Tag Archives: College Affordability

Harvard and MIT study: So far, MOOC courses are not growing as fast as expected

15 Apr

Moi wrote in MOOCs are trying to discover a business model which works: Jon Marcus reported in the Washington Post article, Online course start-ups offer virtually free college. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/online-course-startups-offer-virtually-free-college/2012/01/09/gIQAEJ6VGQ_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend
The New York Times reported about the online education trend in the article, Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/education/25future.html?_r=1&emc=eta1
Whether MOOCS can develop a business model is discussed in the Economist article, The attack of the MOOCs: An army of new online courses is scaring the wits out of traditional universities. But can they find a viable business model? http://www.economist.com/news/business/21582001-army-new-online-courses-scaring-wits-out-traditional-universities-can-they
https://drwilda.com/2013/07/21/moocs-are-trying-to-discover-a-business-model-which-works/

Steve Kolowich reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, MOOCs Are Largely Reaching Privileged Learners, Survey Finds:

Most people who take massive open online courses already hold a degree from a traditional institution, according to a new paper from the University of Pennsylvania.
The paper is based on a survey of 34,779 students worldwide who took 24 courses offered by Penn professors on the Coursera platform. The findings—among the first from outside researchers, rather than MOOC providers—reinforce the truism that most people who take MOOCs are already well educated.
The Penn researchers sent the survey to students who had registered for a MOOC and viewed at least one video lecture. More than 80 percent of the respondents had a two- or four-year degree, and 44 percent had some graduate education.
The pattern was true not only of MOOC students in the United States but also learners in other countries. In some foreign countries where MOOCs are popular, such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa, “80 percent of MOOC students come from the wealthiest and most well educated 6 percent of the population,” according to the paper.
In other developing countries, about 80 percent of the MOOC students surveyed already held college degrees—a number staggeringly out of proportion with the share of degree holders in the general population.
“The individuals the MOOC revolution is supposed to help the most—those without access to higher education in developing countries—are underrepresented among the early adopters,” write the paper’s six authors…
http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/moocs-are-reaching-only-privileged-learners-survey-finds/48567

Research by Harvard and MIT found MOOCs are not growing in the ways expected.

Anya Kamenetz of NPR reported in New Research Shows Free Online Courses Didn’t Grow As Expected:

Today, much of that hype has subsided (though best-selling authors and newspaper columnists are still making the case that “the end of college” is nigh). And new research on 1.7 million MOOC participants offers a more nuanced view of just what these courses are and could become.

One of the biggest MOOC platforms, edX, is run jointly as a nonprofit by Harvard and MIT. And researchers at both schools have been poring over the data from everyone who participated in 68 courses over more than two years. That’s 10 million participant-hours. Here’s what they found.

A Lot Of Teachers And A Lifeline

In one survey of a subset of users, 39 percent identified as current or former teachers, and one-in-five had taught the subject they were studying. This finding supports the general profile of MOOCsters as being already well-educated….

The study also found extreme over-representation among citizens of Greece and Spain — not only taking courses but also paying for certification. During the period under study, Greek universities were forced to suspend operations due to austerity measures, and budget cuts in Spain led to national student protests. As a result, did students look online for an education alternative? It’s a question for future research, the authors agree.

Linear, Not Exponential Growth

The first MOOCs had over 100,000 registrants each. Predictions were made (and millions of dollars invested) based on the idea that participation would be in the hundreds of millions by now. Actual interest is more modest.

So what happens now — given MOOCs have fallen far short of those early, lofty expectations?

….Some colleges are looking to expand on-campus applications of MOOCs. Reich points out that 83 percent of MIT undergrads are taking a class that uses MITx resources in some way.
Paid certificates for these online courses are another potential answer, though Reich says they’re likely to be most useful in a minority of fast-changing, highly technical fields.

Andrew Ho, a lead author of the paper at Harvard, thinks the value of certificates will increase… ”

The simplest answer to “What happens now?” is this: Despite lingering doubts about the power and profitability of MOOCs, companies and universities are still spending significant resources to create and support them for millions of people, in nearly every country, for free. It’s an investment, for now, on faith…. http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2015/04/11/397295495/the-future-of-free-online-courses-new-research-from-mit-and-harvard

Citation:

HarvardX and MITx: Two Years of Open Online Courses Fall 2012-Summer 2014

Andrew Dean Ho
Harvard University; Harvard University – HarvardX

Isaac Chuang
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Office of Digital Learning

Justin Reich

Harvard University – HarvardX; Harvard University – Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Cody Austun Coleman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Jacob Whitehill

Harvard University

Curtis G Northcutt

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Joseph Jay Williams

Harvard University

John D Hansen

Harvard University

Glenn Lopez

Harvard University

Rebecca Petersen

Harvard University – HarvardX

March 30, 2015

Abstract:

What happens when well-known universities offer online courses, assessments, and certificates of completion for free? Early descriptions of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have emphasized large enrollments, low certification rates, and highly educated registrants. We use data from two years and 68 open online courses offered by Harvard University (via HarvardX) and MIT (via MITx) to broaden the scope of answers to this question. We describe trends over this two-year span, depict participant intent using comprehensive survey instruments, and chart course participation pathways using network analysis. We find that overall participation in our MOOCs remains substantial and that the average growth has been steady. We explore how diverse audiences — including explorers, teachers-as-learners, and residential students — provide opportunities to advance the principles on which HarvardX and MITx were founded: access, research, and residential education.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Keywords: MOOC, massive open online course, HarvardX, MITx, edX, online learning, distance education, higher education, residential learning

Here is the press release from Harvard and MIT:

Massive Study from Harvard and MIT on MOOCs Provides New Insights on an Evolving Space
April 1, 2015

Since “Year of the MOOC” became a catchphrase in 2012, massive open online courses have had their fans and detractors. Some have claimed that online learning is a “disruptive revolution” and a harbinger of the end of residential colleges, while others have called MOOCs “mere marketing” at best or an abject failure at worst, singling out low completion rates.

