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Students React To The Closure Of A Giant For-Profit College

Students React To The Closure Of A Giant For-Profit College

Education should never be for-profit.

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Oregon Tuition Plan: The Beaver State Breaks the Dam Of Student Debt

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“Congress can spend all the time it wants being apathetic and letting student loan rates double but on the other side of the country, one state is thinking of a more creative way to run the financial aspect of public higher education. For Oregon, loans will be a thing of the past and state legislatures are throwing around the “f” word: FREE.

A bill to make tuition at the state’s public universities free passed unanimously and is expected to be officially signed at some point this month by Governor John Kitzhaber. Coincidentally, the bill was passed on the very same Monday that federal student loan interest rates doubled from 3.4 to 6.8% and functioned as a snippet of hope. There is a chance for change, as students to have options outside of the federal loan system to fund their educations, but it is up to individual states to take action. 

The concept of making public institutions of higher education tuition and loan-free is now being called the “Pay-It-Forward” program and it functions just as the name entails. Of course, everyone knows that almost nothing comes without a price and anything that truly is free may ultimately turn out to be more costly, monetarily or otherwise. However, the bill will still hold students responsible for contributing to their education, but collecting these compensations will be done in a manner that is mindful of the student’s financial situation after joining the workforce.

Graduates of a four-year public college or university will be expected to pay 3% of their adjusted growth income over a 24-year span, and graduates of a two-year degree will be required to contribute 1.5%. Those who fail to graduate will still be expected to contribute but fees will be pro-rated. 

“This is going to happen because students demand change; I believe that firmly,” Steve Hughes, state director of the Oregon Working Families Party, said. “The conditions are just absolutely ripe for this. We’ve heard so many stories of student debt that are just beyond belief.”

This plan is not about actually providing free education, as the money evidently would have to come from somewhere, but the goal behind it is to keep students from automatically feeling the dread of student loans and having the fear that their incomes may possibly be inadequate to pay the borrowed funds back. No person should feel discouraged from attending college due to fears that he or she will be unable to come up with the money to pay for it and it seems that this plan, if instated, could help on these fronts.

Above all, Oregon’s move to do something about the hefty cost of higher education especially given the rise in student debt is a reminder that change is not limited to the federal government, and there should be a larger push towards getting state legislatures to implement the changes that its constituents demand. 

Picture Credit: Web Pro News

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July 23, 2013 · 9:47 pm

Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor

By 

Published: March 16, 2013

“Most low-income students who have top test scores and grades do not even apply to the nation’s best colleges, according to a new analysis of every high school student who took the SAT in a recent year.

The pattern contributes to widening economic inequality and low levels of mobility in this country, economists say, because college graduates earn so much more on average than nongraduates do. Low-income students who excel in high school often do not graduate from the less selective colleges they attend.

Only 34 percent of high-achieving high school seniors in the bottom fourth of income distribution attended any one of the country’s 238 most selective colleges, according to the analysis, conducted by Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford and Christopher Avery of Harvard, two longtime education researchers. Among top students in the highest income quartile, that figure was 78 percent.

The findings underscore that elite public and private colleges, despite a stated desire to recruit an economically diverse group of students, have largely failed to do so.

Many top low-income students instead attend community colleges or four-year institutions closer to their homes, the study found. The students often are unaware of the amount of financial aid available or simply do not consider a top college because they have never met someone who attended one, according to the study’s authors, other experts and high school guidance counselors.

“A lot of low-income and middle-income students have the inclination to stay local, at known colleges, which is understandable when you think about it,” said George Moran, a guidance counselor at Central Magnet High School in Bridgeport, Conn. “They didn’t have any other examples, any models — who’s ever heard of Bowdoin College?”

Whatever the reasons, the choice frequently has major consequences. The colleges that most low-income students attend have fewer resources and lower graduation rates than selective colleges, and many students who attend a local college do not graduate. Those who do graduate can miss out on the career opportunities that top colleges offer.

