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Education This Week
 

COMMENTARY

The ROI on Higher Education

By Watson Scott Swail, President & CEO, Educational Policy Institute/EPI International

There is much press and study about the returns to a higher education. I, myself, have developed and published charts and essays on the power of a postsecondary credential. However, as our readers now, I am more critical, if not skeptical, than most about the true value of a postsecondary degree in this competitive and increasingly global environment.

Without doubt, higher levels of education typically bring economic and cultural capital to individuals. The higher the education, the higher the income, as we know. The harder calculation, and one perhaps that even weighs in greater importance than the fiscal returns, is the societal or cultural piece: the placement of an individual in society and the benefits that are given and received in a complementary fashion between both individual and society.

But the financial piece cannot be ignored. And nor should it be assumed.

In August 2011, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce released The College Payoff, a review of data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report highlights the earnings of individuals by level of education, race/ethnicity, gender, and job description/title. It provides very interesting and compelling data that suggests clearly that education pays. For example, lifetime earnings of a high school diploma are $1.3 million compared to a BA return of $2.3 million and a profession degree of $3.6 million. Some of this makes perfect sense: those in occupations that require a higher level of Education, especially professions, earn more, simply by the nature of those industries. A doctor will almost always earn more than a blue collar worker unless the former makes a unique and peculiar decision to do something more specialized with his or her skillset ( e.g., work for doctors without borders and earn a low wage). 

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STATISTIC OF THE WEEK

In a survey of Portage College's Class of 2010-11, 87% of respondents said the Alberta-based institution provided them with the knowledge and skills required to pursue a career, with 85% of graduates now in the workforce. 100% of business diploma graduates surveyed said they are now working in business-related careers. 94% of health program graduates and 92% of career program graduates reported being employed. Graduates of Portage's newest program -- Natural Resources Technology -- reported a 100% satisfaction rate and 100% employment rate, with some earning very close to 6-figure incomes. 91% of university studies program graduates surveyed are continuing on in their studies at the university of their choice.

Source: Portage College News Release– Look Who’s Talking about a Great College Experience

 

THE NEWS

ACADEMIC PREPARATION
First Nations schools get down payment for literacy, new buildings
By Heather Scoffield, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA - The federal budget puts a down payment on improvements to First Nations schooling, with $275 million over three years for literacy and buildings. The education funding is the center piece of a First Nations package that includes a renewal of money for clean water as well as a commitment to explore allowing private-property ownership on reserves that are open to the idea. "We will work with First Nations to...unlock the potential of Canada's First Nations children," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in his budget speech.

Alberta election 2012: NDP unveils wide-ranging education and child-care plan
By Nicki Thomas, Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON - NDP Leader Brian Mason laid out his party’s education plan Thursday, one he says will help students from “their first day in public education to their first day on the job.” “It’s important that we keep older schools open and work to attract young families into these older neighborhoods,” he said. A $50-million “new beginnings” program is designed to use schools as a core to help revitalize municipalities, school board and communities, Mason said. The plan would see instructional fees for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 will be prohibited and voluntary full-day kindergarten introduced.

The Global Search for Education: Is Your Child an Innovator?
By C.M. Rubin, Education News
Welcome to the Innovation Age.  Today’s world will reward the most innovative young people.  World leaders, business executives, educators, and policy makers have joined in the global debate on how we create the next generation of innovators.  Even parents are asking themselves the question: “Is my child an Innovator?” How do you train an innovator?  Which schools are doing it better than others?  Are teachers equipped with the new skills required to educate students in this decade?  Are curricula incorporating the essential content that will help young people become more innovative?  Are parents playing their part so as to ensure their children can face tomorrow’s challenges and ultimately lead richer, fuller lives?

 

POSTSECONDARY ACCESS SUCCESS
Proposed streamlining of Ottawa’s lab-funding system worries researchers
By Anne McIlroy, The Globe and Mail
Innovation is expected to be a major theme when the budget is tabled in Ottawa, but many biomedical researchers fear that proposed changes to how they get federal funding would weaken, even throttle health research in Canada. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the arm’s-length federal agency that funds labs at universities across the country, has proposed changes it says are designed to ease the strain on the overburdened peer review system, in which scientists work on committees to decide which grant applications merit financing.

Students loan hike called "band aid for a bullet hole"
By Gabrielle Tieman, Calgary Herald
The federal government is raising the maximum amount of money it can hand out as student loans to $19 billion — a $4 billion increase that student federations are calling "a Band Aid for a bullet hole." The government expects the current loan distribution maximum of $15 billion to be exceeded come January 2013. With the previous loan increase of $5 billion in 2000 having lasted 12 years, the government expects the new $4 billion increase to last at least another 10 years — but does take into account the growth factors that encourage loan applications, such as the increasing cost of tuition and changes in programs.

How can universities teach students to think creatively?
By Rosanna Tamburri, The Globe and Mail
Innovation is constantly being cited as the cornerstone of Canada’s economic and social future. Creativity, however, is a word that is spoken less often. Yet many experts, notably the education-reform champion Sir Ken Robinson, view nurturing creativity as the crucial ingredient in turning out the innovators of tomorrow. How can universities – key players in the process – teach students to think critically and creatively? Arvind Gupta thinks he has the answer.

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Most universities in Wales to see small funding rise
By Nicola Smith, BBC News
Most universities in Wales will see a small rise in funding for the next academic year because of the income that will be generated from higher tuition fees. But, in contrast, Glyndwr University will see a 20% cut in its budget. Figures from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (Hefcw) show core funding to each institution dropping by an average of 37%. But the balance is being made up by millions of pounds in student fees. In three universities, income from fees will be higher than the funding allocated to them by Hefcw in 2012/13. The change in the level of tuition fees each university can charge has led to the new funding arrangement.

Definitive Study of College-Bound Students in China
By Richard A. Hesel, Art & Science Group, LLC.
In this premiere issue of studentPOLL China, we are pleased to report the findings of what we believe is the first definitive study of the attitudes of high school students in China. Yet before discussing the findings, it is worth noting that most college or university presidents and senior enrollment officers are well aware that there is no shortage of self-appointed experts who profess great insights about the rapidly expanding market of high school students in the People’s Republic of China who have the academic and financial wherewithal to qualify for undergraduate study in the United States.

Setting Out in Search of Education
By Christopher F. Schuetze, The New York Times
More students are leaving their home countries during the transition to universities, or even earlier, and it is not always an easy move. Students or their parents have to fill out complicated visa forms, set up bank accounts, book plane tickets and find cell phone plans. And before that, they have to work to achieve top grades, get diplomas recognized and take supplementary admissions tests. The International Baccalaureate, or I.B., system is especially popular in countries like Nepal, where national education diplomas are not easily recognized by foreign universities.

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