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Higher education cost adjustment under fire again

Critics are launching another salvo in a long-simmering debate over the underlying math used to gauge changes in higher education finances over time, arguing a cost-adjustment index used in a closely watched report obscures true trends in revenue.

At issue is the Higher Education Cost Adjustment, an inflationary index developed by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association and used in its annual State Higher Education Finance report. The index was designed to estimate inflation in the costs that colleges and universities pay. But its critics say that by focusing on what institutions spend, rather than on what students pay, the adjustment is out of step with the rising costs students face -- and actually hides a slight upward trend in revenue per student at colleges and universities.

The use of HECA has implications beyond numbers on a page, those critics say. Misreading revenue trends can have real effects on the policy choices made around state funding and tuition rates, leading decision makers to push the wrong levers when attempting to keep cost of attendance affordable. Others have argued that the cost index contributes to a feedback loop in which perceived higher costs prompt legislators to give colleges and universities more funds than are needed, which in turn allows the institutions to spend -- and charge -- more.

But HECA's defenders respond that the index is a tool like any other, one creating data for a specific context. A key part of their defense is that HECA is intended to show the financial pressures universities face, which by nature are different from those students at public colleges and universities experience. Further, they say HECA is not particularly out of step with the most widely known consumer inflationary measure, the Consumer Price Index.

In some ways, the two sides are talking past one another as they focus on different sides of the higher education financial equation. In other ways, the debate shows just how opaque and complex the relationship can be between higher education costs and tuition -- every expert seems to have their own take on the most important underlying factors.

What Is the Higher Education Cost Adjustment?

SHEEO developed HECA as an alternative to two other inflationary measures, CPI and the Higher Education Price Index. It was intended to account for differences in the costs colleges face and the consumer-oriented costs accounted for in CPI. At the same time, HECA tried to account for some criticisms lobbed at HEPI, which had drawn fire for being privately developed, being self-referential because it relied heavily on average faculty salaries and being potentially costly to update and maintain.

Underpinning HECA are indexes developed and updated by the federal government. It's tilted heavily toward personnel costs under the reasoning that faculty and staff costs are the largest portion of higher education institutions' expenditures. A full 75 percent of HECA is the Employment Cost Index -- personnel costs -- and 25 percent is the Gross Domestic Product Implicit Price Deflator -- nonpersonnel costs. But HECA has also been criticized as being self-referential. It should not be used as a basis for increasing state funding, an argument goes, because it exaggerates what colleges and universities have to spend, making it more likely that state funding will appear to be falling behind costs.

The man leading the latest charge against HECA is Andrew Gillen, an independent higher education analyst and longtime critic of the cost adjustment. His basic argument starts with the idea that using HECA makes it harder to see a slight upward trend over time in institutions' revenue per student -- revenue from state and local appropriations combined with net tuition revenue. Adjusting using CPI shows that revenue per student reached an all-time high of $12,972 in the 2015 fiscal year, he said, surpassing a previous high of $12,440 in 2007. That's a larger margin than you get when adjusting for HECA, which shows revenue rising to $12,972 in 2015, up from $12,723 in 2007.

The all-time high came as state funding for higher education recovered somewhat from the recession, Gillen said. He rejected the idea that state funding per student is in long-term decline. His data show state appropriations per student lower in 2015 than they were before the recession but still increasing in recent years, keeping with a cyclical pattern that's established itself over previous economic cycles.

Further, tuition does not change in lockstep with state funding, Gillen said. He performed an analysis without HECA showing that every one-dollar decrease in state funding is only correlated with a seven-cent increase in tuition. If tuition were perfectly linked to state funding, the two indicators should change in a one-to-one ratio, he said.

Misreading the trends in revenue because of cost adjustments will lead to misdiagnosing the way costs are changing over time -- and misdiagnosing, in turn, the reasons tuition has been increasing, Gillen said. The common narrative is that declines in state funding have led to higher tuition, he said. But because his analysis shows state funding has cycled over time while revenue has crept up and tuition steadily increased, Gillen believes there has been too much emphasis on state funding. Increasing state funding is actually more likely to feed the trend of higher costs and tuition, he said.