Expanded data and research about MOOC participants and evidence-based assessments of online learning trends might, however, begin to move the conversation beyond anecdotes and heated opinions.
Today, a joint Harvard and MIT research team published one of the largest investigations of MOOCs (massive open online courses) to date. Building on their prior work—a January 2014 report describing the first year of open online courses launched on edX, a non-profit learning platform founded by the two institutions—the latest effort incorporates another year of data, bringing the total to nearly 70 courses in subjects from programming to poetry.

“We explored 68 certificate-granting courses, 1.7 million participants, 10 million participant-hours, and 1.1 billion participant-logged events,” said the study’s co-lead author Andrew Ho, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and chair of the HarvardX research committee. The research team also used surveys to ¬gain additional information about participants’ backgrounds and their intentions.

Ho and MIT’s Isaac Chuang, professor of physics, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and senior associate dean of digital learning, led a group effort that delved into the demographics of MOOC learners, analyzed participant intent, and looked at patterns that “serial MOOCers,” or those taking more than one course, tend to pursue.

“What jumped out for me was the survey that revealed that in some cases as many as 39% of our learners are teachers,” said Chuang. “This finding forces us to broaden our conceptions of who MOOCs serve and how they might make a difference in improving learning.”

Key Findings

The researchers conducted a trend analysis that showed a rising share of female, US-based, and older participants, as well as a survey analysis of intent, revealing that almost half of registrants were not interested in or unsure about certification. In this study, the researchers redefined their population of learners from those who simply registered for courses (and took no subsequent action) — a metric used in prior findings and often cited by MOOC providers — to those who participated (i.e., by logging into the course at least once.)

Participation in HarvardX and MITx open online courses has grown steadily, while participation in repeated courses has declined and then stabilized
From July 24, 2012, through on September 21, 2014, the end of the study period, an average of 1,300 new participants joined a HarvardX or MITx course each day, for a total of 1 million unique participants and 1.7 million total participants. With the increase in second and third versions of courses, the researchers found that participation in second versions declined by 43%, while there was stable participation between versions two and three. There were outliers, such as the HarvardX course CS50x, “Introduction to Computer Science,” which doubled in size, perhaps due to increased student flexibility: Students in this course could participate over a year-long period at their own pace and complete at any time.

A slight majority of MOOC takers are seeking certification, and many participants are teachers
Among the one-third of participants who responded to a survey about their intentions, 57% stated their desire to earn a certificate; nearly a quarter of those respondents went on to earn certificates. Further, among participants who were unsure or did not intend to earn a certificate, 8% ultimately did so. These learners appear to have been inspired to finish a MOOC even after initially stating that they had no intention of doing so.

Among 200,000 participants who responded to a survey about teaching, 39% self-identified as a past or present teacher. 21% of those teachers reported teaching in the course topic area. The strong participation by teachers suggests that even participants who are uninterested in certification may still make productive use of MOOCs.

Academic areas matter when it comes to participation, certification, and course networks
Participants were drawn to computer science courses in particular, with per-course participation numbers nearly four times higher than courses in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. That said, certificate rates in computer science and other science- and technology-based offerings (7% and 6%, respectively) were about half of those in the humanities and social sciences.

The larger data sets also allowed the researchers to study those participating in more than one course, revealing that computer science courses serve as hubs for students, who naturally move to and from related courses. Intentional sequencing, as was done for the 10-part HarvardX Chinese history course “ChinaX,” led to some of the highest certification rates in the study. Other courses with high certification rates were “Introduction to Computer Science” from MITx and “Justice” and “Health in Numbers” from HarvardX.

Those opting for fee-based ID-verified certificates certify at higher rates
Across 12 courses, participants who paid for “ID-verified” certificates (with costs ranging from $50 to $250) earned certifications at a higher rate than other participants: 59%, on average, compared to 5%. Students opting for the ID-verified track appear to have stronger intentions to complete courses, and the monetary stake may add an extra form of motivation.

Questions and Implications

Based upon these findings, Chuang and Ho identified questions that might “reset and reorient expectations” around MOOCs.

First, while many MOOC creators and providers have increased access to learning opportunities, those who are accessing MOOCs are disproportionately those who already have college and graduate degrees. The researchers do not necessarily see this as a problem, as academic experience may be a requirement in advanced courses. However, to serve underrepresented and traditionally underserved groups, the data suggest that proactive strategies may be necessary.

“These free, open courses are phenomenal opportunities for millions of learners,” Ho emphasized, “but equity cannot be increased just by opening doors. We hope that our data help teachers and institutions to think about their intended audiences, and serve as a baseline for charting progress.”
Second, if improving online and on-campus learning is a priority, then “the flow of pedagogical innovations needs to be formalized,” said Chuang. For example, many of the MOOCs in the study used innovations from their campus counterparts, like physics assessments from MIT and close-reading practices from Harvard’s classics courses. Likewise, residential faculty are using MOOC content, such as videos and assessment scoring algorithms, in smaller, traditional lecture courses.
“The real potential is in the fostering of feedback loops between the two realms,” said Chuang. “In particular, the high number of teacher participants signals great potential for impact beyond Harvard and MIT, especially if deliberate steps could be taken to share best practices.”

Third, advancing research through MOOCs may require a more nuanced definition of audience. Much of the research to date has done little to differentiate among the diverse participants in these free, self-paced learning environments.

“While increasing completion has been a subject of interest, given that many participants have limited, uncertain, or zero interest in completing MOOCs, exerting research muscle to indiscriminately increase completion may not be productive,” explained Ho. “Researchers might want to focus more specifically on well-surveyed or paying subpopulations, where we have a better sense of their expectations and motivations.”

More broadly, Ho and Chuang hope to showcase the potential and diversity of MOOCs and MOOC data by developing “Top 5” lists based upon course attributes, such as scale (an MIT computer science course clocked in with 900,000 participant hours); demographics (the MOOC with the most female representation is a museum course from HarvardX called “Tangible Things,” while MITx’s computing courses attracted the largest global audience); and type and level of interaction (those in ChinaX most frequently posted in online forums, while those in an introduction to computer science course from MITx most frequently played videos.)

