higher education

higher education

To College or Not to College: What to do When $100,000 is on the Line

College is not always the best option for everyone. We often hear this, and for most people, it brings to mind someone who will do better learning a trade or skill. However, Taylor Wilson is an exception to this standard. At 18, he has already built a working reactor and plans to build nuclear fusion reactors. Here’s the kicker: he doesn’t plan on going to college and he’s received a $100,000 grant not to do so.

“I’ve got some technology that will really change the world, so college right now is not the best option for me,” Wilson said.

The grant Wilson received is called the Thiel Fellowship, created by Peter Thiel for individuals under 20 years old. Thiel is an investor in Silicon Valley who thinks that students shouldn’t be pursuing an expensive university education, but should instead be learning about and developing breakthrough technologies. Thiel seems to think that by encouraging students not to go to college he will inadvertently also be lowering the unemployment rate and amount of student debt that face many 20-somethings.

“You increasingly have people who are graduating from college, not being able to get good jobs, moving back home with their parents,” he said. “I think there’s a surprising openness to the idea that something’s gone badly wrong and needs to be fixed.” Read the rest of this entry »

STEM Degrees Cost More with Differential Tuition Pricing

There’s been a trend gaining momentum since 2006, and you can bet that students who are studying math, science, and business degrees are not going to be happy about it. In the past six years, more than 140 public universities have started using “differential tuition” prices to charge students more money to take these types of classes. The schools are arguing that because these classes cost more to teach – due to technological updates – they should be able to charge students more money to take them.

“[The differential tuition pricing has] been a lifesaver,” said Donde Plowman, the dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska. The school recently started charging business and engineering majors an additional $50/credit hour for classes. “We can be excited for the future.”

Perhaps the reason that business and engineering students have not been protesting this increase is because the money is being put to good use. So far, a new career center has been created with the new funds. A student lounge has also been renovated and a new academic advisor has been hired to help students plan their academic careers. New faculty members have also been hired, which means that students are better able to interact with faculty members and professors on a one-to-one basis. Read the rest of this entry »

The University of Reddit Offers College-Level Classes for Free

My boyfriend is constantly on Reddit.com, so I finally caved and decided to check out the website that has a cute little alien as its mascot. Like most websites whose content is user-generated, there are a lot of cute pictures of animals, funny videos, and…oh wait, that’s not normal…a free university where you can learn about anything from art to languages to philosophy.

The University of Reddit is a new website that was created from a sub-Reddit. On UReddit, users can create their own courses and teach other users about whatever they want to teach. Some of the classes are introductory type classes (example: Hindi 101), while others are more advanced and specific (example: Vertebrate Palentology – The History of Vertebrate Life).

According to the creators, UReddit is “the product of free intellectualism and is a haven for the sharing of knowledge. Teachers and students are free to explore any subject that interests them. Unlike a convential university, University of Reddit strives to make its course offerings free, varied, and easily accessible. …Students don’t have to worry about attendance, grades, or tuition – this isn’t a regular university.”

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White House Rebuts Santorum’s ‘Snob’ Remark Regarding College Education

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn., spoke out against President Obama this weekend. The conservative senator ridiculed Obama for his hope that all Americans pursue a  higher education, alleging that his ideas were elitist.

“President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college,” Santorum said. “What a snob. There are good decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor to try to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college he wants to remake you in his image.”

He is referring to a speech Obama gave in 2009 that was addressed to a joint session of congress, in which the president gave his statement on higher education. Here is what the president actually said:

“And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma. And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country — and this country needs and values the talents of every American.” Read the rest of this entry »

Shannen Doherty Partners with ClassesPlease.com to Further Her Education

shannen doherty wearing sunglasses and white topWhat do Shannen Doherty and many other average Americans have in common? They have not earned as high of an education as they would like. However, going back to college can be difficult for working adults because of all of the other commitments they already have in their lives, such as friends, family, and their job. Luckily, Shannen has found a way to make her dream of getting a higher education a reality, and with ClassesPlease.com, you can too.

ClassesPlease.com is part of Education Connection, a website that makes it easier to find an educational path that is right for you. Like it’s parent-company, ClassesPlease.com allows users to find a college and major that will work with their schedule and meet their interests. Currently, ClassesPlease.com helps people find educational programs in career fields like information technology, criminal justice, business, culinary arts, and health sciences.

