2 reasons why blockchain tech has big, tangible implications for higher ed — from ecampusnews.com by Jami Morshed
While many may not be using bitcoin in the near future, the tech behind bitcoin–called blockchain–has the potential to influence higher ed in more ways than one might think.


While many of us may not be making important purchases in bitcoin in the near future, the tech behind bitcoin–called blockchain–has the potential to influence our daily lives in more ways than one might think, including in higher ed.

1. Blockchain for the Future of Credentialing
For higher ed–and even for our professional lives after graduation–blockchain has the potential to drastically impact the future of credentialing.

2. Blockchain’s Financial Implications and Student debt




From DSC:
The article below caused me to reflect on the idea of using Income Share Agreements (ISAs) as a way for students to get through college these days. Although I appreciate that others are trying to help students get through college — an admirable goal for sure and one that I wholeheartedly share — I don’t like the means/method being proposed here. Why? Because I’m concerned that ISAs don’t offer any incentives for colleges and universities to lower their prices in the first place. The burden of debt is just spread out into the future. In fact, one could easily imagine the costs of obtaining a degree to continue to increase, because the immediate impact of the debt isn’t felt right now…it’s spread out over one’s future. The problem becomes invisible again, making it once again easy for those working within higher education to ignore.

So I hope this method doesn’t take off (as I understand it); instead, I hope that we can figure out better ways to reduce the price of obtaining a degree. Technology should be of use here.


Students Get Tuition Aid for a Piece of Their Future — from wsj.com by Jillian Berman
Income share agreements seem poised to take off, as costs and debt loads rise


To help pay for ever-growing college costs, more students may soon be trying a new approach: selling rights to their future earnings.

Long discussed in college policy and financing circles, income share agreements, or ISAs, are poised to become more mainstream. A handful of backers currently exist that in effect have invested in college students’ futures by advancing them thousands of dollars in tuition money to bridge gaps in financing when student loans don’t quite meet all of their expenses.

Under the terms of a typical ISA, students agree to pay a percentage of their future earnings for a predetermined period in exchange for help up front with their tuition. Now, more students may have the opportunity to enter such deals, as lawmakers in Congress are working on possible ground rules for the agreements.





Google and Udacity offer scholarships for 75,000 aspiring developers — from thenextweb.com


Google has announced its plans to extend its partnership with Udacity to offer 75,000 Android scholarships for aspiring developers and data scientists seeking to pursue careers in the digital field.

The initiative builds on the company’s two-year long collaboration with Udacity, which granted 1,000 and 10,000 scholarships for passionate newbie coders in 2015 and 2016, respectively. German media giant Bertelsmann will also be contributing to this effort.



Also see:



FACT SHEET: ED Launches Initiative for Low-Income Students to Access New Generation Of Higher Education Providers — from ed.gov


[On 8/16/16], the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is inviting eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships) experiment.

These partnerships will allow students—particularly low-income students—to access federal student aid for the first time to enroll in programs offered by non-traditional training providers, in partnership with colleges and universities, including coding bootcamps, online courses, and employer organizations. The goals of the experiment are to: (1) test new ways of allowing Americans from all backgrounds to access innovative learning and training opportunities that lead to good jobs, but that fall outside the current financial aid system; and (2) strengthen approaches for outcomes-based quality assurance processes that focus on student learning and other outcomes. The experiment aims to promote and measure college access, affordability, and student outcomes.



Obama Administration to Fund Nontraditional Training for Students — from wsj.com
Education Department will give up to $17 million in loans and grants for training at eight entities that aren’t traditional colleges


WASHINGTON—The Obama administration will inject millions of dollars into a group of nontraditional education providers to address a vexing problem: Many Americans are leaving college with debt but without skills the economy needs.

The administration is turning to the private sector for help. In a novel experiment, the Education Department announced Tuesday up to $17 million in loans and grants for students to undergo training at eight entities that aren’t traditional colleges. Most are for-profit companies. They include coding academies such as New York startup Flatiron School and Portland, Ore.-based Epicodus, as well as websites such as Study.com and StraighterLine that provide online courses at reduced costs.