So other elements of higher education finance need to be considered, Gillen said.

“That's really why I keep writing,” he said. “If I'm wrong, then the way to keep tuition low is to keep increasing state funding. But if I'm right and you keep increasing state funding, that's not going to do anything to tuition. Tuition is going to keep going up.”

Colleges and universities will raise all the money they can, and they will spend all the money they raise, Gillen said. Under his logic, an increase in state funding does nothing but increase the cap on what institutions can raise and spend.

Following Gillen's reasoning can lead to very different ideas for keeping tuition in check. He suggested finding ways to change the incentives colleges and universities face.

“There are two ways you can escape this problem of just feeding the trend,” Gillen said. “Getting higher education to stop competing based on reputation -- compete based on value. Or cap revenue and start taking that away as colleges reach whatever is determined to be an adequate level.”

But many see the debate over cost indexes as a distraction from evaluating the trends in finance.

“This HECA versus CPI debate is a red herring, to be blunt,” said Andy Carlson, a senior policy analyst at the State Higher Education Executive Officers association. “CPI versus HECA is just a nitpicky argument that distracts.”

The two indexes have been tracking closely, and SHEEO discusses them in its report materials to provide transparency, Carlson said. CPI went up by 8.4 percent over the five years ending in 2015, according to SHEEO. By comparison, HECA increased by 9.8 percent.

Further, SHEEO created its report to look at finances from the educational provider perspective, Carlson said. HECA adjusts for the fact that most higher education costs are driven by salaries and benefits. Only a quarter of HECA is based on the cost of goods, and three-quarters is based on salaries for white-collar professionals. That's very different than CPI, designed to measure goods and services consumers purchase.

“From my perspective, HECA makes perfect sense if you really want to focus on the revenue,” Carlson said. “But if you really want to focus on tuitions and students and families, CPI is really a much more valuable measure.”

“For every person who says we shouldn't use HECA, we've got somebody else who sharply depends on it,” Carlson said. “An analyst can do both. They can pick the one that works best for them.”

No inflationary measure is going to be perfect. Some might argue HECA is out of step with consumers, but university business officers could also claim it doesn't recognize some of the newest costs they face. It does not account for pensions or insurance cost increases, which are expenses institutions increasingly take on as they're shifted over from states, Carlson said.

He thinks some trends are apparent regardless of the index used.

“Whether you use CPI or HECA, it's clear on the state and local funding side that funding hasn't kept up with enrollment growth and with inflation,” Carlson said, an opinion contrasting with Gillen's assertion that state funding is cyclical. “The reality is the share coming from tuition has increased significantly.”

SHEEO experts haven't been the only ones to pick out trends regardless of inflationary measure.

Susan Dynarski is a professor of public policy, education and economics at the University of Michigan who studies the issue of college costs. In doing so, she wrote about CPI and HECA in October 2014. She found that under CPI, a consumer needed $1.97 in 2013 to buy what would have cost $1 in 1988. Under HECA, the split is $2.12 versus $1.

While that is a difference, it is also spread out over 25 years.

“It seemed like, most of the time, these things tracked together,” Dynarski said.

Still, some say a special cost index for higher education sets up a feedback loop constantly pushing both prices and expenses upward.

“It's like a crutch,” said Art Hauptman, an independent public policy consultant specializing in higher education finance. “It's a self-sustaining prophecy. Higher education prices go up faster, and therefore costs go up faster, and therefore the price index is higher.”

​Hauptman falls more in line with Gillen in the discussion over indexes and costs. One of his ideas is to stop focusing on what public institutions actually spend and focus more on what they should be spending. Set a realistic funding level per student in a given field, and allow institutions to decide how to best educate with it. ​He views higher education as roughly analogous to the health care industry -- growth in health care costs only slowed when the money dried up, he said.

