Tag Archives: higher education

More Common Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting a College

Little doubt exist that selecting a college or university is among life’s most complex and intimidating challenges – for students and parents.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Our most recent post listed some of the most common mistakes families make when applying to colleges and universities.   We have more:

Graduation Rates or Progression Rates

In addition to asking about a school’s graduation rates, find out the progression rate from first to second year. That will give a better indication of the academic and student services programs in the first year and a good indication of the investment a school makes in its first year students.

Academic “Map”

Make certain you get an outline from the academic department of the academic “map” you need to follow in order to graduate in four, not five or six years.

Career Counseling

Some of the best schools in the country have a four year career counseling program and you should find out what each of the schools on your list do to help students get a job at graduation.  Ask for the employment statistics of recent graduates.

Alumni Networks

Find out how each of the schools on your list involves alumni to help students get either internships or entry level jobs.  Alumni networks can be essential to recent college graduates.

Common Mistakes When Selecting a College or University

Selecting a college or university can be a daunting experience, even for the best and brightest students.

Before applying to a college or university, try to avoid making these common mistakes:


The student wants to travel as far away from home as possible but the parents will only support enrolling in schools less than 500 miles away from home.  It is essential that families decide, before beginning any college investigation, the geographic parameters for enrollment.

How Many Applications?

Too many students file too many applications because they have not narrowed their choices and done the necessary investigative work. If you ask the right questions and get the right answers, you should not file more than 7 applications.

First Apply; then Figure Out How to Pay for College

Do not file any application until you know if you can afford to attend. Do this before application, not after acceptance.

Switch and Bait

Find out if the financial aid package you are awarded in the first year will continue in subsequent years.  Make certain the grant and loan ratios stay the same.

Parent Debt and Student Debt

The majority of college students borrow to pay for their educational expenses.

Last year the average debt was approximately $30,000.  But what about parent debt?  Find out how much parents have to borrow at each of the schools on your list.

Debt and First Year Starting Salaries

Debt is manageable or unmanageable based on first year starting salaries. Try not to borrow more than 15 percent of your first year starting salary.

In the next post, later this week, we’ll look at more common mistakes. 

Mr. Cohen cuts class, misses notes; not college costs

In an opinion piece published in the March 21 edition of the New York Times, attorney Steve Cohen suggests a quick way to cut college costs would be for Congress to reduce by 75 percent the “estimated family contribution,” or EFC, for middle class families with children headed to college or university.

I believe Mr. Cohen is mistaken and submitted to the Times a letter in rebuttal:

I must respectfully disagree with a basic premise in Mr. Cohen’s Op-Ed article in today’s New York Times.

It is folly for a family to spend time and money filing many college applications and only begin a conversation as to whether they can afford the school after an acceptance letter arrives in the mailbox.

To cut college costs, a more pro-active approach to college admission and financing is necessary. Families should have in-person ( or electronic) conversations with financial aid staff to get an estimate of Expected Family Contribution. At the same time they should also get an estimate of what the family can expect in federal, state and school funding. There are many colleges and universities meeting with parents and students in the evening or on the week-end to provide early estimates of financial costs and expected funds.

Some schools may be eliminated after this information is calculated. Other schools may stay on the college list as a result of the information.

Given the political climate in Washington, does anyone really believe, as Mr. Cohen suggests, that Congress and the President will act quickly to reduce the EFC by 75%?

The best way for families to control college costs is to take control, by getting good information early in the application cycle, of their ability to afford, or not afford, each of the schools on their college list.


Trends in International Education

International higher education is a big business, a $400 billion dollar “industry.”

Since 2000, the number of overseas students, graduate and undergraduate students and exchange students, has increased nearly 80%. International education is a business wrapped around every corner of the globe.

By 2025, global demand for seats in higher education is projected to double, reaching an annual enrollment of 200 million students.

As long as the middle class continues to grow in the developing world, demand for postsecondary education will continue to outpace supply.

