Daily Debriefing

by Laura Weiss | 11/5/13 6:56pm

College students check their cellphones during class an average of 11 times each day, according to a new study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Just 8 percent of students said they never look at their phones when they should be paying attention in class and just more than half said they do so out of boredom, The Huffington Post reported. Of students surveyed, 86 percent look at their phones to text and two-thirds look at their phones to check their email or social networks. While the majority of students believe Internet-capable electronics interfere with learning, less than 5 percent labeled them major distractions and 91 percent would oppose banning them in the classroom.

Enrollment among first-time international graduate students increased by 10 percent this fall, according to a Council of Graduate Schools report released yesterday. International enrollment has been increasing over the past few years, but this is the largest recorded surge, Inside Higher Ed reported. This fall’s increase is largely due to a 40 percent rise in first-time graduate student enrollments from India. While China’s enrollment had been increasing by about 20 percent each year since 2009-2010, enrollment remained relatively stable this fall. The rise in international graduate program applications has slowed in recent years, causing some concern, but these sustained increases in first-time enrollment show there is still strong international interest in graduate programs, the Council’s president said. Engineering and physical sciences saw the highest increases in international graduate enrollment.

While students who are the first members of their family to attend college face statistical disadvantages, including enrollment and graduation rates, the Council of Independent Colleges’ annual chief academic officers’ institute discussed possible solutions on Monday, Inside Higher Ed reported. College administrators discussed students’ “cultural capital,” defined as cultural engagement before enrollment such as reading books outside of assignments, attending concerts or plays and visiting museums, as correlated with their parents’ education levels and their academic achievements in school. They discussed how schools could attempt to build that concept in students. One recent study links higher cultural capital with increased student retention after their first years.