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Articles: Student Services

Time is running out for Congress to take action to stop a scheduled interest rate increase on Stafford loans this summer. In July, interest rates are set to double for almost 8 million students. The average subsidized Stafford loan borrower will pay an extra $2,800 on their loans, and students borrowing the maximum $23,000 in subsidized loans starting next year would pay almost $5,000 more over a 10-year repayment period.

Few students—traditional or nontraditional—complete their work within the 9-5 work day. Rather, libraries and dorm rooms are bustling late into the night with students burning the midnight oil. But, according to findings from the 2012 ACUTA (The Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education) ResNet Survey, only 9 percent of colleges and universities offer 24/7 network support.

Six months into the net price calculator (NPC) requirement, the experiences of many colleges and universities can be best described as “a mixed bag.” Questions or concerns that numerous schools expressed as they put together their plans for the NPC launch have not necessarily been answered: Will the phones start ringing off the hook? How accurate will comparisons be? What is the best location on our website: Should we highlight the NPC or bury it in a hard-to-find spot?

Student retention is a big problem that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. About one-third of college students fail to obtain a degree six years after taking their first college course, and the United States is no longer in the top 10 list of countries with the highest graduation rates, according to the College Board. The drop-out rate affects long-term economic prosperity nationwide. This is particularly true in an age where knowledge, creativity, and innovation are key drivers in a globalized economy.

Anna Maria College football players on the field

The University of Texas at San Antonio campus is dominated by modern cream-colored buildings with dark red tile roofs and acres of parking lots, testimony to 40 years of serving largely as a commuter school for students from the surrounding area.

Textbooks for rent

In this digital age, at a time when everybody is tightening their belts, it should come as no surprise that students are buying fewer textbooks. How many fewer? Two recent surveys show that 70 percent of students polled at the University of California, Riverside say the rising costs of higher ed have caused them to skip buying textbooks altogether. And findings from a 2011 Pew survey, “The Digital Revolution and Higher Education,” indicate that 62 percent of college presidents anticipate more than half of textbooks used by their undergraduates will be digital within 10 years.

A student speaking with her advisor

Community colleges have always been a popular place for students to begin their higher education career. Often smaller, closer, and more affordable than their four-year counterparts, they can help students get accustomed to college-level work or simply save on tuition. The national goal of producing more college graduates has increased the focus on ensuring students actually transfer on. Keith Coates, a student services advisor at Columbus State Community College, Delaware Campus (Ohio), reports that they’re seeing a lot of students who want to transfer but may not know to where.

a mouse with the wire attached to a credit card

When it comes to e-commerce, anything retail can do, college campuses can do, too—and probably better, experts say. That explains in large part why the lone bookstore URLs many colleges and universities began with have blossomed into hundreds of online money opportunities ranging from student fees to concert and athletic tickets, from parking permits to alumni donations.

A Community College Research Center study found that, at community and technical colleges in Washington state, students enrolled in online courses didn’t fare as well as those enrolled in face-to-face or hybrid courses. But better student preparation, faculty development, online support services, and other resources can close the gap. Here is what a few community colleges have done to implement those practices and help students be successful in online courses.

coach bus

As winter progresses, harsh weather conditions  make it even more critical for colleges and universities to feel confident that they are transporting students to and from university-related activities as safely as possible. This means insisting that passenger trip organizers identify and select the safest bus companies in the industry to transport their students.

I am a bit perplexed. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get many listeners on the subject of the need for liberal arts colleges to offer a minor in business and entrepreneurship. Over the past month, I wrote to the presidents at four of the top liberal arts colleges in the U.S. about the possibility of this idea. One kindly responded right away, acknowledging that it may be worthwhile, but due to financial issues, no new programs were being introduced.

A cell phone being waved in front of a door for entry

Given the pervasive use of mobile devices, could handheld technology replace campus card programs altogether? After all, aiming a device at a residence hall keypad, or paying for vending snacks by waving a cell phone at the machine, are already possible, as is automated check-in at events, purchases at tech-savvy retailers, and connection to banking services.

With all that functionality, it just makes sense to consider a switch, believes Laura Ploughe, director of business applications and fiscal control in the university business services department at Arizona State University.

Students paying with a campus card

Campus cards have come a long way since their initial uses related to door access and meal plan tracking. Increasingly, colleges and universities are turning campus cards into function-packed systems, with subsequent benefits related to efficiency, revenue generation, and off-campus partnerships. Here are 10 best practices for getting the most out of your campus card program.

Everyone in higher education at last understands that important components of “the public”—state and federal officials, nongovernmental accrediting bodies, and prospective students and their parents—expect a college to cite compelling evidence that students learn a great deal at that institution. Officials who are most eager to make evidence available believe students will enroll only in colleges demonstrating that their graduates experience impressive intellectual growth over four years.

In September, the Department of Education and the Department of Labor announced $500 million in grants for community colleges to improve job training and workforce development programs as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative.

Thirty-two grantees were announced in this round, ranging from individual institutions to consortia that bring together colleges statewide or across state lines.

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