A report released by consulting company Sightlines indicates that many college campuses are in need of massive repairs, but growing costs associated with outdated structures pose a serious financial problem, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. Administrators across the country must decide which buildings to rebuild, maintain or tear down. Since funds are not available to repair everything, some buildings will need to be eliminated, and many institutions plan to reduce their current campus size. Though building investments by private colleges have increased, public university spending is flatlining. Many public colleges, in particular, have reached their debt limits and can no longer borrow money for projects.
Although Purdue University claims that its Course Signals program, which aims to motivate struggling students, has increased six-year graduation rates by over 21 percent, an independent analysis of the system found no causation between the use of Signals and student retention rates, Inside Higher Ed reported. Signals analyzes academic behavior for each student and outputs a predictive grade throughout a course to help students know how well they are doing. Michael Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University at Vancouver, examined Purdue’s retention claims and discovered that its analysis used a confounding variable — the number of courses students took — which posed a problem because the availability of Signals expanded throughout Purdue’s study.
New federal regulations allow student debtors to “rehabilitate” defaulted loans and become eligible for future federal aid, The New York Times reported. Over 600,000 students with education loans from 2010 defaulted on their payments by 2012 and, across all colleges, 15 percent of student borrowers default on their loans. The new regulations, implemented by the Education Department, allow students to get out of defaulted loans by making nine on-time payments. In the Education Department’s final rules, monthly payments are capped at 15 percent of the borrower’s income. The rules go into effect on July 1, but schools have the choice to implement some of them immediately.