Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Representative Rush Holt, a former rocket scientist, wants to make college more affordable

Dear Friend,
This is a challenging moment for students and young workers in New Jersey. College has never been more crucial to our economy and to job creation than it is today – but college also is more expensive now than ever before.
As a longtime teacher, I have seen firsthand the power of higher education to transform lives, and I want to share with you the steps I am taking in Congress to make college more affordable:
  • Keeping College Loan Rates Low. A few years ago, I helped write a law that cut student loan interest rates from 6.8 to 3.4 percent, saving the average student borrower more than $2,000. Recently, the new tea party members in Congress sought to undo this rate cut, creating an unnecessary crisis as students sought to plan for the year ahead.  The good news is that I helped reach a compromise to ensure that rates will remain low for at least another year, helping 144,000 New Jersey students. Please know that I am supporting legislation to make the rate cut permanent.
  • Helping Math and Science Teachers Afford College. The TEACH Grant program, created by a law that I helped write, provides up to $4,000 a year in grants – up to $16,000 over four years – for students who commit to teaching math, science, or foreign language for at least five years.
  • Supporting Graduates Who Enter Public Service. Students who want to serve their communities as teachers, police officers, firefighters, and soldiers should not be prevented from doing so by college debt. A law that I helped write forgives student loan debt after 10 years for graduates who enter public service.
Education is key to the American Dream for individuals – and importantly, it is key to our nation’s economic future. Each of us has a stake in ensuring that the next generation of workers, business leaders, and innovators has access to the opportunities they need to learn, succeed, and create new jobs.
Resources to Make College More Affordable
Recently, I joined officials from Rutgers and the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to talk with local students and parents about college aid opportunities.  Among the resources we shared:
  • StudentAid.Ed.Gov is the Education Department’s official source for free information on preparing for and funding education beyond high school.
  • www.HESAA.Org, the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority’s website, offers information on grants, scholarship, loans, and programs for veterans.
To learn about upcoming college affordability workshops, click here to sign up for my weekly e-newsletter.
I am always happy to help you learn more about college affordability options or to help resolve problems with your student loans. Send a message at holt.house.gov/contact or call 1-87-RUSH-HOLT (1-877-874-4658).

Rush Holt
Member of Congress
P.S. Just a reminder: I always want to hear from you, but to ensure a prompt response, please don’t reply to this e-mail.  Instead, please visit holt.house.gov/contact or call 1-87-RUSH-HOLT (1-877-874-4658)

Higher Ed in 2020: A Prediction

In 2020, students may be able to travel to faraway continents, and attend a school on the other side of the globe.
Experts predict technology will facilitate distance learning outside of traditional...

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U. Va.'s troubles continue: Family of Suicide Sues for $10million


Here's the complaint:

Senate issues a damning report on for-profit higher education


Brandalism: How far can you carry parody, before you cross the line into copyright infringement?

Is this more than the First Amendment and federal copyright law ought to allow?


