Bringing domestic student exchange to the conversation


canada-and-usThank you to David J. Smith for bringing domestic student exchange to the conversation on global initiatives in Getting to “E Pluribus Unum”. As president of the nonprofit National Student Exchange organization and a former NSE campus coordinator, I shared the following comments.

National Student Exchange was founded in 1968, a time when our nation was searching to understand its identity, history, and how differences fit into the idea of American culture. What began as three institutions exchanging seven students has grown into a premier network of 160 colleges and universities exchanging 2,000 students annually throughout the United States, Canada, and U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.

Initiatives to enhance global engagement often overlook the diversity of North America in their quest. Scholarships and fellowships that promote international education are rarely available for domestic study away. Domestic exchanges seldom satisfy core or general educational requirements for global engagement or cultural studies, despite their cultural breadth.

Cultural agility can be greatly enhanced crossing state and provincial borders, not just oceans. NSE member campuses report domestic study away as a high impact practice supporting student satisfaction and persistence. Increasing populations of underrepresented and first-generation students are choosing NSE study away, emphasizing the need for access and choice in these opportunities. As noted by Sobania and Braskamp (2009), recent college graduates are more likely to have a post-college career with diverse colleagues from their own country than from other parts of the world.

NSE campuses range in enrollment from 600 to more than 50,000 students. In addition to AAU Research I universities, NSE member campuses include:
12 Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)
21 Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI)
7 Urban 13 universities
14 Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC)

As noted, succeeding in our political and global reality requires professionals who can operate effectively and empathetically in cross-cultural and international environments. National Student Exchange and domestic study away programs are not simply study abroad alternatives or preparatory opportunities; they are academic and personal experiences to be celebrated and encouraged for the dimension they bring to college students, degree programs, our workforce, and communities.

 

Sobania, N. & Braskamp, L. A. (2009). Study abroad or study away: It’s not merely semantics. Peer Review 11 (4).

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Just Say No to Saying No

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When I read yet another article minimizing the value of a college education I am challenged by thoughts of privilege.  Yes, Steve Jobs, an individual I greatly admire, was a college dropout, but at least he had the opportunity to give it a try. Mark Zuckerberg’s intelligence and initiative is without question, but how many students can realistically include Harvard on their college wish list? And then walk away from the opportunity?

I do not discount hard work, enterprise, and determination. But for those of us who are simply above-average, or first-generation, or of a marginalized population, college is the pathway to get a step ahead, a leg up, a move toward potential success. Yes, student loan debt and college costs demand answers, but denying the value of learning, but for an elite few, is not the answer. Just say Go. Go to college.

In case you missed it…discussion on student debt

I shared a variety of articles on student debt and financing education this month. Here they are, all in one place. You will find essential reading if you work in higher education and believe student success reaches beyond grades and graduation.

Senior citizens continue to bear burden of student loans

Student loan debt: Can these innovations save America’s workforce?

A Bank Account That Helps Pay Off Student Loans

Questions about tuition that goes toward scholarships

Chained to college debt

Rise in defaults renews “student debt bomb” warnings

Tensions escalate between Iowa private colleges and public universities in battle for state education dollars

Public university debt dips, but still up since 2009

Iowa State University will target rising student debt

Senator Harkin: Keep student debt interest low

Lawmakers Rethink Bankruptcy-Law Ban on Education Loans

Record number of U.S. adults with college degrees

The Census Bureau announced that three in ten adults held a bachelor’s degree in 2011.  This is quite a jump considering that as recently as 1998 less than 25% of adults had a four-year degree. Regretfully, our global ranking for college degrees is still dropping. Despite continuing arguments about the value of certain degrees, it makes you think this whole college education thing may be catching on.

…the data suggest that going to school remains a shrewd investment. Median monthly pay for a professional degree reached $11,927 in 2009. That was more than twice the monthly pay for someone with a bachelor’s degree: $5,445. By contrast, a high school diploma was worth $3,179 a month, and an elementary school education yielded $2,136 a month.  ~Daniel de Vise, Washington Post

More on the value of a college education…

Future Earnings

Is College Worth It?

Debt Zapper

Student loan debt has surpassed total credit card debt in the United States, reaching more than $1 trillion this year. That’s trillion with twelve zeroes. Student debt is a recurring topic here, so these 10 Tips for Zapping Student Loan Debt may be worth a look.

More on the student debt challenge:

Presidential Agenda

Student Debt: No new car, caviar, four star daydream

Student Debt continued: Still no caviar

Student loans of interest

It’s not only a national debt crisis

Money, money, money… Must be funny…

Presidential Agenda

My university named a new president last week and I was excited to learn that he has goals similar to mine in the area of decreasing student debt. This is a topic that is of great interest for me as I counsel first-generation college students, many of whom borrow large amounts of money through federal, institutional and private sources to meet expenses. As we reside in a state where 85 percent of the state’s need-based grants support students enrolled in private, not-for-profit colleges with only 6 percent supporting students enrolled in public colleges and universities, change will not be easy

It’s increasingly difficult for the middle class to afford a high-quality public education. That’s a huge concern of mine. Our long-term goal would be that any qualified Iowan could graduate debt free. That’s the direction we want to be going.  ~Steven Leath, president-elect

More on the student debt challenge:

Student Debt: No new car, caviar, four star daydream

Student Debt continued: Still no caviar

Student loans of interest

It’s not only a national debt crisis

Money, money, money… Must be funny…

Money, money, money… Must be funny…

In the 2009 fiscal year, the default rate on student loans climbed from 7 percent to 8.8 percent, over the previous fiscal year, according to a U.S. Department of Education report released today.

Of the 3.6 million student-loan borrowers whose first repayment period was between October 1, 2008, and September 30, 2009, about 320,000 people defaulted before September 30, 2010.

You can review information on the national student loan default rate and rates for individual schools, states, and types of institutions at the Federal Student Aid Data Center.