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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Katherine Long.

September 29, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Tacoma university offers more financial help to local students

A generation ago, the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma was the kind of liberal-arts college that attracted mostly local, home-grown students. But as it built a national reputation  and as the price of tuition rose  the school’s enrollment increasingly came from out of state. Today, 80 percent of UPS students come from outside Washington.

Now, UPS is looking to change that.

The university is making a new push into Tacoma public schools, whose students account for only about 2 percent of the university’s enrollment. UPS is promising that if they are admitted, the university will meet their financial need through a combination of scholarships, grants, loans and work study.

UPS President Ron Thomas said the community has the perception that the college is difficult to get into, and too expensive. He said UPS has always tried to meet the financial need of students who couldn’t afford full tuition, so the campaign is in part an effort to make people more aware of financial aid resources.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher ed, private colleges, Tacoma

September 19, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Sticker relief: First thoughts of a new public college parent

“Here’s the bill for Western,” I told my husband this summer, waving a piece of paper in the air. “Tuition and fees are going to be $8,965.”

“Per quarter?” he asked.

“No! We’re in the state school system now. That’s for a whole year.”

I’ve been covering higher education in Washington since 2011, and I’ve also experienced college as a parent through the filter of my daughter, who’s been at an out-of-state private college for the past three years. But this fall, my son becomes a freshman at Western Washington University, and for the first time I’m the parent of a student in the system I’ve been writing about.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher ed, Western Washington University

September 12, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Brigham Young tops list of WA’s out-of-state college choices

Recently, we wrote about the large number of Washington state students who go out of state for a college education. Of all the western states, Washington loses the most college-bound students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a federally-run data clearinghouse.

Where do they all go? Believe it or not, the two most popular out-of-state schools for the 2012-13 school year were Brigham Young University-Idaho and Brigham Young University in Utah. Those two schools account for nearly 9 percent of the 7,409 Washington students who graduated in spring 2012 and went immediately to out-of-state colleges in the fall.

State universities in Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Arizona were also big draws. Popular California schools included the public California Polytechnic State University (or Cal-Poly, as it’s known), and three privates: Santa Clara University, the University of Southern California and Chapman University.

But what’s also striking is that the top 25 schools only account for 40 percent of the students who leave the state. That suggests to us that Washington students choose many, many different schools across the nation when they decide to leave home.

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Comments | Topics: college, out-of-state

September 9, 2014 at 9:48 AM

U.S. News: UW ranks 14th among public national universities

Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2008.

Aerial view of the UW campus in Seattle. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2008.

The University of Washington went up a few places in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best colleges and universities in the country, reaching 48th place among all national universities. Among public national universities, it ranked 14th.

Last year, the UW was ranked 52nd among national universities.

Washington State University, which was ranked 128th last year, fell 10 places, to 138th.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: college rankings, higher ed, UW

September 8, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Excellent Sheep? Author says higher education system is broken

A new book questioning whether an education at one of the country’s elite colleges prepares students to find true meaning in their lives is getting a lot of buzz in education circles this fall.

“Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life,” by William Deresiewicz, argues that the nation’s elite colleges don’t promote intellectual curiosity, and leave students without a sense of purpose, unwilling to take a chance on pursuing their passions and largely all pursuing the same high-paying but soul-sucking jobs  in finance, or as a consultant.

A Hungarian shepherd drives a herd of sheep near Hortobagy, a village 183 kilometers east of Budapest. Photo by Zsolt Czegledi/European Press Association.

A shepherd drives a herd of sheep near Hortobagy, Hungary. Photo by Zsolt Czegledi/European Press Association.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: college, excellent sheep, higher ed

August 28, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Washington loses more college students than it gains

Illustration by Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

Illustration by Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

When he was president of  the State University of New York Institute of Technology (SUNYIT), Bjong “Wolf” Yeigh was well aware of New York’s brain-drain problem: The state’s bountiful numbers of college students didn’t stick around after graduation.

Now that he’s chancellor of the University of Washington Bothell, Yeigh finds he’s in a state with education issues that are, in some respects, the opposite.

