Category: Urban Ed Written by WWJ
LANSING (WWJ) – A new “State of the State” poll from Michigan State University shows 97 percent of people in Michigan feel a college education is important for a successful career, but just one-third say they can afford it.
“We in Michigan have had dramatic reductions in public funding for higher ed,” according to MSU economics professor Dr. Charles Ballard, who led the effort. “Our economy and our population is the same size as North Carolina, but they spend more than twice as much as we do on higher ed. That makes it a lot more affordable there.”
Putting the cost of a college degree within reach of most people is a major concern Ballard said.
“People see the importance of this stuff, but don’t see the level of support that’s making it possible for them to get what they perceive to be very important.”
Studies have shown that the states with the highest percentage of college-educated residents have higher overall personal incomes.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2012 10:24
Category: Urban Ed Written by BRIAN BURNSED, USNews
Anyone who has taken a standardized test like the SAT, GRE, or GMAT, or who soon must run one of these gauntlets, is familiar with the typical study options. Guidebooks, practice tests, classes, and even one-on-one tutors are the typical pillars of the daunting study process.
Meanwhile, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has provided a platform for the exploding market for digital apps, and a bevy of new, innovative options are now available for those interested in studying outside the box.
While there are roughly 16,000 education-centric apps to choose from, according to data from app marketplace Appitalism—some free, others costing $40 or more—it's best to use discretion when picking a study tool, says Simon Buckingham, Appitalism's CEO. "A lot of people think, 'Oh, there's 350,000 apps, what more could be done?' But when you have a look at them there does seem to be more of an emphasis on quantity than quality," he says. "[Many] aren't thinking through what a student would want."
Some apps, however, ranging from intricate to simple, can prove to be beneficial. Here are just a few of the innovative test prep apps on the market:
1. Watermelon Express: The app, created by University of Chicago Booth School of Business student Ashish Rangnekar, received funding from the same Web-savvy group that cofounded and provided financial backing to the popular discount site Groupon. Prospective test takers can purchase study kits for their computers, iPhones, or iPads for the LSAT, MCAT, GRE, GMAT, and SAT.
Live data lets users chart their progress in real time and compare their scores to those of their peers. Built-in study breaks cut to "edgy" and humorous YouTube videos that add a little levity to the otherwise arduous study process.
The content, provided by education publication giant McGraw-Hill is on par with any traditional study textbook, Rangnekar says, which is why the service is priced accordingly. GMAT test takers, for instance, must pay $9.99 and $14.99 for the iPhone and iPad versions, respectively. "We are not building apps that are just flashcards," he says. "This is a very comprehensive way to study."
2. Easel: This free SAT iPad app allows students to solve for "x" using only their finger and the touchscreen. Rather than reading problems on the screen and working them out with pencil and paper, students have a "digital whiteboard" that serves as their scratch paper.
If the student has trouble, they need only push a "Show Me" button, in which a digital tutor writes out step-by-step instructions that show the right path to the correct answer.
3. Tutor.com To Go: This week, Tutor.com is rolling out an app that will allow tutors and students preparing for the SAT or ACT to interact in real time. Students can use the app to ask questions or send photos of questions that stump them, and a live tutor will respond and walk them through the answer.
The Tutor app will also have a whiteboard feature similar to the Easel product that allows the live tutor and students to work problems out together via a digital interface.
4. Traditional test prep companies: For GMAT test takers, Veritas Prep offers a free app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Features include timed practice tests and the ability to review answers, and drills on specific problem types that are the most challenging for the user.
Click here to read more
Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 09:59
Category: Urban Ed Written by Richard Prince, mije.org
NBC News is planning to pay its interns starting in the spring of 2013, according to a well-placed source at the network, addressing a long-held contention that requiring interns to work only for the experience or for college credit amounts to favoring students with well-to-do parents.
The number of internships and the salary level have yet to be determined, the source said.
The arguments for and against unpaid internships have been made for years.
In 2006, NBC News was embarrassed when Brian Williams, "Nightly News" anchor and managing editor, posted a photo of the unpaid "Nightly News" interns that showed that none were of color. Williams wrote afterward on his blog, "In previous years, our interns have better reflected American society" and added that ". . . I have spoken to Steve Capus, the President of NBC News, and going forward, racial diversity will now also be a factor in our unpaid summer internship program, because our newsrooms have to better reflect our society."
"The economics of unpaid internships are obvious," Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, wrote in April. "Employers are desperate for cheap work, and 'free' is pretty cheap. Workers are desperate for, well, anything, and students and recent grads are willing to negotiate their wages down to zero. But the ethics aren't so clear-cut. If unpaid internships are the key to better jobs and bigger salaries, should we be concerned about the millions of lower-class students who can't afford to work for free?"
In 2005, Reginald Stuart, then a recruiter for the now-defunct Knight Ridder newspaper chain, and now corporate recruiter for the McClatchy Co., accepted the Ida B. Wells award for promoting diversity from the National Association of Black Journalists with a plea for audience members to advocate for paid internships.
"Are you insisting at every turn that interns be paid for the work they do?" Stuart asked. "At the Howard University Jobs Fair yesterday, I was reminded how ingrained this no-pay notion is, especially in the heads of young recruiters who need to be on the front lines fighting it. I asked a young recruiter if his company was paying its interns. 'Oh no,' he said. 'They don't do that.' If he's working for them, shouldn't he be saying 'we?'
