National View

Chronicle of Higher Education
Are Colleges Ready to Adjust to a New Higher-Education Landscape?
By Scott Carlson

November 25, 2013 -- Moody’s Investors Service on Friday released a report with grim news, particularly for public institutions: In a survey, 28 percent of public institutions, compared with 15 percent the year before, said they expected declines in their net-tuition revenue, increasingly the lifeblood of many institutions. For private institutions, the news was not quite as dire. Nineteen percent expected declines, compared with 18 percent last year, but that finding should come with a caveat: The Moody’s survey included only the institutions the credit-rating company evaluates, which means they are probably among the more financially stable private colleges out there.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Senate Task Force to Assess Regulatory Burden on Colleges
By Andy Thomason

November 18, 2013 -- Four members of the U.S. Senate's education committee on Monday announced the formation of a task force aimed at examining the effects of federal regulation on higher education, echoing lawmakers' concerns that government red tape drives up college costs and stifles innovation. The announcement comes amid discussions about the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the principal law that determines how the federal government spends money on student aid. Excessive regulation, among other topics, has been a constant refrain in Senate and House hearings on renewal of the law.

National Journal
Tech That May Help These Students Graduate
By Sophie Quinton 
Increasingly America’s community colleges, where 44 percent of students are nonwhite, are turning to technology to improve completion rates—and their rankings.   

Nov. 18, 2013--Community colleges are good at helping students who have a clear sense of direction. But the sprawling, underfunded campuses often offer little guidance for those who don't know what they want to study, or what to expect from college. Improving on-campus advising could become an imperative for two-year schools if the Obama administration's proposed college-ranking system ends up rewarding institutions for graduating students on time.

Issues in Science and Technology
The New Normal in Funding University Science
By Daniel Howard and Frank Laird
Government funding for academic research will remain limited, and competition for grants will remain high. Broad adjustments will be needed—and here’s a plan.

Science policy analysts have focused recently on the federal budget sequester and the dramatic effects it could have on funding scientific R&D in U.S. universities, certainly a serious problem. But looking only at the sequester misses the larger picture. The sequester simply makes acute a chronic condition that has been getting worse for years. Even if Congress removed the sequester tomorrow and R&D funding returned to pre-sequester levels, university researchers would still face serious and growing problems in funding their research programs, systemic problems that arise from the R&D funding system and incentive structure that the federal government put in place after World War II. This reality dictates that policymakers, research administrators, and the scientific community must adjust to continuing low success rates if scientific research is to continue to flourish on university and college campuses.

Inside Higher Ed
Strategy for Women in STEM
By Allie Grasgreen

November 20, 2013 -- When researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute began surveying alumni to assess how their project-based curriculum impacted their students in the long term, they simply hoped to see that students did well after graduating. That appeared to be true. But what also emerged was evidence that WPI's approach to engineering education appeared to be substantially more effective for women, suggesting that a project-based curriculum may boost female success in the science, technology, mathematics and engineering fields.

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