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Knowledge Commons a Hit at Hampshire College

Centralizing academic services to increase student use is paying off at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Dubbed the “Knowledge Commons,” the center is located on the first floor of the school’s library and features academic support programs like public speaking, library research and media, art gallery student exhibition support, and teaching and learning. Hampshire College says that since moving to the library, several of these programs have experienced an increase in attendance. In addition to the knowledge commons, the library plans to create a new technology and art commons and community commons. More on Hampshire College’s knowledge commons is available on the Inside Higher Ed. Read More.

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Bottom-Ranked Colleges Falling Behind Top Counterparts

An analysis of the colleges listed in The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranking reveals an alarming shift in higher education. According to the analysis, colleges closer to the bottom of the list were more likely to have lower enrollment numbers. In addition, those same colleges are having trouble keeping up with the schools near the higher end of the list. The trend leads one expert to predict that in the next five years, employers won’t value a degree from one of the poorest-ranked colleges as much as a degree from a top school. More on this analysis is available on The Wall Street Journal website.

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Google Jamboard Used in Michigan Course-Sharing Program

Google has teamed with three liberal arts colleges in Michigan to test its new interactive video-conferencing product, Jamboard. The internet-connected 4K television promotes an interconnected experience among the three colleges during their pilot course-sharing program. Jamboard will allow students and instructors participating in the course-sharing to write and draw on the same whiteboard surface at the same time. Google plans to promote Jamboard to businesses but hopes educational institutions will adopt the technology. More on Jamboard is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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Lawsuit Reveals High Price for College Consulting Services

A recent lawsuit has revealed the price some college consulting companies will charge to help students get into the school of their dreams. According to the lawsuit, New York-based private college counseling firm Ivy Coach charged a woman $1.5 million to help her daughter apply to 22 prestigious colleges and seven boarding schools she eyed for high school before applying to college. While the daughter was granted early admission to an Ivy League school, the lawsuit says the mother still owes half of the fee. Ivy Coach argues that due to the remaining balance, it has lost opportunities to engage. Read More.

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College Alumni Boost Charitable Giving in 2017

According to the Council for Aid to Education’s recent Voluntary Support of Education survey, college alumni were happy to give back to their alma maters in 2017. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, colleges and universities amassed $43.6 billion in charitable donations. The total is a 6.3 percent jump from 2016 and marks the highest fundraising total in the survey’s history. While foundations were the top source of voluntary support in 2017, the survey says that the 14.5 percent rise in alumni giving is responsible for most of last year’s growth. More on this survey is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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College Endowments Highest in Three Years

According to their joint annual study, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (“NACUBO”) and Commonfund are reporting that college endowments are at a three-year high. For the fiscal year ending June 2017, the annual net endowment returns at colleges and universities averaged 12.2 percent. The percentage is a significant jump from the fiscal year 2016 average of -1.9 percent, and it marks the highest average achieved since the fiscal year 2014 (15.5 percent). Despite the turnaround, recent data reveals that the 10-year average annual return decreased from 5 percent in 2016 to 4.6 percent in 2017. More. Read More.

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