WBEZ | higher education http://www.wbez.org/tags/higher-education Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Paying for college in era of soaring student debt http://www.wbez.org/news/paying-college-era-soaring-student-debt-113788 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1112_graduation-cap-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96000"><img alt="A 2015 graduation cap. (Pixabay)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1112_graduation-cap-624x416.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Paying for college can be harder than getting into college. (Pixabay)" /><p>For many graduating high school students and their families, paying for college can be harder than getting in. From scholarships to sky-high tuition, financing high education seems like it&rsquo;s getting more complex every day.</p></div><p>As part of <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/tag/student-loan-debt-series" target="_blank">our series on student loan debt</a>,<em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/12/how-to-pay-for-college" target="_blank">&nbsp;Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</a></em> Jeremy Hobson asks two counselors for tips on planning for &ndash; and paying for &ndash; college.</p><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Tips For Families Worried About College Costs</strong></span></p><p>By <a href="https://twitter.com/lisamicele" target="_blank">Lisa </a><a href="https://twitter.com/lisamicele" target="_blank">Micele</a></p><ol><li><strong>Save anything you can for college.&nbsp;</strong>Families often believe that saving will hurt them with financial aid. The penalty for saving (especially when in the parent&rsquo;s name) is very minimal.&nbsp;<a href="http://studentaid.gov/" target="_blank">StudentAid.gov</a>&nbsp;is a great place to start to learn about the federal student assistance programs and eligibility requirements.</li><li><strong>Just do it! File the financial aid forms when applying to college and don&rsquo;t make assumptions.</strong>&nbsp;There are no income cut-offs. It is a formula that takes so many factors (other than income) into account.</li><li><strong>Complete NET PRICE CALCULATORS early</strong>&nbsp;and have conversations about ability &amp; willingness to pay early as a family too. These calculators are found on each college/university website. You can also do EFC (Expected Family Contribution) calculators at the Big Future College Board&nbsp;<a href="https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/paying-your-share/expected-family-contribution-calculator" target="_blank">website</a>.</li><li><strong>Don&rsquo;t be afraid to call the financial aid office at a college and ask questions.</strong>&nbsp;Ask them how accurate their Net Price calculator is (some are better than others) and discuss your outcome from this calculator starting junior year of high school. Get the name of the financial aid officer and talk with the same person. They are there to help you and they appreciate early &amp; proactive conversations. In spring, when a senior is then making the final May 1st decision, any conversations about the aid package or a potential appeal will go thru the financial aid office. Now you will have someone specific to call, if needed.</li><li><strong>Merit aid does still at exist at some colleges.</strong>&nbsp;Do your research.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.collegedata.com/" target="_blank">CollegeData.com</a>&nbsp;is a great site to use &mdash; under the &ldquo;Money Matters&rdquo; tab for each college.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cappex.com/" target="_blank">Cappex.com</a>&nbsp;also allows you to search for merit aid at colleges that reward students for grades, test scores, talents, leadership, etc. regardless of parents&rsquo; income. Use&nbsp;<a href="https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/" target="_blank">College Navigator</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/" target="_blank">College Scorecard</a>&nbsp;in your research for colleges as well.</li><li><strong>Apply for scholarships using free search engines</strong>&nbsp;&ndash; completing all of the optional questions and portals as thoroughly as possible. NEVER pay for scholarship search services. These portals listed here are free. Students should complete multiple search engines.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.studentscholarshipsearch.com/" target="_blank">StudentScholarshipSearch.com</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fastweb.com/" target="_blank">Fastweb.com</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/" target="_blank">BigFuture.Collegeboard.org</a>are great places to start &mdash; to name a few.</li><li><strong>Apply for as many local scholarships as you can.</strong>&nbsp;Talk to your high school Counseling Office about such scholarships; search online; talk with civic centers / volunteer agencies in your hometown. Parents &amp; guardians should inquire with their employers about scholarship opportunities as well.</li><li><strong>Student</strong><strong> should plan for summer work to save for college and plan for a part-time job in college.&nbsp;</strong>12 hours or less while in college is very doable and data shows that having a job equates to better grades and time management.</li><li>If you do borrow student loans,&nbsp;<strong>go for the federal loans first</strong>&nbsp;over private loans; use repayment estimators; talk with the financial aid office at the college you are attending to budget and plan ahead for repayment.</li><li><strong>Use your community college</strong>.&nbsp;Summer classes that transfer to your college/university for credit can save you tuition dollars. Starting at your community college first may be the best fit for you as well.</li><li>Cut costs in college.&nbsp;<strong>Budget</strong>; make sacrifices now (yes &mdash; you can skip the latte); evaluate closely the meal / housing plan options in college. These are just a few examples. Search &ldquo;How to cut costs in college&rdquo; and many sites will offer you tips, budget templates, and words of wisdom from college graduates.</li></ol><p>Final words from Lisa Micele:&nbsp;Use these tools and tips to plan ahead, build a better college list, and put &ldquo;Financial Fit&rdquo; into your college discussions. You can do this! Good luck.</p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 15:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/paying-college-era-soaring-student-debt-113788 Free speech vs. political correctness on college campuses http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-11/free-speech-vs-political-correctness-college-campuses-113742 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_977690620801.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95939"><img alt="Members of black student protest group Concerned Student 1950 hold hands following the announcement that University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at the university in Columbia, Mo. Wolfe resigned Monday with the football team and others on campus in open revolt over his handling of racial tensions at the school. (Jeff Roberson/AP)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1111_university-missouri-624x402.jpg" style="height: 399px; width: 620px;" title="Members of black student protest group Concerned Student 1950 hold hands following the announcement that University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at the university in Columbia, Mo. Wolfe resigned Monday with the football team and others on campus in open revolt over his handling of racial tensions at the school. (Jeff Roberson/AP)" /><p>&nbsp;</p></div><p>Its been a busy week for college protesters. On Tuesday, hundreds marched at Yale University, protesting alleged racial insensitivity on campus. This came after s<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IEFD_JVYd0" target="_blank">tudent anger was raised to the boiling point</a> when a sociology professor and his wife, both of whom oversee a student residence, emailed students saying it might be reasonable not to ban Halloween costumes that some consider offensive, but instead to use them as an <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM-VE8r7MSI" target="_blank">opportunity for dialogue</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">That student&#39;s conduct was ridiculous and unacceptable. She violated his physical. Kudos to him <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/YaleHalloween?src=hash">#YaleHalloween</a> <a href="https://t.co/uGNMEkYB7H">https://t.co/uGNMEkYB7H</a></p>&mdash; Marc Christopher (@MCC1701) <a href="https://twitter.com/MCC1701/status/663852982556090368">November 9, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>At the University of Missouri, both Chancellor R. Brown Loftin and President Tim Wolfe&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/mizzou-president-resigns-over-handling-racial-issues-113703" target="_blank">stepped down</a>&nbsp;as protests over alleged systemic racism and bias escalated to include a hunger strike and the football team refusing to play.