“I’m actually getting my degree in liberal arts,” said Shannen.

Shannen has partnered with the website in order to realize her life-long dream of earning a college degree. On a commercial for the website, Shannen says it’s easy to learn through this program because she can study whenever and wherever she is. Shannen is obviously doing an online program, but ClassesPlease.com also offers information about in-class programs.

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Should Students Go to Community Colleges to Get Jobs?

rows of students in a lecture hallThere are several problems with the American higher education system. For example, a higher education is expensive and many students graduate owing thousands of dollars in debt. Also, some colleges are very selective and students cannot go to these schools, even if they want to. However, when Michael Bettersworth, an associate vice chancellor at the Texas State Technical College System, was asked what the biggest problem was, he pointed out a problem that does not usually come to mind.

“Houston, we have a problem, and it’s not that too few people are going to college,” he said. “It’s that too many people are getting degrees with limited value in the job market.”

Oh, yeah, that’s a problem that definitely had not popped to the front of my mind. However, when you think about it, it does make sense. There are many people who choose to study a subject that does not directly prepare them for a job. For example, I have a friend who studied philosophy at a very prestigious school. After graduation, he could not find a job and ended up working as a restaurant manager.

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The Majority of California High School Students Earn Higher Levels of Education

California State FlagGood news for those who live in California: a recent study showed that almost 75 percent of high school graduates go on to pursue a higher education.

This statistic was determined from data collected during the 2008-2009 school year and found that these students were enrolled in a college or university in the USA. The names of students were cross-checked with the National Student Clearinghouse to determine if they were actually enrolled in a higher education establishment. The data can be analyzed by district, county, school, and even by personal demographic categories, such as race and gender. The students are identified in the study by their names, dates of birth, and other factors.

More than half of the students studied attended a school in either California Community College, California State University, or the University of California systems. More than 25 percent of the students who attended these schools earned at least one year’s worth of college credit within their first two years of enrollment.

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The University of the People Makes Higher Education Affordable for Everyone

University of PeopleImagine a free university where students from all walks of life can learn from professors during 10-week intensive classes that are taught on the Internet. Now, imagine that this university sets up computer centers where students need them – such as the earthquake-ravaged Haiti in the weeks after the natural disaster struck – so that students can continue learning. Well, you do not have to imagine anymore because the University of the People is making this dream a reality.

“They don’t have electricity, they don’t have computers,” said Shai Reshef, the creator of the University of People about the students in Haiti that use his computer centers to continue their education. “They come in two shifts, for four hours a day, to study. Their need waste the point that we began a feeding program.”

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The State of Arizona Uses a New Test to Determine If Students Are Ready for College

High school students in Arizona might have a bigger worry than if they will win their football games this year. A new study reveals that many of them are not on track to pursue a college education.

In January 2011, the ACT Explore standardized test was given to almost 20,000 eighth-grade students and it showed that many of these students are likely to not be able to pass a college entrance exam, even though 62 percent hope to pursue a four year degree. The test also surveys the students about their interests in order to be able to offer advice concerning future careers. However, if the students are not able to pursue a higher education, their future career options will be limited.

How should the schools combat this discouraging news? Many are planning on using the results to place students in remedial or advanced high school classes, depending on how the students did on the exam. Sadly, this means that about a third of the students will be placed in advanced classes for math and reading, while half will be on track for English classes. The worst of the news concerns science: only 10 percent of the students are on track for this subject.

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New Jersey Students Pay Even More for a College Education

It’s a very commonly accepted fact: college is expensive. I feel like I have written hundreds of blogs about this sensitive subject, but sadly, here I am writing yet another about an expensive commodity becoming even more so. According to NJ.com, all four-year colleges in New Jersey will be raising their tuition rates for the 2011-2012 school year.

Last spring, students at various colleges throughout the state held rallies and protests to call for a tuition freeze, but unfortunately, their efforts were to no avail and now, all of the schools in the state will be becoming even more expensive as they raise their rates by anywhere between one and 7.4 percent. This means that annual fees will range from $10,021 at New Jersey City University to more than $40,000 at private universities like Drew University.

Even though the schools have increased their tuition rates, they are trying to be mindful of the students’ wishes. Rutgers University, Princeton University, and William Paterson University all raised their tuition rates, but it was the lowest increases the schools have implemented in years.

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