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Explainer: Federal student loan interest rates to jump

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Explainer: Federal student loan interest rates to jump
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Right now, many students and families across the country are receiving financial aid offers and deciding how to pay for college. Most students will need to shop for student loans now, and some of you have asked us what the new rates will be. While rates aren’t set in stone yet, interest rates on new federal student loans are expected to jump this July.

We’ve updated our Paying for College tool using our best guess of what the rates will be, so you can have a better estimate of what your monthly payment might be after graduation.

Interest rates on most federal student loans are based on a certain type of bond that the Treasury Department issues, known as the ten-year note. The yield is the rate at which investors charge the federal government for borrowing money. Next month, there will be a Treasury bond auction, and that rate will set federal student loan interest rates.

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Health Literacy and Numeracy: Workshop Summary (2014)

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Health Literacy and Numeracy: Workshop Summary (2014)
Source: Institute of Medicine

Although health literacy is commonly defined as an individual trait, it does not depend on the skills of individuals alone. Health literacy is the product of the interaction between individuals’ capacities and the health literacy-related demands and complexities of the health care system. Specifically, the ability to understand, evaluate, and use numbers is important to making informed health care choices.

Health Literacy and Numeracy is the summary of a workshop convened by The Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy in July 2013 to discuss topics related to numeracy, including the effects of ill health on cognitive capacity, issues with communication of health information to the public, and communicating numeric information for decision making. This report includes a paper commissioned by the Roundtable, “Numeracy and the Affordable Care Act: Opportunities and Challenges,” that discusses research findings about people’s numeracy skill levels; the kinds of numeracy skills that are needed to select a health plan, choose treatments, and understand medication instructions; and how providers should communicate with those with low numeracy skills. The paper was featured in the workshop and served as the basis of discussion.

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Increased but Remained Below the National Average

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Increased but Remained Below the National Average
Source: National Science Foundation

In 2010, an estimated 805,500 individuals in the United States held research doctoral degrees in science, engineering, and health (SEH) fields, an increase of 6.2% from 2008. Of these individuals, 709,700 were in the labor force, which includes those employed full time or part time and those actively seeking work (i.e., unemployed). The unemployment rate for SEH doctorate recipients was 2.4% in October 2010, up from 1.7% in October 2008 and similar to the rate in October 2003 (table 1). Moreover, the 2010 unemployment rate of the SEH doctoral labor force was about one-third of the October 2010 unemployment rate for the general population aged 25 years or older (8.2%).

Student Loan Safety Nets: Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Income-Based Repayment

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Student Loan Safety Nets: Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Income-Based Repayment
Source: Brookings Institution

The plight of underemployed college graduates struggling to make their student loan payments has received a great deal of media attention throughout the recent economic recession. The primary safety net available to borrowers of federal loans facing unaffordable monthly payments is income-based repayment, in which borrowers make monthly payments based on their earnings rather than a traditional schedule of flat payments.

The importance of these programs is widely recognized. How much these programs will cost and how the benefits will be distributed among borrowers, however, is not well understood— in large part because these costs and benefits will be realized over multiple decades. Without this knowledge, it is difficult to know whether these programs are meeting the goal of effectively and efficiently protecting borrowers without creating significant unintended consequences.

This report seeks to fill that gap by providing some of the first detailed evidence about the predicted costs and benefits of existing income-based repayment programs. Authors Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos develop an empirical framework for understanding the costs and benefits of these programs and use simulation methods to apply this framework to a nationally representative sample of bachelor’s degree recipients. These methods cannot accurately estimate the overall cost of the programs, but they provide fairly robust estimates of the relative cost of different program components, and of the share of benefits received by different groups of borrowers.

Hooked on Smartphones: An Exploratory Study on Smartphone Overuse among College Students

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Hooked on Smartphones: An Exploratory Study on Smartphone Overuse among College Students (PDF)
Source: Association for Computing Machinery

The negative aspects of smartphone overuse on young adults, such as sleep deprivation and attention deficits, are being increasingly recognized recently. This emerging issue motivated us to analyze the usage patterns related to smartphone overuse. We investigate smartphone usage for 95 college students using surveys, logged data, and interviews. We first divide the participants into risk and non-risk groups based on self-reported rating scale for smartphone overuse. We then analyze the usage data to identify between-group usage differences, which ranged from the overall usage patterns to appspecific usage patterns. Compared with the non-risk group, our results show that the risk group has longer usage time per day and different diurnal usage patterns. Also, the risk group users are more susceptible to push notifications, and tend to consume more online content. We characterize the overall relationship between usage features and smartphone overuse using analytic modeling and provide detailed illustrations of problematic usage behaviors based on interview data.