</p><p>While many applaud the student actions, some are questioning whether the climate of sensitivity on college campuses has evolved into a climate of over-sensitivity, where students are considered fragile and unable to cope with opinions that make them even slightly uncomfortable.</p><p>Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, wrote a recent piece in <em>The Atlantic </em>called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/" target="_blank">The Coddling of the American Mind</a>.&rdquo; While Lukianoff recognizes and opposes racism, bullying and threats, he maintains that many students and administrators have taken the concept of &ldquo;student comfort&rdquo; too far.</p><p>Lukianoff joins&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/11/free-speech-political-correctness" target="_blank"><em>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</em></a> Jeremy Hobson to discuss the concept of college &ldquo;coddling,&rdquo; and how it&rsquo;s affecting students.</p></p> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 14:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-11/free-speech-vs-political-correctness-college-campuses-113742 More universities move to include gender-neutral pronouns http://www.wbez.org/news/more-universities-move-include-gender-neutral-pronouns-113727 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/singleladies-v51_custom-19073c33d1984553dd36b19809b05054156d030e-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455204334" previewtitle="Instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; Harvard and other colleges are introducing gender-neutral pronouns like &quot;ze&quot; into their registrars."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; Harvard and other colleges are introducing gender-neutral pronouns like &quot;ze&quot; into their registrars." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/08/singleladies-v51_custom-19073c33d1984553dd36b19809b05054156d030e-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="Instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; Harvard and other colleges are introducing gender-neutral pronouns like &quot;ze&quot; into their registrars. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>More and more colleges and universities are allowing students to choose their own gender pronouns, meaning instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; the options now include pronouns like &quot;ze,&quot; which are intended to be gender neutral.</p></div></div></div><p>Harvard is one of the universities that made the change official this year. Now, undergraduate students have a variety of pronouns to choose from when they register.</p><p>Van Bailey, the director of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Queer student life at Harvard College talks with NPR&#39;s Michel Martin about how Harvard is implementing and reacting to the changes.</p><div><hr /></div><p><strong>On what led to the change</strong></p><p>Students. We have a very dynamic and diverse student body. There were a group of students who were able to reach out to our campus partners and the registrar&#39;s office and a number of other campus constituents to really talk about their needs, particularly as transgender and non-binary students.</p><p>And we wanted to figure out a way where our students didn&#39;t have to &mdash; in their first introductions to their professor &mdash; feel like have to go into a huge paragraph about their identity, but rather have some options and control to express themselves that reflected their identity. That was a series of conversations that we had over four or five years actually.</p><p><strong>On how the change works on campus and choices</strong></p><p>[As] people who work on campuses, we have access to student information ... we wanted to be able to have everything that a person needed to respond to a student that reflects their identity. This is showing up on advising records, this is showing up on rosters.</p><p>We offer several options. &quot;He&quot; and &quot;his,&quot; &quot;she&quot; and &quot;hers,&quot; &quot;they&quot; and &quot;theirs,&quot; we have options for &quot;ze.&quot; We have options for folks who say, &quot;Call me these sets of pronouns,&quot; for instance, I use sets of both &quot;he&quot; and &quot;they.&quot;</p><p><strong>On allowing gender fluidity at the expense of pronoun clarity</strong></p><p>The singular &quot;they&quot; is something that we do in society all the time. We might not want to officially say that but we definitely do and we&#39;re not particular about a person&#39;s gender. You know, often times we&#39;ll say &quot;they are doing this&quot; if we don&#39;t really understand what their gender is or we don&#39;t have that information before then. As well as, I think that language is evolving and is connected to our identities, so I think, you know, this is really about inclusion, it&#39;s about respect. And at the end of the day I think we need to definitely begin to evolve as we understand how people are identifying.</p><p><strong>On how people on campus are responding</strong></p><p>It&#39;s an exciting time. We&#39;re having folks reach out to people like myself to do trainings and education with them if they&#39;re saying, &quot;OK I&#39;m trying to understand how this works in real time,&quot; and we&#39;re happy to do that. The students are excited about it. They&#39;re excited to have the control and the options. They&#39;re excited that that doesn&#39;t have to be a barrier to their classroom experience. You know, because that can be a really kind of chilling experience for a student ... we want to be able to create as many opportunities for students to feel as safe as possible in our classrooms and included as possible and for our classrooms to welcome our diverse student body that we have here.</p></p> Sun, 08 Nov 2015 13:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-universities-move-include-gender-neutral-pronouns-113727 More Chinese students enroll in U.S. high schools http://www.wbez.org/news/more-chinese-students-enroll-us-high-schools-113528 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/san_chinesestudents.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More international students are attending school in the U.S.: Chinese students alone make up 10 percent of the freshmen class at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The university charges its international undergraduates more than twice what its in-state students pay for tuition.</p><p>But colleges aren&rsquo;t the only institutions making global gains. Private American high schools--especially religious institutions struggling with low enrollment--are welcoming more international students, too.</p><p>Allen Li is one of those students.&nbsp; He unwinds after school, sporting some basketball shorts and a New England Patriots T-shirt.</p><p>&ldquo;I love Patriots. My school guys are Bears fans, absolutely,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Li&rsquo;s blended in with his American classmates and their love for sports, but the Western idea of team loyalty is new to him.</p><p>&ldquo;Some people in China only support people, like Kobe Bryant. But not Lakers. But here they all like a team, no matter if it&rsquo;s good or bad,&rdquo; Li said.</p><p>Which might explain why he prefers the reigning Superbowl champs over the Chicago Bears.