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The 6 Best Online Degrees of 2020 - Investopedia

The 6 Best Online Degrees of 2020 - Investopedia The 6 Best Online Degrees of 2020 - Investopedia Posted: 05 Nov 2020 12:00 AM PST Can You Get a College Degree Completely Online?  It's possible to earn a college degree completely online. The first step is deciding on the level of college education you want to achieve. Whether you just finished high school or graduated 30 years ago, you may earn anything from an associate's degree to a doctorate online. You also need to choose your field of study. You may consider your past education, experience, interests, career options, and your earning potential. Your chosen field may impact the intensity of your online degree and the level of education required.  Regardless of your career or future earnings , you should consider how much time and money you are willing to spend. Some education and skills may be more competitive, though, and therefore may offer a higher return on investment . 

What's ahead for for-profits and OPMs under Biden? - Education Dive

What's ahead for for-profits and OPMs under Biden? - Education Dive

What's ahead for for-profits and OPMs under Biden? - Education Dive

Posted: 19 Nov 2020 03:55 PM PST

More regulatory oversight and competition with public colleges could be in store for the for-profit sector under the Biden administration.

The president-elect is expected to revive key Obama-era regulations on for-profits, and he has pledged to fund free college initiatives at public two- and four-year schools. That's in addition to other proposals to give more money to private nonprofit and public colleges.

How the administration will carry out its plans, and to what extent, depends partly on whether Republicans keep Senate control. And it's early in the transition, so much of what comes to pass for the for-profit sector will depend on who fills key leadership roles at the U.S. Department of Education, higher education observers say.

The for-profit sector has also changed over the past several years, with the number of institutions and enrollment shrinking largely as a result of prior regulations that raised the bar on student outcomes. Some large for-profit college operators, meanwhile, have taken up a new business model that sees them offering services to colleges rather than running them. 

"For the past four years (for-profits have) had a nice landscape to where they, I think, have felt pretty comfortable," said Wesley Whistle, senior adviser for higher education policy and strategy at New America, a left-leaning think tank.

Competition from publics

One hallmark of Biden's higher ed proposal is a pitch to make community colleges tuition-free to all students and public four-year schools tuition-free for students whose families earn below $125,000, with states footing some of the bill.

It'll need Congressional approval, however. That step, along with the hit state budgets are taking, could make the proposal less likely to move forward, at least in full form. But it stands to affect for-profit colleges if it does, said Jeff Silber, managing director at BMO Capital Markets.

"Any time there's more funding for the nonprofit sector that's not available to the for-profit sector, that obviously adds competitive pressure," Silber said.

More investment in community colleges has been tied to a shift in students to those schools from for-profits, said Stephanie Cellini, a professor of public policy and economics at George Washington University. Cellini's research also found that enrollment shrinks at for-profits and grows at nearby public colleges when the former is at risk of losing federal aid. 

"The for-profit sector has a massive marketing budget that they can use to recruit students ... if we made public community colleges, or public colleges generally, tuition-free, that's gonna be a public awareness issue that will overcome that marketing budget," Whistle said.

Other changes, such as Biden's proposal to double the maximum value of the Pell Grant, aren't guaranteed to draw more students to for-profits. They were left out of some versions of legislation proposed last year to expand the Pell Grant.

'We do a much better job'

Biden is expected to bring back versions of two Obama-era rules that target for-profits, which the Trump administration rolled back. They focus on the return on investment students get for their education. But reinstituting those policies, even through executive action, could take time. And one of them — the gainful employment rule would likely go through a lengthy rulemaking process, Silber wrote in an analyst note earlier this month.

The president-elect has also said he will put forward legislation to close a loophole in the 90/10 rule that lets for-profit colleges exclude military benefits from their calculation of how much of their funding can come from the federal government. For-profits get a disproportionate share of service members' and veterans' education benefits.

Steve Gunderson, the outgoing head of the top for-profit college trade group, argues the for-profit sector has changed since the Obama years, when Biden was vice president. 

The for-profit sector would be willing to work with the Biden administration to come up with "ordinary, appropriate policy" for students who believe their colleges defrauded them, and to figure out a "fair and equitable formula" for the debt-to-income ratios in the gainful employment regulation, Gunderson said. His organization has not yet put out a proposal for what that work could entail.

"Our sector is incredibly different today than it was at the height of the Great Recession. We are smaller, but we have a much higher focus on outcomes, and we do a much better job," Gunderson said. 

Cellini points to fall enrollment as a potential cause for concern, however. Preliminary data shows overall undergraduate numbers down, particularly at community colleges, while four-year for-profits are on par with levels a year ago. To Cellini, it's "a signal that this relaxed regulatory environment of the last several years has kind of allowed (for-profits) to grow and thrive on potentially their old business models."

For-profit enrollment climbed during the last recession, when colleges overall saw a bump in students entering their programs. The fall data shows strong enrollment gains at primarily online colleges, with most schools in that subset being four-year for-profits.

The sector may be trying to make bipartisan inroads. Gunderson's organization, Career Education Colleges and Universities, recently selected a former Democratic congressman as its next president and CEO.

