President Obama Lays out “better Bargain for the Middle Class”

The White House has released a plan to address college costs.  It includes measures of value, such as graduation rate and post-graduation income.  St. Olaf performs very well on these measures.  The efficacy of the President’s plan, if it is adopted, will depend considerably on whether the measures employed are applicable to all institutions and whether they yield accurate data.

New Study Commends St. Olaf for Financial Aid Practices

Here’s a link to a new study by the New America Foundation called “Undermining Pell:  How Colleges Compete for Wealthy Students and Leave the Low-Income Behind.”  It argues that all of higher education, and private colleges in particular, are using merit aid to encourage wealthy students to  enroll in their institutions rather than allocating those financial aid dollars to  needier students.  St. Olaf is commended for being among a small group of colleges that meets the financial need of its students.  St. Olaf has a policy of meeting the demonstrated financial need of every student who enrolls. 17% of students at St. Olaf are receiving Federal Pell grants (and thus come from low-income backgrounds), and their average net tuition is $8,407.  (St. Olaf does offer modest no-need merit aid to a small group on students.)

New Brookings Institution Study: Going to College May not be the Best Choice

Here’s a link to an “infographic” (who knew that was a word?)  about a new study by the Brookings Instituiton about the return on investment on a college education.  (The
infographic” links you to the study itself, as well.) The study concludes that while there is, on average, a lifetime earnings premium for college graduates, the type of college you attend and your choice of major are important determinants.  For college graduates in some majors, lifetime earnings are actually less than for those whose highest degree is high school.  The conclusion:  we should not advise every high school student to go to college.

Minnesota Office of Higher Education Releases “Minnesota Measures”

“Minnesota Measures” is a 74-page report from Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education.  It is replete with data about the entire sector of higher education in the state–public two-year, four-year, and graduate institutions, for-profit colleges and universities, and private, not-for-profit colleges like St. Olaf.

The report made the front page of the May 4, 2013 Minneapolis Star Tribune because of the data on student debt, which shows that graduates of for-profit schools are :saddled with more debt than those who attended public or nonprofit schools.”  Here’s the link: