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higher education

Larry Crowne Offers a Different View of Higher Education

It’s a common story that is becoming more and more common these days: a hardworking man who has been loyal to his place of employment loses his job due to budget cuts. Desperate to improve his station in life, the man decides to pursue a higher education in hopes that this will allow him to find another job and maybe even improve his overall quality of life. Since this is somewhat of a new trend in today’s workforce and education frontiers, it only makes sense that Tom Hanks‘ and Julia Roberts‘ new movie, Larry Crowne, would address this subject.

In Larry Crowne, Hanks portrays the title character, a hardworking man who loses his job at a Wal-Mart-like store. After sitting around his home for a few days, he decides to enroll in an economic and pubic speaking course at his local community college. Roberts plays one of Larry’s teachers, Mercedes Tianot. However, Mercedes dislikes being a teacher and it is quite obvious that she has other things she would rather do than teach a public speaking course, as evidenced by her temporary thrill when she thinks her class only has nine students and, therefore, does not meet the school’s enrollment requirements. As the movie progresses, Larry must learn to overcome his age difference from the other students. It is the relationships that form between Larry, Mercedes, and the other students that keeps this movie interesting.

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German Universities Have Higher Enrollment Rates Than Ever Before

Professor Merle Hummrich teaches a very popular class at Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. When Hummrich first started teaching the class, she limited its enrollment to only 50 students. However, as the class has grown in popularity and as enrollment numbers have also increased, so has the number of students who are trying to get into the class each semester. This semester, 400 students showed up on the first day, and because there were not enough seats in the classroom, many ended up sitting on the floor or standing through the lecture.

Another class that has been experiencing a dramatic inflation in the number of students who are trying to enroll is Professor Benjamin Ortmeyer’s class about education during the Nazi era. Ortmeyer’s classroom was designed to hold only 500 people, but 720 students are currently enrolled in his class and about 600 show up every week.

This type of over-enrollment is becoming quite common at many universities in Germany. More German students are going to college in order to reap the life benefits that a higher education offers. Other factors include the abolition of mandatory military service and a reduction in the length of the standard high school curriculum.

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Is College a Waste of Money?

Several new studies found that an American college education may not be worth the money. The Pew Research Foundation polled 2,142 adults and  about what they think of higher education and its hefty price tag.

Pew found:

  • More than half (57 percent) of Americans polled said that a college education isn’t worth the money.
  • A large majority (75 percent) said that a college education is unaffordable.

On the other hand, the majority of Americans still believe that a higher education is important, as further research showed:

  • Ninety-four percent of parents said they want, and expect, their children to go to college.
  • Eighty-six percent of graduates said their degree was a good investment.

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Hispanics in Florida are Setting the New Higher Education Trend

For several years now, President Obama has been stressing the importance of higher education levels for all Americans. In order to be internationally competitive – which is becoming more and more important in today’s age – we have to have more people pursuing a college-level education. But where can this trend start? How do we convince parents who did not earn a higher education to encourage their children to further their studies? The answer could be the largest growing minority group in the U.S.: Hispanics.

Hispanics are expected to create the vast majority of our nation’s population growth between now and 2050. Currently, Hispanics comprise a little more than 20 percent of pre-kindergarten students through high school seniors. These students have not been known for pursuing a higher education in the past; in fact, for years they have had lower college graduation rates than the general population.

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Free Tuition Debates Continue in Scotland

Families of American college students have bore the burden of increasing tuition fees throughout recent years and now students in England and Scotland face the same challenges. Economic circumstances have motivated the British government to re-think their previous commitment to providing higher education at no cost to students and parents. Changes in England put Scotland’s free tuition plan in the spotlight as they attempt to save their students from loans and expensive fees.

Prior to 1998, college students in Britain had the luxury of going to college for free. A parliament vote in 1998 allowed colleges to charge £1,000, with a later increase to £3,300 per year. Beginning in September 2012 colleges will have a cap of £9,000, or about $15,000, to charge students per year.

Colleges in England have announced their intent to charge the full £9,000 while Scottish schools maintain their commitment to free higher education.

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How Americans Paid for College in 2010

College is getting more and more expensive every year. Considering the current economy, how are Americans continuing to pay for a product that is constantly increasing in price?

The authors of How America Pays for College 2010 tired of asking this same question over and over again, so they decided to conduct a survey to find out. They interviewed 801 students and 823 parents from across the nation and asked them various questions about how they finance a college education.

A vast majority, about 73 percent, said that they had to reduce their spending habits in other areas to pay for a college education. This shows a 17 percent increase from the 2008-2009 school year to the 2009-2010 year. Luckily though, 82 percent said that they strongly believe that a college education is an investment in the future and worth the sacrifice.

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Bill Gates Donates $20 Million to Education

Bill GatesBill Gates recently announced he feels that many students aren’t prepared to enter college. The answer? More technology training.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced on October 11, 2010 that it would donate $20 million in grants to businesses and universities. These grants will be used to develop online programs that will train students in the basic skills they will need in college.

Why does Bill Gates think all students need a basic and thorough understanding of technology? Simply put, students need to understand technology so they can compete in the job market. Read the rest of this entry »



Real Benefits to Earning Your Higher Education

studyingDo you ever wonder if these four years of college are ever going to be worth all the study/all-nighters/expense/lack of a social life/work/every other bad thing you can think of about college? Is it really worth getting up at 6:00am to make that 7:00am chemistry lab? What about the rising cost of tuition? There are many things that could discourage you from pursuing a higher education. Is it worth it? Experts say yes.

According to a new study by the College Board, “workers with a college degree earned much more and were much less likely to be unemployed than those with only a high school diploma.”

In 2008, this study found that the median earnings of workers with a bachelor’s degree were $55,700. Workers who had only earned their high school diploma made $21,900 on average. Women who have earned their bachelor’s degree earn 79 percent more than those who only have their high school diploma; for men, it was 74 percent more. Read the rest of this entry »



New Book Explores Problems of the American College System

higher-education-bookThe authors of a new book, Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids and What We Can Do About It, hope to bring attention to the problems of the American university system. Andrew Hacker is a professor emeritus at Queens College and Claudia Dreifus is a New York Times writer. They argue that too many top universities choose to focus on prestigious research, rather than high quality teaching.

“Schools get status by bringing on professors who are star researchers, star scholars. That’s all we really know about Caltech or MIT or Stanford,” Hacker told The Atlantic. “We don’t really know about the quality of undergraduate teaching at any of these places, and it’s the students who suffer.” The book argues that top professors spend a disproportionate amout of time working on research projects and teach few classes. “We argue that you can get a better education at second or third tier colleges. Have you ever heard of Linfield? It’s in a little town called McMinnville, Oregon. We were very impressed with the campus. The professors care. They spend time with the students. The same is true in a place called Hendrix College in Arkansas, or Earlham College in Indiana. They provide a good education because they don’t expect professors to do research.”
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Higher Levels of Education Equal Lower Unemployment Rates

job industryThe job market is struggling. The national unemployment rate has been hovering around ten percent for months. However, a new study shows one way you can increase your chances of getting a job: Higher education.

According to USCollegeSearch.com, the higher degree of education a person has, the lower his or her chances of being unemployed become. Also, people with higher levels of education can expect a higher salary level. 

Let’s break it down:

Less than a High School Diploma: The average person who has not earned their high school diploma can expect a salary level of $426, and an unemployment rate of nine percent.

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