Wednesday Linkpile compiles, for your information and delight, links to noteworthy news articles pertaining to all things online and higher-educational.
- Student loan awards have become the new prize for crooks. An April 5, 2011 BBC piece reports, "Fraudsters target students, warns Student Loans Company." "[Bogus, misleading] emails are common at this time of the year because fraudsters know students are about to receive their final loan instalments."
- For more on student loan fraud see this April 5, 2011 Rochdale Online article, "Warning as scammers try to steal student loans." "The number of students revealing their details to the scammers has more than tripled in the last year and the emails are rife in April and May, as fraudsters know students are due to receive their final funds for the academic year."
- Even if the fraudsters don't get you, the government will -- should you default on your loans, that is. "Tomorrow Never Knows: Student Loan Default and Its Consequences." "The old proverb states that necessity is the mother of invention. Not willing to cramp their post-collegiate lifestyles with onerous debt, many college students have shown themselves to make considerable sacrifices in the short term in exchange for greater financial freedom down the road. The most important life lesson in this instance comes before you ever step into a lecture hall."
- On April 5, 2011 the blog Higher Ed Watch featured an opinion piece concerning the recent brouhaha involving career college Ashford University and its parent company, Bridgepoint, Inc. "Guest Post: Bridgepoint Case Shows Why Federal Student Aid Dollars Should be Spent on Education." "Perhaps it is time for the federal government to use its considerable financial leverage to ensure that its money goes where most students and parents assume it does -- to education. We could argue about what the right ratio of instructional investment vs. other expenditures should be, but at Bridgepoint, it would surely force a change of priorities to the benefit of its students. In 2009, Bridgepoint, according to data presented in the HELP Committee hearing, took in $336 million in federal aid, which constituted 86 percent of the company’s total revenue. An analysis of the company's spending in 2010 shows that thirty percent of those revenues go to profit, 30 percent to marketing, and only 40 percent goes to cover everything else including executive compensation. It’s no wonder the company has so little left for instruction."
- Looks like the e-learning tide has risen higher. An April 6, 2011 New York Times article brings word that "More Pupils Are Learning Online, Fueling Debate on Quality." "Like other education debates, this one divides along ideological lines. K-12 online learning is championed by conservative-leaning policy groups that favor broadening school choice, including Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, which has called on states to provide all students with 'Internet access devices' and remove bans on for-profit virtual schools."
- Some wrinkles in online learning need to be ironed out, however. An April 5, 2011 UPI article reveals that as it currently stands, e-learning is a babble of tongues. "Study: Online learning needs common terms." "U.S. researchers say a lack of common definitions makes it difficult to determine effective strategies for e-learning, online learning and distance learning."
- Once the e-learning kinks are worked out, it just becomes a matter of finding the most promising course of study. "Academic Chart-Toppers: The 5 Most Popular College Degree Programs." "People who prefer to follow broad trends could do worse than abide the wisdom of the crowds piling into these degree programs. As long as supply (jobs) and demand (job applicants) remain more or less in equilibrium, those holding degrees in the above areas can expect to enjoy long, fulfilling careers -- and, yes, a satisfactory return on their tuition investment as well."