Monthly Archives

July 2015

Behind the 2015 Aspen Award: Career Coach’s Role in Driving Completion and Placement at Santa Fe College

By | News

This spring, Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida, became the latest in a line of EMSI clients to win the coveted Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. And one of the players behind two key Aspen criteria—student completion and placement in high-wage jobs—was EMSI’s online career pathway tool, Career Coach.

“Career Coach helps to show the value of our programs and also to highlight the high wages that students can get from those programs,” said Naima Brown, Vice President for Student Affairs at Santa Fe College (SF). “Career Coach certainly helps us show the value of a Santa Fe College degree and that we are meeting the needs of the community.”

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Conversation About Access Can’t Stop at Affordability

By | News

As Congress looks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Monday outlined the department’s intent to shift the focus in higher education to addressing issues around student success.

At a panel discussion hosted at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, Duncan said that the focus on student success is “not just an economic imperative, but a moral necessity.”

“Ensuring the opportunity of college success for all students who are willing to work hard is a core tenet of the American covenant,” he said. “Unfortunately, for millions of … students, our higher education system isn’t delivering what they need, or deserve. As a nation, we can change that—and we must.”

“The challenge we face is easy to articulate, if not to solve. Today, the critical ticket to the middle class is a degree. … The simple fact is every hardworking student in this country must have a real opportunity to achieve a meaningful, affordable degree. America’s prosperity, our democracy and our identity as the land of opportunity and social mobility depend on it. … The idea for the past century that public education only goes from kindergarten to high school is over,” said Duncan, saying education must begin much earlier—in preschool—and continues through to ensuring post-secondary success.

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Education Week - First-Generation Students' Struggle to Be Ready for College

First-Generation Students’ Struggle to Be Ready for College

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Education Week - First-Generation Students' Struggle to Be Ready for College

Many children whose parents didn’t go to college aim for degrees in higher education, but they’re far less prepared to go to college than their peers who grew up with college-educated parents, according to a new report.

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014: First-Generation Students, released last month by ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education, repeats what we’ve long known: Family education background exerts a powerful influence on students’ readiness for college. But a look at the hard numbers is a bracing reminder of how much support first-generation college students need, and how often our schools are falling short of providing it.

Looking at the “first-generation” students—the students whose parents didn’t go to college—you can see right away how they’re a step behind their high school classmates. Ninety percent of the first-generation students who took the ACT said they planned to go to college, but 52 percent didn’t reach a single one of the score points on the ACT that are associated with the likelihood of success in college. In the bigger pool of all students who took the ACT in 2014, 31 percent failed to reach any of those “college-readiness benchmarks” on the test.

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Photo by Kirk Carapezza

Can employee tuition benefits boost graduation rates?

By | News

Corporate America is increasingly partnering with online higher education. First, it was Starbucks and Arizona State University. Then, it was Chrysler-Fiat and Strayer University in Virginia. Just this month, Chipotle got wrapped up in the movement. More businesses are paying for their workers to go to college, and employees are taking advantage of the opportunity.

After graduating from high school 19 years ago, Darby Conley promised herself she’d enroll in and finish college. She didn’t.

“I decided to play house with a boyfriend who I was going to marry and fall madly in love with. And that didn’t work out,” she says.

To support herself, Conley got a job as a customer service representative with Anthem, one of the country’s largest healthcare companies.

At 22, she tried night school and then online classes at the University of Phoenix, but it was hard to schedule classes around her busy life.

Twelve years later, Conley was married with two young children and pregnant with her third, and she was still about five credentials shy of her associate degree. But Conley and her husband were worried about taking on more student loan debt.

Darby Conley, 36, struggles to balance work, family and online schoolwork.

“I was still talking another twelve grand. I didn’t have that,” she says.

In 2013, Conley heard some exciting news.  Her employer, Anthem, announced it was piloting a free-tuition benefit through Southern New Hampshire University’s online program.

