Linkpile for Wednesday, December 28, 2011:
- A December 28, 2011 CBS News article warns higher-ed aspirants to "Get ready for the new federal student aid application." "The new FAFSA will be available on January 1, but you can get a head start this week by obtaining your FAFSA PIN (personal identification number). Both the parent filling out the financial aid form and the student applying for aid must obtain a PIN. Each must use the PIN to electronically sign the financial aid form and to retrieve the family's financial aid records."
- A December 28, 2011 U.S. News and World Report Student Loan Ranger blog post has determined that "Private Loan Borrowers Need Increased Protections." "As 'The Expansion of Private Loans' notes, students may be unaware of federal loan programs or confused or daunted by the federal loan application process. Private lenders may also be recommended by higher education institutions' financial aid offices. It may also be the case that some students aren't clear on the importance of borrower protections and things as simple as a fixed interest rate. (In our experience, many students only come to this realization years later after they enter repayment.)"
- Give it away now. "M.I.T. offering more free online courses," reports a December 27, 2011 PhillyBurbs.com article. "After posting course materials online from almost all of its classes 10 years ago with the free OpenCourseWare (which includes nearly 2,100 courses and has been used by more than 100 million people) M.I.T. has launched a new initiative called M.I.T.x, giving students access to online laboratories, self-assessments, and student-to-student discussions."
- Have we as a nation of higher-ed aspirants gone soft? "All on U.: Online Higher Education and Personal Responsibility." "The relation between student and institution is, when you come right down to it, an economy of effort. If students make a fair effort in their studies, they tend to see it rewarded. The problem is, students tend to want to reduce the amount of effort they make in their studies, but are at the same time discontent with any justifiably reduced reward. Maybe it's a consequence of the fact that the common run of humanity is hedonistic and lazy. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that justice dictates that fair effort ought to meet with fair reward, and poor effort with poor reward."
- Midlife financial crisis: "Middle-aged borrowers piling on student debt," reports a December 27, 2011 Reuters article. "Educational borrowing is up for every age group over the past three years, but it has grown far more quickly among those between 35 and 49, according to the analysis of more than 3 million credit reports provided to Reuters by the credit score tracking site CreditKarma (CreditKarma.com). That group saw its school debt burden increase by a staggering 47 percent, according to the analysis."
- Education for all is an ideal 150 years in the making. "Wired for Sound Learning: Online Universities Carry on the Tradition of Distance Higher Education." "And any person of good will ought to get behind digital distance higher learning, generally, because it holds out the promise of a vast and potentially world-changing optimization of vast human capabilities, exercised by those whom the status quo has effectively excluded for a variety of financial and logistical reasons. Whether folks want to study engineering or English, they should be able to do so without obstacle. Let a thousand flowers bloom, and the world will indeed be made more beautiful."
- A December 27, 2011 post on The Foundry (a Heritage Foundation blog) runs down "Top 10 Education Stories of 2011." "There was no lack of education news in 2011. From an explosion in school choice options to the Obama Administration?s executive overreach, the top stories included the high and low lights when it came to issues affecting America's schools."