“These courses reflect the breadth of our university curricula, and we felt the need to highlight their diverse designs, philosophies, audiences, and learning outcomes in our analyses,” said Chuang. “Which course is right for you? It depends, and these lists might help learners decide what qualities in a given MOOC are most important to them.”
Additional authors on the report included

Justin Reich, Jacob Whitehill, Joseph Williams, Glenn Lopez, John Hansen, and Rebecca Petersen from Harvard; and Cody Coleman and Curtis Northcutt from MIT.

With any education opportunity the prospective student and their family must do their homework and weigh the pros and cons of the institution with with the student’s goals and objectives. In answer to the question of whether online college is a threat to traditional bricks and mortar universities, it depends. The market will answer that question because many students do not attend college to receive a liberal arts education, but to increase employment opportunities. If the market accepts badges and certificates, then colleges may be forced to look at the costs associated with a traditional college degree.

Related:

Verifying identity for online courses

https://drwilda.com/2012/04/15/verifying-identity-for-online-courses/

Will ‘massive open online courses’ (MOOCS) begin to offer credit?

https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/will-massive-open-online-courses-moocs-begin-to-offer-credit/

Is online higher ed a threat to bricks and mortar colleges?

https://drwilda.com/2012/09/17/is-online-higher-ed-a-threat-to-bricks-and-mortar-colleges/

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The ‘Common Application’ evolves

13 May

Moi wrote about the “Common Application” in Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’:
Many students are preparing to apply to college and they will be using the “Common Application” which is used by over 450 universities including some international schools. https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/FAQ.aspx
In addition to U.S. colleges, colleges in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland use the “Common Application.” For a good synopsis of the pros and cons of using the application, go to Should I Use The Common Application? http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-experts/2011/09/07/should-i-use-the-common-application
Jacques Steinberg reported about problems with the “Common Application” in 2010. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013744243_application23.html

It has been a year of challenges for the Common Application. Kimberly Hefling, AP Education Writer reported in the article, Common Application Makes Changes After Tough Year:

“Given the year we just had, we can’t be complacent about any of this,” Eric Furda, the dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, said during a media briefing. Furda is president-elect of the board of the not-for-profit Common Application membership organization.
The most common problems experienced by students were related to essay formatting, difficulty submitting an application and the inability to determine if they had paid application fees, Furda said. Higher education institutions complained about not being able to pull up documents that had been submitted.
Because of the problems, many colleges and universities extended application deadlines, and some began accepting applications from competing programs.
Furda said most of the problems were corrected by the end of 2013, but challenges persisted.
A review conducted by an outside firm determined that the technology had been rolled out without first being properly tested…http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/common-application-makes-tough-year-23658956

See, Fixing the Common App http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/11/common-application-releases-consultant-report-technical-problems#sthash.9yHgRCsc.dpbs
Jacques Steinberg reported about problems with the “Common Application” in 2010. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013744243_application23.html
Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Common Application’s Leaders Get an Earful http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/common-applications-leaders-get-an-earful/36589?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en
In addition to technical problems, the application is facing a law suit.

Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Has Common App Turned Admissions Into a ‘Straitjacketed Ward of Uniformity’?

Anyone in the mood for colorful renderings of the big business built around the college-admissions process should read the lawsuit filed last week against the Common Application in a federal court in Oregon. The nonprofit group behind the ever-growing online application, a competitor asserts, “has orchestrated a sea change in the student-application process, turning a once vibrant, diverse, and highly competitive market into a straitjacketed ward of uniformity.”
The complaint was brought by CollegeNet Inc., a technology company in Portland, Ore., that builds customized application-processing systems for colleges. CollegeNet argues that the Common Application, which has more than 500 member colleges, has violated federal antitrust laws.
“As colleges are increasingly compelled to join the Common Application,” the lawsuit says, it “is poised to eliminate competition in the broader market within a few short years.”
Over the last decade or so, CollegeNet has lost many customers to the Common Application, whose fee structure rewards member colleges that use its application exclusively. While reporting on the Common App’s growth last year, I talked to Jim Wolfston, CollegeNet’s chief executive, who described his concerns about his competitor….
The Common Application’s leaders have long asserted that increased applications are a side effect of membership—not the organization’s raison d’être. That question aside, the Common App has great influence over the application process at most of the nation’s high-profile colleges.
Whether or not CollegeNet’s legal arguments have merit, some passages in the complaint reflect concerns that admissions officials share. Namely, that the Common App has become too—pick your word—big, dominant, powerful within the realm of selective admissions. (Read all about that here.)
Although the Common App is the biggest fish in the pond, it’s worth noting that plenty of its member colleges use at least one other application, too. Last week, for instance, six colleges announced that they would also accept the Universal College Application, joining 12 institutions that have signed on since last fall. Following months of technical problems with the Common App, some colleges that had used it exclusively have decided not to keep all their eggs in one basket.
After a tumultuous fall, the Common Application’s leaders are doing some soul-searching. Recently, the group’s Board of Directors commissioned an independent review of the organization. One finding was that the Common App’s pricing structure “may be at odds with the mission…. http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/has-common-app-turned-admissions-into-a-straitjacketed-ward-of-uniformity/38299?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

Applying to a college is just the first step. Students and families also have to consider the cost of particular college options.

Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn wrote the article, With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the Department of Education’s new site about college costs.