End support of voter-ID registration rules

Take Action!
Click below for a sample script and the number to call:
EBay is a major supporter of the American Legislative Exchange Council which is responsible for voter ID legislation that has the potential to disenfranchise up to 5 million voters — especially people of color, young people, and seniors.
Take action now!
CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.
Dear Jim,
You and more than 150,000 CREDO activists, along with more than 100,000 ColorOfChange members, have called on corporations to stop supporting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because of its role in voter suppression.
Since we started our campaign, we've made a lot of progress. Just this week Walgreens and General Motors became the 29th and 30th corporations to announce that they ended their relationships with ALEC.
But many major corporations are still funding ALEC. EBay is one of them.
Our friends at ColorOfChange contacted the management of eBay to make sure they understood that eBay, through its membership in ALEC, has supported racially-discriminatory voter ID laws that have the potential to disenfranchise over 5 million people in the upcoming elections.
But eBay simply brushed off their concerns.
Now, we need to increase the pressure by calling eBay's headquarters and make sure the corporation gets the message loud and clear that Americans want it to drop its support of ALEC.
EBay is a well-known retail brand. By associating with ALEC, it lends legitimacy to a radical organization that has undermined voting rights and our democracy.
EBay has made a substantial amount of money from consumers who are disenfranchised by voter ID laws — people of color, seniors, and young people.
Supporters of discriminatory voter ID laws claim they want to reduce voter fraud (individuals voting illegally, or voting twice). But such fraud almost never actually occurs, and never in amounts large enough to affect the result of elections. What is clear is that voter ID laws prevent large numbers of eligible voters from casting a ballot, and could disenfranchise up to 5 million people.
ALEC's voter ID laws are undemocratic, unjust and part of a longstanding right wing agenda to weaken the voting blocs that historically oppose Republican candidates. We have to expose the major companies like eBay that have helped ALEC suppress the votes of millions of Americans.
eBay's financial support of ALEC must end. Please join us in calling on eBay to stop supporting ALEC's rightwing agenda.
Call eBay and tell the corporation to stop supporting ALEC and voter suppression. Click below for a sample script and the number to call:
Thank you for standing up to corporate funded attempts at voter suppression.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Focus on higher ed's biz incubators

10 College Business Incubators We’re Most Excited About

Posted on Monday July 30, 2012 by Staff Writers College campuses are ripe with innovation, as students grow through education and experimentation in school. To help foster this innovation, many colleges and universities have opened business incubators, helping students and others in their community to help make their innovative dreams a reality. Whether they’re offering tricked-out labs or incredible funding opportunities, these incubators offer a great opportunity for students who are smart (and lucky!) enough to participate. Follow along as we explore 10 of the most exciting college business incubators around today, and be sure to share your own favorites in the comments.
  1. Entrepreneurs Hall @ The RIT Global Village:

    At Rochester Institute of Technology’s Entrepreneurs Hall, innovation is a way of life. Offering a “holistic entrepreneurship program,” this residential community has entrepreneurship at every step of the college experience. Within the community, residents get access to co-ops, mentoring, courses, and always-on access to the incubator. Students will even receive a minor in entrepreneurship as they develop their own business plans. Even students who aren’t in Entrepreneurship Hall can join other innovators at Rochester, in the Center for Student Innovation lab where they can tinker with new ideas, creating physical models and getting advice for their next steps from advisors and even other student participants.
  2. Boston University Business Incubation:

    At Boston University, there’s an incredible array on business incubation opportunities. Boasting resources for life sciences, bio-tech, medical devices, photonics, clean energy, and engineering, BU can help to incubate businesses in just about any physical technology. Only 15 technology startups are accepted at a time, but what the program lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Participants in the incubation program learn valuable lessons in entrepreneurial management, finding financing from incubator companies, modern office space, and fully permitted labs with a wide range of technical equipment and engineering resources. Boston University’s business incubator has produced numerous success stories, including HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals with two drugs in Stage 2 clinical development to treat blood disorders and viral-related cancers, as well as Modular Genetics, a biotechnology company focused on sustainable gene engineering.
  3. Syracuse Student Sandbox:

    Students at Syracuse University have an incredible resource to tap into with the Syracuse Student Sandbox. This program offers resources from beginning to end, offering office space, in-house technical support, experienced mentors, and valuable funding resources. The Sandbox is designed to accelerate the process of business creation through a 12-week experiential-based program, producing either investment-ready firms or ready-to-go, revenue-generating entities. Although Syracuse offers a heavy amount of help, students are able to maintain 100% equity in their companies, making this a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurial-minded Syracuse students. Current participants include Craftistas, CrowdRouser, and Flat Shoes Tattoos.
  4. Engineering Translational Technology Center:

