National View

Many Americans Unaware of College Savings' 529 Plans

With tuition rising, families are being expected to pay more for college every year. Smart planning often involves setting aside money in a tax-advantaged educational account, such as a 529 Plan, yet 69 percent of Americans don't know what such a plan is, a new survey released by Edward Jones reveals.

Named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, which created these types of savings plans in 1996, the education savings plans are operated by state or educational institutions to help families set aside money for future college costs. Federal law provides special tax benefits to encourage the savings.

The College ‘Preparation Gap’ In a Single Graphic

An annual national survey of school curriculum concludes that there is a “large gap” between how high school teachers perceive their graduating students’ readiness for college and what professors expect freshmen to know. While a vast majority of high school teachers believe their students are ready for college work, most postsecondary teachers don’t, as shown in the following graphic from the report called “ACT National Curriculum Survey� 2012: Policy Implications on Preparing for Higher Standards.”

Enrollments Down But Degrees Up, New U.S. Data Show

The number of students enrolled in American colleges and universities was 1.6 percent lower in 2011-12 than it was the year before, but the number of degrees conferred by those institutions was up 5.1 percent, new data from the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics shows.

How a Little Data Can Solve One of Higher Education's Biggest Problem

Last fall, Shaun Fowler started his sophomore year at Georgia State University still owing $500 on his tuition bill. The finance major from Atlanta had only a few days of classes before the university would be forced to kick him out for nonpayment. Then Fowler would become yet another stain on the reputation of large urban public colleges with stubbornly low graduation rates. Only about half the students at Georgia State graduate within six years.

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