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Penn Foster was in Denver last week to participate in the APSCU 2015 Convention and Exhibition. This conference brought together over 1,500 attendees from private sector schools to focus on innovations and enhancements in the higher education space. Having spent three days taking in the conference, here are my top 3 learnings I came away with from the show:
Your students already know the career industry they want to pursue - after all, that's why they came to you. But how well does the classroom prepare adult learners and recent high school grads for post-college success? According to USA Today, fewer than two in five hiring managers who had interviewed recent graduates in the past two years found them prepared for a job in their field of study.1
The primary purpose of the Higher Education Act (HEA) is to ease the burden of the cost of college by allocating federal student loans and grants to students. It is a large piece of legislation, and touches nearly every aspect of federal higher education policy. The HEA was first signed into law by President Johnson in 1965, and has been reauthorized 9 times. The most recent reauthorization was in 2008, so it's likely to be up for reauthorization by Congress this fall. The amendments that are being suggested for this year's reauthorization focus on (1) making higher education more accessible by providing more financial aid to students, and (2) streamlining the financial aid process to make it more intuitive for students and parents. These are noble, important goals, especially considering that student loan debt in the U.S. has now surpassed $1 trillion. However, economic realities that exist today in our global, "sharing economy" are vastly different than they were in the Johnson era that informed the original legislation.
April 30th 2015: New legislation aiming to protect students and taxpayers has been introduced to Congress by three Democrats, Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), and U.S. Representatives Mark Takano (CA-41) and Susan Davis (CA-53). The Protections and Regulations for Our Students Act (PRO Students Act) is a comprehensive bill that calls for further restrictions on for-profit college activities. The bill aims to curb practices that take advantage of vulnerable students.
As class of 2015 celebrates graduating from college, they will also share the unique distinction as the most indebted class in history. Over 70% of graduates will had to have taken out a student loan, which is an 11% increase in the number of student-loan holders from a decade ago1. Here are the latest facts2 summarizing the state of U.S. student debt, and its trajectory:
Last year's record setting graduating class of 214 students was shattered this past week as 289 graduates received their diplomas during two separate ceremonies, with another one scheduled for this upcoming week. The Lakeland campus ceremony was held at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene, Lakeland, Florida with over 1,000 friends and family members in attendance. A few days later, the Davenport campus graduation ceremony was held at Polk State College, Winter Haven, Florida with roughly 2,500 friends and family members gathering to cheer the graduates on!  Gause Academy will celebrate their graduation on May 30th.
Next week, Penn Foster will be heading to Denver, Colorado to attend the 2015 APSCU Convention and Exhibition. The conference brings together over 1,000 attendees from private sector colleges, and offers the opportunity to share the latest trends, innovations, and best practices in post-secondary education. 
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In 2006, a group of dedicated leaders, organizations and communities set an ambitious goal for our educators: Achieve a 90% national high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020. This influential group would eventually become known as the GradNation campaign, a large and growing movement committed to graduating more high school students and preparing all students for success.
The Gallup-Purdue Index, a new study from Gallup has shown that positive student outcomes are more important than ever for colleges to prioritize. In 2014, Gallup surveyed 30,000 college grads to ask them about their college experiences and life after college.The survey concluded that the student experiences that had the highest impact on long-term life success can be whittled down into two categories: student support, and experiential learning. More specifically, this means a greater focus on mentorship, encouragement, and engaging students with career-focused, experience-centered studies.
As obvious as it may seem, an important step to getting your high school completion program off the ground is simply finding the right students to enroll. Some of the best channels for finding potential students are resources and connections you already have:

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