Steve Esack of the Allentown Morning Call reports that House Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature are proposing a “bare-bones $28.6 billion ‘budget scenario'” for 2014-15. The plan is a response to a projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall faced by the Commonwealth by the end of the next budget cycle.
Among other things the House GOP proposal includes
Five percent cuts in all state departments — with the exception of reductions to basic education, special education, preschools, state-funded universities and the state’s college loan program.
According to Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, Governor Corbett
does not support a bare-bones budget that removes proposals he made in February to spend $400 million more for public education, create a $25 million college scholarship for middle class students and $5.4 million more to reduce the waiting list for disabled adults to find community-based homes.
by Marissa Daniels-Benditt
In today’s world, earning a college diploma is considered the key to success. However, when the cost of college is too high and you’re swimming in debt after you graduate you don’t feel so successful. According to the New York Times, There may be a way to fix this.
A majority of Americans turn to the government for financial aid which is based off of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC formula uses the financial information a student provides on his or her FASFA to calculate the how much aid they are entitled to.
Believe it or not, the way to cut college costs is by eliminating Congress’ power over the EFC formula. Congress is trying to make the EFC more realistic but there are already so many problems with it that it is unable to be fixed. The New York Times article says that the EFC should be cut by 75 percent and by doing so it would force colleges to construct finanical aid packages without the “artificial price supports of inflated contribution numbers—and make paying for college less agonizing.”
Do you think this could be a way to lower college costs? If this is a plausible way, do you think that it would pass?
Keep in mind, lobbying expenditures by colleges, universities and other higher-education organizations have totaled more than a half-billion dollars over the past five years. Making them the 8th highest interest group attempting to influence Congress!
by Elizabeth Cohen
A bill introduced in Washington’s legislature proposes that students do not have to worry about paying their college tuition right away. Rather, after leaving school, they would pay a percentage of their income for up to a 25 year period. The “Pay It Forward” program can help a wide variety of people with different incomes afford college. 17 other states have introduced similar legislation. However critics of this program believe we should stick to the programs that already exist, like grants, and add money to those instead of trying to fund brand new programs. Still there are good points listed in the bill such as if a person’s income changes then the amount they pay per month would change as well. This bill would bring many changes to a student’s ability to pay for a college education.
A new survey of 1800 students taking Massive Open Online Courses shows an interesting profile of the average person taking a MOOC. According to a summary in the Wall Street Journal (click here for article) the clientele of these courses
are not your typical college kids. These are older people, many with advanced degrees. They participate in online courses because they are curious about the subject matter, and they are motivated, in part, by the courses’ being free of charge.
The survey found that of the highly-engaged students, those who completed several MOOCs, 55% have a master’s degree or higher. Age-wise, 74% of the highly engaged students are between 24 and 53 years old. And 63% of them are female.
According to another story about the survey posted on PR Newswire (click here for article)
The study found that course topic is the main motivator for enrollment among 35 percent of MOOC participants, followed by personal or professional development (24 percent) and the fact that MOOCs are free (16 percent). Among those who didn’t complete, 29 percent said the main reason was the learning experience didn’t match their expectations, and the same number said they were too busy to finish.
The survey found active engagement among the students in the MOOCs.
Surprisingly, MOOCs are converting fence sitters into active participants during the course. About 72 percent of participants reported engaging in course discussions, compared to only 60 percent who expected to do so at the outset.
The study also suggests that engagement with other students in course discussions is particularly important in the virtual environment. About 24 percent of those who completed their courses reported being highly engaged in course discussions with fellow participants, compared to only 3 percent of those who failed to complete.
No link to the actual survey was available at the time of this post.