“Do you think costs are driving the prices or do you think prices are driving the costs?” he said. “If you think the underlying costs are driving the price, you sort of get into this argument. I don't believe it.”

The index debate doesn't seem to have translated into discussions within college and university business offices, however. It's largely an academic argument, said Donald Heller, provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of San Francisco.

Heller said he's not aware of any university that sets its tuition based on cost indexes -- nor is he aware of the indexes playing a key role in state appropriation deliberations. He did not sound surprised, however, that the index issue was sparking more debate.

“Every now and then it pops up,” he said. “Generally, you have people in higher ed saying we need to use something other than the CPI because the CPI doesn't really reflect our cost structure, things we spend money on. And then people on the other side of the debate say CPI makes more sense because when people go to pay for higher education, their lives are dictated by what they face when they have to buy things.”

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Andrew Gillen argues state funding for higher education is cyclical and that total revenue has been trending up over time.
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Study finds British academics skip lunch

There is a fair chance that as you read this article you will be eating lunch at your desk. Or perhaps you didn’t have time today to eat at all.

This, you might think, is simply the everyday reality of life in the modern university. But an analysis of individuals’ working routines suggests that “academic hunger” plays a significant role in forming their impressions of what it means to be a scholar today.

As part of the Sharing Practice project conducted by the University of Kent, academics across Britain were invited to keep a diary of their activities on the 15th day of each month over the course of a year.

Sally Fincher, professor of computing education at Kent, studied the responses with Ph.D. student Sebastian Dziallas and was struck by how many academics described eating at their desk, or skipping lunch altogether, because they were too busy to take a break. Participants were not specifically asked to provide information about food, but of the 1,454 diary entries collected from 249 participants, 864 -- nearly 60 percent -- mentioned it in some form.

“This is not [just] one person, or strange,” said Fincher, giving a paper at the annual conference of the Society for Research Into Higher Education. “This is happening again and again.”

Academics were not merely opting to skip lunch because they were busy, Fincher said. She highlighted several cases of “institutional collusion,” in which departments had scheduled meetings directly over lunchtime, leaving staff with no chance to have a proper meal.

But Fincher argued that the fact that so many academics mentioned their disappointing dining experiences in their diary entries could not be explained by frustration with management alone.

Instead, she argued, each meal they ate was being compared with idealized notions of academic dining: the ancient college dining hall, the communal experience of the senior common room and the university cafeteria.

Few of the academics seemed overly enamored of the food they did eat, with diarists describing wolfing down “a nasty supermarket sandwich” or a “slice of horrible campus pizza,” or settling “for a Greggs pasty [a meat pie] instead of something healthy."

Each meal that fell short of academics’ hopes, Fincher said, had a profound impact on their professional identity.

“The sandwiches they eat or don’t eat are more than a missing meal,” she argued. “They are the distance between the actual academic life and the idealization of what we would like it to be.”

This made it all the more striking when academics did have a positive dining experience. One participant who defended a Ph.D. thesis at the University of Cambridge was then taken for lunch in the college and proceeded to “fill my calorific boots with as much dignity as I can muster,” followed by coffee in the fellows’ common room.

The academic described leaving with “a sense of how the value of higher education and academic research, which I so often doubt and question, is so utterly demonstrable and taken for granted in a place like Cambridge.”

“I leave buoyed up, both about my own personal worth and that of the whole endeavor of universities,” the diarist wrote.

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Survey finds growth in number of humanities books being published

The number of scholarly books published in the humanities increased in 2013 to 54,273, from 51,789 in 2012. The new figure, from the Humanities Indicators project of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, is the highest number of new humanities titles in a year in the five years the project has been collecting the information. The number of humanities titles published in 2013 was 15 higher than the low point in the available data: 2011, with 47,124 new titles.

