Research released on Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that colleges may receive more applications if they prioritize spending on amenities over academic funding, according to Inside Higher Ed. Researchers concluded that prospective students value increased spending on student services, facilities and athletics. Spending on academics such as instruction, libraries, and academic support are less tangible and therefore less attractive to many incoming students. Only students who applied to competitive colleges said that they value spending on instruction and academic support most, according to Inside Higher Ed. As a result, the majority of second-tier schools gain from investments in consumption amenities such as luxurious dormitories.
Unlike some elite private institutions that were quick to participate in the online education craze, Yale University has delayed partnering with a company to provide MOOCs, or massive open online courses, according to Inside Higher Ed. Yale’s Committee on Online Education released a report in December on online education but provided no timeline for developing MOOCs, months after Brown University, Columbia University and Princeton University announced their partnership with for-profit online education company Coursera. Yale’s committee was formed to reevaluate the university’s existing online offerings, Inside Higher Ed reported. In the past decade, Yale has experimented with different forms of online learning, including releasing free class material online in 2006 and offering its first online courses through a summer session program in 2011.
The New America Foundation released a series of recommendations on Tuesday to improve the federal financial aid system for higher education, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Recommendations include expanding and preserving the federal Pell Grant program and reducing student loan debt. The report, commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, proposes solutions for streamlining higher education’s financial aid system. The report advocated measures to prevent the Pell Grant program from falling off of a “funding cliff.” To ensure the program’s security, the report suggests that Congress should consider Pell Grants as an entitlement by covering the program’s cost in the mandatory federal budget, instead of financing it through the appropriations process, according to The Chronicle. The report also seeks to reintroduce the year-round Pell Grant, redesign student loan payment options and cut tuition tax breaks, which would free up $160 billion over the next decade for other aid programs.
Compiled by Michael Riordan