Resources:

College Preparation Checklist Brochure http://studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/college-prep-checklist.pdf

Federal Student Aid At A Glance http://www.emory.edu/FINANCIAL_AID/docs/Federal%20Aid%20at%20a%20Glance.pdf

Related:

The digital divide affects the college application process https://drwilda.com/2012/12/08/the-digital-divide-affects-the-college-application-process/

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American Association of State Colleges and Universities report: Proposal to slow privatization of public universities

18 Jan

Moi really don’t know what to make of the idea of privatizing state universities. In the recent past, government had the goal of raising the standard of living and producing the economic conditions that fostered livable wage jobs. The goal of most politicians was to create the conditions that promoted and fostered a strong middle class. Particularly, after WWII and the Korean War, with the G.I Bill, one part of that equation was the wide availability of a college education. This push produced an educated workforce and a college education was within reach, no matter one’s class or social status. This educated workforce helped drive this country’s prosperity. Now, have we lost the goal of providing educational opportunity the widest number of people possible, no matter their class or social status? This question causes me to wonder about privatizing state universities.

A couple of questions. First, has anyone ever looked at how efficient the academic world is in spending current resources? Second, is the current institutional model one that works? Should there be changes in the institutional model?

Sam Dillion was writing about the prospect of privatizing public universities in the New York Times in 2005. See, At Public Universities, Warnings of Privatization http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/education/16college.html In 2004, William Symonds wrote an opinion piece in Business Week about the role of public universities:

To date, no major public university has been fully privatized. But as the states foot a smaller share of their budgets, the flagships have become more dependent on tuition and other sources of funds. They may still be publicly owned, but increasingly they’re privately financed. So a number of the flagships are seeking more freedom from state control. In July, University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman won “enterprise status” for her school, which means it’s no longer governed by the same rules as state agencies. Miami University of Ohio recently became the first major public campus to adopt the high-price, high-financial-aid tuition model used by elite private colleges. That means all students across the board are now charged $19,642, although Ohio residents receive scholarships of at least $10,000. “We are becoming more like our private counterparts,” says Penn State President Graham B. Spanier.”
This is a powerful yet troubling trend. On the one hand, the flagships are being forced to rely more on fund-raising, research grants, and other private or nonstate money. Given this reality, it makes sense to free them up from state rules that could impede their ability to become efficient and competitive. Such moves could help to insulate them from meddling politicians, as well.
Squeezing the Poor
At the same time, creeping privatization accelerates a broader movement by the top 100 or so flagships to hike their tuitions at a double-digit rate. The result is that a public good designed to give all Americans access to higher ed is turning into something more like a private one, open primarily to those whose families can afford it. Already, the student body at some flagship campuses is more affluent than at elite private schools: At Ohio’s Miami, for one, the median family income tops $100,000 a year.
Moreover, as flagships break free, support could erode for less prestigious state schools that remain more dependent on public funds. Privatization “will accelerate the social stratification of higher education, in which the elite [public colleges] are primarily filled with kids from privileged backgrounds, and the kids from poorer families are concentrated in less prestigious schools,” says David W. Breneman, dean of the Curry School of Education at UVA. At the nation’s 146 most selective colleges — including the top flagships — just 3% of entering freshman come from the bottom socioeconomic quarter, while a staggering 74% come from the top quarter…. http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2004-11-14/commentary-should-public-universities-behave-like-private-colleges

The privatization issue arises whenever there is a lack of leadership or vision

Recently, Kim Clark at the US News site asked Would Privatization Help Public Universities Excel? http://www.usnews.com/education/articles/2009/08/19/would-privatization-help-public-universities-excel Michael Hiltzak addressed the question of privatizing the University of California in an LA Times article, Why Privatizing the University of California Won’t Work http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/10/business/la-fi-hiltzik10-2009dec10

Eric Kelderman reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Report Proposes Federal Matching Grants for State Higher Education:

As Congress begins debating the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, proposals to change how public colleges get their federal money are starting to pop up.
On Wednesday, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities released a report recommending a new federal block grant to the states for higher education. The goal of the proposed program is to give states some incentive to preserve and even raise the amount they spend on colleges, which has been in decline, and also to strengthen the federal commitment to affordable higher education.
The formula for the additional federal money would be based on a comparison of a state’s per-student appropriation and the maximum Pell Grant.
To qualify for the bonus money, the state would have to provide a per-student appropriation equal to half of the maximum Pell Grant. At that level, the federal government would give the state another 25 cents for each dollar of state money.
“The more fiscal support states provide per … student, the higher the federal match rate, with the peak match reaching $0.60 for each dollar of state investment,” the report proposes. Based on figures for the 2012 fiscal year, Colorado, for example, would receive a block grant of about $1.7-million, while California would get about $1.2-billion.
While the formula would serve as a sort of de facto maintenance-of-effort provision, the additional federal dollars should come largely without strings attached, the report recommends.
http://chronicle.com/blogs/bottomline/new-report-proposes-federal-matching-grants-for-state-higher-ed/

The question lawmakers should be asking themselves is why society developed public universities and do those reasons still exist. In the rush to get past this moment in time lawmakers may be destroying the very economic engine, which would drive this state out of the economic famine that currently exists. Of course, if the current public universities were privatized, we wouldn’t have to worry about pigs still at the trough, like university presidents with million dollar salaries or would we?

Here is the press release from AASCU:

News Release from AASCU
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2014-01-15
Contact: Jennifer Walpole (202) 478-4665
STOPPING THE PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION
AASCU Proposes Federal Incentive Program to Address College Affordability Crisis
Washington, D.C.—The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) released a proposal today aimed at combatting escalating tuition hikes at public colleges and universities. AASCU’s plan calls for leveraging up to $15 billion in federal matching funds to incentivize state lawmakers to invest in public higher education. The erosion of state funding remains the primary driver of tuition increases at public colleges and universities.
The proposed Federal-State College Affordability Partnershipwould reward states whose higher education funding practices align with the federal government’s longstanding commitment to making college more affordable for all Americans. It would compare each state’s per-student subsidy at public institutions to the Pell Grant maximum award—the federal government’s level of support for low-income students—and provide progressively greater federal matching funds to states that better fund their students.
“Providing an annual block grant to states that includes a scaled federal award is an efficient, effective and equitable method to keep college affordable,” says Daniel J. Hurley, associate vice president for government relations and state policy at AASCU.
“The program offers a unique mechanism to counter the privatization trend by ensuring that federal and state funding practices work in tandem to reduce costs for students” says Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis at AASCU.
Given the vital importance of a highly educated workforce, AASCU calls on Congress to give serious consideration to the Federal-State College Affordability Partnership.
The proposal is the result of the Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery (RADD) initiative—Phase Two; Grants and Work-Study Consortia, led by the Education Trust, and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.It was authored by Daniel J. Hurley, Thomas L. Harnisch and Barmak Nassirian of the AASCU division of government relations and policy analysis.
View AASCU’s report on the proposal here:
A Proposed Federal Matching Grant Program to Stop the Privatization of Public Higher Education
http://www.aascu.org/policy/publications/policy-matters/federalmatchingprogram.pdf