The increase in the number of humanities books published is important to humanities professors not only for the scholarship produced and shared, but for its impact on careers. While professional associations and many leaders of humanities disciplines have pushed departments to evaluate candidates for hiring and tenure on factors other than monographs published, the monograph remains "the gold standard" for evaluating humanities scholarship, a report from the Humanities Indicators project states.

The number of books in the humanities published each year far outpaces those in other disciplines (where the monograph is less central to scholarship and evaluation), and they accounted for 44.9 percent of all scholarly titles published in 2013. That's a two percentage point increase from the previous year. The following chart shows the shifts over the last five years, by disciplinary groups.

Scholarly Books Published in North America, by Disciplinary Groups

Within the humanities, the greatest number of books were published in literature, which saw 15,938 new scholarly books in 2009 and 18,942 in 2013. Literature was followed by history. The numbers of new books in religion and language and linguistics saw small declines in 2013.

New Books in Humanities Fields

A separate data report released today by the Humanities Indicators project looks at the price of new scholarly books.

The average price for the humanities scholarly books published in 2013 (in print) was $61.02 in 2013, the lowest average of any discipline. The most expensive was engineering, at $133.87.

Average Print Price for New Scholarly Books, 2013

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Vanderbilt study again highlights what colleges view as burdensome federal regulations

The nation’s colleges and universities collectively spend an estimated $27 billion each year trying to comply with federal requirements.

Or so says the latest Vanderbilt University report aimed at highlighting the burden of federal regulation on institutions of higher education.

The report, which is being published today, comes several months after the university courted controversy over how its president represented the findings of an initial review of regulatory burden on its own campus. Vanderbilt’s assertion, repeated by congressional lawmakers -- that it spent some $11,000 per student on compliance costs -- was widely panned as misleading. Many of the costs the university counted were affiliated with its role in medical education and treatment, with far fewer costs associated with regulations from the U.S. Department of Education.

The new study expands on the original, and looks at how an additional dozen colleges and universities of varying sizes and missions dealt with federal regulations on their campus. Included, for example, were Belmont University, Rasmussen College, De Anza Community College and the University of California at Berkeley.

It then extrapolates, based on data from those 13 institutions and industrywide expenditure figures, that all colleges and universities collectively spend about $27 billion on federal compliance, $10.2 billion of which was related to research activities and $5.6 million of which was related to federal rules that aren’t specific to colleges and universities, like immigration.

The remaining $11.1 billion was attributed to regulations specific to colleges and universities, such as financial aid rules ($2 billion) or accreditation ($3 billion for regional, $3 billion for programmatic).

The new study is likely to again be controversial in higher education policy circles. Much of the programmatic accreditation listed in the report is not required of colleges seeking to access federal funds, for example. And it is not clear whether the group of institutions reviewed by the study, although certainly wide-ranging, are a representative enough sample of American higher education from which accurate national figures can be produced. The study includes, for instance, only one community college and one for-profit institution.

The study, which was completed by Boston Consulting Group, found that the 13 colleges and universities varied in how much of their budgets were consumed by compliance activities. Compliance with all federal requirements accounted for between 3 and 11 percent of the institutions’ operating expenditures, excluding any expenses associated with running a hospital.

Brett Sweet, Vanderbilt’s chief financial officer, said in an interview that the university’s goal was “to start a conversation at the national level of the cost of regulation and compliance at universities.”

“It’s not to point fingers at regulatory bodies,” he added. “We’re hoping schools themselves will question, ‘where do we fall on this?’”

Sweet said that one of the most significant findings was that small and medium-sized colleges are disproportionately impacted by federal regulations, with compliance eating up a much larger share of their expenditures than their wealthier peers.

Vanderbilt’s focus on the regulatory burden that colleges faces comes amid a debate in Washington over whether the federal government should pare back or streamline some of the requirements it imposes on colleges.

Colleges and universities have long said they think they’re spending too much time and money trying to comply with the federal government’s rules.

“While many regulations are useful and effective, others are unrelated to the mission of higher education. All regulations impose cost, however,” Thomas W. Ross, president of the University of North Carolina, said in a statement provided by Vanderbilt. Ross added, “We must truly come to grips with the reality of how federal regulation impacts our bottom line.”

