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Synthesis 2013

Dartmouth Strategic Planning


Higher Education Costs

Free Apps

Reed College is eliminating an application fee for all students. Their aim is to spur more applications from prospective students, particularly low-income and first-generation students. Previously, Reed, like most colleges that charge application fees, allowed low-income students to waive the application fee. But recent research suggests that the paperwork burden associated with waivers and a lack of knowledge that such waivers exist might prevent low-income students from ever applying. 88 percent of institutions have application fees. About 87 percent of colleges charging a fee include a fee waiver for low-income students. Kiley, Kevin. "Free Apps." Inside HigherEd, 23 May 2013. Read article »

Virtual Lab Experiment

The California State University System is spending $17.2 million on education technology to break the so-called course bottleneck that prevents students from advancing, prompts some to drop out and consumes state resources. By investing in virtual labs to end in-the-flesh lab experimentation for students who are not biology majors, Cal State will reduce personnel costs and increase course capacity. Rivard, Ry. "Virtual Lab Experiment." Inside HigherEd, 23 May, 2013. Read article »

Are our universities ready for a paradigm shift?

“Is the time right for significant change – perhaps even a fundamental paradigm shift within higher education?” “There is no question that calls for fundamental change within higher education abound.” “In commenting on the economic challenges we are experiencing today, Arthur Levine of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation described the change as a shift from a ‘national, analogue, industrial economy’ to one that is ‘global, digital and information-based.’” Hughes, Julia Christensen. “Are our universities ready for a paradigm shift?” The Globe and Mail, 11 March 2013. Read article »

Dire Warnings as Cuts Approach

What will sequestration mean for colleges and universities? A lack of clear guidance from federal agencies on how cuts will be applied to educational programs has made uncertainty the prevailing sentiment on campuses. The cuts may impact research and financial aid the most, with the former affected more quickly than the latter. “In some cases, campus researchers working on federally funded projects have put off hiring lab staff or purchasing equipment until the budgetary picture is more clear.” Nelson, Libby. “Dire Warnings as Cuts Approach.” Inside Higher Ed, 1 March 2013. Read article »

Majority of Students Look at College’s Sticker Price Without Taking Financial Aid into Consideration

Despite the availability and increased use of Net Price Calculators (NCPs) to determine how much aid a student will receive at a given college, a survey by the College Board and Art & Science Group reveals that more than half (54 percent) of students still judge a college's cost by sticker price without considering financial aid. “A Majority of Students Look at a College’s Sticker Price Without...” studentPOLL, March 2013, Vol. 10, No. 1. Read article »

To Raise Graduation Rate, Colleges Are Urged to Help a Changing Student Body

A report titled “College Completion Must Be Our Priority” recommends that colleges and universities give students more credit for previous learning and provide more services for nontraditional students in order to improve college completion rates. “This is the first time in the history of modern higher education in which all the communities have come together — community colleges, research institutions, public universities and small liberal arts colleges — and reached agreement that completion needs to be our most important priority,” said E. Gordon Gee, the president of Ohio State University and chairman of the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment. The report lists online and late-night classes, credit transfers, and equivalency evaluations as measures that will help students stay in college. Nearly half of students who begin college fail to earn a degree within six years, according to the report. Research suggests that financial pressures may be negatively impacting completion rates across the nation. Two-thirds of respondents in a 2012 UCLA survey of 192,812 first-year, full-time students at 283 four-year institutions said that “the economic climate had significantly affected their college choice,” and “13 percent said they could not afford to attend their first-choice university, the highest percentage since that question was first asked in 2006.” Lewin, Tamar. “To Raise Graduation Rate, Colleges Are Urged to Help a Changing Student Body.” The New York Times, 24 Jan. 2013. Read article »

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We want to scour the world to try to find those things that strike us as truly forward-looking. President Jim Yong Kim