All posts by Beckie Supiano

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How ‘Undermatching’ Shapes Students’ College Experience

“Undermatching,” the phenomenon in which students enroll at less-selective colleges than their academic qualifications suggest they could have attended, is a hot topic in higher-education research. Among the topics studies have examined so far: how common undermatching is, its effect on graduation rates, and a low-cost way to change where high-achieving, low-income students apply to and enroll in college.

A paper scheduled to be presented on Friday at the American Educational Research Associatio…

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How One University Is Increasing Its International Enrollment

Denver — International students have long come to North Carolina State University for its graduate programs, where they account for about a third of the enrollment. At the undergraduate level, however, they have historically made up less than 1 percent of the student body.

The university has been working to change that pattern. During a session here on Wednesday at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ annual meeting, two admissions officials shared what N.C….

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How a University Overcomes the Challenges of Holistic Admissions

Denver — Fit is a big deal at Brigham Young University, where the admissions office looks for students who share its values academically, socially, and spiritually. To select those students, the university uses a holistic process that three campus officials described here on Monday during a session at the American Association for Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ annual meeting.

Each applicant’s file—stripped of its grades and test scores—is evaluated by more than one reader. Re…

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3 Things to Know About the Expected Family Contribution and College Affordability

The federal government should slash the Expected Family Contribution, argues an op-ed in Friday’s New York Times by Steve Cohen, co-author of a recent book on admissions and student aid.

Cutting the expected contribution, he suggests, “would force colleges to construct financial-aid packages without the artificial price supports of inflated contribution numbers—and make paying for college less agonizing.”

The Expected Family Contribution, or EFC, is calculated with data families provide on the F…

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Borrowing Levels Vary Widely by Sector and Degree

$29,400. That’s the average student-loan burden of 2012 graduates of four-year colleges who borrowed.

But averages obscure variation. With that in mind, the New America Foundation released this week a new analysis that looks at how much undergraduates borrowed for different credentials in different sectors over time.

For instance, the rate of borrowing has gone up for both graduates with associate degrees and graduates with bachelor’s degrees since 2003-4, but a larger share of bachelor’s recipi…

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Temple U. Program Will Help Students Work Fewer Hours, Graduate on Time

Graduating on time can save students a lot of money. But for cost-conscious students working their way through college, on-time graduation presents a particular challenge. The amount students can earn in a minimum-wage job covers less of tuition than it used to, and many students work long hours.

With that in mind, Temple University announced on Monday a new program that will encourage students to graduate in four years and will reduce the amount of time needy students spend on the job.

Under th…

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At-Risk Young Adults With Mentors Go to College at Higher Rates

At-risk young people who had a mentor aspired to attend college and enrolled at higher rates than did their peers without mentors. That’s according to a survey commissioned by the National Mentoring Partnership that was scheduled for release on Monday.

About three-quarters of at-risk young adults (ages 18 to 21) with a mentor reported that they had always planned to go to and graduate from college, compared with 56 percent of those who didn’t have a mentor.

Forty-five percent of at-risk young ad…

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Nonprofit Group Will Offer Personalized College Guidance Online

Get Schooled, a nonprofit group that seeks to improve college access, has received $2-million through Google’s Global Impact Awards to develop an online hub offering prospective students customized college information.

The new tool will use recommendation technology to provide personalized information to low-income students, who often lack access to college counseling and have little help navigating the college-selection process. The group plans to unveil the tool next year.

In a recent report a…

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Should Colleges Be Able to Limit Students’ Borrowing?

Coconino Community College, in Flagstaff, Ariz., has low tuition: just $87 a credit hour for in-state students. So in 2008, when the federal government raised the amount students could borrow in unsubsidized loans by $2,000 a year, the college’s financial-aid director wasn’t sure that was a good thing for his students.

There was no indication that Coconino students needed larger loans, says Bob Voytek, the aid director. And since the loans had no interest subsidy and came, at the time, with a 6….

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First-Generation Students Lag in College Readiness, Report Says

About a quarter of high-school graduates who took the ACT in 2013 met all four of its college-readiness benchmarks, in English, reading, mathematics, and science. But students whose parents did not go to college fared quite a bit worse: Only 9 percent of them met all four benchmarks.

That finding comes from a report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013: First-Generation Students,” released on Monday by ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education, a nonprofit group focused on a…