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Could Enrolling in College While in High School Be the Secret to More Students Graduating?

By | News

High schools across the country are taking what might seem like a counterintuitive approach to educating some of their most at-risk students.

They’re enrolling them in college before they even graduate from high school.

A new report from the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy suggests that dual-enrollment programs, where kids students classes simultaneously in high school and a local college, have proven especially successful at getting less affluent and first-generation students not only into college but also through it.

“It’s an acknowledgement of the changing demands of our society and the need of our education system to better equip students for the 21st century,” Chad d’Entremont, executive director of the center, told Next America.

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Photo Credit Complete Florida dot com

‘Complete Florida Military’ Helps Vets Get Their Degree

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A program headquartered at the University of West Florida is trying to help veterans complete their college degrees.  Complete Florida is a statewide initiative sponsored by the Florida legislature to recruit and retain the state’s 2.2 million adults with some college and no degree.

Implemented through a partnership of eleven public and private higher education institutions across the state, the program helps people who have some college credit complete the work needed for their degrees.

Advisors, or coaches, are provided to guide people through every step of the various programs involved.  “Complete Florida has a great coaching staff, and that is to me truly the lynch pin and difference between our programs and any other program out there,” said Marc Churchwell Director of Operations for Complete Florida. “Truly the coaches are key to our success and the key to so many of our students’ successes as they go through the University of West Florida.”

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Photo:Credit Complete Florida dot com

Video: Social Mobility and the Value of a College Degree

By | News, Video

Social Mobility and the Value of a College Degree

Traditionally, the bachelor’s degree has been seen as the doorway to the middle class for most Americans, but is this still the case? In an economic environment increasingly defined by new technologies and global market places, does it make sense to spend four years in college getting a liberal arts degree?

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A Surprising Reason for Rising College Tuition

By | News

Rising college tuition has stoked the ire of students, families as well as politicians, and a surprising cause may be partially to blame: Expanded access to money to pay for school from the federal government.

For every extra dollar available to students in subsidized federal aid, colleges raise tuition by an estimated 65 cents on average, according to a staff report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last week. The paper, which studies tuition patterns following Congress’ decision to increase borrowing limits in the mid 2000s, provides some insight into a question economists and higher education experts have debated for years — whether boosting access to federal aid incentivizes colleges to raise prices by giving students more ways to pay for school.

“It’s a pretty simple economic theory that if you have access to more money you’re probably going to be willing to pay for more for something,” said Eric Best, a professor at Jackson State University who co-authored the book “The Student Loan Mess: How Good Intentions Created a Trillion-Dollar Problem” with his father, Joel.

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The obstacles to going back to college

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Hechinger Report higher-education editor Jon Marcus speaks with WBAL in Baltimore about how Sweden makes it even easier for older-than-traditional-age adults to go to college than it does for conventional high-school graduates, with everything from free tuition to day care to sabbaticals from work.

The result? A larger percentage of people in Sweden go to college who are older than the traditional age than in any other member country of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD.

The United States, by comparison, raises obstacles to older adults returning to school, which the nation will need to encourage if it is to meet the goal of raising the proportion of the population with degrees.

Yet the number of older-than-traditional-age Americans who are going back to school has been declining, not increasing.

Read the original story, which appeared in The Atlantic, here.

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Daytona State College addresses building industry’s need with new course

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Bryan Kelly took a few carpentry classes at DeLand High School’s construction academy before dropping out of school last year.

Now armed with his GED, Kelly is back in the classroom at his old school, but this time as a student in Daytona State College’s first-ever basic construction skills course.

The 18-year-old said he hopes to land an entry-level construction job and build a foundation for additional education.

“After dropping out, I was trying to find a job and couldn’t,” Kelly said. “I didn’t know anything about this class, but my parents saw an article about it. I hope to get a job out of it. This should get the ball rolling.”

The new course is the result of the college’s workforce summit and follow-up construction industry focus group last year.

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