Aug 09, 2007
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Thursday, August 9 , 2007
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Ithaka Advocates Online Publishing by Universities

By Nihit Aurora

Scholars studying at American universities have a wide range of avenues available to them for distributing their scholarly work. The Internet has added an extra dimension to their endeavors, extending the concept of academic publishing to include "virtual" publishing.

The nonprofit group Ithaka provides a variety of services that benefit higher education. It recently published a report calling for the use of the Internet and new technology for scholarly publishing by universities in the United States.

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The NSSE and USA Today Introduce College-Assessment Initiative

By Gitanjali Hazarika

Mired in controversy and escalating criticism from college authorities, rankings of institutions of higher education can be unreliable. Students and parents are forced to grope in the dark when it comes to what they pay to and what they receive from colleges. With the aim of providing prospective students, parents, counselors, and others with information on the quality of education at particular institutions, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and USA Today have devised a new accountability and transparency movement called the "Initiative to Focus on Meaningful Indicators of Collegiate Quality."

Both parties have emphatically stressed that the initiative is not another ranking system, adding that institutions will not be ranked in any manner in the final analyses. The aim of the initiative, they state, is to provide prospective students and their parents, as well as others, with some "meaningful indicators" with respect to various colleges. The NSSE has even prepared an FAQ list to answer misgivings that may arise in the minds of administrators at participating schools.

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Report reveals 76% of full-time undergraduates receive federal aid

The Department of Education's data collection and analysis division has published its report on financial aid to undergraduates. The report states that as many as three-fourths of full-time undergraduates (76%) received financial aid, while a large number of them (60%) received federal government aid. Similarly, in its yearly Digest of Education Statistics for the 2005-2006 school year, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals that of the 54% of part-time undergraduate students who received financial aid, 38% of them received federal aid. Full-time students received $9,899 in aid per year on average, while part-time students received approximately $4,860 annually. The average federal aid amount was $7,304.

Senate approves reworking of Higher Education Act

The U.S. Senate has approved an overhaul of the primary law governing federal aid to colleges and the students who attend them. The Senate-approved version of the act includes a condition that states college and university financial aid officers who receive anything of value in exchange for promoting a lender will be considered to be acting illegally. Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act has been delayed since 2003 and still awaits the U.S. House and President Bush's consent before it becomes law. The Senate's stipulations require colleges and universities to adopt codes of conduct akin to the code New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo devised for governing the behavior of financial aid officers and lenders.

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