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The Best of Our Knowledge # 826


Everyone probably knows by now that the variable interest rate on
federal education loans went up nearly two percentage points earlier
this month. According to the College Board, public colleges and
universities cost an average of 12-thousand dollars per year. Private
institutions can top 40-thousand a year. So it should come as no
surprise that a recent survey of 300 parents of school-age children
ranked the high cost of college as their greatest fear. Yet, families
understand how important a college education is in order for their
child to have a successful career. So where can parents and students
go for help? TBOOK's, Jim Horne, faced that exact problem recently
as he was helping his own daughter apply for college. They found out
one very good place to get advice is the financial aid office at the college
your child is considering. Horne and his daughter turned to Kathleen
Cohen, Dean of Financial Aid at Elmira College in upstate New York.
Cohen gave them her course in Financial Aid 101.
Jim Horne reports. (6:23)

**(Attention Program Directors. The website mentioned where all
students should go to start the application process for the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid is: www.fafsa.ed.gov.)**

Overall, higher education enrollment in the U.S. continues to climb. Comparatively, enrollment for online courses is far outpacing traditional
higher ed. According to Eduventures, a Boston firm that studies trends in education, online enrollment jumped from 1.98 million in 2003, to 2.35
million in 2004. And estimates today put that figure at about 2.6 million students...accounting for some 7% of postsecondary education.
Eduventures predicts that by 2008 about one in 10 college students will
be enrolled in an online degree program. A new law just passed by
Congress could boost these numbers even further. Colleges are no
longer required to offer at least half of their courses face to face, on
campus, in order to qualify for federal student aid. This was known as
the 50% rule and started back in 1992. To better understand the
significance of this ruling, we invited the President of Excelsior College
in Albany, NY into our studios. Excelsior (previously known as Regents
College) is a pioneer in distance learning, having been in operation over
30-years. It's a private, non-profit, independently chartered institution
that offers 31 undergraduate degree programs, several masters programs,
and boasts a current enrollment of 28-thousand students. TBOOK spoke
with Excelsior President, John Ebersole.
Glenn Busby reports. (11:23)

**(Attention Program Directors. For listeners interested in
more information about Excelsior College, their website is: