Posts published in January, 2012

Nontraditional Students Are The Most Prevelant

Full-time, 18 to 22-year-old students who live on campus and attend four year institutions are increasingly in the minority in the United States, with just 15% of students fitting this description. Instead, the fastest growing group of students in higher education are adults. Thirty-eight percent of those enrolled in higher education are over the age of 25 and one-fourth are over the age of 30. The share of all students who are over age 25 is projected to increase another twenty-three percent by 2019.

Four Reports Worth Reading

Hard Times: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal (Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce)
Men of Color: Ensuring the Academic Success of Latino Males in Higher Education (Institute for Higher Education Policy)
New Measures, New Perspectives: Graduates’ Time- and Credits-to-Degree in SREB States (Southern Regional Education Board)
The Role of Minority-Serving Institutions in National College Completion Goals (Institute for Higher Education Policy)


Why College Graduates Are Unemployed

By Watson Scott Swail, President & CEO, Educational Policy Institute/EPI International

Tony Carnevale, Ban Cheah, and Jeff Strohl’s new publication: HardTimes: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings, states that unemployment for new BA graduates is “an unacceptable 8.9 percent,” acknowledging that it is an even worse 22.9 percent for recent high school graduates. Their publication showcases the reality that different BA degrees have different unemployment rates, with Architecture among the worst (13.9 percent) and Law and Public Policy among the best (8.1) percent.

But why the high (relatively) unemployment rates for recent graduates?

Here are my four non-empirical suggestions (because I don’t have the data just yet, but will for my upcoming book on this subject):


Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues For 2012

Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues for 2012

Presented here are the top 10 issues most likely to affect public higher education across the 50 states in 2012, in the view of the state policy staff at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). This briefing is informed by an environmental scan of the economic, political and policy landscape surrounding public higher education, as well as a review of recent state policy activities and trends. Some issues are perennial in nature, while others reflect attention to near-term circumstances.

100 Public Colleges With An Affordable Price

Best Values in Public Colleges, 2012: The top-100 public colleges and universities on our list deliver a quality education at an affordable price.
Given these hard times in higher ed, the word value takes on special resonance. We’ve retooled our rankings to give more weight to criteria we consider crucial to academic value, including the percentage of students who return for sophomore year and the four-year graduation rate. Each category measures a college’s ability to keep students engaged and on track for graduation. On the cost side, we continue to reward colleges with low sticker prices and abundant financial aid. But now, as student debt grows worrisome, we give bonus points to colleges that keep borrowing low. Where does our new methodology take us? Back to where we started, with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This stellar school tops our rankings for best values in public colleges and universities for the 11th consecutive time — and this year it takes top honors for out-of-state value as well. From the fat years of the late 1990s through the post-2008 recession, UNC-Chapel Hill has been a leader for academic excellence, low cost and generous financial aid — exactly the criteria by which we define value.

College Financial Aid Policies Can Cause Tension Among Social Classes

2012: The Year of College Affordability?


Last month, the Obama administration signaled that it is paying attention to
the increasing problem of college affordability, especially for middle-income
families. Vice President Joe Biden discussed the reality for many
parents:  “There’s more parents tonight who are going to go to bed staring
at the ceiling literally wondering about, whether your mother is going to have
to tell you… ‘you can’t go back next semester, we don’t have the money’” (Huffington Post).

Those worries are already familiar to Californians, who have witnessed
seemingly endless tuition and fee increases at all of its public
institutions—University of California, California State University and
California Community Colleges. In the past three years, the UCs, Cal States and
community colleges have been devastated by hundreds of millions in budget cuts.
Last year, UCs and Cal States dealt with a $650 million shortfall followed by
another $100 million in midyear cuts (Thoughts on Public Education, San Francisco Chronicle).  On Thursday, Gov. Jerry
Brown said to prepare for up to $200 million more cuts for UCs and Cal States
unless additional revenues can be generated through a November ballot
initiative (Sacramento Bee).

For students, budget cuts mean increased tuition, more competition for admission
from out-of-state students (who pay much higher tuition and are favored by some
budget watchers), and fewer courses and services once enrolled (often entailing
a costly fifth year to achieve a four-year degree). The pace at which tuition
has increased is alarming. In November, anticipating midyear “trigger cuts,”
Cal State trustees voted on a 10-percent tuition hike, its ninth fee increase
in as many years (Thoughts on Public Education).

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, public four-year
college tuition more than tripled in western states in the last 30 years (US News). And according to the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center, California public
four-year universities had the highest percentage increase in in-state tuition
and fees for the 2011-12 year (Neon Tommy).