The one that stands out from the group is corporate giant General Electric Co., which won’t receive funds directly but will provide training at one of its jet-engine plants under the program.

The program, called Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships, or Equip, is designed to enable low-income Americans to learn skills in areas where colleges often fall short, such as learning how to write computer code, or using new software to operate high-tech manufacturing equipment to make jet engines.




Can’t Afford Coding Camp? The Feds May Have a Loan for You — from wired.com by Issie Lapowsky


A new Department of Education program focused on skills training aims to address that second part. Announced last year, the so-called Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships program will offer federal student aid to students enrolled at non-traditional institutions like coding bootcamps and skills-training programs.

[On 8/16/16], the Department of Education revealed the eight organizations and educational institutions with programs that will be covered as part of the EQUIP pilot program. For now, the programs are located on both coasts and in Texas. They include bootcamps like The Flatiron School, as well as newly launched training programs from companies like General Electric. The Department of Education chose the programs from dozens of applications, and each organization will partner with an established, accredited college or university. Meanwhile, third-party quality assurance partners have signed up to monitor students’ results.




Feds propose decertifying accreditor of for-profit colleges — from wsj.com by Douglas Belkin


The Education Department on Wednesday recommended that the organization that accredits many of the nation’s for-profit colleges and vocational schools shouldn’t be recognized, a step that could threaten access to nearly $5 billion in federal financial aid for more than 800,000 students.

The decision also has the potential to hasten the consolidation of the for-profit college sector as it could drive out of business many schools that lose access to student loans as well as students leery of attending schools under the regulatory microscope.

The move could mean the sector, already in decline amid tightening federal regulation, “will implode even faster,” said Trace Urdan, managing director at Credit Suisse and a longtime analyst of the for-profit college industry. “There will be significant consolidation ahead, a lot of people will lose their jobs, there will be fewer choices in the market but the schools that do survive will have a sort of double bonus, a clean bill of health and less competition.”


University of Phoenix owner, Apollo Education Group, will be taken private — from nytimes.com by Patricia Cohen and Chad Bray


The troubled for-profit education company that owns the giant University of Phoenix agreed on Monday to be bought for $1.1 billion by a group of investors that includes a private equity firm with close ties to the Obama administration.

The university and its owner, the Apollo Education Group, have been subject to a series of state and federal investigations into allegations of shady recruiting, deceptive advertising and questionable financial aid practices.

In recent years, many for-profit educational institutions that have received billions of dollars in federal aid, including the University of Phoenix, have been pummeled by criticisms that they preyed upon veterans and low-income students, saddling them with outsize student loan debt and subpar instruction.


Also see:

  • New education department office to crack down on colleges — from wsj.com by Josh Mitchell
    Student Aid Enforcement Unit will focus on schools accused of misconduct
    The Obama administration plans to boost the federal government’s power to investigate and punish colleges accused of deceptive marketing tactics and other misconduct, part of a campaign to address years of student complaints about for-profit institutions.


Also see:

Student Aid Enforcement Unit Formed to protect students, borrowers, taxpayers — from ed.gov on 2/8/16


As part of the Obama Administration’s aggressive action to protect students and taxpayers, the U.S. Department of Education is creating a Student Aid Enforcement Unit to respond more quickly and efficiently to allegations of illegal actions by higher education institutions.

“When Americans invest their time, money and effort to gain new skills, they have a right to expect they’ll actually get an education that leads to a better life for them and their families,” said Acting Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “When that doesn’t happen we all pay the price. So let me be clear: schools looking to cheat students and taxpayers will be held accountable.”



From DSC:
For profits have brought some solid things to the education table…but they’ve also brought some bad practices to the table as well. To some degree, the above items relate to the efforts and influence of the federal government to affect institutions involved in higher education.

Taking this thought into a different direction then…one should think carefully, therefore, when the federal government opens up new efforts to support innovation within higher education — something I support, by the way, as it could facilitate the creation of alternative pathways for learners and it finally enforces some true competition — and therefore a greater emphasis on innovation — within the higher ed landscape. (Yes I realize that there’s some level of competition within institutions of traditional higher education…but historical and current accreditation practices have pretty much kept things looking quite similar across the landscape.)

