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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Daily Debriefing

The University of Phoenix, an online university, is downsizing in the face of increased competition in the for-profit college sector, legal battles over regulation and negative publicity, according to Inside Higher Ed. The university has made significant cost cuts and closed more than half of its facilities as enrollment has dropped by 31 percent from its peak of 475,000 students in 2010. The drop in enrollment coincides with Phoenix's shift toward increased selectivity in recruiting, aimed at boosting low graduation rates and improving the quality of enrolled students. The university was forced to make cuts when a bubble of unimpeded growth burst in response to a crackdown on for-profit universities, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Traditional lecturing methods remain the norm in undergraduate teaching in science, technology, mathematics and engineering, known as STEM disciplines, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. In a recent survey of faculty, 63 percent of professors in STEM disciplines said they used "exclusive lecturing," according to the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. The proportion of faculty doing so in other fields was much lower, at 37 percent. Lecturing often leads to problems for both students and professors, as students attribute their difficulties to poor teaching and professors grow frustrated with students' inability to comprehend material, author of "Talking About Leaving: Why Undergraduates Leave the Sciences" Elaine Seymour said.

Top-performing low-income students, defined as those with test scores in the top 10 percent and incomes in the bottom 25 percent nationally, often do no not apply to the colleges where they are most likely to succeed, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. These students frequently do not include "good fit" colleges, or colleges where they would likely be accepted, on their lists during the application process, Stanford University economics professor Caroline Hoxby said at a College Board forum. Limited access to information inhibits students' abilities to make beneficial college choices, Hoxby said. She advocates for introducing students to application strategies and advice on financial aid and application fee waivers.