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Education Lab Blog

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

Topic: higher education

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May 13, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Young men wanted: Summer program seeks better balance

Nonprofit groups in education are dependent on success to maintain their funding. So it’s refreshing when one takes a hard look at itself and announces  loudly, and in public  that it needs to do better.

This was the case for Summer Search, a national group with an impressive record of getting low-income students into and through college. The problem was, the vast majority were young women.

“This is very common with youth-development programs,” said Deidre McCormack Martin, executive director of the Seattle office. “But we really want to crack this nut because national education statistics for males  especially black and Latino males  are abysmal.”

The Summer Search approach identifies low-income students early in high school  not top scholars or stragglers, but what the group calls “the invisible middle.”


Comments | More in News | Topics: higher education, Summer Search

May 12, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Seattle-area community colleges expand bachelor degree offerings

Washington’s community colleges have been adding bachelor degrees to their program lineups for several years now, and the list keeps growing.

These degrees often cost about half the price, or less, of a traditional bachelor’s degree gained at a conventional college or university, and lead to specific job tracks that usually pay well and are in high demand.

Here are the new offerings in the Seattle area:

- Seattle Central College is adding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The program will be run out of the new Allied Health satellite campus,  in Pacific Tower on Beacon Hill, and will open in fall of 2015 — the same time the new satellite campus opens. These days, students who study nursing are encouraged to get a bachelor’s degree in the field because many hospitals and healthcare providers now set that as the minimum level of education. Yet only about 43 percent of registered nurses in Washington have a BSN.


Comments | More in News | Topics: Community colleges, higher education

February 10, 2014 at 5:00 AM

How staff benefits and student services drive up college tuition

Corrected version

Higher-education watchdogs have often speculated that the rapid rise in college tuition is largely due to administrative bloat – or the increase in college administrative costs. The size of administration and high pay for college presidents and professors are often fingered as root causes.

It’s an important issue, because if costs could be cranked down or at least held steady, it would open the doors for more students to get their degrees without going into debt.

A new report by the Delta Cost Project takes a look at the nationwide increases, and finds some of these ideas hold true — but others do not.

It is true that compensation costs per employee are rising steadily, and there’s a widespread increase in the number of administrative jobs. In fact, “professional staff increased twice as fast as executive and managerial positions and account for nearly 20 to 25 percent of all campus jobs,” according to the report.

But the authors found that most of the increase was for jobs that provide non-instructional student services, like counseling, admissions, financial aid and athletics. Overall, public research universities and community colleges average 16 fewer employees per 1,000 full-time students today than they did in 2000.


Comments | More in News | Topics: administration, higher education, salaries

December 20, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Ramping up the rigor at community colleges

Community colleges have long been a low-cost way for students to start work on a bachelor’s degree, but some students have found it hard to transfer to a prestigious four-year university once they’ve earned their associate degree.

Now, a new national program aims to pump up the rigor at certain community colleges, making them a more reliable on-ramp to a selective college.

The program is called American Honors, and so far it’s only being offered at one Washington community college system, Community Colleges of Spokane. The three-school district in Spokane was one of two colleges nationwide to pilot the program.

An integrated sequence of classes focusing on English, math, science and social studies, the program emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, effective oral and written communication, teamwork and leadership.

Soon it could be heading to the west side of the state.


Comments | More in News | Topics: American Honors program, Community colleges, higher education

October 28, 2013 at 4:00 PM

New app, report point to career options for recent grads

Junior Achievement, the nonprofit that educates students about workforce readiness, has teamed up with the global professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to offer a free phone app that helps students learn about career options. The app, JA Build Your Future, gives information about more than 100 different careers, and shows users the level of education they’ll need…


Comments | Topics: careers, higher education, technology