###
AASCU is a Washington-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.
http://www.aascu.org/policy/publications/policy-matters/federalmatchingprogram.pdf

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More colleges offering tuition guarantees or fixed tuition

24 Dec

About 25 years ago, Secretary of Education Bennett introduced a hypothesis about the rising cost of college. Andrew Gillen describes the “Bennett Hypothesis” in The Center for College Affordability & Productivity report, Introducing Bennett Hypothesis 2.0:

A quarter of a century ago, then Secretary of Education William J. Bennett made waves by declaring:
“If anything, increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase.”1
From that point forward, the notion that increases in financial aid cause increases in tuition has gone by the moniker of the Bennett Hypothesis, and its validity has been hotly debated ever since. http://centerforcollegeaffordability.org/uploads/Introducing_Bennett_Hypothesis_2.pdf

The debate about what causes increases in college costs continues.

Josh Mitchell has an intriguing article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article about a study documenting increased tuition in for-profit colleges where there is increased federal student aid. In New Course in College Costs, Mitchell reports.

The new study found that tuition at for-profit schools where students receive federal aid was 75% higher than at comparable for-profit schools whose students don’t receive any aid. Aid-eligible institutions need to be accredited by the Education Department, licensed by the state and meet other standards such as a maximum rate of default by students on federal loans.
The tuition difference was roughly equal to the average $3,390 a year in federal grants that students in the first group received, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper by Claudia Goldin of Harvard University and Stephanie Riegg Cellini of George Washington University.
The authors only examined programs that award associate’s degrees and nondegree certificates in fields including business, computer sciences and cosmetology. They didn’t look at tuition charged for bachelor’s degrees or at public and private nonprofit universities, which together educate roughly 90% of postsecondary students.
The authors said their findings lent “credence to the…hypothesis that aid-eligible institutions raise tuition to maximize aid.”
Steve Gunderson, president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, a trade group for for-profit schools, disputes a link between federal aid and prices, saying colleges merely respond to market demand.
The study’s authors warned their findings don’t apply to public colleges and private nonprofit schools, which they say are different because they aren’t motivated by profits and because their prices are largely determined by state funding and donations. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303296604577454862437127618.html?wpisrc=nl_wonk

Citation:

Does Federal Student Aid Raise Tuition? New Evidence on For-Profit Colleges
Stephanie Riegg Cellini, Claudia Goldin
NBER Working Paper No. 17827
Issued in February 2012
NBER Program(s): DAE ED PE
We use administrative data from five states to provide the first comprehensive estimates of the size of the for-profit higher education sector in the U.S. Our estimates include schools that are not currently eligible to participate in federal student aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act and are therefore missed in official counts. We find that the number of for-profit institutions is double the official count and the number of students is between one-quarter and one-third greater. Many for-profit institutions that are not Title IV eligible offer programs and certificates that are similar, if not identical, to those given by institutions that are part of Title IV. We find that the Title IV institutions charge tuition that is about 75 percent higher than that charged by comparable institutions whose students cannot apply for federal financial aid. The dollar value of the premium is about equal to the amount of financial aid received by students in eligible institutions, lending credence to the “Bennett hypothesis” that aid-eligible institutions raise tuition to maximize aid.
You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.
Information about Free Papers
You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a “.GOV” domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

The reasons for escalating tuition are complex.

David H. Feldman writes in the article, Myths and Realities about Rising College Tuition for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

The dysfunction narrative is the alternative tale of rising cost, and it is a sexier story with lots of villains. But it doesn’t fit the evidence very well. In this brief space I cannot address every part of that narrative, but a few choice nuggets of information should suffice.
Competition: If prestige competition were a driving engine of college cost, we would expect to see cost rising more rapidly in four-year schools than at community colleges. Four-year programs house the expensive research facilities and hire the superstar scholars. Yet the growth rate in expenditures per student at four-year and two-year programs is quite similar.
Administrative Bloat: Within the dysfunction narrative, any increase in the number of “administrators per student” is often taken as evidence of inefficiency. This notion is flawed on at least two grounds. Schools have dramatically reduced their clerical employment, and this raises the percentage of the employee base that is administrative. This is not a sign of inefficiency. At the same time, schools have added professional staff in everything from IT to counseling. But these same shifts are happening almost everywhere in the U.S. economy. The percentage of Americans who work in jobs classified as administrative has risen substantially over the last quarter century. This context is often missing from bloat stories, as is the benefit to student retention rates and graduation rates from the professionalized support staff available to help them.
Tenure: Lastly, faculty tenure and workplace culture have very little to do with college cost. For starters, tenure is a declining institution. The fraction of the faculty on tenure track has fallen steadily over the past few decades, especially at cash-strapped public institutions. Although the academy is not a particularly efficient institution, there is no good evidence that it has become more inefficient over time.
The Realities Are More Complex
The most important engine of cost growth in higher education is the fact that productivity growth in some industries, like manufacturing, has outstripped productivity growth in others, including artisan services like higher education. But this effect does not necessarily make college less affordable to the average family. Productivity growth, after all, adds to the nation’s income. To understand college affordability problems, we must look elsewhere.
Two features of the economic landscape have had a big effect on affordability. The first is a sea change in budget priorities in the states. In 1975, states allocated roughly $10.50 to higher education for every $1,000 of per capita state income. Today the figure is around $6.00, despite a massive increase in the number of students seeking postsecondary education. This type of budgeting has resulted in tuition increases at public universities, which have negatively impacted the availability and quality of their academic programs. The effect on affordability is clear. In 1975, the states picked up 60% of the tab for a year in college while families shouldered 33%. The federal government picked up the remaining 7%. Today, the states pay only 34% while families bear 50% of the cost. The federal government’s share, through grants and tax credits, is currently 16%. Much of this surge in the federal government’s share is a temporary response to the 2008 financial crisis and recession. Over the last 30 years, the federal share has normally been in the 10% range….
Private schools have long used tuition discounting as a way to reach families whose personal finances make an expensive private program a financial stretch. But discounting is itself a force for pushing up the list-price tuition that wealthier families pay. Schools need revenues to finance their programming, and if they discount the price to some students who otherwise could not come, they must increase it for others who can pay.
Over the last 20 years, private universities have pushed the envelope on tuition discounting, and this has increased the average list price. In 1993, for instance, the discount rate at private universities was roughly 25%; ten years later it had reached 32%. This means that list-price tuition rose by 30% more than if the discount rate had remained the same. Coupled with rising tuition at cash-starved public universities, the result is that many upper middle-income families increasingly bear the full impact of rising list-price tuition at both public and private institutions. http://www.nasfaa.org/advocacy/perspectives/articles/Myths_and_Realities_about