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Republican who chairs the Senate education committee, has said that such regulatory relief for colleges is a chief goal as he works on a rewrite of the Higher Education Act.

Alexander tapped Vanderbilt’s president, Nicholas Zeppos, to co-chair a task force on higher education regulations last year.

Such efforts haven’t been without controversy, however.

Amy Laitinen, deputy director for higher education at the think tank New America, has been critical of efforts by higher education groups to roll back regulations.

She said that she worries the latest Vanderbilt report was “clearly intended to advance an antiregulatory agenda and paint a picture of an oppressive federal government role in higher education.”

While some regulations may well need to be eliminated or rewritten, she added, publishing large cost figures without showing the significant amount of federal dollars flowing to colleges is misleading. For example, the study says colleges nationwide spent some $2 billion on compliance with federal financial aid regulations, which govern the roughly $130 billion the Education Department doles out in student loans and grants each year.

“I worry that this push toward deregulation will dump them all together and we’ll eliminate much needed protections for students, of which we don’t have that many to begin with,” she said. “There needs to be some nuance around the conversation.”

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Florida governor wants to know why all psychology majors aren't employed

Governor Rick Scott of Florida made headlines in 2011 when he suggested that the state didn't need any more anthropology majors. Now, he's going after psychology majors.

Scott summoned the state's public university presidents to a meeting Thursday at which he'll ask them to make sure that their two most popular majors have 100 percent employment rates, leaving out those who go to graduate school.

Psychology ranks as one of the top two programs at six of the state's 10 universities. And indeed, National Center for Education Statistics data show psychology to be one of the five most popular undergraduate areas of study nationwide, alongside business and the social sciences. The other popular majors vary by campus and include such sure-employment fields as nursing -- so the focus Thursday is expected to be on psych.

The question of undergraduate psych major employability is a raw one in Florida. Last year, Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and current presidential candidate, suggested a psychology (or philosophy) major is likely to put a graduate behind the counter at Chick-fil-A. His comments prompted a speedy social media backlash from happily employed psychology majors. And several years before that, a state senator singled out psychology as undeserving of state support.

"When the No. 1 degree granted is psychology and the No. 2 degree is political science, maybe before we ask $100 million more of taxpayers we should redeploy what we have," State Senator Don Gaetz said. "That way we make sure we're not sending graduates out with degrees that don't mean much."

Scott mirrored those concerns in announcing the newest part of what’s called the “Ready, Set, Work” University Challenge.

“Far too many university students are graduating today, some after spending years of their family’s savings and others after taking on decades of debt, not able to find a job. Our state-funded universities can and must do more to help graduates get a good-paying job,” he said in a release. “I am challenging all state universities to better align their degrees with a student’s opportunity to get a job when they graduate.”

Florida university presidents are broadly, if sometimes tentatively, on board with the governor’s goals.

“The general principle, and this is something I support as a university president, is that every student seeking employment at graduation will have a job,” University of Florida President Kent Fuchs told The Gainesville Sun. “There are costs, but the goal of having full employment for our students is something I support. I’m not concerned just about the top two majors but to increase employment opportunities for all majors.”

Some faculty members, however, are concerned Scott’s challenge places too much responsibility for employment on professors who ought to be concerned with providing a comprehensive, well-rounded education. And they say that defining a liberal arts discipline as the governor has shows a lack of appreciation for the way higher education works, and for a major that in fact has plenty of employment and graduate school options.

“I guess the part that scares the faculty, including me, is the idea that we're kind of responsible for so many young adults and for their outcomes,” said Jeffrey Cassisi, chair of the University of Central Florida’s psychology department, to the Orlando Sentinel. Professors don’t want to be on the hook for uncertain or uncommitted students, he explained.

Jane Halonen, a psychology professor at the University of West Florida who put together a report defending the major’s popularity after Senator Gaetz’s comments said, however, that that isn’t the aspect of the challenge she finds troubling.