OPMs and nonprofit conversions

For-profits' interests are also increasingly tied to another piece of the higher ed sector: online program managers. OPMs provide colleges with a range of educational services, and they are under scrutiny by Congressional Democrats over whether the way many of their college customers pay them violates federal law.

Some for-profit college operators, including Zovio (formerly Bridgepoint Education) and Grand Canyon Education, have or are in the process of separating their colleges and becoming OPMs.

The model has its share of detractors, including The Century Foundation, a left-aligned think tank that has called into question the fairness of OPMs' contracts with colleges. Bob Shireman, a senior fellow at the foundation, also has questioned whether elements of the relationship are solidly in line with federal law. And he helped write legislation that attempts to crack down on the sector in California.

So it's "an alarming sign" for the for-profit sector that a Century Foundation representative is on Biden's education transition team, said Trace Urdan, managing director at investment bank and consulting firm Tyton Partners, which studies OPMs.

BMO's Silber thinks the pandemic may have lessened lawmakers' interest in going after OPMs, citing an uptick in online learning and cash-strapped colleges' need for capital to add virtual offerings. But Silber writes that the popular payment structure in which colleges give OPMs a cut of tuition revenue to pay that upfront investment "may face continued scrutiny."

A crackdown on the sector could shift the tuition revenue-share payment model to one in which colleges pay for services as they are provided, Urdan said, an option that is becoming more popular. But one of the revenue-share model's advantages is that it gives colleges money to launch a program. In its absence, Urdan expects third-party groups would step in with capital to help colleges.

But those funders may not be as interested in smaller schools or ones using online programs as a last-ditch effort to stay in business. And regulatory involvement may sour some investors on the sector.

"The freedom from the regulatory elements of proprietary schools was considered one of the great investment features of this sector, and if that goes away, that's going to hurt their ability to raise capital," Urdan said.

California's February Bar Exam Will Be Held Online, Supreme Court Says | The Recorder -

Posted: 19 Nov 2020 04:00 PM PST

The Practical Benefits of Resolving Coverage Disputes through Mediation

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Warren County Public Schools move to remote learning following Beshear's Executive Order - WBKO

Posted: 19 Nov 2020 03:30 PM PST

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton released the statement below concerning Governor Beshear's Executive Order. While Clayton announces the move to virtual learning, he adds that he will continue to advocate for in-person learning.

"WCPS Families,

Late yesterday afternoon Governor Andy Beshear released a new Executive Order requiring all schools to stop in-person classes beginning next Monday, November 23rd. Elementary schools will transition to distance learning through at least December 7, 2020 while middle and high schools will continue with distance learning through at least January 4, 2021 (our elementary schools are to remain closed for in-person instruction beyond December 7th if Warren County remains RED on the COVID-19 incident rate map). For the purpose of this order, the Kentucky Department of Education has advised us that 6th graders will follow the middle school/high school schedule.

Although we received no information prior to the Governor's press conference yesterday afternoon, we have long recognized that the Governor had the authority to implement an Executive Order which carries the same authority as law. Dr. Jason Glass, Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner, indicated during a conference call yesterday afternoon that he would remove any Superintendent or Board member who did not comply with the Governor's order. Despite this mandate, please know that we will continue advocating for in-person instruction because we understand firsthand how critical this is for so many of our students.

Our school level leaders and staff have prepared for this possible scenario from the very beginning; however, our successful implementation of the hybrid model gave us great confidence that we would be able to continue offering our current hybrid schedule. As of today, we still have no evidence of the virus spreading between students during the school day and none of our quarantined students have tested positive since school began August 24.

There will be no change for our Virtual Academy students and our students on the Hybrid Schedule will transition to all online learning through Google Classroom. I am proud of our staff's dedication and commitment toward providing quality instruction during this unprecedented time. Please note that attendance is based upon daily participation; therefore, we ask that you encourage your child to participate and complete each of their daily assignments. Your teacher(s) will reach out to you with specific expectations for their classroom, including any required virtual meetings and the process for posting and/or completing assignments.

I am including some additional information that may benefit your family as we transition to distance learning:

WIFI and Hotspots: We will continue to offer free WiFi in the parking lots of each of our buildings and encourage families to utilize this resource. Several community churches and businesses are also partnering with us to provide supplemental internet access. You may reach out to your child's teacher for a more comprehensive list of these additional locations.

Food Distribution: We will continue to provide food distribution to our families throughout the closure. Meals will be available for pick at all school locations on Mondays and Thursdays from 11:00-12:30. Every child will be given three breakfasts and three lunches on each of those days. Children do need to be present during the pickup of these items. Additionally, all schools will offer delivery routes for food through our Transportation Department. That information will be shared directly from your building leader. *Please note that for the week of Thanksgiving Break, meals will be provided Tuesday Nov. 24th.*

Special Education/Exceptional Services: Students receiving support services will be contacted directly to discuss their educational plans and how we can best assist throughout this closure.

Although this is not the way I had anticipated saying "farewell" for the upcoming holiday, I would like to wish everyone a safe and relaxing time together. Take Care!


Rob Clayton."

Copyright 2020 WBKO. All rights reserved.


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