Higher Education News
The College Board has released its annual report on college prices. Browse the charges at more than 3,100 colleges and universities, with historical data to 1998.
MOOCs offered by top universities have expanded worldwide. Now a new type—dubbed MOOC 2.0—could even disrupt the way courses are devised.
Americans nationwide are helping increase the awareness of domestic violence. The issue has dominated headlines recently in the wake of multiple incidents involving professional athletes in addition to Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. It is a far-reaching crisis that can have life-altering and often deadly consequences.If you, a friend, or a loved one, is in an abusive relationship, the National Dating Abuse Helpline will offer immediate and confidential support. To contact the helpline, call 1‑866‑331‑9474, text “loveis” to 22522, or visit LoveIsRespect.org.
Every year, on average, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. Women of all ages are at risk for domestic and sexual violence and its effects, which include: long‑lasting pain, increased risk of substance abuse, depression, poor academic performance, suicidal ideation, and future violence. Sexual and domestic violence are linked to a wide range of reproductive health issues including sexually transmitted disease and HIV transmission.
The fight against sexual violence on campuses is gaining momentum. Universities are working to educate students about Title IX through innovative new programs and reviving old ones, and students are increasing awareness and placing pressure for change on institutions. ED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has published new guidance assisting counselors and advocates in helping and supporting victims. OCR has an increasingly important role in helping universities take responsibility for sexual misconduct on their campuses and in the reevaluation of sexual misconduct policies.
East Tennessee State University, for example, started an outreach and awareness program: Sexuality Information for Students; George Washington University is launching a new response committee to stop sexual assault on their campuses; the California State System is hiring a system-wide Title IX Compliance Coordinator; and in Kansas, the Board of Regents met with six state universities to coordinate their action to prevent offenses.
ED is dedicated to working with students, families, educators, and communities to prevent abuse and support survivors. The department, federal partners and countless schools and colleges nationwide continue to raise awareness, develop effective prevention strategies, and educate young people about healthy relationships. They recognize that the real work of preventing domestic violence, teen dating violence and sexual assault, happens at the local level, in schools, in homes, and in community centers across the nation.
Schools must clearly communicate that they will not tolerate violence of any kind, they will respond to any students who report it, and they will hold offenders accountable. ED is also vigorously enforcing compliance with Title IX and the Clery Act—laws that help make our schools safer.
The following resources provide more information to support schools and communities in their efforts to create safe, healthy learning environments and identify, investigate, and remedy domestic violence, teen dating violence and sexual assault:
- 1 is 2 Many
- A Fact Sheet for Schools – Teen Dating Violence in the United States
- Letter from the Education Secretary on Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention
- Get Smart, Get Help, Get Safe
- ED Policy Briefing – Protecting Students from Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Assault
- Office for Civil Rights’ Dear Colleague Letter on Sexual Violence
Sarah Harris is an intern in the Office of Safe and Healthy Students at the U.S. Department of Education.
As a nation, it is critical that we prepare all students for success in college, careers, and in life. High school graduation is a vital point along that path, and the latest state-by-state graduation rates demonstrate our continued progress as a nation tackling this challenge.
This is the third year that states are using a common method, called the adjusted cohort graduation rate, to calculate four-year high school graduation rates. The new data, for the 2012-13 school year, indicate that 18 states have graduation rates at or above 85 percent, up from 16 states in the 2011-12 school year and nine in 2010-2011. This progress is a tribute to the tireless efforts of teachers, principals, parents, and other educators and staff, and of the students themselves. In this progress is consistent with the announcement this year that the nation’s overall graduation rate has hit 80 percent – the highest in our history.
It’s also worth noting the performance of individual states with the highest graduation rates, both for all their students and for traditionally underserved populations:
- For the third year in a row, Iowa has the highest overall high school graduation rate at 89.7 percent
- Kentucky, at 85.4 percent, had the highest graduation rate for economically disadvantaged students
- West Virginia leads the nation with an 83 percent graduation rate for English Language Learners
These 2012-13 graduation rates are state-reported data – states are responsible for verifying the accuracy of these data. States that have been approved for ESEA flexibility are using these four-year adjusted cohort graduation rates as a significant element in their school accountability systems.
