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INSPIRING ACTIVITIES—Students get to begin bonding with future classmates on Instant Admissions Day at Unity College in Maine. They also get some certainty about their higher ed futures.

Instant Admissions Day at Unity College in Maine provides benefits beyond the immediate acceptance of students’ applications. This accelerated enrollment approach provides a clearer picture of the 700-student private college’s incoming class.

Fashion Forward—Kent State University students can take a semester-long break from life on the Ohio campus to immerse themselves in fashion design, merchandising or journalism in New York City’s Garment District.

Exotic branch campuses across the globe give American institutions an extra shine when recruiting students and establishing an internationally recognized brand. Now, several universities are finding similar success with satellites in other parts of the U.S.

Students Kylie Campanelli and Chad Marvin operate a hydroponic lettuce farm that lives inside an upcycled, 40-by-8-foot shipping container at Stony Brook University in New York.

Designed by the company Freight Farms, the hydroponic lettuce farm inside a shipping container at Stony Brook University in New York uses 90 percent less water than traditional growing methods to provide an acre’s worth of leafy greens to campus dining halls.

Students use farm-management technologies such as cloud-synced growth data and a smartphone app to control lighting.

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.

More than 40 years after it was established, Title IX continues to pose compliance challenges for higher education institutions struggling with sexual assault investigations. Some say the federal government doesn’t provide enough guidance.

A student loan that goes into default costs 250 percent more than a loan paid back on schedule. (Gettyimages.com: wildpixel)

Some advocacy groups see student loan debt as not just a financial problem, but a growing social justice concern, as well. Now, some 40 civil rights, legal aid and public interest are urging the Department of Education to determine whether debt disproportionately impacts minorities.

Higher ed has become the latest target of retirement plan fee litigation. One firm in particular has filed class-action suits against dozens of universities, alleging breaches of ERISA fiduciary duties.

The tactic has been used for years in business, says Eric Paley of legal consultants Nixon Peabody.

Skill-building—Former coal industry workers may find them-selves at the University of Wyoming researching how to use water byproducts from oil and gas wells.

Universities are creating scholarships and entrepreneurial opportunities to help the unemployed and underemployed gain footing in an ever-greening economy.

A bipartisan bill intended to improve college access and graduation rates would impose college-loan program penalties on institutions that perform poorly in these areas. In turn, schools that do enroll a significant number of low-income students would be eligible for up to $8 million over five years.

Students who arrive at college with a declared major don’t necessarily graduate in a timely manner, and taking the time to explore different academic routes doesn’t always add time to a student’s college career, according to recent research from EAB.

To help new students make the most educated choice, Georgia State University analyzes student performance to guide them in choosing a major that fits for their academic strengths and financial situation.

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