Looking to learn more about what’s trending in education? Here’s a recap of this week’s top education news. Let us know what you think about this week’s news in the comments below.

Checking on Vendors
Inside Higher Ed
In the competitive world of college admissions, first impressions are crucial. But if your institution outsources its communications with prospective students to a third-party vendor, how would you know if that vendor is pulling its weight? What if inquiries from qualified candidates went unanswered? One solution, employed by an increasing number of both traditional and online-only institutions, is secret shopping.

The Impact of Parents’ Education Levels
Inside Higher Ed
A study of first-generation college students published today by the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics shows that children of college-educated parents are much more likely to pursue and complete an undergraduate degree than are young people whose parents did not attend college. However, the gap closed significantly upon completion of a bachelor’s degree, and the two groups’ employment status, salary amounts and rates of enrollment in a master’s degree were nearly the same.

CBO estimates show House higher ed bill could hit student loan borrowers hard
Washington Post
College students would lose $15 billion in federal student aid over the next decade if House Republicans succeed in turning their higher education bill into law, according to a report released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Can Congress Encourage Innovation and Protect Students?
Inside Higher Ed
Observers of online education have griped for years about the ambiguous language governing distance education in the federal Higher Education Act. A proposal from the House of Representatives to rewrite the law has revived frustrations around federal policy in this space. Concrete solutions from critics, however, are harder to come by.

Why an Update of Higher Ed’s Sweeping Framework Could Be Years Away
Chronicle of Higher Education
The Senate has held four hearings since the middle of January to discuss revamping the federal law governing higher education. But as momentum ramps up, signs of discord on fundamental issues may throw a wrench into the plan to reauthorize the law — which is overdue for an update — this year.

Giving to Colleges Rises by 6.3%
Inside Higher Ed
Individual donors reopened their checkbooks in 2017 as a strong stock market fueled rising personal giving that in turn powered an increase in contributions to higher education institutions.

Senate Democrats Issue Principles for Higher Ed Act
Inside Higher Ed
Senate Democrats last week issued a set of principles they say should guide the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, among them: college affordability, access for low-income students, safety on campuses and accountability for institutions.

ACT Bets Big on Analytics, Adaptive Learning With $7.5M Investment in Smart Sparrow
…In recent years, the nonprofit has invested in several education technology efforts around learning analytics and adaptive learning. Its latest: a $7.5 million investment in Smart Sparrow, a company that offers a platform used by many higher-ed faculty members and instructors.

Think tank sues Education Dept. over public records requests on college accrediting bodies
Washington Post
The Century Foundation, a public policy think tank, sued the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday seeking the release of records on controversial higher education accrediting agencies that are linked to lax regulation.

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