Many private schools are not only discounting tuition, but many are offering fixed tuition guarantees.

M.L. Johnson of AP reported about college tuition guarantees in the article, Hundreds Of Colleges Offering Fixed Tuition With Promises To Not Raise Rates:

Freshmen at Northland College, a small Wisconsin liberal arts school known for its environmental focus, will pay no more than $30,450 in tuition next year. They’ll pay the same the following year. And the year after that.
The college on the shore of Lake Superior is joining a growing number of schools promising fixed-rate tuition — a guarantee that students will pay a single rate for four or even five years.
The programs at schools like George Washington University, University of Kansas and Columbia College in Missouri aim to help families budget for college without worrying about big price jumps. They also give recruiters something to tout on the road to try to ease the sticker shock.
Tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 27 percent in the past five years, while those at four-year private schools went up 14 percent, according to the College Board.
About 320 colleges and universities offered tuition guarantees during the 2012-13 school year, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Education data done by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. The schools represent about 6.7 percent of the nation’s nearly 4,800 institutions where students receive federal financial aid.
Many fixed-rate plans are coupled with a commitment to hold financial aid steady so students have a firm cost estimate, but they are not discounts. At Kansas, students starting as freshmen pay more than standard tuition in their first two years to offset lower rates in the last two. Other schools try to estimate expenses and inflation and set rates that cover costs when averaged over four years. Transfer students generally pay tuition for the year they enter; at Kansas, they pay standard tuition.
Students say the programs help them hold down costs by allowing them to budget wisely and borrow less….http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/23/fixed-tuition-colleges_n_4494525.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education

Fixed tuition plans don’t affect the overall cost of tuition.

Amanda Fox-Rouch reported in the Generation Progress story, Fixed-Rate Tuition: A Solution to Unpredictable College Costs:

Although some schools provide calculators with which students may estimate their cost of attendance for four years, the tuition rate for the first year of attendance alone is often the only predictable. After year one, tuition hikes are often expected to inflate college costs.
Tuition fees are subject to increase at any time and are often imposed at the whim of a board of trustees, unlike financing a car or mortgage a house, which are financial obligations that often require relatively predictable payments over time.
Fears of rising tuition are not completely ungrounded. Tuition rates have increased by an average of eight percent during the past year.
According to a CampusGrotto study, in 2007 only one school—George Washington University—had a total cost including tuition, housing, and other fees that exceeded $50,000. In 2011, by contrast, 19 universities had fees totaling more than $55,000, indicating wildly fluctuating costs within the college market.
Fixing tuition ultimately deprives universities of their power to initiate tuition hikes that may compromise students’ abilities to continue their schooling.
Those colleges that currently offer fixed tuition may have been spurred by President Obama’s announcement earlier this year of a plan that would reward colleges with federal funds if they actively work to minimize tuition costs.
Fixed-rate plans may not do much to significantly impact the cost of attending college, as many schools that provide a fixed tuition rate have raised the tuition for subsequent classes at a higher than average rate. In addition, the fixed rate only applies to tuition; schools that offer a fixed tuition plan can still raise other costs such as housing and technology fees.
In addition, guaranteed fixed-rate tuition is difficult to impose in public universities due to the state regulations that the schools must adhere to.
Trustee boards at private universities, however, have a bit more leeway—and thus more of an obligation—to make their schools more affordable….
http://genprogress.org/voices/2012/10/11/18132/fixedrate-tuition-a-solution-to-unpredictable-college-costs/

A couple of questions. First, has anyone ever looked at how efficient the academic world is in spending current resources? Second, is the current institutional model one that works? Should there be changes in the institutional model?

There is no simple answer to the question of why college tuition has risen so fast, but it is time to look at the college as an institutional model and to ask whether there could be a more efficient institutional structure. See, Can free online universities change the higher education model? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/can-free-online-universities-change-the-higher-education-model/

Related:
Myth: Increases in Federal Student Aid Drive Increases in Tuition http://www.acenet.edu/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=45224

The Center for College Affordability & Productivity http://centerforcollegeaffordability.org/archives/8046

Did Federal Aid Break the Education Market?
http://www.educationnews.org/higher-education/did-federal-aid-break-the-education-market/

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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University of Pennsylvania study: MOOCs are not bringing the level playing field to education that many thought