The paper, "Are There Too Many Psychology Majors," says, "Parents sometimes fret when they hear their children are choosing psychology as a major when they enter college …. [But] the fear about employability with a bachelor's degree is not completely justified." Instead, it argues, that while a psychology bachelor's degree won't make someone a psychologist, it prepares them for entry-level positions in plenty of other fields -- social work, for example, or an assortment of management positions. The paper also quotes one psychology professor, who says, "You study psychology so you won't be a jerk."

Halonen said she isn't worried professors carry too much of the responsibility for their students' careers. “That is an orientation that might have worked 40 years ago,” she said in an interview with Inside Higher Ed. Universities in today’s economy must be mindful of their students’ futures in the workforce.

Rather, she said, “[Scott] is partly right and, of course, partly wrong, which is how psychologists are trained to look at the world.”

On the one hand, his challenge highlights the need for universities to do a better job preparing psychology undergrads for their careers and informing them about the opportunities available via a psych degree, Halonen said. But on the other, it perpetuates the misconception that someone with a psychology or liberal arts or social sciences degree “is going to walk across that stage and walk into a job that reflects that discipline.” Rather, census data show many go on to work as managers or in social services or education.

“A lot of people assume they know what it is when they really don’t,” she said of psychology degrees. “Psychology has a lot of flexibility.”

Still, she said, universities should be doing more to help students, not to mention politicians, understand that. “You can end up being qualified for lots of different things, but you have to know how to pitch it and where to look.”

With an eye toward addressing exactly that, the American Psychological Association, via a committee Halonen chaired, recently updated its undergraduate psychology major guidelines with an increased focus on professional development. Helping students "develop meaningful professional direction for life after graduation" and related career-centric goals are now central to APA's recommended undergraduate curriculum. The new guidelines also emphasize psychology as a liberal arts degree that can prepare students for a variety of careers.

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View the newest Auto service cost

Taking your car serviced in america may become a little confusing in relation to prices. Whether you're getting the car repaired or you'll need a spare part replaced, the amount that you are going to pay varies among states. For example, the normal cost of labor and parts in the vehicle repair shop in Mississippi is approximately $250. Compare that to your Montana wherein the average charges are around $280. As you can see, there's a whooping $30 difference. Obviously, another states in the united states have different average costs. Understanding that, you must keep in mind that when you go to a vehicle repair center, the cost you are going to pay might be reduced or maybe more compared to what you've expected.

Furthermore, there are many factors you'll want to consider when calculating the amount a motor vehicle service can cost you. For example, you will need take into consideration the brand or style of your automobile. Naturally, the more expensive the automobile, the greater price you are likely to pay. Receiving a Ferrari fixed would cost a lot more than fixing an ordinary Toyota pick up truck. In many instances, it can save you a lot of money through your automobile to some service station being ran from the same company that manufactured your car.

When categorised, car service prices in the usa consist of two things. There's the money you spend for the parts. And after that there's the sum you have to pay for your labor in the mechanic. Those two always come together but you will find instances wherein you simply spend on the part that you purchase. Auto shops offer various services at varying prices. But here's what you should know - the usa that have the best average cost for labor and parts are Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, California, and Idaho. Conversely, the states with all the lowest average cost for labor and parts are Mississippi, Vermont, Indiana, and Montana.

To summarize, the total amount you will pay whenever you bring your car for an auto shop depends on several factors. For instance , the brand and type of your car or truck, the extent with the damage inside the part which should be repaired or damaged, and also the state your location located. Continue to keep these in mind the very next time you will get your automobile serviced.
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After recession and recovery, students report they remain 'financially stressed'

In 2012, the annual National Survey of Student Engagement found that -- in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and recession -- financial stress was a particular concern for students and they felt the stress undermined their undergraduate experience. About 60 percent of students said they frequently worried about having enough money for regular expenses, and slightly less than one-third said they did not purchase required academic materials because of the cost.