</p><p>Li is a senior at St. Laurence High School in Burbank, Illinois. He&rsquo;s living with about 20 other Chinese high school students, dorm style, at the Write Inn in Oak Park. Their parents have sent them here to earn an American high school diploma. And from there, hopefully acceptance to an American college. Doing so also allows these students to bypass the high stress of China&rsquo;s gaokao, the national college entrance exam. And unlike the ACT or SAT, if a student does poorly on the gaokao, they have to wait another year before they can take the test again.</p><p>&ldquo;The Chinese education is more complicated. We have to study 12 courses a year and from 7am to 5pm. It&rsquo;s very tough,&rdquo; Li said.</p><p>Li and the other students are looked after by the Greater Chicago International Academy, or GCIA. The program matches students with five religious high schools in the area.</p><p>&ldquo;Four, five years ago, there&rsquo;s demand for high school. However, there aren&rsquo;t many systems or programs developing here to support the high school students,&rdquo; said Jian Sun who heads the program.</p><p>This isn&rsquo;t a new phenomenon -- students have been coming to the states for high school for years, but the circumstances haven&rsquo;t always been ideal. Sun noted that relationships with host families can turn sour, or when several students live together in an apartment or home with little supervision, that can be troublesome, too. That was one of the major drivers for Sun to create a more comprehensive program.</p><p>Derrick Zhang is a senior too. He decided to switch over to GCIA this year after living with a host family in North Carolina.</p><p>&ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t really talk a lot. So I think it was better for me to go to a bigger city so I can communicate with more people and experience more American life,&rdquo; Zhang said.</p><p>Sun&rsquo;s program started in Milwaukee in 2012, where now 171 students are enrolled in local schools. The Chicago program launched last year with 20 students.</p><p>&ldquo;We not only provide room and board. We provide ELL, English language learning program at school. And also we place tutors at schools,&rdquo; Sun said.</p><p>Of course, the program comes with a hefty price tag: $40,000 a year. And according to Sun, there are lots of families willing to pay to get their kids into GCIA; and there&rsquo;s no scholarship.</p><p>Christine Li&rsquo;s family enrolled her in the program last year, when she was a freshman. By the time she graduates high school, they will have paid $160,000.</p><p>&ldquo;Most of families, honestly, they have to consider this money disposable. Because high school is not their destination, alright. College is at least next level,&rdquo; Sun said.</p><p>More than half of GCIA students in Chicago attend Guerin College Prep in River Grove. Like other Catholic schools across the country, it&rsquo;s experienced a decline in enrollment.</p><p>&ldquo;We flattened out about two years ago. So now we&rsquo;re slowly but surely seeing the incremental increases, which we&rsquo;re encouraged by,&rdquo; said Steve Baldwin, president of Guerin.</p><p>Of the school&rsquo;s 410 students, he says, international kids make up about 7 percent -- but Baldwin hopes to expand that to 10 percent. On top of the $10,000 tuition, the school takes in additional money from its international students for providing things like tutors and additional English classes.</p><p>Baldwin said enrollment numbers and dollars aside, the program also gives the school some global cred.</p><p>&ldquo;Our kids see what these different cultures, different traditions. Not everybody acts the same, not everybody looks the same, not everybody comes from the same backgrounds. And that is what they are going to experience in college,&rdquo; he explained.</p><p>A little over 73,000 international students came to the U.S. for high school in 2013, according to a report from the Institute of International Education. The largest share of those students came from China.</p><p>Getting a diploma in the U.S. is seen as a leg up on the competition, among Chinese students vying for a spot at a top American university. And so far, it&rsquo;s worked out for those who make the sizable investment.</p><p>It may have been his parents&rsquo; decision to send their only child attend high school in the U.S., but now, Allen Li said it&rsquo;s his dream to attend New York University.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody knows the finance there is pretty good, and my dream is to study finance as a major. So I will try my best to apply to it and study hard. That&rsquo;s the only thing I can do,&rdquo; Li said.</p><p>Whether his future career will be based in the U.S. or China, he says he&rsquo;ll pick the country that makes him the best offer.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/soosieon">@soosieon</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 18:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-chinese-students-enroll-us-high-schools-113528 The online college that's helping undocumented students http://www.wbez.org/news/online-college-thats-helping-undocumented-students-113496 <p><div id="res449988979" previewtitle="Laptop computer handing out a diploma"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Laptop computer handing out a diploma" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/19/online-diploma2_slide-d94cec3a012f6d1de8a50673e694c98dc4b07acd-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 359px; width: 540px;" title="Laptop computer handing out a diploma. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div>Federal law does not prohibit undocumented students from enrolling in college, but it does something nearly as effective, banning them from receiving government aid. In recent years, though, some undocumented students have stumbled upon a little-known, non-profit, online university that doesn&#39;t charge tuition and doesn&#39;t care about students&#39; legal status.</div></div></div><p>University of the People certainly got the attention of Miguel Angel Cruz. The 27-year-old entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico a decade ago. He settled near Tampa, Fla. where he now shares a small trailer with his father. Cruz learned English and earned his GED.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4661902832_d0e84343dc_b.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="(flickr/Dream Activist)" />But his dream of going to college was just that, a dream, because of the high cost. Then, he started searching online.</p><p>&quot;I was Googling, not for free but for cheaper universities, and I found the <a href="http://uopeople.edu/" target="_blank">University of the People</a>,&quot; Cruz says.</p><p>He had never heard of the school but had nothing to lose, except the $50 non-refundable admission fee he paid to enroll in the school&#39;s business administration course. A similar course at the University of South Florida, near his home, would have cost close to $1,100.</p><p>Cruz is precisely the kind of student Shai Reshef says he set out to help when he founded University of the People six years ago.</p><p>&quot;We have students from 170 countries,&quot; Reshef says. &quot;We have refugees, survivors of the earthquake in Haiti, the genocide in Rwanda. But about a quarter of our U.S. students are undocumented.&quot;</p><p>Reshef, an Israeli-born entrepreneur, made millions from several for-profit, online education ventures in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. He says the idea for creating a tuition-free, online university came to him after spending time in several underdeveloped countries where most people have little or no access to higher education. Today, University of the People has 2500 students enrolled. Half are in the U.S.</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">To our friends in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SouthAfrica?src=hash">#SouthAfrica</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/UoPeople">@UoPeople</a> is the solution! The 1st <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nonprofit?src=hash">#nonprofit</a>, tuiton-free, accredited, online university. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FeesMustFall?src=hash">#FeesMustFall</a></p>&mdash; UoPeople (@UoPeople) <a href="https://twitter.com/UoPeople/status/657171478425792512">October 22, 2015</a></blockquote><p>But what exactly are these students getting? Is this online school a realistic option for students facing so many hardships, poverty, and in the case of undocumented students, deportation? And what about the quality of the school&#39;s courses and instructors?</p><p>These were some of the questions that the Distance Education Accrediting Commission looked into during its three-year review of University of the People. In 2014, DEAC gave the school its &quot;stamp of approval.&quot;</p><p>The school has vowed to remain tuition-free, but students do pay $100 for every end-of-course exam &mdash; to help support its $1 million budget.</p><p>&quot;A four-year bachelor&#39;s degree will cost $4000 in total,&quot; Reshef says. &quot;For those who don&#39;t have the money, we offer scholarships.&quot;</p><p>Reshef says a quarter of the school&#39;s students don&#39;t pay anything at all, thanks to those scholarships, which are funded by companies including Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Intel.</p><p>The school&#39;s academic credibility has also gotten a huge boost from partnerships forged with New York University; University of California, Berkeley; Yale and Oxford.</p><p>Education experts have praised University of the People&#39;s surprisingly high retention rate of 75 percent, but what Jamie Merisotis of the Lumina Foundation says he likes most is that the school was built precisely to serve poor students living in difficult circumstances.</p><p>Merisotis, author of the book&nbsp;America Needs Talent, says many of the undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. are young and talented but have no access to a higher education.</p><p>&quot;Post-secondary education is the key to integrating them into our society and taking them out of the shadows,&quot; Merisotis says.</p><p>&quot;Even if you kick them out of the country,&quot; Reshef says, with a good education &quot;they will be much more desired wherever they go. So it&#39;s a win-win situation for everyone.&quot;</p><p>As for Miguel Angel Cruz, he says he&#39;s on-track to earn a bachelor&#39;s degree in business administration in another year or two. But he&#39;s not waiting to put what he&#39;s learned into practice. He&#39;s now the manager of the tiny trailer park where he lives.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/10/26/449279730/the-online-college-thats-helping-undocumented-students?ft=nprml&amp;f=449279730" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 26 Oct 2015 11:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/online-college-thats-helping-undocumented-students-113496 Want to change the world? Start with community colleges http://www.wbez.org/news/want-change-world-start-community-colleges-113478 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_main/public/shutterstock_308769881.jpg?itok=sjTkPgKk" style="height: 282px; width: 500px;" title="Community college is the underdog of America’s globally-admired higher education system. (Rawpixel/Shutterstock)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><div><p>Community college is often perceived as the underdog in American higher education. Many are plagued by treacherous drop-out rates, poor teaching standards&nbsp;and dismal job prospects. And that&rsquo;s if you&rsquo;re lucky enough to graduate.</p></div><p>But inside some of these institutions, revolution is stirring. A lack of opportunities for ordinary Americans is driving colleges to rebuild and rethink. Many of them are finding innovative ways to help their students buck the trend by staying in school and succeeding.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the first things that impressed me about community colleges was the passion that so many instructors and administrators have about the mission to help so many low income students succeed and move forward to success in their lives,&rdquo; says Shanna Smith Jaggars, assistant director of the Community College Research Center at Columbia University&rsquo;s Teachers College.</p><p>Jaggars, who has co-authored a book called &ldquo;Redesigning America&rsquo;s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success,&rdquo; sees community colleges as gateways of opportunity for students. Still, she thinks the schools have a lot of room for growth. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;For so many of these students, they&#39;re the first in their family to go to college. It feels like they&#39;re stepping into a whole new universe, that the world might be opening up for them. And for them to, you know, maybe get halfway through the first semester and feel like they&#39;re floundering, to feel like they&#39;re failing and to withdraw, is really, really heartbreaking. And the faculty who see this every semester, they want to know how they can stop that.&rdquo; Jaggars says</p><p>She recommends community colleges do a better job of intentionally crafting programs that help students meet their goals.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Community colleges are designed to serve the whole community which is a very diverse mix of people with different kinds of goals and who have different types of issues that they&#39;re dealing with in their life outside of school,&quot; Jaggars said, &quot;Community colleges need to do a much better job of first helping students explore and identify their goals, and then help support students to meet those goals.&quot;</p><p>Jaggars also thinks community colleges don&#39;t take their duty to teach liberal arts seriously enough.</p><p>&ldquo;Students really need to have the kinds of soft skills that employers are looking for &mdash; creative thinking, and being able to work with other people&nbsp;and being able to learn things on your own,&rdquo; Jaggars says.&nbsp;&ldquo;Those components need to be integrated into career technical education through some of those liberal arts types of courses.&rdquo;</p><p>One of the biggest problems students who attend community colleges face is a low level of preparedness for the rigor of college-level classes.The Education Commission of the States estimates that nearly 60 percent of community college students are in need of remediation, meaning they need to take lower level education courses to build basic skills in key subject areas.</p><p>At City University in New York, nearly 80 percent of incoming students need remediation. But CUNY has identified a way to help that overwhelming majority of incoming students &mdash; a program called START.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;START is a very unusual program because it takes the ones who need at least two remedial classes in math, English or writing and it delays their enrollment. So they don&#39;t have to spend their money [on college-level prep classes]. They can just spend one semester and focus on passing those [remedial] classes,&rdquo; says Beth Fertig, contributing editor for education at WNYC.</p><p>CUNY&rsquo;s START program has so far had great success. Students who enroll in the program pay just $75 for an intense period of remedial classes. Nearly 51 percent of students who completed the program were able to &ldquo;start college fresh and pay their tuition ...&nbsp;without having to take remedial classes,&rdquo; says Fertig.</p><p>The START program is unusual among community colleges, however. CUNY had to design its own curriculum, hire its own faculty and give them advisors, making for a dauntingly expensive start-up cost &mdash; something that will be difficult for other states to replicate.</p><p>Still, there are others who are working to raise the profile and the quality of community colleges.</p><p>Josh Wyner is executive director of the Aspen Institute&#39;s College Excellence Program, which tracks the rising stars among the nation&rsquo;s community colleges. Every two years, Aspen awards a $1 million prize to the best school.</p><p>&ldquo;The first thing the Aspen Prize aims to do is show how great community colleges can be, to elevate our national understanding of the importance of the sector,&rdquo; Wyner says.