24 Nov

Moi wrote in MOOCs are trying to discover a business model which works: Jon Marcus reported in the Washington Post article, Online course start-ups offer virtually free college. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/online-course-startups-offer-virtually-free-college/2012/01/09/gIQAEJ6VGQ_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend
The New York Times reported about the online education trend in the article, Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/education/25future.html?_r=1&emc=eta1
Whether MOOCS can develop a business model is discussed in the Economist article, The attack of the MOOCs: An army of new online courses is scaring the wits out of traditional universities. But can they find a viable business model? http://www.economist.com/news/business/21582001-army-new-online-courses-scaring-wits-out-traditional-universities-can-they
https://drwilda.com/2013/07/21/moocs-are-trying-to-discover-a-business-model-which-works/

Steve Kolowich reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, MOOCs Are Largely Reaching Privileged Learners, Survey Finds:

Most people who take massive open online courses already hold a degree from a traditional institution, according to a new paper from the University of Pennsylvania.
The paper is based on a survey of 34,779 students worldwide who took 24 courses offered by Penn professors on the Coursera platform. The findings—among the first from outside researchers, rather than MOOC providers—reinforce the truism that most people who take MOOCs are already well educated.
The Penn researchers sent the survey to students who had registered for a MOOC and viewed at least one video lecture. More than 80 percent of the respondents had a two- or four-year degree, and 44 percent had some graduate education.
The pattern was true not only of MOOC students in the United States but also learners in other countries. In some foreign countries where MOOCs are popular, such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa, “80 percent of MOOC students come from the wealthiest and most well educated 6 percent of the population,” according to the paper.
In other developing countries, about 80 percent of the MOOC students surveyed already held college degrees—a number staggeringly out of proportion with the share of degree holders in the general population.
“The individuals the MOOC revolution is supposed to help the most—those without access to higher education in developing countries—are underrepresented among the early adopters,” write the paper’s six authors…
http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/moocs-are-reaching-only-privileged-learners-survey-finds/48567

Edward Luce of the Financial Times chimed in writing in the article, Moocs are no magic bullet for educating Americans.

Luce writes:

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/141591a0-5399-11e3-9250-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz2ldNWNaPf
Where does all this leave the Moocs? As the techno-optimists keep pointing out, we can now download the Library of Congress and Ivy League lectures for free. A few motivated groups, such as older employees trying to keep pace, reservists in the US military and ambitious youngsters in places such as India, tend to finish online degrees. But most people, including Mr Thrun’s enrollees, rapidly lose interest. The real challenge facing US educators, in other words, is to motivate the unenthused majority. This is far easier said than done. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.
Insurance companies call America’s millennial generation the “invincibles”, because the young rarely worry about their health. But I prefer Mr Cowen’s moniker of the “limbo generation”, since they are worried sick about their financial prospects. The newest portion of the US workforce is saddled with more than $1tn of debts in a market that isn’t paying. Those who thrive in this less forgiving world will be savvy enough to tap the boundless resources they can get from Moocs in particular and the internet in general. Alas, Udacity’s setback reminds us that they are almost certainly in a minority. At best computers can offer a partial answer to America’s education crisis. Though we tend to cost more, the rest of it is down to human beings.
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/141591a0-5399-11e3-9250-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz2lanl53pU

Citation:

Nov 23 at 8:39 PM
The MOOC Phenomenon: Who Takes Massive Open Online Courses and Why?
Gayle Christensen

Office of the Provost, University of Pennsylvania
Andrew Steinmetz

Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania
Brandon Alcorn

Office of the Provost, University of Pennsylvania
Amy Bennett

Office of the Provost, University of Pennsylvania
Deirdre Woods
Office of the Provost, University of Pennsylvania

Ezekiel J Emanuel
Office of the Provost, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Department of Health Care Management, University of Pennsylvania

November 6, 2013

Abstract:
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have commanded considerable public attention due to their sudden rise and disruptive potential. But there are no robust, published data that describe who is taking these courses and why they are doing so. As such, we do not yet know how transformative the MOOC phenomenon can or will be. We conducted an online survey of students enrolled in at least one of the University of Pennsylvania’s 32 MOOCs offed on the Coursera platform. The student population tends to be young, well educated, and employed, with a majority from developed countries. There are significantly more males than females taking MOOCs, especially in BRIC and other developing countries. Students’ main reasons for taking a MOOC are advancing in their current job and satisfying curiosity. The individuals the MOOC revolution is supposed to help the most — those without access to higher education in developing countries — are underrepresented among the early adopters.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, Online Education, Distance Education
working papers series

With any education opportunity the prospective student and their family must do their homework and weigh the pros and cons of the institution with with the student’s goals and objectives. In answer to the question of whether online college is a threat to traditional bricks and mortar universities, it depends. The market will answer that question because many students do not attend college to receive a liberal arts education, but to increase employment opportunities. If the market accepts badges and certificates, then colleges may be forced to look at the costs associated with a traditional college degree.

Related:

Verifying identity for online courses https://drwilda.com/2012/04/15/verifying-identity-for-online-courses/

Will ‘massive open online courses’ (MOOCS) begin to offer credit? https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/will-massive-open-online-courses-moocs-begin-to-offer-credit/

Is online higher ed a threat to bricks and mortar colleges? https://drwilda.com/2012/09/17/is-online-higher-ed-a-threat-to-bricks-and-mortar-colleges/

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That Facebook post may affect your college acceptance

11 Nov

Moi wrote in More prospective college students getting deferral letters: Many parents and students spend the junior and senior years of the child’s high school education preparing for the child’s entrance into hopefully, the college of their choice. Kristina Dell has a great article at the Daily Beast, 10 College Admission Trends http://www.zencollegelife.com/10-college-admission-trends-you-should-know/ about the difficulties students will encounter when applying to college. So, students and families applying to colleges will have to apply to more schools. College.Com has some great suggestions for a good campus tour http://www.gocollege.com/admissions/college-search/campus-tours/ For many families, the expense of a college tour is very difficult considering they are having a difficult time even affording college. Kiplinger has some good suggestions about how to keep costs in check in the article Make The Most of A Campus Tour http://www.kiplinger.com/article/college/T042-C000-S001-make-the-most-of-a-campus-tour.html Many families cannot afford the costs of going to college out of their area, so they will be considering community colleges and colleges close to their home. See, College Tour Checklist, What to Look For http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/college-tour-checklist/story?id=10119635