New York, which is home to hundreds of small liberal arts colleges, attracts more college students than it loses to other states. In fall 2012, for example, federal data shows that about 33,000 of New York’s first-time college students (primarily freshmen)  left the state to go to college elsewhere. But about 39,000 students from other states moved to New York to go to college, more than making up for the loss.

Yeigh was analyzing the data this year and was surprised to learn that Washington experiences the opposite effect. In fact, it’s one of only 11 states with a net loss of first-time college students.

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Comments | Topics: College-going, higher ed, UW-Bothell

August 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Best bang for your college buck? UW ranks 6th

A wide range of institutions and publications will be rolling out national — in some cases, international — college and university rankings in the coming weeks. In this space, we’ll take note of some of the most interesting ones.

The national magazine Washington Monthly tries to downplay prestige and play up value in its “Best Bang for the Buck” list, with rankings based on the economic value students receive per dollar. Among national universities, that list puts the University of Washington-Seattle at number 6. Washington State University ranks 45th. 

Among master’s-degree-granting universities, UW-Bothell ranks 5th, and The Evergreen State College ranks 17th. Central Washington University comes in at 29th, and Western Washington University at 32nd.

Among all schools in the country, regardless of the highest degree awarded, UW-Bothell ranks 6th, and UW-Seattle ranks 15th.

The monthly magazine also has a second, broader ranking that looks at more than money.  For that list, it “asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country. Are they educating low-income students, or just catering to the affluent? Are they improving the quality of their teaching, or ducking accountability for it?”

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Comments | More in News | Topics: University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University

August 25, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Is your college financially stable?

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Earlier this year, the six Washington campuses of Everest College, a for-profit school,  were put up for sale after the parent company ran into financial and legal hot water.

That raises interesting questions for students: How do you know if your college is financially sound? And should you be worried if it isn’t?

The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit education news site out of New York, recently suggested five steps you can take to make sure the college you’re attending is financially solid. (The issue applies to nonprofit and for-profit schools, since public colleges and universities aren’t going to run into the kinds of financial problems that would force a closure unless the state itself runs out of money.)

It’s worth paying attention to the financial soundness of your school because, as the Hechinger Report notes, students attending a college that abruptly closes must find another place to continue their education, and they may find it difficult to get credit for the classes they took at the closing school. It can also be challenging to transfer student loan paperwork. And a shuttered college will likely be diminished in the eyes of employers.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Corinthian Colleges, for-profit colleges, higher ed

August 18, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Local college-completion effort draws White House’s attention

What does Washington state have to teach White House policy leaders about higher education?

Quite a bit, it turns out.

Three Washington community college presidents — Amy Morrison Goings of Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland, Jean Hernandez of Edmonds Community College and Chris Bailey of Lower Columbia College in Longview — went to Washington, D.C., last week to be part of a White House summit on community colleges.

Here is what Morrison Goings had to say about what happened at the meeting (some comments have been edited for space and clarity):

Q: This was your second visit to the White House this year. What were the meetings about?

A: The first meeting, in January, was the College Opportunity Summit, and at that meeting the president and first lady — as well as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan — spoke about how to increase the numbers of low-income students moving into higher education. The focus was best practices and ideas about how to move more low-income students into private, selective institutions. We were one of a few community colleges represented out of about 100 institutions.

The White House staff heard loud and clear the we are not going to solve this nation’s challenges of moving more low-income youth into higher education without the community colleges being front and center. We educate 40 percent of our nation’s low-income youth at 1,200 two-year colleges, so we’ve got to be part of the solution.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Community colleges, remediation

August 6, 2014 at 5:00 AM

College finance trends: Students, families borrowing less

Has the national anxiety about student loan debt caused parents and students alike to pay more college costs out-of-pocket, and choose community college over four-year institutions?  Those were some of the possible takeaways from  “How America Pays for College,” an annual report by financial services company Sallie Mae. In 2014, students and families borrowed funds to…

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Comments | Topics: higher education, Sallie Mae, student loans

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