All posts by Scott Carlson


Why More Colleges Might Want to Measure What Regulation Costs Them

Marco Island, Fla. — Many people in higher education complain about the increasing burdens of regulation, with some insisting that it has driven administrative bloat, but the exact toll on colleges remains a mystery. That’s because very few colleges have bothered to measure the cost of compliance in dollars or employee time, because that task is too complicated or too costly in itself.

But it may be time that some colleges tried. In November four U.S. senators announced the formation of a task f…


A New Gallup Survey Will Measure the Value of a Degree, Beyond Salary

As nearly everyone in higher education knows by now, Americans have been paying closer attention to the return on an investment in a college degree. The problem has been how to measure that return. The most reductive measurements—say, a person’s salary or employment status, sometimes only months after graduation—have seemed to some incomplete, inaccurate, or perhaps even vulgar. But to merely argue that college prepares a person for “lifelong learning” or a fulfilling life seems too vague. Most …


For-Profit Colleges’ Winter Meeting Focuses on Employment

In the winter months of years past, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities has held swanky meetings at resort destinations like Lake Tahoe or Beaver Creek, Colo., and its annual symposium in Washington was more inwardly focused. As policy makers and the public began to scrutinize the debt, default rates, and poor employment prospects of students coming out of some prominent colleges in the for-profit sector, however, the setting and the tone of the meetings didn’t play well …


Moody’s Issues a Negative Outlook for Higher Education

To see the July 2014 article on Moody’s outlook for higher education, go here.

Moody’s Investors Service on Monday issued a negative outlook for higher education in 2014—which should come as a surprise to no one. The bond-rating agency’s report last week, a survey of net-tuition revenues, was grim, and its outlook for higher education in recent years has been mostly bleak.

This year Moody’s cited a weak economy that will “affect families’ willingness and ability to pay for higher education.” It …


Are Colleges Ready to Adjust to a New Higher-Education Landscape?

Moody’s Investors Service on Friday released a report with grim news, particularly for public institutions: In a survey, 28 percent of public institutions, compared with 15 percent the year before, said they expected declines in their net-tuition revenue, increasingly the lifeblood of many institutions. For private institutions, the news was not quite as dire. Nineteen percent expected declines, compared with 18 percent last year, but that finding should come with a caveat: The Moody’s survey in…


Is College Worth It? 2 New Reports Say Yes (Mostly)

In recent years, folks as different as Mitt Romney, Peter Thiel, William J. Bennett, and the disaffected people of the Occupy movement started turning their attention to the cost of college—and the underlying question always seemed to be whether college was still worth its cost.

There has been a lot of evidence to suggest that college is indeed worth it, and plenty of studies and pundits lining up to tout the evidence.

One of the latest comes from College Summit, a nonprofit group that promotes …


If Enrollment Falls Short, Cutting or Adding Programs Is No Quick Fix

If your institution missed its enrollment and revenue goals this fall (or for the last two or three falls), an obvious question pops to mind: What are you going to do about it?

The Chronicle’s recent survey of small colleges and comprehensive universities, which asked whether they met their enrollment and revenue goals in September, also polled institutions on what their responses might be in case of a shortfall.

To no surprise, making changes in enrollment-management practices and marketing str…


Converse College Will Slash Tuition Next Year

wilson_towerConverse College announced on Tuesday that it would become the latest college to slash its tuition, in this case by 43 percent. The college, located in Spartanburg, S.C., will charge $16,500 in tuition next year, down from $29,124. Room and board will cost $9,500. The drop in tuition will apply to all full-time undergraduates.

Even with tuition discounts, “not one student will pay a penny more next year compared to this year,” said Elizabeth A. Fleming, Converse’s president. Room and board costs…


Report Advocates Using Sports to Promote a College’s Green ‘Brand’

The Natural Resources Defense Council has released a new edition of a report on colleges’ efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their sports programs. The report, “Collegiate Game Changers: How Campus Sport Is Going Green,” advocates using athletics—“the primary form of mass media advertising by academic institutions”—to spread awareness about green practices.

collegiate-game-changers-thumbThe report provides 10 case studies of greening in athletics—particularly at some of the nation’s biggest universities, like Ariz…


Claremont McKenna College Raises $635-Million in 5-Year Campaign

Claremont McKenna College has announced that it raised $635-million in a five-year campaign. The college asserted that the figure is a record for a liberal-arts college. While records like that are difficult to confirm, the campaign, which started in 2008, would certainly qualify as one of the biggest among liberal-arts colleges.

“It’s significant in that it is a liberal-arts college, and that it is a relatively young institution, and successful fund raising is usually tied to longevity,” said R…