The new study is beginning to receive attention among scholars and college officials because it is more comprehensive than other research on college choices. The study suggests that the problems, and the opportunities, for low-income students are larger than previously thought.

“It’s pretty close to unimpeachable — they’re drawing on a national sample,” said Tom Parker, the dean of admissions at Amherst College, which has aggressively recruited poor and middle-class students in recent years. That so many high-achieving, lower-income students exist “is a very important realization,” Mr. Parker said, and he suggested that colleges should become more creative in persuading them to apply.

Top low-income students in the nation’s 15 largest metropolitan areas do often apply to selective colleges, according to the study, which was based on test scores, self-reported data, and census and other data for the high school class of 2008. But such students from smaller metropolitan areas — like Bridgeport; Memphis; Sacramento; Toledo, Ohio; and Tulsa, Okla. — and rural areas typically do not.

These students, Ms. Hoxby said, “lack exposure to people who say there is a difference among colleges.”

Elite colleges may soon face more pressure to recruit poor and middle-class students, if the Supreme Court restricts race-based affirmative action. A ruling in the case, involving the University of Texas, is expected sometime before late June.

Colleges currently give little or no advantage in the admissions process to low-income students, compared with more affluent students of the same race, other research has found. A broad ruling against the University of Texas affirmative action program could cause colleges to take into account various socioeconomic measures, including income, neighborhood and family composition. Such a step would require an increase in these colleges’ financial aid spending but would help them enroll significant numbers of minority students.

Among high-achieving, low-income students, 6 percent were black, 8 percent Latino, 15 percent Asian-American and 69 percent white, the study found.

“If there are changes to how we define diversity,” said Greg W. Roberts, the dean of admission at the University of Virginia, referring to the court case, “then I expect schools will really work hard at identifying low-income students.”

Ms. Hoxby and Mr. Avery, both economists, compared the current approach of colleges to looking under a streetlight for a lost key. The institutions continue to focus their recruiting efforts on a small subset of high schools in cities like Boston, New York and Los Angeles that have strong low-income students.

The researchers defined high-achieving students as those very likely to gain admission to a selective college, which translated into roughly the top 4 percent nationwide. Students needed to have at least an A-minus average and a score in the top 10 percent among students who took the SAT or the ACT.

Of these high achievers, 34 percent came from families in the top fourth of earners, 27 percent from the second fourth, 22 percent from the third fourth and 17 percent from the bottom fourth. (The researchers based the income cutoffs on the population of families with a high school senior living at home, with $41,472 being the dividing line for the bottom quartile and $120,776 for the top.)

Winona Leon, a sophomore at the University of Southern California who grew up in West Texas, said she was not surprised by the study’s results. Ms. Leon was the valedictorian of her 17-member senior class in the ranch town of Fort Davis, where Advanced Placement classes and SAT preparation were rare.

“It was really on ourselves to create those resources,” she said.

She first assumed that faraway colleges would be too expensive, given their high list prices and the cost of plane tickets home. But after receiving a mailing from QuestBridge, an outreach program for low-income students, she came to realize that a top college might offer her enough financial aid to make it less expensive than a state university in Texas.

On average, private colleges and top state universities are substantially more expensivethan community colleges, even with financial aid. But some colleges, especially the most selective, offer enough aid to close or eliminate the gap for low-income students.

If they make it to top colleges, high-achieving, low-income students tend to thrive there, the paper found. Based on the most recent data, 89 percent of such students at selective colleges had graduated or were on pace to do so, compared with only 50 percent of top low-income students at nonselective colleges.

The study will be published in the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

The authors emphasized that their data did not prove that students not applying to top colleges would apply and excel if colleges recruited them more heavily. Ms. Hoxby andSarah Turner, a University of Virginia professor, are conducting follow-up research in which they perform random trials to evaluate which recruiting techniques work and how the students subsequently do.

For colleges, the potential recruiting techniques include mailed brochures, phone calls, e-mail, social media and outreach from alumni. Another recent study, cited in the Hoxby-Avery paper, suggests that very selective colleges have at least one graduate in the “vast majority of U.S. counties.”

