The Best of Our Knowledge # 876

Just last month, the U.S. Secretary of Education went on a road trip
to Kansas City and opened the first of five regional summits on higher
education Secretary Spellings called on Congress to enact a comprehensive Higher Education Act Reauthorization Bill to improve college access, affordability, and accountability. Shortly before that
meeting, there was a National Summit on Higher Education in
Washington, D.C. Some 300 leaders from business, higher ed, and
philanthropy gathered to talk about recommendations made earlier
by the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education. By
the end of the session, five working groups each reported out five
action items. Those 25 recommendations were discussed further,
and are continuing to be worked on in follow up meetings. Many of
the issues could have tremendous impact on higher education. This
week, TBOOK reports on two of them: access and affordability. Next
week, listeners will hear about the even more controversial subjects: accreditation and accountability. We speak with one of the National
Summit attendees, John Ebersole, the President of Excelsior College.
Glenn Busby reports. (13:57)


* Speaking of college affordability as we were in our first story today,
a U.S. Senate report on the student loan industry was just released.
The report drew new colleges into the loan scandal issue we reported
on two months ago here on TBOOK. It reveals an array of aggressive
marketing practices by lenders, which the report suggests are unethical,
and possibly illegal. It was released just as New York Attorney General,
Andrew Cuomo, announced that Johns Hopkins University has agreed
to five years of monitoring and to pay 1.1 million dollars to settle an
investigation of its student loan practices. To date, nearly 30 colleges
and seven lenders have reached agreements with the attorney general.

* How to pay for college is a worldwide issue. For instance, in Australia
and New Zealand, there's wide use of income-contingent loans. They
base post-graduation repayments on a borrower's income, not the size
of the loan. And in Canada, student loans have been centralized under
the government which hires a services provider, largely removing banks
from the picture.

* In other news from Canada, after years of complaints from parents and teachers, Quebec is backing away from an unpopular curriculum reform.
The Quebec Education Minister has announced that report cards for
elementary and high school students will allow percentage grades,
instead of using numerals one thru four. The change will allow teachers
to fail students if they think students need to repeat a grade.
Dr. Karen Hitchcock reports. (1:45)

Our first story today also addressed the concern over college degree
completion rates in the U.S. being on the decline. One of the reasons
cited is that too often, students come to college unprepared for higher
education courses. Well, in Ohio, a surprising new effort is being made
to correct that. If you just graduated from Lakewood City Schools, your
high school diploma came with a two-year guarantee. Yes, you heard
right. It's redeemable by both colleges and employers. TBOOK's, Dan
Bobkoff, reports from Cleveland.
Dan Bobkoff reports. (3:06)