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Articles: Student Services

Successful business incubation at universities is about much more than a capable technology transfer office (TTO) and strong commercialization policies. New businesses are born at universities because faculty and students have the freedom to develop innovative ideas and pursue new lines of inquiry. To emerge from the university successfully, these pioneering ideas must be accompanied by prototype development, market research, commercialization strategy, and effective fundraising.

In a step toward improving college access and affordability, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law two bills that will provide students with free access to digital textbooks.

Bills 1052 and 1053, passed in late September, call for creating free, open source digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken introductory courses among the University of California, The California State University, and California Community Colleges systems, and creating a state digital open source library to house the texts.

In a step toward improving college access and affordability, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law two bills that will provide students with free access to digital textbooks.

Bills 1052 and 1053, passed last week, call for creating free, open source digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken introductory courses among the University of California, and California Community College systems, and creating a state digital open source library to house the texts.

The Stockton Campus  Center at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Prior to 2011, the sports and events facilities at the University of Mary Washington (Va.) were nothing to write home about. The university’s Dodd Auditorium had a capacity of 1,300 for concerts and other special events, and the Woodard Campus Center gymnasium, which was built in the 1950s, could only seat 500 and couldn’t be used for anything but sporting events.

With the 2012 election only weeks away, Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney are furiously campaigning for that segment of undecided voters that could make or break their efforts.

At the top of nearly every list of voter concerns this year, of course, is the economy. And because one of the keys to growing the economy is an educated workforce, voters are anxious to hear where each candidate stands on higher education. For the most part, the discussion centers on two issues—affordability and accountability—and the differences are stark.

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.”

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