Jon Marcus
Jon Marcus, higher-education editor, has written about higher education for the Washington Post, USA Today, Time,, the Miami Herald, the Boston Globe, Washington Monthly, and other magazines and newspapers. He also is the North America higher-education correspondent for the Times (U.K.) Higher Education magazine. His Hechinger higher-education coverage has won national awards from the Education Writers Association and he was a finalist for an award for beat reporting from the New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The former editor of Boston magazine, Marcus holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from Bates College. He teaches journalism at Boston College and Boston University.

Obama ratings would divide colleges into high and low performing

The Obama administration is considering putting four-year undergraduate and graduate institutions and two-year institutions into such categories as high performing, low performing, and those in the middle based on measures including completion rates and job placement. As unsurprising as it was long awaited, the broad outline of the Obama ratings plan is now available for […]

U.S. university enrollment continues to slide

Led by continuing drops at private, for-profit colleges, higher-education enrollment declined this fall for a sixth semester in a row, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports. The number of students overall fell by about 1 percent, or 250,000, at the very time that policymakers are pushing to speed up the pace at which the […]

Like retailers tracking trends, colleges use data to predict grades, graduations

DALLAS — Stephanie Dupaul jokingly consults her collection of Magic 8 Balls — those novelty toys that tell your fortune through a little window at the base — when her students ask her things like, “Will I get an A in that class?” Now she can answer that question with a great deal more accuracy. […]

Advocates say feds can force states to increase spending on higher ed

NEW ORLEANS—If federal policymakers are serious about giving all students access to affordable higher education, they should leverage some of the billions of dollars in existing federal funding to make states stop cutting their budgets for public universities and colleges. And public universities themselves have to do a better job persuading the public that supporting […]

Colleges that pledged to help poor families have been doing the opposite, new figures show

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Decked out in black tie and formal dresses, guests at Mr. Jefferson’s Capital Ball finished their salmon with horseradish sauce just as the band lured them onto the dance floor with classics including “Shout” and “My Girl.” Some of the people who paid up to $400 a couple to attend the event in the […]

Poorest states cut what experts say could help the most: higher ed

CLEVELAND, Mississippi—Conor Bell may give up on the Mississippi Delta. Bell is a junior at a public university in the heart of this poorest corner of the poorest state in America—the birthplace of the blues. But the program that drew him here is being shut down. Bell studies journalism, victim of newly announced cuts to […]

Why two states have poured money into public higher education

GRAND FORKS, North Dakota — Construction cranes sprout like stalks of wheat from the windswept, tabletop-flat campus of the University of North Dakota. More than a quarter of a billion dollars’ worth of new facilities are going up here or have been opened in the last few years. Another $80 million is being spent at […]

Graduation rates are down, not up, since economic downturn

University and college graduation rates have declined since the beginning of the economic downturn, according to a new report, even as policymakers prod universities and colleges to turn out more people with degrees. While enrollment has gone up since 2008, the proportion of students who graduated has gone down, the report, by the National Student […]

Colleges and universities charge more, keep less, new report finds

Forced to keep discounting their prices as enrollment stagnates, U.S. universities and colleges expect their slowest growth in revenue in 10 years, the bond-rating company Moody’s reports. The squeeze could threaten further cuts in services even as tuition continues to increase. A quarter of colleges and universities are projecting declines in revenue, according to a […]

Spiraling graduate student debt raises alarms

An Army veteran, Anthony Manfre paid for his associate’s and bachelor’s degrees mostly with his GI Bill benefits, although he also took out $4,000 worth of student loans. “At the time, I thought that was a lot,” he said. “And now I look back and wish I only owed that much.” That’s because Manfre went […]

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