The CollegeBoard has released the findings of a study that investigated the cost of a college education in the United States. The study considered several factors: tuition, books, fees, housing – including food. The report noted that college prices have been rising more rapidly than the prices of other goods and services over the last three decades and that “the increasing economic inequality in the United States over recent decades has exacerbated the difficulty in paying for college for many students, in addition to straining federal, state, and institutional budgets.”
CommonApp now has more than 500 of the nations colleges/universities on their register. A program that used to provide students with the opportunity to be quite creative and individualistic has fallen far short of that goal. This year CommonApp released a new version of the application and has been plagued with problems ever since for all involved. As different problems are exposed, the company has worked feverishly to find solutions. The problem lies in the fact that students do not necessarily know that there is a problem. CollegeBound strongly suggests that students check back regularly to verify that completed applications have been submitted. A completed application includes the general application, application fee, supplement (if the college has one), and supporting documentation from recommender(s) and counselor, which includes the transcript. The student must also remember to send their official scores from the testing agency.
The Chronicle of Higher Education posts a timely article discussing the affects of the US Government shutdown on the higher education system. All but a handful of colleges and universities receive some sort of federal funding in the form of student financial aid, research grants, federal training programs, etc. Grant proposals are due this week for the next round of research funding and much is on the line. Many of the largest institutions in this country are heavily funded by federal research grants. Another area of concern is access to databases and other technical information housed on government sites. As of this writing the Bureau of Economic Analysis is inaccessible via the internet, posting a shut down for lack of government funding. Although the Chronicle’s article discusses possibilities that affect the fiscal viability of colleges and universities, it does not address the very real ramifications of inaccessibility to information–a very real and present danger.
There are two new bills in Congress that affect student loans, with ramifications for parents as well as students who are using federally funded student loans to pay for college. H.R. 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, sponsored by Rep. John Kline (Republican from MN), was passed by the House of June 3, 2013. S.B 682, the Student Loan Fairness Act is still pending in the Senate. Both Bills have implications regarding the rate of interest of students loans that are set to hike on July 1, 2013. US News and World Report Education section offers an explanation of the new student loan proposals.
The National Association of College Admissions Counseling [NACAC] keeps a running list of colleges and universities with spaces available for admission, for financial aid, and for housing for both freshmen and for transfer students. This sight will be active through June 28 on the NACAC website. This list, composed of approximately 72% private and 28% public institutions, is significantly lower that the number available last year and the lowest in the history of the survey.
Dan Schwabel, a recent college graduate, posts an insightful article about his journey to find employment. He also includes practical advice for others. Among the top – start early and build relationships. You can read it here.
All SAT scores for May 2013 test taken in South Korea have been cancelled in response to widespread cheating. This is a first for the CollegeBoard. “The cancellation has thrown college-entrance preparations for thousands of students into disarray. Some students now plan to travel to other countries in the region to ensure they are able to take the next test in the summer.” Read more in the Wall Street Journal.
Members of the high school class of 2014 would do well devoting time this summer crafting essays that are specifically written to speak to each university to which they will apply, especially if they plan to apply to highly competitive colleges. Paul Levy of the Star Tribune posts an article illustrating the importance of the essay. The bottom line – resist the temptation to write a one-size fits all essay. When writing the “Why I am a good fit for XYZ University” be sure that you could not simply replace the name of the school to have a brand new essay. Take the opportunity to reveal who you are, what you bring to that specific community, as well as specifics about why you would thrive in that environment.
Tamar Lewin of the New York Times with the following announcement. “We are moving to a computer-based version, but for the foreseeable future, we will also have the paper and pencil test as an option for schools that don’t have the technological capability,” said Jon Erickson, the president of ACT’s Education Division. “We will probably have the option for students to choose paper and pencil, as well. But all the anecdotal evidence is that students prefer the computer.” [read more]