Institutions of traditional higher education may now be forced to rethink their game plans and strategies as they move forward — something I hope that will positively impact our future students.  Such forces and events should make institutions of traditional higher education more innovative, open to change (where it’s needed), relevant, and responsive to changes in the environment.



Michigan Radio’s Issues & Ale: College Affordability & Access


College affordability is a big issue, from the living rooms of anxious students and parents, to the presidential campaign trail . Over the past ten years, tuition costs have increased more than five times faster than the Consumer Price Index and the average class of 2015 graduate with student-loan debt will have to pay back more than $35,000. Michigan’s students leave college with some of the highest debt levels in the nation .

A recording of the October 27, 2015 event is available here.

Average debt for graduates in Michigan: Just over $35,000


  • Michigan is below national average in # of adults that have a college degree.  Need 300,000 more people to graduate with a college degree just to get up to the national average. (Doing so would add $7 billion to Michigan’s economy BTW.)
  • [Adjusted for inflation] Cost has doubled in 1 generation.
  • [Adjusted for inflation] Since 1975, cost at a public university is up 138%; at private 157%; but wages have only gone up 1.6% (flat lined basically)
  • Can’t work your way through college like your parents or grandparents might have done
  • Rising tuition
  • Rising textbook costs
  • Room and board
  • Need to have a talk about financial literacy; help a student know more about financial aid and what will need to be paid back and when
  • Scholarships, grants, funding
  • Transfer rates are sizable from community colleges
  • Community colleges are often a very good choice for students who are raising children and/or for students who are returning to college later on; can make a very good living on some of the jobs that you can get coming out of a community college
  • Students often don’t know how to advocate for themselves; don’t know how to navigate a campus and the services/resources therein; also don’t take advantage of office hours
  • Michigan State is pushing the idea of “neighborhoods” — like communities in the dorms; easier and less fearful to access services/tutoring/assistance
  • Other choices? Unions/trades such as plumbers; joining the military
  • Ingredients of costs; decreased spending at state level has had a significant impact on rising costs for students
  • …and more.






Per Dan Schuessler, Chief Affordability Officer, Affordable Colleges Foundation:

While the guide covers the basics about what to it expect at a Christian college, it also goes deeper by offering expert interviews from administrators at several universities so that students can get inside look at what it means to attend a Christian institution. We also explored unique and insightful information related to the evolution of online programs at Christian colleges, and how the religious aspects of the education are weaved into online learning. Lastly the guide provides actionable affordability tips, scholarship opportunities, and additional resources.

Another somewhat related resource:


The Kalamazoo Promise
A program whereby qualified students of the Kalamazoo Public Schools (Kalamazoo, MI, USA) can get up to 100% of their college tuition paid for them.  Recently this program was expanded to include 15 other private liberal arts colleges.




Starbucks to provide free college education to thousands of workers — from nytimes.com by Richard Perez-Penaju


Starbucks will provide a free online college education to thousands of its workers, without requiring that they remain with the company, through an unusual arrangement with Arizona State University, the company and the university will announce on Monday.


EducationDive has some solid comments and advice, however, re: the fine print here –> Highly praised Starbucks program requires large upfront tuition payments first








From DSC:
Match the needs of your institution with your donors’ passions!

In thinking about how to get the funding necessary to accomplish things, it seems to me that more people would give more of their resources if they knew what the specific needs were at a particular school, college, and/or university. This is where Web-based solutions could play a new, important role (and serve as another example of using technology strategically).

I was reminded of this possibility during a recent conversation with a faculty member from our Music Department.  First, some background. My mother was/still is a piano teacher. My folks met due to music and my dad has sung throughout his lifetime.  My siblings have each played 1 or more instruments.  Music has been something that has been extremely positive for my folks’ marriage and was always heard throughout our home.  (Not to mention that music can turn a bad day around for me.)

You can see where music was important to our family, to me…I have a passion for music.  So when I heard of a need that our Music Department had, I was ready to get my wallet out on the spot.  

I wonder how many more people would be struck like this if they only knew what the specific opportunities to contribute/make a difference were.

See below for some
related resources
on this topic.






Also see:


Addendum on 9/12/13:


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