    At the UC Davis College of Engineering, students with high-impact, innovative ideas can find a way to speed them up into the marketplace. This incubator is all about supporting technology transfer, sharing learning experiences with students, providing professor support, and facilitating partnerships and collaborations with other groups on campus, like the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship. This year, the ETTC graduated its first company, Dysonics, a startup based on audio technology research. Dysonics secured $750,000 in funding from angel investors to develop products that will reproduce three-dimensional, immersive sound in headphones.
  5. Harvard Innovation Lab:

    At the Harvard i-lab, it’s all about innovation, as participants take part in entrepreneurial activities to learn, launch, grow, and even support others in creation. The program features classes, workshops, and more, plus essential resources and advice for getting business ventures off the ground. Even established ventures can get help, with growth resources including dedicated space and focused support. Some of the i-lab’s long-term residents include mobile app ActivePepper, baby gear rental company Baby Buggle, and software developer Rover.
  6. Innovation Depot:

    In partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Innovation Depot offers a facility and program for technology business development, focusing on biotechnology, life science, information technology, and technology service businesses. With a next-generation facility offering both office space and laboratory space full of amenities, it’s a great place to locate a technology startup. Successful companies currently taking part in the Innovation Depot program include Panorama Public Relations, R&D trainer Gas Technology Institute, and tech support company Radical Support.
  7. Stony Brook University Calverton Business Incubator:

    This business incubator takes innovation to the water, functioning as an “economic engine” for Eastern Long Island’s aquacultural, environmental, and agricultural industries. The location of this incubator is key, as it’s right off of Long Island Sound and located close to many nature preserves. Plus, it’s within a designated NYS Empire Zone, so the incubator has benefits and incentives available to program participants, including investment tax credits, wage tax credits, and even exemption from sales tax. Within the building, you’ll find plenty of tricked-out lab space (including both fresh and salt-water access) for innovation, plus conference and event space for tenants.
  8. Tech Town:

    In the Motor City, technology startups can turn to the super-cool Tech Town incubator, a program created by Wayne State University to reignite Detroit’s entrepreneurial culture. Founded in 2000, Tech Town boasts an incredible list of resources for tech-minded entrepreneurs, including work space, access to capital, educational workshops, and guidance with business development programs, coaching, and mentoring. Entrepreneurs working with Tech Town even get access to Wayne State’s significant research, academic, and technology assets. Although decidedly urban in nature, Tech Town boasts 12 blocks, 43 acres, and a rich history: the TechOne building was once the Chevy Creative Services building, and the Corvette was designed on the building’s third floor. With nearly 300 companies working under its roof, participants in the Tech Town program contribute to the growth and livelihood of Detroit and the Wayne State University community. Even established corporations can’t resist the attraction of Tech Town: the Henry Ford Health System relocated its genetics labs to Tech Town’s research space.
  9. Teens in Tech Labs:

    This tech business incubator hits early, even before participants are in college. Founded by a 15-year-old (now 19), Teens in Tech Labs is a tech incubator for teens with Microsoft backing, and it’s designed to give young entrepreneurs a space to get their great ideas out with a whole lot of support. Nearly 1,000 young entrepreneurs have been touched by the program, through events, workshops, and conferences. Based in Mountain View, Calif., with hubs in New York City and Boston, Teens in Tech Labs has opened up its incubator to young entrepreneurs worldwide, making it possible for teens everywhere to take advantage of the tools and resources available.
  10. NYU-Poly:

    NYU-Poly has not one, but four business incubators, boasting incredible support for fledgling businesses in the greater New York City area. Its first, Brooklyn Enterprise on Science and Technology (BEST) helps science and technology companies grow with a student patent program, intellectual property commercialization, help from business advisors, and funding recommendations. Varick Street focuses on next-gen technology and adaptable business models, growing businesses in digital media, cleantech, and even social media and mobile apps into real life successful startups. Through NYC ACRE, NYU-Poly builds clean tech and renewable energy companies, sharing resources for physical and virtual tenants, while offering guidance and business assistance. Most recently, NYU-Poly has introduced DUMBO, a city-sponsored business incubator in Brooklyn created to support the development of technology startup businesses. Boasting an awesome view of the Brooklyn Bridge, event space, coworking areas, and plenty of guidance, DUMBO is one of the most up and coming places in the city to start a business. Participants can even take advantage of networking opportunities, discounted legal and accounting guidance, guidance from NYU-Poly faculty, and office hours with well-known entrepreneurs.

