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FAFSA Changes Draw Mixed Responses

The Department of Education has announced that starting with the 2017-18 academic year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”) will be released months earlier and the application deadline will be pushed up to October 1. In addition to the new schedule, FAFSA applications will automatically use the most recent federal tax data, which is a shift from having applicants estimate their family’s income data. While higher education groups believe the FAFSA changes will lead to a more simplified financial aid process, college access advocates feel the earlier deadlines could make it difficult for low-income students to receive aid.. Read More.

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Chief Business Officers Believe Higher Education in a Financial Crisis

This year’s edition of Inside Higher Ed’s Survey of College and University Business Officers reflects a growing concern that higher education is in the midst of financial instability. Based on the responses from chief business officers at 386 institutions, 63 percent believe reports of a financial crisis accurately reflect the landscape of higher education. The number is a seven percent rise from last year’s survey. Additionally, 70 percent of chief business officers at public institutions believe there is a financial crisis, as opposed to 60 percent at private institutions. Read more about the 2016 Survey of College and University Business Officers at the Inside Higher Ed website.

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Advisory Board Analyzes Cost of Student Credit Hours

Hoping to manage the financial impact per credit hour and prioritize investments in smaller courses, the Education Advisory Board recently released its estimates on the costs to teach college students. Reviewing seven universities over an eight-month span, the research company used 250 million rows of data to create reports and outlined the price of a student credit hour in each college’s department. Through its results, it was determined if an adequate amount of low-attended classes merged together, a faculty member could teach the same number of students without raising the limits on class size. For more on the Education Advisory. Read More.

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Major-Gift Officers Considered “Curious Chameleons”

After reviewing donations brought in from over 1,200 major-gift officers at U.S. and British universities, the Education Advisory Board has created a model to recognize the characteristics of such fundraisers. In its report, “Inside the Mind of a Curious Chameleon,” the research firm split major-gift officers into five groups based on certain attributes. Research, however, discovered that no single group stood out from the rest, and the top fundraisers, nicknamed “Curious Chameleons,” possess key traits from each group. For more information on the report , visit the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s website. Cherry Bekaert also offers significant experience in accounting for higher education. Read More.

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Average College Savings Not Enough to Cover One Year

Released earlier this week, a report discovered that Americans are saving for college more than ever before. According to the College Savings Plans Network, higher education savings are at an average of $20,671, nearly twice the worth of the popular 529 plans during the recession. The higher amount is being contributed to an improved stock market and economy, better awareness of 529 plans and increased concern over the costs of higher education. Despite the good news, the report also notes that the average amount still falls short of the cost for one year at a four-year public institution. For the. Read More.

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New York Fed Report: Bachelor Degree Offers $300K Value

In the first of four reports discussing issues facing college graduates, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (“New York Fed”) recently assessed the value of a college degree. After estimating the average wage of college graduates versus people with only a high school diploma over a 40-year working period and incorporating other factors, the New York Fed concluded that the value of a bachelor’s degree remains at $300,000. The value continues to hold steady for over a decade, which has increased since the 1970s and been fairly consistent since the 1990s. While the New York Fed warns that the. Read More.

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