The College Board has a checklist for the college bound:

The Application
Narrow the List
• How Many College Applications?
• Tips for Finding Your College Match
• Student Search Service® (SSS®)
• What Selectivity Means for You
• Avoid Sending Too Many Applications
Get Organized
• College Application Calendar
• College Application Checklist
• Create a College List
• Your Counselor and the Application Process
Application Elements
• What to Include in Your College Application
• Is Part of Your College Application Really Missing? New!
• Preparing for Admission Tests
• Letters of Recommendation
• The College Interview
• Interview Checklist
• Practice Interviews
Admission Tips
• Early Decision and Early Action
• College Application FAQs
• Home-Schooled Students and College Admission
• What to Do About Senioritis
• College Application Fee Waivers
https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/applying-101/college-application-checklist

Parents and students can meet all the deadlines, complete all the forms, and provide all the supporting documentation required and still not be admitted to the college of their choice. Increasingly, students are being put on deferral lists. Add another item to the checklist, making sure your online reputation is appropriate.

Natasha Singer wrote in the New York Times article, In College Admissions, Social Media Can Be a Double-Edged Sword:

When I wrote my Technophoria column this weekend about how some college admissions officers have occasionally identified social media posts that negatively affected applicants’ chances of acceptance, I assumed the phenomenon would not come as news to the parents of high school students.
After all, I came up with the idea for the piece after learning from a friend that her child, a high school senior who is applying for early admission to college this week, had recently taken a pseudonym on Facebook — a common phenomenon at certain schools.
In fact, the column pointed out that colleges don’t vet applicants’ personal social networking pages as a routine practice; the admissions officials I interviewed said they typically scrutinized social media only if outside sources alerted them to extreme posts like hate speech.
But, on Facebook and Twitter, scores of principals, guidance counselors, teachers and parents took the piece as an opportunity to caution teenagers who bare and publicly share their heartstrings.
Or as an opportunity to educate their parents:
Certainly, the idea of admissions officers randomly vetting the online remarks of a few high school students raises legitimate concerns: colleges could arbitrarily discover seemingly troubled comments by a handful of applicants and deny them admission — without telling them why.
That notion sparked a conversation about what adults, and teenagers, may take for granted as being private or restricted.
Rather than restrict their online engagement during the admissions process, however, some students are beefing up their social media activities in an effort to distinguish themselves in an ocean of college hopefuls.
Take Bernie Zak, who last spring was placed on a wait list for acceptance by the University of California, Los Angeles, his top choice.
After he learned he was on the waiting list, Mr. Zak promptly overhauled his Twitter account, deleting any “moderately risqué Tweets or curses,” he told me last week. Then he started an online campaign publicly touting his virtues, often self-deprecatory, with the hashtag #AcceptBernieUCLA.
“I wanted to get the university’s attention,” Mr. Zak told me. “I was just another name, just another number. I wanted to be unique.”
Did Mr. Zak’s Twitter campaign succeed?
Last week, I emailed U.C.L.A. asking for general information about whether admissions officers there vetted applicants’ use of social media.
In an email, Gary A. Clark Jr., the school’s director of undergraduate admission, replied: “We neither seek nor utilize information related to an applicant’s social media use (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in the process of evaluating applications for admission to U.C.L.A.”
That said, Mr. Zak is now partway through his first semester at U.C.L.A. He is a majoring in economics and political science.
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/11/in-college-admissions-social-media-can-be-a-double-edged-sword/?ref=education&_r=0

Most people pay little attention to their online reputation.

Moi wrote in Scrubbing your online reputation: Yes, words can hurt: Back in the day, folks had to worry about their reputation in their local community. With the advent of social media, the community is now global and folks have to worry about their global reputation.
Because a person’s reputation is key to future opportunities of all types, a new business of helping people rid themselves of unwanted online information is developing. Lini S. Kadaba of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote in the article, Online Reputation Can Make or Break Opportunities http://seattletimes.com/html/living/2013502244_webweb29.html

Scholarships.com offers advice in the article Social Networking Sites and College Admissions: How to Stand Out from the Competition in a Good Way:

Think before you tweet or post. Mark Zuckerberg himself learned that what you post online lives on forever and probably wishes he thought a little more about some of the information he uploaded. The negative can come back to bite you, as can something you thought was funny at the time (if you saw “The Social Network,” you know it’s not advisable to drink and blog); other people are going to see what you publish so if you have even an inkling that what you’re about to post will make you look bad, don’t share it.
Adjust your privacy settings. Tweaking what others can see is easy with customizable privacy settings, which are available on both sites. On Twitter, you can choose to protect your tweets (meaning anyone who wants to access your 140-character musings will need your approval first) while Facebook allows its users to adjust their settings on a friend-by-friend basis. It’s a feature many students overlook in the short run but its long-term value is immeasurable.
Be more than a blip on the radar. Want your intended school to know you’re serious about wanting to attend? Show them not just by “liking” them on Facebook and following their Twitter feeds but by commenting on their posts with insight of your own. Tagging or @replying the school will ensure your response will be seen but if you prefer to just observe, incorporate the topics that appear with the highest frequency or elicit the most feedback into your application essays or interviews. This extra step won’t go unnoticed and could give you an advantage over another applicant.
http://www.scholarships.com/resources/college-prep/applying/social-networking-sites-and-college-admissions-how-to-stand-out-from-the-competition-in-a-good-way/

To quote Clint Eastwood in “Heartbreak Ridge,” “Shut your face, hippy.”

“How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“Gossip is just a tool to distract people who have nothing better to do from feeling jealous of those few of us still remaining with noble hearts.”
Anna Godbersen, Splendor

“Rumor travels faster, but it don’t stay put as long as truth. ”
Will Rogers

“Allow enemies their space to hate; they will destroy themselves in the process.”
Lisa Du

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