Three years, later, although the economy has improved somewhat, little has changed. A report detailing the results of this year’s engagement survey asserts that financial stress for students has not abated. And in some cases, it has actually gotten worse.

In 2012, 27 percent of first-year students said they had eschewed buying required materials due to their cost. In 2015, 31 percent said they did not buy some materials. Among seniors, those who did not purchase required materials accounted for 40 percent of students.

More than half of students -- freshman and seniors alike -- said they were worried about paying for college. About 40 percent of seniors and 23 percent of first-year students said their work schedule interfered with their academic performance. Sixty percent of students said they were worried about having enough money for regular expenses.

For black and Hispanic students and those from other underserved groups -- such as first-generation students -- the level of financial stress and its effects were even higher.

“The economy has improved, but we’re not seeing much of a change in perceptions of financial stress, and in some cases we’re seeing an uptick,” Alex McCormick, director of the National Survey of Student Engagement, said. “Financial stress appears to be very real.”

The good news, McCormick said, is that financial stress seems to have had little effect on how much time students devote to academic work. First-year students with higher levels of financial stress spent only one hour less per week preparing for class than did students who reported lower levels of stress.

At the same time, students reporting high levels of financial stress spent “substantially more time working, commuting and caring for dependents than their low-stress peers,” the report stated. Also concerning, the researchers said, was how the students rated the campus environment. Students experiencing high levels of financial stress -- which is calculated using a 60-point scale -- rated their interactions with other students less favorably and “perceived a less supportive environment.”

“Their lower ratings of interactions with others and environmental support are cause for concern,” the researchers wrote. “Given their time commitments and the amount of debt most students incur to attend college, financially stressed students have limited availability to work more or to take on additional debt.”

Black and Hispanic students -- whom the researchers found to be especially at risk for financial stress -- also reported having lower-quality interactions on campus than white students did, especially with faculty members. About 52 percent of first-year white students rated their interactions with faculty highly, compared to 43 percent of first-year black students and 46 percent of Hispanic.

Also concerning for underserved students, McCormick said, is a finding from the NSSE's companion survey, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement. The survey found that there is "considerable consistency" in study time between high school and the first year of college.

More than two-thirds of students who reported studying more than 15 hours a week in high school said they studied at least that much as freshmen. For students who studied five or fewer hours a week in high school, only a quarter reported studying 15 hours per week in college. This can mean first-generation students who have yet to pick up effective study habits may find themselves floundering once they reach college, McCormick said.

"Improvements can happen," he said. "But it's well-known that the best predictor of behavior is prior behavior. K-12 education and higher education need to more explicitly equip students with tools to be successful academically, and not just assume that students are going to pick those up on the way or from their parents and siblings. That reinforces social class advantages."

The majority of faculty members, however, said they believe their institution is already supportive of students of color and other underserved groups.

The report included some data from the related Faculty Survey of Student Engagement. That survey found that 80 percent of faculty members at 16 four-year institutions that answered this particular question said they “very much” or “quite a bit” believe that their institution supports racial and ethnic minority students.

Relationship Between Engagement and Challenging Courses

This year’s student engagement survey -- which collected responses from 315,000 first-year and senior students at 585 four-year institutions -- also examined the links between student engagement in a course and how challenging the student found that course.

The survey asked students the following question: “During the current school year, to what extent have your courses challenged you to do your best work?” Students responded by using a seven-point scale, with one meaning “not at all” and seven meaning “very much.”

First-year and senior students who indicated that they were highly challenged by their courses were more likely to engage in what the researchers consider to be effective or “high-impact” education practices, including high-order learning and integrative learning. In turn, senior students who reported engaging in those practices said they felt more prepared for their postgraduation plans.

Only 54 percent of first-year students and 61 percent of students said they felt highly challenged, however.

“We see barely half of first-year students saying they're highly challenged,” McCormick said. “I think we can do better. The root of academic success is a combination of challenge and support. You set high expectations and then try to stretch students to perform beyond what they think they’re capable of doing. But you do that in an environment where you provide support for them to be successful.”

