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Articles: Tuition

Higher ed researchers Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos, in their book Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt, say the real challenges facing student lending are obscured by the popular myth of looming crisis.

The student debt crisis—despite dire warnings from the media—is not as bad as it is portrayed, researchers Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos say.

Many small towns and rural regions rely on the nation’s 600 rural community and tribal colleges to provide employees who will keep local economies alive.

But these institutions, which also serve as cultural centers, face a range pressures in supporting the day-to-day needs of a dwindling number of high school graduates with less money to spend, says Randy Smith, director of the Rural Community College Alliance.

For instance, Sisseton Wahpeton College in South Dakota—where Smith is president—provides campus shuttle service to students who live as far as 30 miles away.

Ten years ago, few universities employed chief information security officers. Now these administrators—known as CISOs—lead teams dedicated to shielding information, systems and research from internet thieves, and to keeping up with federal regulations.

Administrators at the University of San Diego have developed an app store featuring apps that go beyond typical functions such as viewing course schedules.

Gary A. Olson is president of Daemen College in New York.

Like all of the free tuition plans proposed to date, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan in its present form will have unintended consequences that could be devastating to the state’s economy.

14 percent of students started their postsecondary education in a community college, then transferred to a four-year school and earned a bachelor’s degree within six years of entry.

SERVING THE UNDERSERVED—Terrence Murphy Hall (back right) on the downtown Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas will house the two-year Dougherty Family College beginning this fall.

Dougherty Family College, a two-year school, will open on the Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas this fall, thanks to $18 million in private donations.

solidarity—About 300 students participated in an Amherst College protest against President Trump’s proposed policies regarding undocumented immigrants. (Takudzwa Tapfuma for The Amherst Student)

President Donald Trump has made immigration reform a centerpiece of his young administration. New policies include banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., and a plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.

Paul Drayton, president of Rowan College at Burlington County in New Jersey, says higher education remains far too expensive for many students who are most dependent on it for career success.

“College is more important than ever for career success, yet too expensive for far too many students. 3+1 provides all the benefits of both community colleges and four-year universities while lowering the tuition and debt burden on students and increasing our capacity to serve more students at both community colleges and universities. This is the future model of college affordability.”

American higher education in 2016 faced increased pressure on performance. Colleges and universities were also being pushed to eliminate administrative and academic silos to help students of all ages and backgrounds succeed. Here’s a look back at what made headlines in higher ed this past year and how campuses responded.

Keeping student tuition and fees down is the top priority for 2017 selected by campus CFOs and other finance department administrators in a UB survey—yet tuition revenue and nontuition student fees are the biggest anticipated funding categories for the coming year.

Enrollment declines will be the most pressing concern keeping presidents and other top officials up at night in 2017. Seven in 10 who responded to a UB survey named it as the area with the greatest potential for causing the institution financial or reputational harm. State budget cuts, at 44 percent, are the next biggest worry for the 66 responding presidents, provosts and chancellors. 

Public funding levels and the various approaches to affordability—from debt-free college to private-sector loans—will continue to dominate higher ed debates in and outside campus administrative offices.

A greater level of accountability around access and outcomes looms on the horizon for higher ed administrators in 2017 and beyond. Experts across the ideological spectrum predict the federal government and the general public to demand more transparency in the data released about how graduates of specific campus programs fare in the job market. 

Recent regulations from the Department of Education improve protection for student borrowers targeted by misleading or predatory practices, and establish a clear path for loan forgiveness in instances of institutional fraud or misconduct—an issue financial aid experts say will impact both for-profits and nonprofits.

Bill Berg is an enrollment management consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

By 2015, the number of law school applicants declined by 46 percent from a 2004 peak, a result of a shrinking job market and “offshoring” of some legal work. Most law schools were forced to change the way they recruited, admitted, awarded and enrolled students to respond to the drop.

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