University News

This Week in Higher Ed: March 13, 2014

By
University News Editor
Thursday, March 13, 2014

White House seeks to boost federal aid applications

The White House will redouble its efforts to ensure more students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, President Obama announced Friday, March 7.

The new initiative expands a Department of Education pilot program launched in 2010 with 100 participating school districts, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

The announcement is part of Obama’s larger push to make college more accessible and follows the release of his 2015 budget proposal. The budget blueprint included raising the maximum Pell Grant by $100 and making billions of dollars available to states that preserve current funding levels for higher education, the Chronicle reported.

 

Costs, financial aid rise as factors in students’ enrollment decisions

The record highest number of students chose to attend a higher education institution that was not their first choice in 2013, with many opting to enroll at a more affordable alternative, according to data from an annual survey released Thursday.

The Freshman Survey, conducted by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that a quarter of students who were admitted to their first-choice school chose not to attend. Just over 75 percent of first-years who entered four-year universities last fall were admitted to their first-choice college, but only 57 percent enrolled there.

Slightly more than 60 percent of first-years who chose not to accept admission offers from their first-choice universities cited the cost of their first choice as a very important factor in their decision. About 60 percent said their current school’s financial aid offer was a very important consideration in their selecting it.

The figures reflect the growing importance of cost and financial aid in students’ college decisions. A decade ago, 69 percent of freshmen enrolled at their first-choice college, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

 

GRE sees rise in Indian test-takers

The number of students in India taking the Graduate Record Examinations — the standardized test required for admission to a majority of U.S. graduate schools — rose 70 percent from 2012 to 2013, the New York Times reported Sunday.

Indian students took more than 90,000 — or about 12 percent — of the total 731,000 GRE tests administered by the Educational Testing Service last year, according to numbers from ETS.

ETS visited more colleges and hosted more student fairs in India over the last year in an effort to boost its presence in the country, Christine Betaneli, a GRE spokeswoman for the company, told the Times.

The numbers are indicative of a trend in India of students enrolling in U.S. graduate schools, which saw a 40 percent jump in new matriculations by Indian students from 2012 to last year, the Times reported.

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