&nbsp;&ldquo;The second purpose of the prize is to identify what excellence really looks like and help other colleges emulate that.&rdquo;</p><p>Wyner sees community colleges as engines of social mobility and economic growth with innovative programs that are helping prisoners start over and reviving agriculture through wine-making programs. They&#39;re training digger operators and educating sustainable energy creators. Community colleges are also figuring out how to educate the rapidly rising immigrant population.</p><p>&ldquo;I do this work because I believe deeply in the opportunity of individuals through education for social mobility in a capitalist system. ... If we don&#39;t make good on the promise for people to enter that world with the skills they need, our economic system makes no sense,&rdquo; Wyner says.&nbsp;&ldquo;Higher education is not the only way, but I would say [it&rsquo;s] certainly one of the most important ways for us to create equal opportunity for people to take advantage of what is a very dynamic and open society.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/series/communitycollege/" target="_blank">Listen to other stories from this&nbsp;series</a>.</em></p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-23/want-change-world-start-community-colleges" target="_blank"> via The Takeaway</a></em></p></p> Fri, 23 Oct 2015 10:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/want-change-world-start-community-colleges-113478 How one Chicago high school built a college culture http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-19/how-one-chicago-high-school-built-college-culture-113412 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Principal Kevin Gallick and his team have worked to make college the mission at George Washington High School in Chicago..jpg" alt="" /><p><div><div id="file-293902"><img alt="" id="1" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/styles/primary-image-766x447/public/Kevin%20Gallick_0.JPG?itok=KfHjQGvB" style="height: 362px; width: 620px;" title="Principal Kevin Gallick and his team have worked to make college the mission at George Washington High School in Chicago. (Amy Scott/Marketplace)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><div>When it&rsquo;s time to change classes at George Washington High School on Chicago&rsquo;s southeast side, students don&rsquo;t just hear a bell. Bands like U2, Florence and the Machine, and Maná blare over the intercom.</div></div></div></div><div><div id="story-content"><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really fun to have music in the background,&rdquo; said senior Ariana Aguilera. &ldquo;It just kind of pumps us up throughout the day.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s the kind of energy principal Kevin Gallick and his team were looking to create when they arrived at the high school three years ago. Washington is a predominantly Hispanic school in a working-class neighborhood. When Gallick started, just 65 percent of students graduated on time, and only 35 percent of those students went to college.</p><p>&ldquo;We knew that this 35 percent&nbsp;alone made us even abnormal in Chicago,&rdquo; Gallick said. &ldquo;It was something we wanted to focus on right away.&rdquo;</p><p>But creating a college-going culture at Washington would take some doing. Many of the students came from families with no college tradition.&nbsp;Less than 10 percent of people over age 25 in the area have a four-year degree.&nbsp;</p><p>History explains some of that.</p><p>For decades this part of the city had been a manufacturing hub. Students could walk across the street after graduation and get a good job at a steel mill. By the 1990s, most of those jobs were gone, but the school hadn&rsquo;t adapted, Gallick said.</p><p>&ldquo;We were talking about redefining what a high school is supposed to be about, and the bottom line is Washington was a little bit behind the times,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>To catch up, Gallick started making college part of the conversation at Washington. The school staged a phonathon, reaching out to parents to answer their questions about applications and financial aid. On ACT testing day, the &ldquo;Rocky&rdquo; theme accompanied students down the hall. Assistant principal Anthony Malcolm even passed out T-shirts like the one John Belushi wore in the movie<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/film/movie/132134/animal-house" target="_blank">&ldquo;Animal House,&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;with the word &ldquo;college&rdquo; printed on the front.</p><p>&ldquo;I&#39;m telling you, we would come out of here on Fridays and be driving home, and you&#39;d see a kid wearing their college T-shirt, and we were like, &lsquo;Yes!&rsquo;&rdquo; Malcolm said.</p><p>Gallick also ramped up the academics, bringing in more literacy and AP classes. The school used data to keep a closer watch on students&rsquo; grades and attendance, and enlisted virtually every adult in the building &mdash; from security guards, to coaches, to teachers &mdash; to mentor students individually.</p><p>At first, Gallick said, the changes were hard for some teachers to swallow. They were busy enough just trying to keep the students in their classes from falling behind.</p><p>&ldquo;Teachers weren&#39;t saying, &lsquo;Yes, I think this is my job, to support kids to go to college,&rsquo;&rdquo; Gallick said. &ldquo;It wasn&#39;t really the role at the time.&rdquo;</p><p>Gradually, he said, they got on board. History teacher George Fotopoulos said he starts talking with his students about college at the very beginning of ninth grade.</p><p>&ldquo;I let the kids know we&#39;re here in school to support them,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We all want so see them to graduate in four years, we all want them to succeed and move on, and do something in higher education.&rdquo;</p><p>The extra help &mdash; and some new college coaches &mdash; have taken some of the pressure off Washington&rsquo;s counselors. One of them is Gabriel Fuentes, a Washington graduate who returned to work at the school.</p><p>&ldquo;Now we felt that we had a lot more ammunition,&rdquo; said Fuentes. College was no longer talked about only in counseling sessions. &ldquo;It was being talked about in a classroom, or with a coach,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Everyone was speaking the same language here.&rdquo;</p><div><img alt="Gabriel Fuentes meets with senior Ariana Aguilera about her college plans. " src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/Gabriel%20Fuentes_Adjusted.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Gabriel Fuentes meets with senior Ariana Aguilera about her college plans. (Amy Scott/Marketplace)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><div><div><p>Counselors can now work more closely with students. They received additional training on how to help students choose the right college and keep track of whether they&rsquo;ve completed their financial aid forms. They meet monthly at the University of Chicago to learn about the latest research on adolescent development and collaborate with counselors from other schools.</p></div></div></div></div><p>At a recent meeting with senior Ariana Aguilera, Fuentes asked her about college visits she&rsquo;d made over the summer and how a scholarship interview had gone. Even straight-A students like Ariana need a lot of guidance. Her parents didn&rsquo;t go to college, and she&rsquo;s going to need financial aid.</p><p>&ldquo;The school has a lot of support,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;You don&rsquo;t feel like you&rsquo;re left all alone.&rdquo;</p><p>Remember, three years ago, only 35 percent of Washington graduates went to college. The numbers for last year&rsquo;s seniors aren&rsquo;t in yet, but principal Gallick estimated close to 70 percent of those students are now in college.</p><p>Similar strategies have paid off across the district, despite severe budget cuts in recent years. In 2013, about 61 percent of Chicago Public Schools graduates enrolled in college, up from 49 percent about a decade ago, according to&nbsp;Eliza Moeller, an analyst with the&nbsp;<a href="https://ccsr.uchicago.edu/" target="_blank">University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;I think this is pretty remarkable change,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We&#39;ve essentially caught up to the U.S. average for students enrolling in college, and we&#39;re far poorer than the U.S. on average.