Can having a learning disability be an advantage when applying to college? Asks U.S. News & World Report. This probably sounds like a strange question, since most families no doubt assume that a learning disability is a negative when it comes to getting into colleges. But that assumption is wrong, insists David Montesano, a college admission strategist at College Match Educational Consultants, which has offices on the East and West coasts. The clientele at his college admission practice includes learning disabled students and he has seen how learning challenges can actually benefit students during the application process……Read More
In an effort to reward outstanding online institutions and brick-and-mortar schools that offer web-based programs, the U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA) presents honors to deserving universities, reports U.S. News & World Report. For example, the USDLA recently announced in a press release that Full Sail University won the 2011 International Distance Learning Award. This honor is annually given to organizations and individuals who demonstrate excellence in the delivery of distance education……Read More
Success in the college admissions process is rarely a factor of raw talent. There can be little doubt about the pool of talent from which colleges draw their entering classes. Most students who apply to colleges–including the most highly selective–possess the talent to compete at least minimally in the classrooms at those colleges. Finding success as an applicant, however, rests more on what you do with the talents you possess than the fact that you have them, reports U.S. News & World Report. In other words, “How do you choose to apply yourself?”
This question is particularly relevant for high school students as they make course selections…
In July 2009, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the nonprofit educational testing and research organization that administers the GRE, began offering the Personal Potential Index, according to U.S. News & World Report. This new evaluation tool is designed to quantify a student’s abilities in six areas: knowledge and creativity, communication skills, teamwork, resilience, planning and organization, and ethics and integrity. At no extra charge, Graduate school candidates who take the GRE can ask recommenders to rate them on a web-based form, and may send up to four reports to schools. The form asks recommenders to rate the student from “below average” to “truly exceptional” regarding 24 statements, which include “is among the most honest people I know” and “works well under stress.” For those who aren’t taking the GRE, but who wish to submit a PPI, the cost is $20 per report……Read More
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program created by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act encourages individuals to enter and continue full-time public service employment by offering loan forgiveness for those borrowers that meet the requirements, reports U.S. News & World Report. To qualify, a borrower must make 120 qualifying monthly loan payments (once a month for 10 years) on eligible loans while working in qualifying public service employment.
What is qualifying employment? Qualifying public service employment is full-time paid work in the government; a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; an AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position; or for a private “public service organization.”
Which student loans are eligible?…Read More
The web has a growing number of free resources that can help students and parents fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which is the form that qualifies college students for grants, scholarships, and low-priced student loans, says Kim Clark for U.S. News & World Report. Unfortunately, like everything else on the web, there’s plenty of misleading and boring FAFSA videos, too. A YouTube search for FAFSA videos, for example, turns up several “webinars” that are really sales come-ons for high-priced private consultants. I’ve searched the web for free FAFSA videos that appear to be accurate, helpful, and somewhat fun to watch. Here’s a list (in alphabetical order)……Read More
If you need to borrow to finance your education, federal student loans should be first on your menu. Congress and the U.S. Department of Education regulate federal student loans, setting maximum interest rates, borrowing limits, and other important loan terms, reports U.S. News & World Report. These loans come in loads of different flavors. Here’s a taste of what you might borrow:…Read More
No matter their overarching ideological differences, prominent CEOs, state politicians, and noteworthy political figures found common ground when they gathered in Washington this week to discuss the state of the nation’s educational system at a summit held by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a group founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. That common ground? Technology, reports U.S. News & World Report. Whether it’s near-ubiquitous devices such as smartphones and iPads or social media meccas like Twitter, technology that has been developed within the past five years is woven into nearly everyone’s daily life. Yet the American school system has been left behind, educational policymakers point out. “It’s interesting to me that technology has actually transformed how we interact together socially. It has transformed how we do business, but technology has yet to transform how we provide education,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at the Dec. 1 summit. “We could do simple stuff like eliminate art and music and cut days out of the school year…eliminate sports and band. [These are] simple things to do, none of which are good for children. Or we could think about how we’re going to become more productive, [and] how we’ll become more efficient using technology.”
William Simon, CEO of the U.S. division of Wal-Mart, America’s largest employer, and Edward Rust, the top executive at insurance company State Farm, both indicated at the conference that they’re unsatisfied with the state of the incoming workforce, citing young workers’ general inability to efficiently use critical thinking skills and to adapt to the ever-changing technology that surrounds them on the job. Rust noted that 60 percent of applicants looking to join State Farm are unable to pass a basic entrance exam that focuses on the fundamentals of math and critical thinking. Wal-Mart has already responded to this problem by offering employees a chance to sharpen their mind and earn college credit at a discounted rate via American Public University, an online school. “We can’t even imagine what education or technology will be like in 10 years,” said Simon. “Students need to be not only trained in that, but they need to be taught how to learn.”
Prospective students and their parents need more and far better information–particularly about outcomes–in order to help them decide the best school to attend and the federal government should take the lead to distribute this information and mandate new data requirements, reports U.S. News & World Report. This conclusion is from a just released report, “Grading Higher Education Giving Consumers the Information They Need,” by Harvard University professor Bridget Terry Long.
The report’s key conclusion is:
“for the federal government to expand the types of information that are available and allow users to compare indicators like cost, financial aid, student debt, employment outcomes, and average salaries following graduation, across peer institutions. An important part of the proposal is dissemination. To make sure the information is available to all who could benefit, additional effort must be taken to translate and circulate this information to an audience that may understand little about higher education offerings, pricing, aid, or quality. The federal government should actively reach out to potential students where they live, study and work. This should be done not only through an online interface but also partnerships with educational, social services, and employment organizations along with other government agencies.”…Read More
Effectively pairing senior volunteers with students is one of the big win-win opportunities in virtually every community in the country, says U.S. News and World Report. There is great need in the schools, and it’s gotten more acute during the recession. Enter a growing stream of retired folks who’ve enjoyed stable and successful careers, are loaded with skills and experience, and are eager to give back to their local communities. But in talking with one of the country’s most successful senior tutoring and mentoring programs — Experience Corps — it’s clear that a lot of work needs to go into successful partnerships. Experience Corps doesn’t claim its approach is the only or even best way to engage seniors with kids. But it does claim that it works, and has the research to prove it. The Washington-based nonprofit has programs in 22 cities, with a total of about 2,000 senior volunteers and 20,000 students. The program works with younger students — kindergarten through third grade — and focuses its efforts on at-risk children in lower-income areas. In the cities with Experience Corps programs, that support doesn’t come cheap, averaging between $1,000 and $2,000 a year per student. More than half of the money flows right back out to participating volunteers, and finding the right volunteers, training them, and successfully matching them with students also requires staff and money. But the benefit of this approach is reflected in volunteers who stay committed to the program and their students, and go well beyond the minimums in providing support. Research has shown that a student needs to have at least 35 one-on-one sessions a year with a volunteer to make sustained progress in reading and verbal skills……Read More