No one country will dominate the international student market in the future. Students will migrate to new international destinations based on a variety of factors including price, visa eligibility, work  opportunities and availability of quality education in the students’ home country.

Technology and today’s “digital native” student will determine educational delivery methods in the future.

The increasing availability of telephone and Internet connections is starting to unite the world’s rich and poor. Online education will make higher education available to students who otherwise could not afford to attend college outside their home country.

For-profit institutions in the developed world will expand their educational services, especially as distance and e-learning providers.

In the future, private financing will increase and public financing will decrease, resulting in higher tuition rates.

Technological capabilities will continue to encourage the rise of global universities. These universities, rather than single institutions, will become the norm in the future. Strategic alliances will enhance  current international recruitment practices.

Colleges and universities throughout the world will consolidate and merge several universities into fewer “mega” universities. There will be a growing emphasis on regional and global collaboration.

Erasmus Mundus will expand the EU network past Europe to a global scale.

Most countries consider international academic mobility and educational exchanges as critical components for sharing knowledge, building intellectual capital and remaining competitive in a globalized world.

Countries that have historically been “sending” countries have developed their own internationalization strategies to attract foreign students to their countries to study.

The movement of students from developing to developed countries is changing, as unexpected players are now engaged in what can best be described as a global competition for international students.

On-line educational opportunities will become increasingly important to students from developing countries that do not have the financial resources to study abroad.

In the future, the balance between in-country enrollments and offshore enrollments will shift in the direction of offshore.

Demand for alternative methods of delivering higher education in the future is expected to outstrip demand for traditional methods by 6% before 2020.

Although some U.S. colleges and universities have closed their overseas campuses, other U.S. schools have expanded their overseas operation, especially in the Middle East and Asia. The Institute of International Education has created the IIE Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education, to assist colleges and universities in developing and sustaining institutional partnerships around the world.

International Education Interesting Facts and Trends

Education is the fourth largest source of exports from the U. S. behind: royalties and license fees, business, professional, and technical services and financial services.

Approximately 10% of all U.S. undergraduate students study abroad. The most popular fields of study are the social sciences, business and management and the humanities. The United Kingdom was the  number one destination followed by Italy, Spain, France and China.

According to data compiled by the Education Policy Strategy Associates, the most affordable international colleges in the world are located in: Finland, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, The  Netherlands, France, Latvia, Canada, New Zealand, England and Wales, USA, Australia, Japan and Mexico.

The Fulbright New Century Scholars have examined access and equity in higher education around the world. Some of the issues they investigated are: quality of academic programs, physical infrastructure of the university, curricula development, faculty standards, access for low income students, assessment and quality assurance.

Although the decline in international student enrollment in the United States was exacerbated by the events of September 11, 2001, the decline in the number of international students began long before that time.  In 1970 the U.S. market share of international students studying outside their home country was 36.7%. In 1995 the number was 30%.  In 2004 it was 25% and by 2009 that percentage was 20%.

Twenty-five years ago, nearly 80% of all international students wanted to stay in the United States after graduation.  Currently, many international students, including students from China and India, consider employment opportunities in their own countries better than the work opportunities in the United States.

The governments of India and China will pour millions of dollars in the future to develop and strengthen their own universities.

The U.K., Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia and China are increasing their market share of the international student population.

In the Middle East the educational outreach policies of The United Arab Emirates and Qatar continue to internationalize the region and its student population.

The United Arab Emirates has announced plans to boost space science in higher education as well as space research and development. The plan will position the UAE as a regional hub for space science and education.

There are more women enrolling in higher education worldwide than men.

Future international educational enrollment is tied to the world economic outlook.  College and university enrollment, especially in Europe, will be impacted for a long time by the economic distress experienced in many European countries.

An uncertain financial future is forcing many U.K. students to forego the traditional gap year and enroll directly into college or university.