&rdquo;</p><p>Now the big challenge, Moeller said, is to make sure more of those students actually finish college. The consortium&nbsp;<a href="https://ccsr.uchicago.edu/publications/educational-attainment-chicago-public-schools-students-focus-four-year-college-degrees" target="_blank">estimates</a>&nbsp;that just 14 percent of ninth graders in Chicago Public Schools will earn a four-year degree by the time they&rsquo;re 25.</p></div></div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/education/how-one-chicago-high-school-built-college-culture" target="_blank"><em> via Marketplace</em></a></p></p> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 16:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-19/how-one-chicago-high-school-built-college-culture-113412 Meet the cool girls at a high school in Kabul: #15Girls http://www.wbez.org/news/meet-cool-girls-high-school-kabul-15girls-113391 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Hadia Durani is 15. She says she wants to be president when she grows up..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res448694687" previewtitle="Hadia Durani is 15. She says she wants to be president when she grows up."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Hadia Durani is 15. She says she wants to be president when she grows up." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/14/hadia01_custom-30a5b6cbf8ca93c67bf60f94c203845f0f119e2f-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 350px; width: 620px;" title="Hadia Durani is 15. She says she wants to be president when she grows up. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Hadia Durani is one of the cool girls at her school in Kabul. She&#39;s chatty and gets good grades, and when she grows up she wants to be president.</p></div></div></div><p>In class, Hadia is outgoing, but once she leaves the schoolyard, things are different. She says men and boys yell at her when she&#39;s walking to and from school. They tell her she should stay at home, and call her mean names, and when that happens, she just keeps her head down and ignores them.</p><p>&quot;It will just start an argument,&quot; she shrugs. &quot;And [the girls] get blamed.&quot;</p><div id="res448694560" previewtitle="These girls are the lucky ones — they've been able to stay in school while many of their peers have dropped out."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="These girls are the lucky ones — they've been able to stay in school while many of their peers have dropped out." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/14/class2_custom-d46048eca69e4af879b44879be532b5cf940a2df-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="These girls are the lucky ones — they've been able to stay in school while many of their peers have dropped out. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>The heckling gets to her friend Layli. &quot;I just want to punch them in the face,&quot; she says. But she never has.</p></div></div></div><div id="res448691893"><div><p>Take part in our social media campaign for #15Girls&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/10/07/445368034/share-your-story-what-was-the-hardest-thing-about-being-15?source=test2inset">here.</a></p><p>Read all the stories in our #15Girls series&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/series/446115168/-15girls?source=blog">here</a>.</p></div></div><p>These 15-year-olds are both students at the Tanweer School in Kabul, Afghanistan. It&#39;s a private K-12 school in a lower middle-class neighborhood on the south side of the city. Their very presence in school is a sign of the progress girls are making in Afghanistan.</p><p>But teenage girls in Afghanistan are in a peculiar spot. They&#39;re better off than their mothers &mdash; for one thing, more and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uis.unesco.org/literacy/Pages/literacy-data-release-2014.aspx" target="_blank">more young women can read</a>&nbsp;&mdash; but their dreams for the future may not align with the opportunities available to them.</p><p>At the same time, there are still not enough opportunities for young women to continue past high school and on to careers.</p><div id="res448694939" previewtitle="Tanweer School is a private school in a lower middle class neighborhood on the south side of Kabul."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Tanweer School is a private school in a lower middle class neighborhood on the south side of Kabul." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/14/assembly_custom-6f2c62bc8463a93119bca0324ba9b51cf7df7f67-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Tanweer School is a private school in a lower middle class neighborhood on the south side of Kabul. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>The students at the Tanweer School, whom I interviewed for our series on girls at 15, know they&#39;re especially lucky to be able to attend classes. A lot of girls their age have dropped out because there&#39;s too much social pressure from their families who want them to spend their time in the home after they reach puberty.</p></div></div></div><div id="res448925335"><div><p>We interviewed these girls &mdash; and some of the boys at their school as well &mdash; on video. You can see that and more photos from their school&nbsp;<a href="http://n.pr/1LPmQyV">here.</a></p></div></div><p>At 15, they&#39;re full of dreams. Somaya Rahmanzai is a math and science nerd. In geometry class, she stands up confidently to volunteer the formula for the area of a circle.</p><p>&quot;My school has a laboratory!&quot; she says. &quot;We can learn biology and mathematics. We have many rooms and teachers. I love school.&quot;</p><div id="res448694907" previewtitle="Somaya Rahmanzai is 15, geeky and crazy confident. Her career of choice: brain surgeon."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Somaya Rahmanzai is 15, geeky and crazy confident. Her career of choice: brain surgeon." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/14/somaya02_custom-9b7c8bd6d3079f1b9ff3f2f70b9aa120830a4a7f-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Somaya Rahmanzai is 15, geeky and crazy confident. Her career of choice: brain surgeon. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><p>By contrast, her mother&#39;s school had one room and one teacher, and she wasn&#39;t able to continue past the sixth grade.</p></div></div><p>&quot;When I grow up,&quot; Somaya says, &quot;I want to be a brain surgeon, so I can inject people.&quot;</p><p>&quot;And also make them better,&quot; she adds.</p><p>There&#39;s a lot of uncertainty in Somaya&#39;s future. To be a brain surgeon, she needs to go to college. Same with Hadia and Layli. When they graduate in a couple of years, all the girls I talked to said, they want to continue their education.</p><p>But that probably won&#39;t happen. According to Afghanistan&#39;s Ministry of Education, for every available college slot in Afghanistan, there are about five students who want to go.</p><div id="res448694986" previewtitle="This is something you never would have seen under the Taliban: Girls walking to school."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="This is something you never would have seen under the Taliban: Girls walking to school." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/14/walking_custom-bd53e97f0d6d9aca548436cb38b938e741113e34-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="This is something you never would have seen under the Taliban: Girls walking to school. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Plus, with each passing year the pressure to leave school and get married will increase.</p></div></div></div><p>Yet their excitement about their futures is undiminished. They don&#39;t seem to know how hard it will be to accomplish everything they hope to. Or maybe they believe their sheer determination will carry them through.