Advice for getting out of debt

14 Inspiring Podcasts for Getting Out of Debt

July 30th, 2012 by Staff Writers

Getting out of debt is often a journey that takes many months to complete, not just a few moments. Although books and guides are great for getting started, staying on track when getting out of debt requires constant motivation and encouragement, and podcasts are a great medium for just that. Whether you're listening to financial experts, families who have crawled out of the debt hole, or the latest financial news, these podcasts offer regular, interesting insight for those who are working to get out of debt. Subscribe to these 14 inspiring podcasts to find the tools and knowledge you need to get out of debt and stay there.
  1. The Dave Ramsey Show:

    Considered to be one of the most influential voices in debt management and personal finance, Dave Ramsey's show is a must-listen for anyone working their way out of debt. Listen in to learn about how to solve your real-life financial issues with budgeting, wealth building, and ultimately, financial peace.
  2. Money Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for a Richer Life:

    Listen to Money Girl's podcast to find tips for personal finance, real estate, and investing, all great information for getting out of debt and staying there. This podcast is perfect for all levels, discussing credit utilization, how to raise your credit score, and items that you can save money on.
  3. The Suze Orman Show:

    As one of the most recognized personal finance experts in the U.S., Suze Orman has a lot to say about getting out of debt. Sharing straight talk and down-to-earth advice, listen to Suze's podcast to find out what you are doing wrong financially and what you can do right.
  4. Wall Street Journal's Your Money Matters:

    From The Wall Street Journal, the Your Money Matters podcast is full of advice for personal finance. Check out these sessions to learn about getting out of credit card debt, working on budgeting, and even being able to afford college tuition and retirement.
  5. Rebound:

    Although podcasters Spencer and Lisa Ashby are no longer updating their podcast, it still remains as an incredibly inspirational resource for those seeking to find a way out of a crushing debt burden. Listen along to find out how this couple recovered from losing a business, losing their home, and going through a million dollar lawsuit.
  6. Consumerism Commentary:

    On the Consumerism Commentary podcast, you'll learn about issues that matter to consumers, especially getting out of debt. The hosts of this podcast help talk guests through money management, economic issues, and budgeting, plus great strategies for escaping debt.
  7. Man Vs. Debt:

    On the Man Vs. Debt podcast, Adam Baker shares his story of getting out of debt. Follow along as Baker discusses breaking free from the daily grind and finding control in your finances. Listen in for tips, success stories, and helpful interviews.
  8. Sermon Audio: Debt:

    For those seeking a Christian approach to debt relief, SermonAudio.com offers an up-to-date podcast feed of the latest sermons discussing debt. Check out this podcast to find out what the bible says about battling debt.
  9. The Debt Collection Drill:

    Recorded for debt collectors, this podcast is full of helpful information on your rights as a consumer when it comes to debt collection. Find out about harassing phone calls, recording, and when you're within your rights to sue a debt collector.
  10. JW's Financial Coaching :

    Create a new lifestyle of debt-free living with the help of the JW's Financial Coaching podcast. Listen in to find a new perspective on your money, finding out how guests broke free of their debt and how you can break through your own financial barriers.
  11. Big Dumb Stupid Debt:

    Listen to Emily Chase Smith's debt podcast to learn about dealing with big, dumb, stupid debt. Smith discusses debt negotiation, hope, bankruptcy, and repos with plenty of advice and humor.
  12. Attend College Debt Free:

    This series from 2011 is a great resource for learning how you can go to college without loads of student debt. Attend College Debt Free discusses grants, school choice, finishing school quickly, and finding scholarships for a smart way to graduate without going in to debt first.
  13. Total Debt Relief Blog:

    Odiogo's podcast offers a discussion of debt relief, especially credit card debt. Check out the Total Debt Relief podcast for negotiation skills, debt settlement, and myth-busting credit card debt rumors.
  14. Payplan Debt Advice:

    One of the UK's leading debt management companies, PayPlan shares excellent debt and credit advice to listeners. Listen in to PayPlan Debt Advice for information about mortgages, bankruptcy, debt management, and more.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Where the One-Percent send their kids to college

Where The 1% Send Their Kids to College

by Staff Writers on July 29, 2012
The 1%. They’re the people on everyone’s lips these days, but if you were to pass one of their ilk on the street, you’d probably never know it. Despite what you may think of them, they don’t walk around with a cane and top hat looking for Grey Poupon. They’re 1.4 million regular folks who just happen to make more than $343,927 a year in adjusted gross income. The vast majority of them who have kids send them to college to ensure they get the best job they can, just like the rest of us.
Of course, the difference is that their range of options for college is practically limitless. The median household income in America is about $51,000, meaning $50,000 in tuition is not going to happen (without significant or full financial aid). But the 1% can afford the finest education for their kids that money can buy, and while these kids can end up anywhere from community colleges to Cornell, certain schools consistently attract the children of the wealthiest Americans. (Because schools don’t publish the incomes of students’ families, we’ve primarily had to go by children of people we know are millionaires: celebrities.)
The Ivy League
Yes, it comes as a surprise to absolutely no one that the rich send their kids to Ivy League schools. Probably parents that do so realize that the quality of the education will be extremely similar to that offered at colleges half the cost, but for connections made and the earning ability that comes with the degree’s prestige, see it as a sound investment. While all the Ivies enjoy high ratios of rich kids, a few consistently attract the heirs of millionaires and even billionaires.
  • Brown:
    Brown is like a giant exhibition hall of celebrity DNA. Dozens of wealthy luminaries who probably land in the top 1% of the 1% have had children come through its doors: Nicholson, Spielberg, Willis, Harrison, Versace, Forbes. Susan Sarandon’s daughter Eva attended, as did two of Diana Ross’ daughters. Politicians Jimmy Carter and billionaire John Kerry both had daughters attend. Brown has also been rated one of the richest colleges in America on the basis of the number of students awarded federal Pell Grants, an indicator of financial need. Just 10.9% received them in 2008-2009.
  • Penn:
    Gov. Jon Huntsman’s net worth is estimated to be as much as $71 million, and he had two daughters attend his alma mater University of Pennsylvania. Billionaire Donald Trump also graduated from Penn and found it good enough to send two of his kids there. Millionaire comedians Joan Rivers and Ray Romano have sent their offspring to Penn, as has Denzel Washington, with his son. This year it will cost about $57,000 to attend the school. Financial assistance is need-blind, but you have to wonder if seeing the name “Trump” on an application for financial aid wouldn’t earn it a “denied” stamp.
  • Yale:
    No doubt many famous, wealthy children pick Yale as their school because it’s where their parents went. Barbara Bush followed in the footsteps of both her father George W. and his father George H. W. by becoming a 2004 grad. Vanessa Kerry joined her father John Kerry as a Yale alum. From the Hollywood brand of millionaires, billionaire Steven Spielberg’s adopted son Theo recently graduated from Yale alongside Denzel Washington’s daughter Katia Elizabeth. As for Pell Grant recipients, Yale came in even lower than Brown at 8.9% receiving the loans.