Responding to higher college costs, students are borrowing more and ending
college with more debt. “A Berkeley education is still a bargain, in terms of
lifetime earnings, but that’s a small comfort to a middle-class who can’t
afford it, or to a student who has to take out a burdensome loan,” said Robert
Reich, a Berkeley professor and former U.S. labor secretary (Washington Post).

Though all sectors are impacted, many middle-class families are no longer
confident that they can pay for their children’s education without
extraordinary sacrifice, if at all. Middle-class families typically do not
qualify for financial assistance available to California’s poor. At UC
Berkeley, the proportion of middle-class students—those whose families earn
between $80,000 and $140,000—has declined while low- and high-income student
populations have grown. In response, Berkeley officials decided to cap the
amount middle-class families pay at 15 percent of their household income.

The cost and scarcity of college opportunities raises the risk of different
classes pitting their interests against each other. For example, the California
Dream Act, which went into effect this month, provides access to public and
private scholarships for a group of low-income, primarily undocumented
immigrant students who previously had no chance for financial help. It would be
sad if these students had added to their vulnerable legal and social status the
enmity of others whose educational opportunities were also becoming
increasingly jeopardized. Collective efforts to ensure affordable college for
low- and
middle-income families offer the best hope for avoiding social-class resentment
and expanding opportunity. Ultimately, the way to protect the middle class is
to grow the middle class.

College Spending On Frills Does Not Serve Students

Kaplan CEO biographer claims non-profits don’t spend where it matters
Jay Mathews, who recently published a biography on Kaplan Inc. Chairman and CEO, Andrew S. Rosen, recently stated in a Washington Post editorial that “for-profit colleges are here to stay,” and at the same time, by “spending on expensive campus improvements like gourmet restaurants, luxury dorms, gorgeous recreation centers and other stuff that impresses applicants” non-profit universities are not serving the educational needs of students as well as they could be.

Motivational Assessment: Unlock Your True Passion For A Successful Career

About the Author: Alyssa Ammirato is a freelance writer that has an unmatched passion for writing. When not writing for fun, she writes professionally for, and several other online educational resources.


An unrelenting reality of life is the need to work for a living. The hope is to find happiness in doing so. In an unforgiving economy, now more than ever a successful career is essential to personal freedom. But a problem arises when one’s educational paths are abandoned and thus a person’s potential is not realized.  This is often due to an unidentified or misguided awareness of one’s true career motivation. Motivational assessments, which identify personal career related motivations, interests and goals, have shown great success in preventing such derailments.

Children are told as early as pre-school that when they grow up, they can be whatever they want to be. When a three-year-old announces a life-long dream to be a princess, an affectionate smile is the appropriate response. But for a college-bound student, we hope there’s a more realistic and heartfelt expression of professional goals. All too often, thanks to fleeting trends in pop culture, parental pressures, and unreliable information, students project their futures through rose-colored lenses of TV dramas, the assumed fanfare of doing what dad or mom does or the dream of joining the family business.

Presumably, when college-bound students sift through the seemingly unlimited combinations of schools, majors, degrees and career paths, they’re outlining the rest of their lives: they’re taught that hard work and a college degree prepares for a dependable professional future. But far too many young adults plan for such a future without enough life experience and personal understanding to fully grasp the implications of their academic decisions.  In addition, the big pictureexpectation of a career often blinds one from understanding of the actual duties, tasks & responsibilities actually associated with that job. Finally, many don’t even have the understanding of which tasks, responsibilities they actually are motivated to do.

The problem is that too often, people head off to college without a clear career strategy. When they finally graduate, they don’t have a clue what career they are best suited for.These interesting facts about students demonstrate there’s a lot of uncertainty about their educational and career choices:

  • One out of five students change their major between admission and first day of class
  • Nearly three out of five students change majors at least twice before they graduate
  • Students graduating from high school today will change jobs 10 to 15 times over the course of their working lives and change careers as many as three or four times.

A career test can save literally thousands of dollars in educational and career missteps by helping students focus their studies on coursework that will help prepare them for a career that’s right for them.

Understanding yourself as a student is key to successful learning. Understanding your personal values, motivations & Interests is key to successful achieving. At 18, few students have enough knowledge of their personal motivations and “real-world” realities to make informed choices for the next decade. When they embark on paths chosen at the suggestion of others, or make their own guess based on limited information, the risk of failure in academics or business spikes and drop-out rates, plan re-writes and wasted spending & student loans increase.