How challenging a course was perceived to be varied greatly among differing majors. More than 71 percent of those working toward a degree in a health profession said they were challenged, while just over half of students majoring in communications, media and public relations reported feeling challenged.

Nontraditional-aged students were more likely to feel challenged by a course than were traditional-aged students. For nontraditional-aged students, taking courses online seemed to play a role in how challenged they felt. Three-quarters of students taking all of their courses online reported feeling highly challenged, compared to two-thirds of students taking some or no online courses.

The selectivity of an institution had little effect on how challenging students felt the courses were, continuing a trend from last year’s survey that found selective institutions are not more likely to produce higher levels of student engagement or quality of interaction.

Highly selective colleges and universities -- as defined by the selective index used in Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges -- made up 9 percent of all institutions in this year's survey. When the researchers identified the top 50 institutions where students said they felt challenged, highly selective institutions accounted for 14 percent for first-year students. No highly selective institutions made the top 50 for seniors.

“Are more selective institutions more successful at eliciting the best work out of their students? The answer seems to be no,” McCormick said. “The idea that selectivity guarantees you a better experience is, in fact, not a guarantee.”

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What is The Best Beat Making Software Online?

Wanting to become a DJ you've probably wanted to know what the best solution would be for you to begin. And if you're seeking the solution, you're likely looking into online beat mixers. That's exactly what this is, and it'll provide faster learning and more fun. You can literally have beats being made by your own in less than an hour.
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New presidents or provosts: Australian National Berkeley Boston FDU Foothill-De Anza NAU NMHU SVC Tallahassee

Christopher A. Capuano, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Fairleigh Dickinson University, in New Jersey, has been chosen as president there. James Coleman, dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University, has been selected as provost at Northern Arizona University. Glen S. LeRoy, dean and a professor at the College of Architecture and Design at Lawrence Technological University, in Michigan, has been named president of Boston Architectural College. Mary McDonough, vice president for academic affairs at Berkeley College's White Plains campus, in New York, has been appointed as provost at Berkeley College. Judy C. Miner, president of Foothill College, in California, has been promoted to chancellor of Foothill-De Anza Community College District, also in California. Sam Minner, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Radford University, in Virginia, has been chosen as president of New Mexico Highlands University. Feleccia Moore-Davis, vice president for instruction at Lone Star College-CyFair, in Texas, has been selected as provost at Tallahassee Community College, in Florida. Brian Schmidt, Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at Australian National University, has been appointed vice chancellor there. James C. White II, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Washington & Jefferson College, in Pennsylvania, has been chosen as provost at Southern Vermont College.
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SouthWest Auto Glass launchesnew website!

SouthWest Auto Glass, a renowned auto glass repair business in Las Vegas, NV, and they have just announced their fresh new website! Go take a look!
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Must Have Extreme Gadgets

Inventions, Innovations, New Tech, New Gadgets, Extreme Gadgets, Extreme Machines, and so much more...
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Greater london Landscaping for companies and also houses trying to find improvement

If you're fed up with your yard being unpractical for you and then your family members, looking dated, and then simply not being just how you want it-- we can help.

We ensure a landscape design and also horticulture service to the West London location, helping you change your garden from being enough, to having you and your friends say "WOW".

You don't have to throw away hrs locating a separate developer, renovation firm, or gardener. With West London Landscapers, you'll have the ability to have your desire yard created, built, and kept.

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Reliable Health Tips & Info

Here's some health info that will help everyday life!

https://healthymarky.wordpress.com is updated often with in the trenches tips and information to help you keep healthy
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Ergonomics, Quality & Value at Symphony Seating

A key to profitability for a home business is increased productivity and the health of the employees. One of the best ways to increase productivity and yourself operating at peak capacity is an ergonomically office and ergonomic workstations. It is a small change that can have a major result in the businesses profitability
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