Out-of-Pocket Net Price for College

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Out-of-Pocket Net Price for College
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This Data Point uses data from four administrations of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:2000, NPSAS:04, NPSAS:08, and NPSAS:12) to briefly present trends in out-of-pocket net price for college, the amount that students and their families must pay to attend college after subtracting grants, loans, work-study, and all other student aid from the total price of attendance. It also presents out-of-pocket net price by income levels for the most recent data available (2011-12). For comparability, findings are presented for undergraduates attending full time for a full year and also trends are presented separately for key institution types (public 2-year, public 4-year, private nonprofit 4-year, and for-profit institutions).

Finding That College Students Cluster in Majors Based on Differing Patterns of Spatial Visualization and Language Processing Speeds

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Finding That College Students Cluster in Majors Based on Differing Patterns of Spatial Visualization and Language Processing Speeds
Source: Sage Open

For over 30 years, researchers such as Eisenberg and McGinty have investigated the relationship between 3-D visualization skills and choice of college major. Results of the present study support the fact that science and math majors tend to do well on a measure of 3-D visualization. Going beyond these earlier studies, the present study investigated whether a measure of Rapid Automatic Naming of Objects—which is normally used to screen for elementary school students who might struggle with speech, language, literacy, and numeracy—would further differentiate the choice of majors by college students. Far more research needs to be conducted, but results indicated that college students differentially clustered in scatterplot quadrants defined by the two screening assessments. Furthermore, several of these clusters, plus a statistical multiplier, may lead to a new understanding of students with phonological processing differences, learning disabilities, and speech and language impairments.

2013 Open Doors Report

April 14, 2014 Comments off

2013 Open Doors Report
Source: Institute of International Education
From press release:

The 2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today, finds the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by seven percent to a record high of 819,644 students in the 2012/13 academic year, while U.S. students studying abroad increased by three percent to an all-time high of more than 283,000.

In 2012/13, 55,000 more international students enrolled in U.S. higher education compared to 2011/12, with most of the growth driven by China and Saudi Arabia. This marks the seventh consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in U.S. higher education. There are now 40 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than a decade ago, and the rate of increase has risen steadily for the past three years. International students make up slightly under four percent of total student enrollment at the graduate and undergraduate level combined. International students’ spending in all 50 states contributed approximately $24 billion to the U.S. economy.

The number of U.S. students who studied abroad for academic credit increased by three percent to 283,332 students in 2011/12, a higher rate of growth than the one percent increase the previous year. More U.S. students went to Latin America and China, and there was a rebound in those going to Japan as programs reopened in Fall 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Study abroad by American students has more than tripled over the past two decades, from approximately 71,000 students in 1991/92 to the record number in 2011/12. Despite these increases, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point during their undergraduate years.

Is Violent Radicalisation Associated with Poverty, Migration, Poor Self-Reported Health and Common Mental Disorders?

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Is Violent Radicalisation Associated with Poverty, Migration, Poor Self-Reported Health and Common Mental Disorders?
Source: PLoS ONE

Background
Doctors, lawyers and criminal justice agencies need methods to assess vulnerability to violent radicalization. In synergy, public health interventions aim to prevent the emergence of risk behaviours as well as prevent and treat new illness events. This paper describes a new method of assessing vulnerability to violent radicalization, and then investigates the role of previously reported causes, including poor self-reported health, anxiety and depression, adverse life events, poverty, and migration and socio-political factors. The aim is to identify foci for preventive intervention.

Methods
A cross-sectional survey of a representative population sample of men and women aged 18–45, of Muslim heritage and recruited by quota sampling by age, gender, working status, in two English cities. The main outcomes include self-reported health, symptoms of anxiety and depression (common mental disorders), and vulnerability to violent radicalization assessed by sympathies for violent protest and terrorist acts.

Results
2.4% of people showed some sympathy for violent protest and terrorist acts. Sympathy was more likely to be articulated by the under 20s, those in full time education rather than employment, those born in the UK, those speaking English at home, and high earners (>£75,000 a year). People with poor self-reported health were less likely to show sympathies for violent protest and terrorism. Anxiety and depressive symptoms, adverse life events and socio-political attitudes showed no associations.

Conclusions
Sympathies for violent protest and terrorism were uncommon among men and women, aged 18–45, of Muslim heritage living in two English cities. Youth, wealth, and being in education rather than employment were risk factors.

Department of Education Releases New Parent and Community Engagement Framework

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Department of Education Releases New Parent and Community Engagement Framework
Source: U.S. Department of Education

The fourth quarter of the school year is generally a time of preparation for schools and districts as they finalize next year’s budget, student and teacher schedules, and professional development for the upcoming school year. During this time of preparation, it is important that schools and districts discuss ways that they can support parents and the community in helping students to achieve success.