"In one breath, I was ashamed of him and for him. He reminded me of the character in the movie 'Crash' who seemed powerless to determine anything in his company, even how a line of script in a sitcom should be read. Trust me. Paying interns is an easy one."
Although NBC News in general has not paid its interns, ABC News and CNN do, and CBS News and Fox News have arrangements for the college to offer course credit.
"ABC News offers a number of paid and unpaid internships every semester," then-ABC spokeswoman Natalie Raabe told Journal-isms in 2006. "The paid internship program was instituted in 2000 for students of color who demonstrate a solid interest in journalism and network news."
[LaShanti Jenkins, ABC News intern coordinator, added by email on Tuesday: "Typically there are 50-65 interns per term (including NY, LA, and DC). All news interns are paid $8.50/hour and we transitioned to an all-paid program in Spring 2008."]
ABC's internship material states, "We offer an attractive hourly salary. Interns are not eligible for company medical benefits, holiday pay or sick pay." The internships are in New York; Burbank, Calif.; and Glendale, Calif. Candidates must be available a minimum of 16 hours a week.
CNN's website says, "Students @ Work Internships are paid at minimum-wage and structured to last approximately 12 weeks. Program dates are January 28 - April 19. Course Credit is available."
NBCUniversal news internships take place in New York; New Jersey; Universal City, Calif.; and Burbank, Calif.; and Connecticut, and include the cable networks CNBC and MSNBC.
"In addition to an up to date knowledge of the news, a successful intern exhibits extraordinary attention to detail, and can function as part of a dynamic environment driven by both pace and accuracy. Journalism and political science majors are preferred, but not required," NBC says.
An exception to the no-pay internships at NBC has been the Emma Bowen Foundation.
"The Emma L. Bowen Foundation was established by the media industry to help increase access to permanent job opportunities for minority students," according to the NBC website.
"The Foundation's program is unlike other intern programs in that students work for a partner company during summers and school breaks from the end of their junior year in high school until they graduate from college. During that five-year period, students have an opportunity to learn many aspects of corporate operations and develop company-specific skills. Students in the program receive an hourly wage, as well as matching compensation to help pay for college tuition and expenses. Mentoring from selected staff in the sponsoring company is also a key element of the program."
At CBS News, the interns' duties are listed as, "Log tapes, coordinate script, research stories, conduct preliminary interviews, assist during shoots, select footage, perform light clerical duties and assist staff members," with the proviso that "Duties vary in each department."
A description adds, "This is an unpaid internship. Student must get credit." [Updated Nov. 27]
Steven Greenhouse, New York Times: Jobs Few, Grads Flock to Unpaid Internships (May 5)
Derek Thompson, the Atlantic: In Defense of Unpaid Internships (May 10)
Last Updated on Monday, 03 December 2012 10:31
Category: Urban Ed Written by Katy Hopkins
With the same president and a still-divided Congress, Washington, D.C. may not look much different next year. But college students could see changes in their financial aid awards for the 2013-2014 school year.
Here's a look at how a few programs that deal with college costs may fare in 2013-2014.
Loans: Subsidized Stafford loan borrowers should prepare for a possible interest rate jump on new loans taken next year. Though the federal loan option currently comes with an interest rate of 3.4 percent, the interest rate on loans taken after July 1, 2013 will jump to 6.8 percent, barring further Congressional action.
The current low rate was the result of a one-year delay on the increase, which Congress passed after both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney publicly supported keeping the rate at 3.4 percent. The decision cost an estimated $6 billion, and Congress and the president, in a non-election year, are not likely to extend the low rate again, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and FastWeb.com.
Grants: In his fiscal year 2013 budget request, President Obama called for a small but notable increase to the maximum Pell grant award, from $5,550 to $5,635 for the 2013-2014 school year. (For the past two years, the maximum grant has remained steady.) Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Pell grant program, which helps low-income students pay for college, is funded for fiscal year 2013, but could face a funding shortfall after that.
Tax credits: The American Opportunity Tax Credit, which gives families up to $2,500 back for paying college expenses such as tuition and fees, may not be available in 2013-2014. The tax credit is set to expire this year, but could be extended through legislation. President Obama has requested a permanent extension of the tax credit.
Repayment: Last week, the Department of Education released a final version of the Pay As You Earn plan, which allows some federal borrowers to make loan payments based on their postgraduate income, and promises to forgive debt to timely repayers after 20 years, rather than 25. It's one of several income-driven repayment options for federal student loan borrowers, along with income-based and income-contingent repayment.
"Governor Romney was opposed to the improvements in income-based repayment, and would have sought repeal," FinAid.org's Kantrowitz notes. "President Obama is obviously in favor of income-based repayment, and will soon implement the fast-tracking of the improved version."
Transparency: Regardless of a particular student's aid awards, the Obama administration has been pushing for greater transparency on college costs in general. One effort that already debuted is the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, a comparable list of costs, aid, and outcomes that hundreds of colleges have already pledged to send to admitted students starting in the 2013-2014 school year.
"[Obama] wants them to do some comparison shopping," notes Maura Kastberg, director of student services at RSC, Your College Prep Expert, a college and career counseling company. "Families have that and can look at it and can kind of get a ballpark of how much is [the] total education going to cost, and how much debt they're going to be in—that's super important."
Last Updated on Monday, 26 November 2012 10:16
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