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Take part in our social media campaign for #15Girls&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/10/07/445368034/share-your-story-what-was-the-hardest-thing-about-being-15?source=test2inset">here.</a>&nbsp;</em><em>Read all the stories in our #15Girls series&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/series/446115168/-15girls?source=blog">here</a>.</em></p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/10/15/447570460/meet-the-cool-girls-at-a-high-school-in-kabul-15girls" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 16:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/meet-cool-girls-high-school-kabul-15girls-113391 As migrants pour in, Germany launches online university for them http://www.wbez.org/news/migrants-pour-germany-launches-online-university-them-113386 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Kashif%20Kazmi%2C%20a%2021-year-old%20asylum-seeker%20from%20Pakistan%2C%20has%20begun%20studying%20for%20a%20business%20degree..jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;" title="Kashif Kazmi, a 21-year-old asylum-seeker from Pakistan, has begun studying for a business degree. (Courtesy of Kashif Kazmi)" />In May, 21-year-old Kashif Kazmi fled his hometown of Parachinar in northwest Pakistan. As part of the country&#39;s Shiite minority, Kazmi was targeted by the Pakistani Taliban. The rest of his family are still there.</p><p>&quot;I really miss my family, my friends who are there,&quot; Kazmi says. &quot;Because my sisters, my father is old-aged and he cannot cope with the situation, I had no other option. And I&#39;m so homesick.&quot;</p><p>Kazmi wants to give his sisters a better life. He hopes one day to bring them to Germany. For him, this means pursuing higher education, something he says he was denied back home: &quot;They don&#39;t want us to be educated. They want us to be ignorant.&quot;</p><p>Kazmi arrived in Berlin at the end of July and is already speaking some German. Having traveled through nine countries to get here, he has overcome many barriers. But as an asylum-seeker, he is not permitted to attend a local university because he doesn&#39;t have the requisite paperwork and status.</p><p>This is about to change.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kiron2.JPG" style="height: 357px; width: 620px;" title="Kiron University, geared to refugees and displaced people, offers two years of online study toward a bachelor's degree. Students complete the degree at partner universities. (Via Kiron University)" /></div><p>Markus Kressler pulls up a virtual seminar on mechanical engineering, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, on his laptop. The 25-year-old is a co-founder of&nbsp;<a href="https://kiron.university/">Kiron University</a>, a Berlin-based program for refugees that taps into open-source online lectures from other universities.</p><div id="res448980554" previewtitle="Kiron University, geared to refugees and displaced people, offers two years of online study toward a bachelor's degree. Students complete the degree at partner universities."><div data-crop-type="">Kiron University students take courses online for the first two years, working toward a bachelor&#39;s degree while they apply for asylum and acquire the paperwork and qualifications needed to enter a partner university, local to where they are, to complete the degree.</div></div><p>&quot;Basically, everyone can already log into these courses,&quot; Kressler says. &quot;What we do is we just take these courses, bundle them into degree programs and make cooperation with real universities so that they also recognize these courses in order to really get a degree in the end.&quot;</p><p><strong>Partner Universities</strong></p><p>Kressler says Kiron is already partnering with 30 universities throughout Europe and in Africa, and currently is in talks with U.S. Ivy League institutions. He says the partnership is attractive to established universities.</p><p>&quot;Every kind of university has about 30 to 50 percent free seats in the third year because so many students quit,&quot; he says. In Europe, it&#39;s customary to earn a bachelor&#39;s in three years. Kiron students simply fill these empty seats.</p><p>The program may also benefit the German economy. Currently, Kiron offers degrees in fields including computer science, engineering, business and architecture &mdash; all areas in which there is a skills shortage in the German labor market.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kiron%20screenshot.JPG" style="height: 315px; width: 540px;" title="Screenshot of Kiron University About page. (kiron.university)" /></div><p>The university is starting its pilot semester this month with 1,000 students. The interest is far greater, but Kiron requires investment.</p><p>&quot;As a start-up, you always need to create the proof of concept to show everyone that it really works,&quot; Kressler says. &quot;If you start an online university for refugees, it takes three or four years in order to see if the students can actually go into the job market.&quot;</p><p>Kiron University says each student will cost it $400 a year, which it hopes to finance with crowdfunding and sponsorship.</p><p>Kazmi is among the first group of students starting at Kiron this week. He&#39;s excited, he says, &quot;because Nelson Mandela [said] that education is the real weapon to change the world. So I believe in education, because it&#39;s a journey from darkness into light.&quot;</p><p>He has signed up for a degree in business. It&#39;s not science, his first love.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s my zeal and zest,&quot; he says of science. But for now, Kiron doesn&#39;t offer science degrees. Kazmi does find inspiration in his heroes Isaac Newton, who survived the English Civil War and narrowly escaped the Great Plague, and Albert Einstein, who fled Nazi Germany.</p><p>But he&#39;s pragmatic and says the business course will give him the skills to help others.</p><p>He&#39;d like to work in humanitarian aid. &quot;Today I am a refugee,&quot; Kazmi says, &quot;but tomorrow, I hope so, I will be in the position to be able to support others.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/10/16/447586502/as-migrants-pour-in-germany-launches-online-university-for-them?ft=nprml&amp;f=447586502" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 15:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/migrants-pour-germany-launches-online-university-them-113386 On campus, older faculty keep on keepin' on http://www.wbez.org/news/campus-older-faculty-keep-keepin-113258 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/blow_npr_prof_slide.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Old professors are getting older, and it's hard to get them to leave." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/07/blow_npr_prof_slide-103dea57de730f0ae16023acd4d7dad62876024c-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" title="(Paul Blow for NPR)" /></div><div data-crop-type="">Ken Nickerson could have retired from his job as a professor of biological sciences at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln 10 years ago, when he turned 62.</div></div><p>He could have retired five years ago, when the university offered faculty a year&#39;s salary to step down as part of a buyout to encourage more of them to leave.</p><p>He could have retired last year, when, in yet another buyout offer, administrators dangled the equivalent of 90 percent of one full year&#39;s salary in front of faculty who would finally agree to go.</p><p>But Nickerson stayed.</p><p>After 40 years of doing research as well as teaching, &quot;I want to find the answers to certain questions before I retire,&quot; he said. &quot;I want to get those discoveries made, I want to get those publications out, and there&#39;s a pretty long list of them still.&quot;</p><p>He has plenty of company around the faculty dining hall.</p><p>&quot;My Ph.D. adviser worked until he was about 77,&quot; Nickerson said. &quot;One of my postdoc advisers was editor of the<em>&nbsp;Journal of Biological Chemistry</em>&nbsp;until he was 85. Another one is still active here at the University of Nebraska, and he must be 77. So there&#39;s a lot of inspiration to keep working.