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higher education

The average cost of one college year across all degree-granting intuitions in the U.S. was more than $19,000 in 2012, and we don't need to tell you what direction the price is heading. Which means lots of students are now borrowing heavily to make college work. President Obama threw some of them a lifeline earlier this week, with revisions to the government's Pay As You Earn program.

President Obama made big news today for student loan borrowers. He said he'll use his executive power to expand a program called Pay As You Earn, which limits borrowers' monthly debt payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income. Under the program, loans don't just get less expensive; they can actually disappear. The balance of a loan is forgiven after 20 years — 10 years if the borrower works in public service (for government or a nonprofit).

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahoma's higher education chancellor says the state's 25 colleges and universities are on track to save $451 million in five years.

Chancellor Glen Johnson told members of a legislative panel Tuesday that the state's higher education institutions have made it a priority to reduce their operating costs between 2011 and 2015.

Johnson says the savings are due to energy conservation, changes in salaries and benefits and changes in some university positions.

Shauniqua Epps was accepted to three public colleges, but none gave her any aid. Increasingly, public universities have been shifting their aid away from the poor, leaving students like Epps with few options.
Andrew Renneisen / ProPublica

This story from ProPublica was co-published with The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Shauniqua Epps was the sort of student that so many colleges say they want.

She was a high achiever, graduating from high school with a 3.8 GPA and ranking among the top students in her class. She served as secretary, then president, of the student government. She played varsity basketball and softball. Her high-school guidance counselor, in a letter of recommendation, wrote that Epps was "an unusual young lady" with "both drive and determination."

Epps, 19, was also needy.

Erin Ford graduated from the University of Texas two years ago with a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering. Recruiters came to campus to woo her. She got a paid summer internship, which turned into a full-time job after she graduated. Now, at age 24, she makes $110,000 a year.

Michael Gardner just graduated from City College in New York with a degree in psychology. He applied for more than 100 jobs, had trouble getting interviews and worked at Home Depot to make ends meet.

It’s well known that college tuition and student debt rose steeply in Oklahoma over the past decade. But less familiar is how that trend has played out at individual colleges and types of schools.

The interactive graphic above adds clarity to the picture.

In the chart, each circle represents a school, is sized by enrollment and is colored by type of college – public, nonprofit or for-profit.

rshartley / Flickr Creative Commons

The Chronicle of Higher Education has named the University of Central Oklahoma as one of the nation's "Great Colleges to Work For."

The university was selected as among the best for professional and career development and for its teaching environment.

The results were determined through a direct survey of faculty and staff at universities and colleges throughout the country.

Tax Credits / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education heard from the state’s university and college presidents Wednesday to discuss tuition and fee increases for the coming school year.

ECapitol reports, if the regents approve the increases, costs for attendance at Oklahoma’s institutions of higher learning will go up 4.7 percent, on average.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

The University of Oklahoma says it will start offering students a flat-rate tuition and mandatory fees this fall.

OU President David Boren announced Thursday that full-time undergraduates taking between 12 and 21 credit hours per semester will pay a rate based on the university's current 15-credit hour rate for tuition and mandatory fees.

“Changing from a per-credit hour basis to a flat rate encourages all of our students to complete their degrees in a shorter period of time and get the best possible value for their tuition and fees dollar,” Boren said in a statement.

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