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Articles: Student Services

The vast majority of independent, private sector, higher education institutions are more than 80 percent dependent on tuition and student fees—the exception of course being that small cadre of elite, well-endowed institutions that comprise a small portion (less than 10 percent) of private schools. Even most of the nation’s public colleges and universities are increasingly dependent on tuition revenues and often student headcount affects the allocation of state support.

  • Emphasize the cost savings. By paying even a portion of their tuition through an installment plan now, rather than amassing larger post-college debt, families can save big.
  • Make it multichannel. Communications about the option should ideally be on-paper (mailed and posted on campus), online, via email, and by phone. 
  • Reach out often. Students and parents should hear about the payment plan option several times during both the admissions process and after enrollment—and especially when financial aid programs are explained.

The cost of a college education continues to rise, despite declining consumer ability to pay for it. And with 70 percent of college students and parents agreeing that college is needed now more than ever, according to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College 2012,” finding an affordable institution is key. The College Board’s annual report on “Trends in Pricing” states that the total cost of attending a four-year public university rose 6 percent in-state and, at four-year private universities, costs rose 4.4 percent in the last year.

  • Campus Management, a provider of enterprise software products and services, has announced a strategic alliance with EC Group, a professional services company specializing in financial aid management, regulatory compliance and institutional effectiveness.
  • The Texas Partners Federal Credit Union has joined the pool of about 500 credit unions that offer Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan referral program.
    The Westphalia Training Center, a new Prince George's Community  College extension site, establishes construction industry partnerships to provide training in several trade areas.

    Employers believe their employees must be committed to continuing education to remain on top of their industries and their jobs, according to research commissioned by Destiny Solutions in October 2011.

    “The Voice of the Employer on the Effects and Opportunities of Professional Development,” based on a study of 200 employers across North America, reveals that  70 percent of employers feel their employees need continuous training just to keep up with their jobs. Ninety-five percent of employers financially support employee continuing education.

    In 2011, four community college system chancellors began discussing how community colleges help build a stronger, more competitive workforce and, therefore, a strong middle class. “What we were seeing was increased recognition of the role of community colleges in terms of solving a number of problems being faced by individuals, employers, and states, but along with that recognition were increased expectations,” says Joe D. May, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

    What’s missing in this picture? Staff at the Brigham Young University Bookstore wheel out the textbook shelves after the term is underway to make room for a clothing boutique. The store now offers a wider array of merchandise that any other time in its 106-year history.

    At the River Store in Ft. Pierce, Fla., it’s hard to miss the course textbooks stacked along multilevel, metal shelves, as well as the array of insignia T-shirts, sweatpants, hoodies, and caps bearing the Indian River State College logo and nickname, the Pioneers. These offerings have long been what generations of students, faculty, and alumni have come to expect at many of the almost 4,500 college stores across the country.

    We all want to be winners. That trait is truly universal. But as U.S. higher education increasingly recruits students across international lines, how do we overcome challenges of language, culture, and academic preparedness to ensure that, while some win, others do not lose?

    This question reflects one theme of the British Council’s sixth annual Going Global conference, which I attended in London in March. With 1,500 people from 80 countries, it explored how education can change the world’s future by shaping and connecting its citizens’ lives.

    Textbooks are a big ticket purchase for college students, but that cost has declined slightly over the past five years. That’s not to say students are buying fewer books—or that textbook prices have gone down—but that they have found ways to bring the cost down, often with the help of campus bookstores.

    At the end of July, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released “For Profit Higher Education: The Failure to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success.”

    Despite Federal District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras’ ruling that negates a primary metric of the U.S. Department of Education’s “gainful employment” regulations, the DOE still has authority to regulate gainful employment programs and schools should continue to look for ways to promote the financial success of their students.

    Apps help new students build social bonds and keep up on campus news.

    Students and technology go hand in hand, especially when you hand out smartphones at orientation. Seton Hall University (N.J.) did just that with Nokia Lumia 900 smartphones during orientation in June. “It’s an exciting time here at Seton Hall,” says David Middleton, assistant vice president for administration and executive director of the university’s Center for Mobile Research and Innovation. “This is part of an ongoing effort we’ve been taking on for a few years,” he says, adding that students also receive a PC.

    Now that we have all waved our classes of 2012 on their way with pomp and circumstance—and hopefully with sunny graduation days—it’s only natural to turn our attention to the classes of ’13, ’14, and ’15. But to read the headlines of the past few months, there’s still plenty to worry about concerning the graduates who are just entering the workforce and for whom the forecast is considerably cloudy.

    Harvard President Drew Faust (left) and MIT President Susan Hockfield announce edX.

    At the beginning of the 21st century, MIT began a bold, pioneering experiment in bringing higher learning to the masses. Originally intended for students traveling abroad to keep up with their studies, the OpenCourseWare Project enabled anyone to access the OCW site and read course materials from more than 2,000 MIT classes. While there was no interaction with faculty and no grades or credit given for doing any of the work, it opened the door to a variety of possibilities for online learning.

    A common objective for business schools across the country is development of leadership skills. For this reason, MBA programs utilize team-based assignments, incorporate leader development in the core curriculum, and include a plethora of leadership and service opportunities in co-curricular offerings.