Higher Ed
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Remembering to breathe and take a break for physical activity can help you avoid letting negative emotions get the better of you during a conversation, advises John Stoker. Consider what could be the logical reason behind someone else's behavior and your own part in the situation while staying on the lookout for projective listening.

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John Stoker

Good leaders are necessarily conciliators, capable of helping those around them to reach mutually agreeable solutions and of moving beyond conflicts, says John Baldoni in this blog post and video. "First and foremost, conciliators respect individuals," he says.

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John Baldoni

Students participating in some nontraditional courses such as software-coding boot camps and massive open online courses will be able to apply federal financial aid to the programs under a Department of Education pilot program. The department will approve qualifying programs.


The essay portion of the SAT will be optional under a revised version of the test, set for release in March 2016. A majority of admissions officers from 300 colleges and universities recently surveyed by Kaplan said they will make the essay scores optional. Nineteen percent said they will not require the scores, and about 13% will require them.

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Lynn Mahaffie, acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education, has directed postsecondary institutions to accept other forms of information about families' tax returns as part of students' applications for financial aid. The guidance follows a decision by the IRS and US Department of Education to disable an online tool that FAFSA applicants had used to upload tax-return information.


Four members of the US Senate education committee have introduced a bill that would allow the federal government to track data about college students' employment and educational outcomes. A "student-unit record system" was banned as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in 2008, but supporters say the data would provide students better information about colleges.

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Bill, US Senate

Instead of using a new ratings system to rank colleges, the U.S. Department of Education says it will produce a website that will allow consumers to compare colleges in categories such as graduation and loan-repayment rates. Ted Mitchell, the undersecretary of education, suggested that the ratings-system project will give way this year to creating the consumer-oriented website.


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will pursue a "regulatory reset" on some Obama-era regulations concerning student loans and for-profit colleges. About the previous administration's rulemaking effort, she said: "The result is a muddled process that's unfair to students and schools, and puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs. It's time for a regulatory reset."

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Betsy DeVos

At least $5 billion in student debt could be forgiven as private creditors struggle to produce paperwork proving they hold the defaulted loans. Many of the loans are held by the National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts, which aggressively pursues debts in arrears, but court filings show many cases lack paperwork proving ownership.


Two original content pieces about the Maker Movement struck a chord with SmartBrief readers this year. We asked readers to choose their favorite original content pieces written by educators, for educators, from a pool of 20 original content pieces chosen throughout the year by our team of editors. Nearly 3,000 people voted! Meet the winners.

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