A version of this article appeared in print on March 17, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor.”

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March 18, 2013 · 4:23 pm

“Tell me and I forget…”

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March 11, 2013 · 4:11 pm

Price Middle School Shooting: Wounded Student Recovering After Fellow Teen Opened Fire

By KATE BRUMBACK 01/31/13 10:23 PM ET EST

“ATLANTA — A student opened fire at his middle school Thursday afternoon, wounding a 14-year-old in the neck before an armed officer working at the school was able to get the gun away, police said.

Multiple shots were fired in the courtyard of Price Middle School just south of downtown about 1:50 p.m. and the one boy was hit, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said. In the aftermath, a teacher received minor cuts, he said.

The wounded boy was taken “alert, conscious and breathing” to Grady Memorial Hospital, said police spokesman Carlos Campos. Grady Heath System Spokeswoman Denise Simpson said the teen had been discharged from the hospital Thursday night. Campos said charges against the shooter were pending.

Police swarmed the school of about 400 students after reports of the shooting while a crowd of anxious parents gathered in the streets, awaiting word on their children. Students were kept at the locked-down school for more than two hours before being dismissed.

Investigators believe the shooting was not random and that something occurred between the two students that may have led to it.

Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis said the school does have metal detectors.

“The obvious question is how did this get past a metal detector?” Davis asked about the gun. “That’s something we do not know yet.”

The armed resource officer who took the gun away was off-duty and at the school, but police didn’t release details on him or whether he is regularly at Price. Since 20 children and six adults were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December, calls for armed officers in every school have resonated across the country.

Hours after the Atlanta shooting, several school buses loaded with children pulled away from the school and stopped in front of a church about a half-block away. Parents tried boarding the buses. Police who initially tried to stop the parents, relented and screamed, “Let them off!” about the students.

 

James Bolton was at work when his sister called saying a teen had been shot at his son’s school and was in the crowd as parents began swarming the fleet of buses.

“Move, I see my son, I see mine!” he said, running up to embrace James Bolton Jr. “As long as I got this one back I’m OK,” he said, holding his son’s head against his chest as parents nearby frantically searched for their children.

Bolton Jr. said he was in class when the intercom sounded and a school official announced the building was under immediate lockdown.

“They told us we had to be quiet,” Bolton told The Associated Press. “They said something went on in the courtyard.” Bolton said he was unaware that anyone had been shot until a reporter asked him about it.

Shakita Walker, whose daughter is an eighth-grader at the school, said she received a text from her that said, “Ma somebody’s shooting and somebody got shot.” Walker, who works at another school, said she jumped in her car and was thinking “just hurry up and get there.”

Walker said her daughter called to tell her that they were being kept in the gymnasium, but she said she was anxious to see her to make sure she was OK.

The fear and anxiety was palpable in the crowd, as one person yelled, “Does anyone know what happened?”

Superintendent Davis sympathized with concerned parents who complained that it took too long for students to be released from the building. He said emergency procedures were followed according to protocol and school district officials would meet Friday to review their response. Calls to the school district were not immediately returned.

Mayor Kasim Reed condemned gun violence in a statement shortly after the shooting and said counselors were at the school to meet with students, faculty and family members.

“Gun violence in and around our schools is simply unconscionable and must end,” Reed said. “Too many young people are being harmed, and too many families are suffering from unimaginable and unnecessary grief.”

Outside the school, Laquanda Pittman said she still hasn’t heard from her sixth-grade son. She said she heard the news of the shooting on TV and immediately came to the school.

“All types of stuff went through my head. I’m wondering whether it was my child who got shot, is my child OK, did he see what happened?” Pittman said.

She said she just wants to see her son.

“As a parent, you just think you can send your child to school and you hope they come home OK,” she said.”

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February 1, 2013 · 5:32 pm

Student Loan Debt

Student Loan Debt

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January 24, 2013 · 4:42 pm

“There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.”

10 timeless rules for students and teachers from Sister Corita Kent

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December 4, 2012 · 3:01 pm