Guru Roundup: Bringing You the Most-Relevant Industry-Related News

The State of Higher Education 
CNBC Education and You: Is the Four-Year, Liberal-Arts Education Model Dead?
“This may sound like an issue for the high school debate club, but it’s arguably a more suitable subject for cost-benefit analysis. Is the classic, four-year, liberal arts education a dying model? More and more people are questioning the practicality of a traditional bachelor of arts degree as the United States struggles to create jobs in a global economy while U.S. colleges fail to contain tuition costs…”
New York Times: College the Easy Way
“The cost of college has skyrocketed and a four-year degree has become an ever more essential cornerstone to a middle-class standard of living. But what are America’s kids actually learning in college? For an awful lot of students, the answer appears to be not much. A provocative new book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, makes a strong case that for a large portion of the nation’s seemingly successful undergraduates the years in college barely improve their skills in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing…”
PR Newswire: New Direction and Hope for College Students
“The pillars of academe are crumbling — that seems to be the message in the media of late. Costs are out of control, some say rising faster than the value of an education. Others question whether or not students are actually learning — claiming we are ‘academically adrift.’ Meanwhile, colleges are accused of being more focused on creating appeal in the admissions process than on increasing the quality and lowering the cost of education. In Making College Count, author Patrick O’Brien states that college continues to be the best investment students can make in their futures — and uniquely shows students how to take ownership of it. The book helps students strategically choose a college and offers them a proven framework to find college success in the classroom, extracurricular activities, and work experiences that will open doors to successful futures…” 

GOOD: The Chalk Board: Where Do Colleges Get Their Money? Infographic
“Over the last decade, public institutions have grown increasingly reliant on tuition revenue; whereas tuition as a percentage of revenues at private colleges have declined. We examined public, private not-for-profit, and for-profit institutions to compare and contrast how their revenues stacked up. Which of the three models do you think is the most sustainable?…”<!–more–>

Textbooks, Trends, and Tech-Talk 

Campus Technology: Ohio System Teams with Flat World Knowledge on Freebie Digital Textbooks
“The University System of Ohio is setting a spark under faculty members to encourage them to try out digital textbooks in the classroom with a new pilot program that will allow 1,000 Ohio students to receive the texts for free. The system is working with Flat World Knowledge, a company that publishes textbooks online and in other formats. The deal made by the Ohio Board of Regents is just one of multiple digital book projects the university system is currently undertaking to encourage faculty to use digital resources in their courses. The goal is to drive down textbook costs for students and make college more affordable — a key strategy in Ohio’s 10-year Strategic Plan for Higher Education…” 

ReadWriteWeb: 1 in 4 College Textbooks Will Be Digital By 2015
“Sales of digital textbooks still only account for a small fraction of the U.S. college market. But according to the latest report by the social learning platform Xplana, we have reached the tipping point for e-textbooks, and the company predicts that in the next five years digital textbook sales will surpass 25% of sales for the higher education and career education markets. That figure is a revision from the company’s report last year, which predicted that one in five college textbooks would be digital by the year 2014. Due to the rate at which colleges are embracing digital textbooks, Xplana now projects that sales will grow by 80 to 100% over the next four years…” 

BusinessWire: Barnes and Noble’s SparkNotes Taps Triad Retail Media to Create Innovative Digital Ad Platform
“Triad Retail Media today announced that SparkNotes, the number one study aid website, now offers advertisers the opportunity to run innovative and highly customized digital ad campaigns on the SparkNotes website., one of the Web’s most trafficked sites by students, is an all-in-one Web destination that offers Internet study materials, test preparation guides, video tutorials, advice columns and book, music and web page recommendations. SparkNotes captures one of the highest online concentrations of students from ages 13-24, and garners more than 10 million unique users and 100 million page views each month. The site offers timely content that is relevant to advertiser verticals such as music, movies, games, fashion, food and TV. By partnering with Triad, SparkNotes offers advertisers the ability to go beyond the banner to integrate their brand message into this content, engaging with students on a massive scale…” 

BusinessWire: Facebook/Website Integration Drives $29M in Revenues Using CommonSpot by PaperThin
“PaperThin, Inc., provider of the leading Web content management solution CommonSpot™, today announced that Seton Hall University (SHU) has used CommonSpot to integrate its website with social media sites Facebook and Twitter resulting in an 18% increase in new student registrations for the freshman class of 2010, resulting in a $29M jump in year-over-year revenues. SHU leveraged an open source Facebook application built using CommonSpot’s application development framework to integrate its website with Facebook, enabling site visitors to ‘like’, share and comment on content. The combination of the two marketing vehicles provided unprecedented results that proved to be the most powerful marketing combination for influencing student conversions…”

PR Web: South Eastern Book Company Announces Release of Rental Site for College Bookstores
“SEB Rental allows college bookstores to cater to the needs of today’s college students by offering an online textbook rental program. SEB customizes each bookstore’s rental site using the appropriate school colors and bookstore logo. Unlike its competitors which require a seven to ten day turnaround, SEB guarantees that a bookstore’s rental site will be live within three business days of the customer’s initial request. The company provides necessary customer support and IT assistance, and even facilitates customers’ textbook returns. SEB will assume any losses associated with students’ failure to return textbooks, and bookstores collect 10% commission on all rented textbooks through their SEB rental site…”


Finances and Funding 

The Washington Post with Bloomberg Business: Get Real on Scholarships
“As the parent of a soon-to-be college student, I’m privy to a lot of conversations other parents have about their child’s chances of getting significant scholarship or grant money. I have one word to describe many of these conversations: delusional. It’s delusion that soothes many parents who know they haven’t saved as much as they could have saved, and/or those who cheer their children on to go to their college of choice regardless of the cost. They think if their child gets superior grades, can play an instrument exceptionally well or is a star athlete, he or she will qualify for substantial financial assistance. Some will. Most won’t….” .Me Scholarship — Hurry, Entries Due by March 31, 2011 at 11:59 pm (PT)
“Do you have what it takes to be a Go Daddy Scholar? We want to know how the Internet or Internet technology (e.g., websites, blogs, forums, social media, etc.) has helped you during the course of your studies. Have you used the Internet to advance your athletic, artistic or intellectual pursuits? How do you envision benefiting from it through college and beyond? Tell us in 500 words or less and you can become one of 10 Go Daddy Scholars to receive $10,000 for your college tuition…” 

eHow Money: Are College Textbooks Deductible?
“There are several ways you can deduct your books from your income taxes. You can either use them as a tax deduction or as a tax credit. If you are eligible for the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit, you can take your books as a credit on your taxes, which reduces the tax you owe. You may alternately take the books as a tax deduction even if you don’t itemize…”
For more information (and helpful links), read our blog entry Textbooks, Tuition, and Tax Credits!

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