In 2015, the National Center for Education Statistics will release a report updating the national on-time graduation rate for school year 2012-2013. These on-time graduation rates provide a measure of the proportion of students who successfully completed high school in four years with a regular high school diploma.
To explore the 2012-13 data use the ED Data Express Build a State Table Tool, and navigate to Achievement Data > Graduation Rate Data > Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates: 2012-13. This tool will also provide State Snapshots, and allow you to build cross-state comparisons using the Data Element Explorer.
Joshua Pollack is in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.
 Although the adjusted cohort graduation rate provides a common measure of 4 year graduation rates for all states, there are still some differences across States in how they implement the rate, particularly for English learners and students with disabilities.
The Education Law Association and the Naspa Research and Policy Institute offer guidelines for administrators on how to maintain order while respecting speech rights.
Two education groups are set to release a guide that encourages civil discourse with protesters.
A new report, completed by a group that has long been critical of teacher preparation, asks why so many education students graduate with honors.
In a booming field, these 10 companies are pulling in the most venture capital.
“Mr. Thompson! What does this book have to do with you being in the Army?” asked a curious Suzanne.
I had prepared a special lesson for my tenth grade world history class around Veterans Day; students were assigned several artifacts to analyze from my years of service with the 82nd Airborne Division. Suzanne noticed other groups handling more enticing objects like my helmet, which had once protected me on parachute jumps and dismounted patrols.
“I want to see the helmet, not this book,” demanded Suzanne.
She was about to put the book down, initial curiosity having given way to clear disappointment, when I provided some needed redirection.
“Remember, Suzanne, that a historian is like a detective. There’s always more to investigate; don’t give up,” I urged.
Suzanne still visibly frustrated, opened the paperback edition of Frank McCourt’s Teacher Man, which details the author’s experiences as a high school teacher at several New York City schools. McCourt, who is known for his Pulitzer Prize winning Angela’s Ashes, would have understood my challenge with engaging Suzanne in the lesson.
The book was among many items—AA batteries, beef jerky, headlamps, candy, magazines, powdered drinks, socks—my mom carefully packed up in hundreds of boxes. She would make weekly trips to her local post office in Tucson, Arizona, for 13 consecutive months, fill out a customs form, hand over the package to a supportive postal employee, and it would always find its way to my small outpost in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan.
Suzanne’s curiosity returned as she opened the book and looked at the inside cover. She read my mother’s inscription to me out loud, “You would make a terrific teacher — just like Mr. McCourt — especially with that sarcastic sense of humor.”
Suzanne smiled and looked up at me and without any hesitation asked question after question about my mom, the book, and my time in the military. Suzanne was now acting like a good detective, and with her interrogation nearing its end, asked one final question.
“Did you become a teacher because of this book?”
It was an excellent and timely question.
Over the next several years, the number of service members transitioning from military to civilian life is expected to increase significantly. A growing number of these veterans will be enrolling at colleges and universities as they seek to become career-ready and improve their future prospects for employment.
I know firsthand about this transition. While deployed, I often thought about my life after the Army, and I wanted to do something where I could still continue to serve my country. After reading Teacher Man, I realized the best way to do just that was to go back to school, so I could one day stand in front of a classroom as a teacher.
I encourage my fellow veterans to consider teaching as your next career step; you will realize soon after leaving the military that the passion to serve others does not subside when you take off that uniform. You will not only discover that teaching provides a sense of challenge and purpose that you once thought could only be found with a career in the military, but you will also be surprised just how good you are at doing it.
The skills you learned in the military—whether the leadership you experienced conducting patrols or the teamwork you developed fixing helicopters—will translate to success in the classroom. It was my own experience in the military that contributed in my development as a teacher and led to my 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award. There are many stories of other veterans succeeding in the classroom such as Air Force veteran Daniel Lejia who was the 2011 Texas Teacher of the Year. The anecdotal evidence and academic research proves that veterans make great teachers.