  • Columbia:
    We have the statistical evidence that Columbia University is a 1% stomping ground. Its now-$59,000 cost of attendance puts it out of the reach of most, but in 2010-2011, nearly 35% of freshmen did not apply for financial aid. For physical evidence, we know that multi-millionaire John McCain sent his daughter there, as did Al Gore and Neil Bush, brother of George and son of George. Even John Lennon’s kid did a stint there before dropping out. But anecdotally, we have Columbia’s rep for being a bunch of spoiled rich kids, based on this hilarious Craigslist ad and pretty much common knowledge.
  • George Washington University:
    At an attendance cost rapidly approaching $60,000, but only 65% of freshmen applying for financial aid (in 2010), George Washington obviously has some affluent students. It has long maintained a reputation as one of the most expensive schools in the nation, and unfortunately, one of the worst values for the money. However, the one-percenters who send their kids here seem to have no qualms with dropping a hundred grand here or there, judging by the cars GWU students drive. Unsurprisingly, four of the top five richest counties in America are in the D.C. area.
  • New York University:
    Another notoriously expensive school, NYU appeals to the children of the super-rich largely because some of the country’s richest people, their parents, already live in the Big Apple or nearby on the East Coast. George Soros, the 12th-richest man in the United States, has sent two kids to this school. Wealthy Oval Office occupants John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton also had children attend here. Its 14.8% rate of Pell recipients in 2008 made it the 33rd-richest school that year. Over 31% of freshmen requested no financial aid from the school in 2009, a year the school earned itself a major black eye for calling financially needy kids to warn them about the high price tag of enrolling.
  • Washington University:
    The rock-bottom 5.7% rate of Pell recipients at Washington University in 2008-2009 earned it the title of richest school in America, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Cost of attendance stands at $60,000+ today, but of the 64.4% of freshmen who applied for financial aid in 2010, only 60% were found by the school to have a financial need. In 2009, the school’s Students for Undergraduate Socioeconomic Diversity conducted a survey of undergrads and found that more than 6% claimed their parents’ earned at least $500,000 a year, and another 13.8% said the figure was between $200,000 and $500,000. Although the survey was not super-scientific, it seems clear that Wash. U. kids come from money.
  • Duke:
    Many Duke University grads have gone on to become well-known, well-paid professionals, but not many send their kids there. Recently, NBA coach Doc Rivers’ son played ball there. Bruce Springsteen’s daughter attended, and a Canadian Prime Minister’s kid went to Duke. But the campus seems to be stocked with un-famous, run-of-the-mill one percent kids. A 2006 survey of students reported an average family income for white students of just under $230,000 during their senior years of high school. With a rate of about half the student body being white, we can safely assume there were a significant number of students who reported 1%-level incomes. In the Chronicle‘s richest university report five years later, they had Duke at number five based on its 8.3% Pell Grant recipient rate.

