Wednesday Linkpile compiles, for your information and delight, links to noteworthy news articles pertaining to all things online and higher-educational.
- An article in the April 27, 2011 edition of The Iowa Independent brings word of troubled minds in the heartland. "Declining support for higher education hits rural and low-income areas hard," the headline reads. "Rural areas tend to have trouble keeping up with wage because the further away from urban areas where colleges are generally located, the lower the percentage of residents with a college degree. Only eight counties in Iowa meet or exceed the national average for percentage of the population with a degree. And that statistic has remained virtually unchanged during the past 60 years."
- It looks like career colleges might have gotten a new lease on life. "War on Error: Education Department Discloses Default-Rate Calculation Mistake." "The U.S. Department of Education admits it made a mistake in the way it calculated rates of student loan default. The mistake resulted in an amplification of student default rates by including too many borrowers in the calculation."
- An April 26, 2011 Reuters article reports that private-sector Capella University plans to make the most of this new lease. "Capella Education steps up efforts to retain students." "Capella Education Co is ramping up spending to keep its working adult student base as these are more likely to pay back federal debt in a fiercely competitive education market that has seen tougher rules on federal aid."
- With all the intense scrutiny, for-profits now seek to seize the initiative via some self-imposed ethical adjustments. "Scheme Police: Career Colleges Pledge to Observe Stricter Standards." "What the recent move to improve for-profit indicates ... is that the for-profit education sector is prepared to work with governmental regulatory agencies to improve their product. Students in for-profit universities depend on millions of dollars in federal aid to finance their educations. To deny them future assistance means jeopardizing their future success -- and with the economy at an all-time low, what agency would want to take responsibility for destroying employment prospects for millions of students?"
- Yet for all this career colleges remain under the Feds' microscope. "Investigation scrutinizes for-profit colleges use of taxpayer dollars," reads the headline to an April 25, 2011 Iowa Independent article. "For-profit schools have become the fastest growing sector of higher education, moving from 550,000 students in 1998 to more than 1.8 million students by 2008. Although they are still only 10 percent of the total higher education student population in the U.S., they take 42 percent of all Pell Grants."
- No matter the political situation between Feds and for-profits, the wheels of technological progress grind indefatigably on. "2011 Horizon Report: Emerging Trends in Higher Education Technology." "This report has staying power as it has been released every year since 2002. Each year, the report identifies six emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on higher education in the next one to five years. The format of the report stays consistent every year, but the process to arrive at the six emerging technologies keeps improving."
- An April 26, 2011 Huffington Post article touts the Web as a means of bringing higher education to the developing world. "Distance Learning for Developing Countries." "There are millions of people around the world, right now, who wish to access higher education but cannot. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, only 6% of all eligible students are able to access higher education (UNESCO). Online learning is one way of distance learning that presents an extraordinary opportunity to help address disparities in access across developing countries. It allows anyone, anywhere in the world, to study without requiring governments or private parties to expend heavy investments required in establishing and expanding traditional universities. Online learning allows for a more equitable and accessible higher education system whereby rural students can complete their studies without leaving their communities and students working to support their family can take advantage of a flexible study schedule."