&quot;</p><p>Protected by tenure that prevents them from being dismissed without cause, and with no mandatory retirement age, a significant proportion of university faculty isn&#39;t going anywhere. A third are 55 and older, compared with 20 percent of the rest of the workforce,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.tiaa-crefinstitute.org/public/institute/research/trends_issues/ti_promotingworkplace_0312.html">according to</a>&nbsp;the University of Iowa Center on Aging.</p><p>And while 36 percent of all workers plan to put off their retirements beyond the age of 65, the proportion of university and college faculty who intend to delay stepping down is more than double that, the financial services company TIAA-CREF&nbsp;<a href="https://www.tiaa-cref.org/public/pdf/C21232_Creating-a-path-forward-for-reluctant-retirees.pdf">reports</a>. Another study&nbsp;<a href="http://edr.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/07/15/0013189X13497993.abstract">found</a>&nbsp;that 60 percent of faculty planned to work past 70, and 15 percent to stay until they&#39;re 80.</p><p>This dramatic trend foretells more than a future of campuses populated by white-haired professors in sensible shoes and tweed jackets with elbow patches. Universities say it&#39;s making it harder for them to cut costs and improve productivity exactly at a time when students and their families are balking at the high cost of a higher education.</p><p>And when those students &mdash; not to mention politicians and business leaders &mdash; are expecting a better return on that investment, the institutions say the buildup of aging faculty leaves them less able to respond to changing demand for new kinds of majors, or to declining enrollments, and that it&#39;s also blocking younger Ph.D.s from entering the workforce.</p><p>&quot;Higher education, on the one hand, is confronting constraints,&nbsp;and on the other hand, confronting greater needs that have to be met,&quot; said Herman Berliner, who stepped down in August as provost at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and now is dean of its business school. &quot;Yet with faculty staying longer and longer, what you have is resources fixed in place, sometimes in areas where there is very little demand.&quot;</p><p>Meanwhile, &quot;in some cases some senior faculty simply may not be as effective in the role as they once were,&quot; said Paul Yakoboski, a senior economist with the TIAA-CREF Institute. &quot;A certain degree of churn is healthy and productive [and brings in] fresh blood, fresh ideas, people up-to-date on teaching techniques and research techniques.&quot;</p><p>Berliner has proposed the idea of a time limit on tenure of 30 or 35 years, after which faculty could be rehired on one-year contracts. That would give universities more flexibility to behave like private companies and make changes to their workforce in response to market changes.</p><p>&quot;I don&#39;t believe in an age cutoff, but to say that tenure goes on forever nowadays, that&#39;s not the way the system worked for a very long time before,&quot; when mandatory retirement still applied to academic faculty, he said.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s an exceptionally difficult problem to deal with,&quot; he added. &quot;Who&#39;s going to stand up and propose 35-year tenure?&quot; That, he said, would put a university at a competitive disadvantage in hiring new faculty.</p><p>Older university faculty have the same financial concerns about retirement as everyone else, and those whose retirement plans rely on 401(k) plans were particularly vulnerable to the economic downturn, said John Barnshaw, senior higher education researcher at the American Association of University Professors.</p><p>More than 40 percent of faculty who plan to work past 65 told TIAA-CREF that one reason was financial insecurity. Making the matter worse, many institutions have scaled back or eliminated 401(k) contributions for their existing employees and post-retirement health care benefits to save money,&nbsp;compelling some retirement-age faculty to stick around even longer.</p><p>&quot;Faculty are not immune from the larger economic challenges that the U.S. and the larger economy face,&quot; said Barnshaw. &quot;They maybe had planned to retire because they hit a certain financial threshold, but then they had a setback.&quot;</p><p>Besides, he said, one real reason universities want their tenured faculty to leave is so they can be replaced by cheaper faculty who are not on track for tenure, and by part-time adjunct instructors, in the same way that private companies outsource their work to cut costs. The proportion of faculty who are part-time has already climbed from 22 percent in 1969 to 67 percent today,&nbsp;<a href="http://agb.org/trusteeship/2013/5/changing-academic-workforce">according to</a>&nbsp;the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, meaning that the full-time tenured faculty who won&#39;t leave are already a much smaller proportion of the total than they used to be.</p><p>Whatever their motives, universities are trying to dislodge their older faculty with buyouts like the ones at the University of Nebraska.</p><p>A few faculty have begun to leave some public universities&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://hechingerreport.org/benefits-for-their-retirees-could-thwart-universities-cost-cutting-plans/">in states including Illinois</a></strong>, in part because of fears that their shares of massively underfunded state pensions will be at risk if they wait too long. Elsewhere, however, the buyout offers have been met with little interest. And &quot;with positions being held longer and longer, the younger Ph.D.s we&#39;re turning out have limited job opportunities,&quot; Berliner said.</p><p>When enrollment at Hofstra University&#39;s Maurice A. Deane School of Law&nbsp;<a href="http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2014/03/1l-enrollment.html">fell by more than 32 percent</a>&nbsp;in 2013, for instance, faculty there were offered two full years of salary to retire, Berliner said. Not a single one accepted. At the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 79 out of 245 eligible faculty took the one-year&#39;s salary buyout offer in 2010.</p><p>Ken Nickerson was among the nearly 70 percent who turned it down, confident that he remains quite capable of doing what his job demands.</p><p>&quot;I can still publish papers, I can still participate in intellectual discussions with my graduate students,&quot; he said.</p><p>In fact, 90 percent of faculty who planned to work past the typical retirement age, meaning the age at which people can begin collecting Social Security benefits, told TIAA-CREF it was because they found their jobs fulfilling and enjoyable, and 82 percent didn&#39;t see any good reason to stop.</p><p>&quot;You absolutely see that dynamic,&quot; said Yakoboski, of the TIAA-CREF Institute. &quot;They&#39;re still actively engaged in their academic pursuits, both research and teaching, and see no need and have no desire to retire.&quot;</p><p>They also bring institutional experience and research savvy, many older faculty say.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s what I think I still represent,&quot; Nickerson said.</p><p>The question for him now, he said, is &quot;how long I&#39;m intellectually capable of doing it. What I&#39;m balancing is looking at how mentally sharp some of our recent professors are compared to what I am, and they&#39;re a lot quicker, there&#39;s no doubt about that. I can bring perspective, an historical viewpoint, and good judgment to questions, but I don&#39;t want to be occupying a space and a laboratory when I&#39;m no longer capable of doing a job. That&#39;s probably going to come around in, I don&#39;t know, three or four years.&quot;</p><p><em>This story was produced by&nbsp;<a href="http://hechingerreport.org/content/common-core-can-help-english-learners-california-new-study-says_17439/hechingerreport.org">The Hechinger Report</a>, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.</em></p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/10/09/446568519/on-campus-older-faculty-keep-on-keeping-on?ft=nprml&amp;f=446568519"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 11:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/campus-older-faculty-keep-keepin-113258