Does Social Engagement Improve Student Retention?


9 Signs Social Engagement Helps Student Retention

While more students than ever choose to head to college after high school, a striking number never complete their education, dropping out years before they obtain their degrees. As a result, student retention has become a major issue for colleges who want to do what they can to stem this tide and help keep students in school until they can complete their studies, an outcome that benefits students and schools alike.
For decades, research has been pointing to social engagement as a key factor in helping improve student retention. While much progress has been made in working toward easing students into the college experience, supporting them, and getting them active with their peers, there’s still much more that can be done, as social engagement can be a pivotal factor in whether a student sticks around to finish his or her studies. Here, we examine some of the research that has been done on the topic and some of the noted effects social engagement has on student retention, highlighting the importance of making students feel safe, happy, and at home no matter what school they choose to attend.
  1. Service learning programs can encourage students to reenroll in classes.
    There’s a well-documented record of the impact that participation in community-based educational experiences can have on students’ academic performance and their persistence in obtaining a degree. A number of studies have shown that when students take part in service-learning courses they are considerably more likely to reenroll for courses the next semester than their peers who didn’t share these experiences. The social engagement, personal development, and community involvement achieved by participating in service learning can help make students feel more confident, in touch with peers, and a vital part of the both the university and the community at large, all factors that encourage them to stay in school.
  2. Long-term student success in college is largely predicted by the experiences encountered in the first year.
    The first year of college plays an incredibly important role in determining whether a student will follow through to getting a degree, regardless of how many more years he or she attends before dropping out. Freshman year builds a foundation for students that all of their future college experiences will rest on, and studies suggest that it is the most critical year for social engagement in college. Students need to build relationships with faculty and staff but more importantly with their peers who will be their support system and social group for the next few years of study. A study by Upcraft, Gardner, and Barefoot in 2005 found that first-year students who are supported academically, experience a seamless transition from home to college, and are involved outside of the classroom typically have higher grades and a greater likelihood of graduation.
  3. Social engagement is especially important for minority and international student retention.
    A 2004 study by Kuh and Love found that students who made cultural connections through social groups that reflect their culture of origin were more likely to persist in higher education. Those in minority groups can often feel alienated from their peers, especially if there are few others who share their ethnic or cultural backgrounds on campus. Social engagement with others from similar backgrounds can be critical in making these students feel at home on a college campus and a key factor in whether or not these students, some already at risk, will continue through to graduation. While some groups will form organically, colleges can also play a role in fostering this kind of beneficial social engagement.
  4. Students are more likely to meet high expectations when given academic and social support.
    Asking students to go above and beyond can be challenging, but most students can attain even lofty goals if they’re given adequate help and support along the way. Basic skill courses, tutoring, study groups, and academic support services can go a long way toward helping students feel they can tackle the rigors of college study. With the right support from staff and faculty, studies suggest that even students who start college insufficiently prepared can rise up to the challenge of difficult course materials. Those left on their own, however, tend to become frustrated, unhappy, and often drop out.
  5. Student high school experiences and family life influence persistence in college.
    There are also social factors out of the control of colleges that influence student persistence, including previous high school experiences and the support or lack of it from family. While colleges can’t change these factors, they can help students overcome previous difficulties, establish support systems at their new school, and develop programs to help specific student needs. While these kinds of services can’t overcome all issues with which students arrive to college, it can help ease their impact and create an environment that fosters a commitment to education.
  6. Increased college social media presence is helping students ease the transition into college.
    Nearly all college students these days use some form of social media. As a result, colleges are meeting students where they already congregate in an attempt to foster connections between staff and students before many ever even arrive on campus. Students can use social media sites to talk with advisors, learn about their campuses, join clubs, or even make new friends, helping many to ease the transition between high school and college life. By building a network of friends and others who can provide support for students on campus, many already feel connected when they arrive, a critical first step to social engagement and better student retention on campus.
  7. Student retention increases when students have access to counseling, mentoring, and ethnicity-specific student centers.
    Colleges don’t only need to provide for the academic needs of students if they want them to continue through to graduation; they also need to provide support for emotional, social, and community issues. The transition to life at college can be rough for some students, especially those who are balancing work or familial obligations or those who are far from home. Providing students with social support in the form of counseling, mentoring, and a diverse assortment of student organizations can help make the adjustment much easier and greatly reduce the stress put on students. Research suggests that these elements should form a critical part of how any college approaches student retention.
  8. Student-to-student interaction is one of the most important factors in helping students adapt to college life.
    Support from a college’s faculty and staff can be immensely helpful in fostering social engagement and helping improve social retention, but peer relationships are far more important, research suggests. Students who are able to find a group of like-minded individuals, whether through informal meet-ups, courses, clubs, tutoring, or organizations, are much more likely to stick with their college education. Researcher Dr. Alexander Astin states that student-student relationships are "the single more powerful source of influence on the undergraduate student’s academic and personal development." While colleges can’t make friends for students, they can help the socialization process along, with courses that require collaboration, campus events, and other social engagement opportunities.
  9. Academic performance increases when students have strong relationships with friends, faculty, and staff.
    In a study of 51 four-year colleges, researchers found that establishing friendships with peers and undertaking intellectual growth experiences were more important than any other factor in predicting student success. Another study indicates that the more actively engaged students are with college faculty, staff, other students, and the subject matter, the more likely they are to achieve their academic goals. While it’s tempting to think of socialization at college as a distraction from academic goals, it can be an immensely positive factor, too, increasing success in school and in turn motivating students to stick with their education until graduation.