The good news for veterans interested in pursuing a teaching career is they can turn to programs that are designed to help them get in front of a classroom. ED is a proud supporter of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Troops to Teachers (TTT) program. TTT provides counseling and referral services for interested veterans to help them meet the education and licensing requirements necessary to secure a teaching position. Since 1994, TTT has helped over 17,000 veterans become teachers. Even non-profit organizations have launched initiatives designed to bring more veterans into the teaching profession such as Teach for America’s “You Served America, Now Teach for America.”
Sid Ellington, who made the transition from Navy SEAL to teacher and now directs the initiative, has said, “Students will greatly benefit from a veteran’s depth of experience, strength in leadership, and desire to serve their country.”
Suzanne was one of these students. After the school bell ended the day’s lesson, she approached me with an interesting idea.
“I like your mom, Mr. Thompson. I’m glad she sent you that book because you make history interesting. I think more veterans should teach.”
I encourage my fellow veterans to consider teaching as a way to continue serving this great country and making an impact on the lives of students like Suzanne.
Brian Thompson is a Presidential Management Fellow with the Military Affairs Team in the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. He served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army.
Students can get the same broad education at those colleges whether they major in engineering or English, says a report by University of Iowa researchers.
Should families really have to learn a new language to figure out how to pay for college?
The first thing people say when they find out where I work: “Can you delete my student loans for me?”
If only I had that power. Just like many of you, I am a student loan borrower. Each month, my federal student loan servicer, withdraws my $381.35 student loan payment from my bank account and I still cringe every time. (Do you know how many trips I could take with that money?) Point is, I understand what you’re going through.
That said, there are manageable ways to pay off your student loans faster than you had planned and save yourself money by doing so!
Here are some ideas:
1) Pay Right Away Even though you’re usually not required to, consider making student loan payments during your grace period or while you’re still in school. If you’re short on cash, consider at least paying enough each month to cover the amount of interest you’re accruing. That way your interest doesn’t capitalize and get added to your principal balance. Not doing this was one of the biggest mistakes I made with my student loans.
2) Sign up for Automatic Debit If you sign up for automatic debit, your student loan servicer will automatically deduct your student loan payment from your bank account each month. Not only does this help ensure that you make payments on time, but you may also be able to get an interest rate deduction for enrolling. Contact your loan servicer to see if your loan is eligible for this benefit.
3) Pay More than Your Minimum Payment Even if it’s $5 a month! Paying a little extraeach month can reduce the interest you pay and reduce your total cost of your loan over time. (Pay attention! This next part is important!) If you want to ensure that your loan is paid off faster, make sure you tell your loan servicer that the extra amount you’re paying is not intended to be put toward future payments. If given the option, ask your servicer if the additional payment amount can be allocated to your higher interest loans first.
4) Use Your Tax Refund One easy way to pay off your loan faster is to dedicate your tax refund to paying off some of your student loan debt. Part of the reason you may have gotten a refund in the first place is because you get a tax deduction for paying student loan interest. Might as well be smart about the way you spend it.
5) Seek Out Forgiveness and Repayment Options There are a number of situations under which you can have your federal student loan balance forgiven. There are forgiveness and repayment programs for teachers, public servants, members of the United States Armed Forces, and more. Most of these programs have very specific eligibility requirements, but if you think you might qualify, you should definitely do some research. Also, research whether your employer offers repayment assistance for employees with student loans. There are many who do!
Nicole Callahan is a Digital Engagement Strategist at The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid. She is scheduled to finish repaying her student loans in 2021, but is hoping that by taking her own advice, she will finish much faster.
In her now-famous flier, the University of Tennessee student promises to "hemorrhage ink all over" her classmates’ papers.
The institution’s president listens to grievances over transparency and the closing of a center for victims of assault, but students demand a timeline for change.
Universities see theater lessons as a way to better prepare graduate students for jobs both in and out of academe.
Transitions: Penn State Dean to Lead New University in Ecuador; Harvard Engineering Dean to Step Down
Daniel J. Larson, who leads Pennsylvania State University’s Eberly College of Science, will become chancellor of Yachay University. Read about that and other job-related news.
While many students want college to supply a direct path to their first job, some institutions try to prepare them for the curves ahead.