that some students may find disturbing.

We’ve all seen the familiar warning preceding TV shows: “The following program contains material that may be disturbing.Viewer discretion is advised.” Online, the term “trigger warning” is a common notation on women’s blogs and forums to alert readers, particularly victims of sexual abuse, of content they might want to avoid.

Now several universities, spurred by student groups, are considering adding trigger warnings to course material that some students may find disturbing. That may include references to rape and violence as well as racism.

Colleges and universities with the most Twitter activity are missing out on engaging prospective students via the platform, according to new research from Brandwatch, a social media monitoring and analytics firm.

The analysis used a Thomson Reuters list of the top 10 U.S. university mentions on Twitter from January 31 through March 31. The big finding: The main Twitter handles of these schools were used mostly for broadcasting university-specific and industry news, according to the research.

When it comes to online education, careful course development is hardly the only piece needed for successful student outcomes. Colleges without long-time experience in distance learning may be far more likely to overlook the importance of adequate support services. Just how can these needs be met? Here are seven ways to provide exceptional support for online students.

From managing loans to controlling spending, many college students find themselves dealing with a host of financial responsibilities for the very first time. And it’s not uncommon for them to trip up.

Campus financial literacy programs can help students steer clear of some of their most common financial mistakes. The challenge for educators is to find creative and clever ways to get their attention.

Many colleges are advising students how they can save money with digital and used textbooks.

As costly as tuition and textbooks can be, poor planning and time management can raise the prices even higher.

Richard O’Connor, director of financial aid at American International College in Massachusetts, says students at that institution have several options for saving on books. “About half of our students are low income, so just paying tuition can be challenging.”

Western Governors University’s 43,000 online students make for the nation’s largest all-you-can-learn program.

Adult students are treating themselves to a higher ed buffet through a handful of programs where all-you-can-learn tuition lets them move as quickly as they can toward a degree and advancement in the workforce.

IT officials at any institution considering outsourcing help desk support will need to weigh the pros and cons to determine whether budget and IT operations mesh with an external provider

The IT department at Widener University in Chester, Pa., was at a crisis point. Unexpected IT staff turnover and high demand for more technology resources intersected, leaving the university grappling with how to provide help desk support. The school had walk-in centers that were open into the evenings, but overall, coverage wasn’t keeping up with demand.

Hampshire College librarian Jennifer King, student Sarah Jayne Klucken and science librarian Thea Atwood look through the seed catalog.

In western Massachusetts, Hampshire College students are “checking out” packets of fruit and vegetable seeds from the library to grow in pots on their patios and in community gardens. They will harvest new seeds from their plants to replenish the library’s collection.

The University of Wisconsin’s all-you-can-learn, competency-based flex program—designed for adult students—started in January. Students can pay $2,250 for a three-month, all-you-can-learn subscription, or just $900 to work on a single set of competencies, says Vice Chancellor Aaron Brower, the interim provost of the UW Extension School.

Tuition covers assessments and faculty mentoring, and students’ get help organizing their studies from an academic coach—a new role that combines duties of an advisor and tutor. All work is graded by University of Wisconsin faculty.

Gene Wade is CEO of University Now, parent company of Patten University.

Since last June, students at the for-profit Patten University have been able to take all-you-can-learn, competency-based programs online and at the institution’s campus in Oakland, Calif.

Undergraduate tuition is $1,316 for a four-month term or $350 for a month. Students can take as many classes as they can fit into their schedule. The average student takes three classes per term, says Gene Wade, CEO of Patten’s parent company, UniversityNow.

Kristen Lombardi was lead journalist on the report, "Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice.”

In January, President Obama launched the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to help colleges and universities combat what he called “the prevalence of rape and sexual assault at our nation’s institutions of higher education.” The announcement came as a growing number of young women have filed federal complaints against colleges around the country over the mishandling of sexual assault cases.

A 2013 Noel-Levitz E-Expectations Report of incoming college students found that 78 percent have regular access to a mobile device. And while that number has probably crept higher for 2014, what about the approximately one in five college students who don’t have that access?

For many low-income and first-generation college students, owning a smart phone, tablet or laptop is simply not a reality. What is a reality is that this situation creates educational barriers for these students.

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.

Inmates in a study session at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility, a medium-security facility outside Ellenville, N.Y.

Bard College doesn’t judge the success of its prison initiative by the number of students who stay out of jail. Recidivism is an extremely low bar, says Executive Director Max Kenner. “We judge by how many people are becoming middle-class taxpayers, how many people are involved in deeply meaningful ways in their communities. We think by those measures we are thriving.”