To help in this work, the U.S. Department of Education is proud to release a framework for schools and the broader communities they serve to build parent and community engagement. Across the country, less than a quarter of residents are 18 years old or younger, and all of us have a responsibility for helping our schools succeed. The Dual Capacity framework, a process used to teach school and district staff to effectively engage parents and for parents to work successfully with the schools to increase student achievement, provides a model that schools and districts can use to build the type of effective community engagement that will make schools the center of our communities.

New Report Documents That Liberal Arts Disciplines Prepare Graduates for Long-Term Professional Success

April 10, 2014 Comments off

New Report Documents That Liberal Arts Disciplines Prepare Graduates for Long-Term Professional Success
Source: Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS)

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) released today a new report on earnings and long-term career paths for college graduates with different undergraduate majors. In How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment, authors Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly analyze data from the 2010-11 US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and provide answers to some common questions posed by students, parents, and policy makers who are increasingly concerned about the value of college degrees.

Responding to concerns about whether college is still worth it and whether liberal arts majors provide a solid foundation for long-term employment and career success, the report compares earnings trajectories and career pathways for liberal arts majors with the earnings trajectories and career pathways for those majoring in science and mathematics, engineering, and professional or preprofessional fields like business or education.

“Recent attacks on the liberal arts by ill-informed commentators and policy makers have painted a misleading picture of the value of the liberal arts to individuals and our communities,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “As the findings in this report demonstrate, majoring in a liberal arts field can and does lead to successful and remunerative careers in a wide array of professions.”

Academe — Losing Focus: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2013-14

April 8, 2014 Comments off

Losing Focus: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2013-14
Source: American Association of University Professors

In the decades following World War II, higher education in the United States has evolved from a narrow concern for a few scholars into an institution that affects all aspects of our society. Nearly every American has either attended college or has a friend or a family member who has enrolled, and many people also follow college sports or have a college or university in their communities. In short, higher education is a central social institution in contemporary America.

And yet, even as colleges and universities have become the focus of increased attention from the general public and policy makers alike, these institutions themselves seem to have lost their focus on a mission of preparing an informed citizenry for participation in democracy and expanding knowledge for the benefit of all. Without a doubt, higher education still provides a transformative experience for the millions of individuals who take part in its many activities. Behind the scenes, however, American higher education is changing in ways that detract from its potential to enhance the common good. This report will endeavor to wipe away some of the clouds obscuring a clear focus on the vital core mission of higher education.

CRS — Unlawfully Present Aliens, Higher Education, In-State Tuition, and Financial Aid: Legal Analysis

April 7, 2014 Comments off

Unlawfully Present Aliens, Higher Education, In-State Tuition, and Financial Aid: Legal Analysis (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The existence of a sizable population of “DREAMers” in the United States has prompted questions about unlawfully present aliens’ eligibility for admission to public institutions of higher education, in-state tuition, and financial aid. The term DREAMer is widely used to describe aliens who were brought to the United States as children and raised here but lack legal immigration status. As children, DREAMers are entitled to public elementary and secondary education as a result of the Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe. There, the Court struck down a Texas statute that prohibited the use of state funds to provide elementary and secondary education to children who were not “legally admitted” to the United States because the state distinguished between these children and other children without a “substantial” goal, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Once DREAMers complete high school, however, they may have less access to public higher education. Plyler’s holding was limited to elementary and secondary education, and the Court’s focus on the young age of those whom Texas denied a “basic education” has generally been taken to mean that measures denying unlawfully present aliens access to higher education may be subject to less scrutiny than the Texas statute was. Thus, several states have adopted laws or practices barring the enrollment of unlawfully present aliens at public institutions of higher education. In addition, Congress has enacted two statutes that restrict unlawfully present aliens’ eligibility for “public benefits,” a term which has generally been construed to encompass in-state tuition and financial aid. The first of these statutes, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA, P.L. 104-193) bars the provision of “state and local public benefits” to unlawfully present aliens unless the state enacts legislation that “affirmatively provides” for their eligibility. The second, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA, P.L. 104-208) bars states from providing “postsecondary education benefits” to unlawfully present aliens based on their residence in the state unless all U.S. citizens or nationals are eligible for such benefits, regardless of their state of residence.

Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country

April 6, 2014 Comments off

Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Using a unique survey of adults in Turkey, we find that an increase in educational attainment, due to an exogenous secular education reform, decreases women’s propensity to identify themselves as religious, lowers their tendency to wear a religious head cover (head scarf, turban or burka) and increases the tendency for modernity. Education reduces women’s propensity to vote for Islamic parties. There is no statistically significant impact of education on men’s religiosity or their tendency to vote for Islamic parties and education does not influence the propensity to cast a vote in national elections for men or women. The impact of education on religiosity and voting preference is not working through migration, residential location or labor force participation.

Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Success and Academic Progress Rates for the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 Teams

April 4, 2014 Comments off

Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Success and Academic Progress Rates for the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 Teams
Source: Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport

There is good news regarding academic success in general for both the men’s and women’s Sweet 16 teams. The GSR and the APR rates of the teams are overwhelmingly high. As in the past, the women still do better than the men. The most troubling statistics in the report come when we look at the historical gap between the graduation rates of white and African-American student-athletes which grew substantially for both the men’s and women’s teams in the 2014 Sweet 16 fields.

CRS — The Higher Education Act (HEA): A Primer

April 3, 2014 Comments off

The Higher Education Act (HEA): A Primer (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA; P.L. 89-329) authorizes numerous federal aid programs that provide support to both individuals pursuing a postsecondary education and institutions of higher education (IHEs). Title IV of the HEA authorizes the federal government’s major student aid programs, which are the primary source of direct federal support to students pursuing postsecondary education. Titles II, III, and V of the HEA provide institutional aid and support. Additionally, the HEA authorizes services and support for less-advantaged students (select Title IV programs), students pursing international education (Title VI), and students pursuing and institutions offering certain graduate and professional degrees (Title VII). Finally, the most recently added title (Title VIII) authorizes several other programs that support higher education.

The HEA was last comprehensively reauthorized in 2008 by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA; P.L. 110-315), which authorized most HEA programs through FY2014. Following the enactment of the HEAO, the HEA has been amended by numerous other laws, most notably the SAFRA Act, part of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152), which terminated the authority to make federal student loans through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program.

This report provides a brief overview of the major provisions of the HEA.

America’s Young Adults at 27: Labor Market Activity, Education, and Household Composition: Results From a Longitudinal Survey Summary

April 1, 2014 Comments off

America’s Young Adults at 27: Labor Market Activity, Education, and Household Composition: Results From a Longitudinal Survey Summary
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

\Young adults born in the early 1980s held an average of 6.2 jobs from age 18 through age 26, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over two-thirds of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 22. Women with more education held more jobs than women with less education. Regardless of education, men held a similar number of jobs.

Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children

April 1, 2014 Comments off

Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children
Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation

In this policy report, the Annie E. Casey Foundation explores the intersection of kids, race and opportunity. The report features the new Race for Results index, which compares how children are progressing on key milestones across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state level. The index is based on 12 indicators that measure a child’s success in each stage of life, from birth to adulthood, in the areas of early childhood; education and early work; family supports; and neighborhood context. The report also makes four policy recommendations to help ensure that all children and their families achieve their full potential.

PISA 2012 Results: Creative Problem Solving: Students’ skills in tackling real-life problems (Volume V)

April 1, 2014 Comments off

PISA 2012 Results: Creative Problem Solving: Students’ skills in tackling real-life problems (Volume V)
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

This fifth volume of PISA 2012 results presents an assessment of student performance in creative problem solving, which measures students’ capacity to respond to non-routine situations in order to achieve their potential as constructive and reflective citizens. It provides the rationale for assessing problem-solving skills and describes performance within and across the 44 countries and economies that took part in the assessment. In addition, the volume highlights the relative strengths and weaknesses of each school system and examines how they are related to individual student characteristics, such as gender, immigrant background and socio-economic status. The volume also explores the role of education in fostering problem-solving skills.

Public Service Delivery: Role of Information and Communication Technology in Improving Governance and Development Impact

March 31, 2014 Comments off

Public Service Delivery: Role of Information and Communication Technology in Improving Governance and Development Impact
Source: Asian Development Bank

The focus of this paper is on improving governance through the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the delivery of services to the poor, i.e., improving efficiency, accountability, and transparency, and reducing bribery. A number of papers recognize the potential benefits but they also point out that it has not been easy to harness this potential. This paper presents an analysis of effective case studies from developing countries where the benefits have reached a large number of poor citizens. It also identifies the critical success factors for wide-scale deployment.

The paper includes cases on the use of ICTs in the management of delivery of public services in health, education, and provision of subsidized food. Cases on electronic delivery of government services, such as providing certificates and licenses to rural populations, which in turn provide entitlements to the poor for subsidized food, fertilizer, and health services are also included. ICT-enabled provision of information to enhance rural income is also covered.

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