Going In-depth on Higher Ed Reporting

In case you missed it, it was announced yesterday that Indiana is one of 10 states to receive a $1 million grant from Complete College America. As the name suggests, the goal is to improve college completion rates — in Indiana and across the nation.

You can check out the governor’s press release. Seeing it prompted me to recall some of the interesting higher education stories I have had the privilege to write in recent years. I’ll share a few below — most relating in one form or another to the truly important college completion topic.

  • In early 2007, the article "Graduation Evaluation" revealed just how poor timely college completion rates are at many schools
  • The Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s grant proposal focused on redesigning remedial coursework at Ivy Tech (we updated the community college’s tremendous surge in "Growing Gains" in 2009) and supporting student success at regional campuses ("Breaking Down Walls" in March-April 2010 recently earned a national award for education reporting)
  • In addition, this year’s education issue featured a profile of Lumina Foundation President Jamie Merisotis. Read "Working to Educate America"
  • And, the person presenting the $1 million as the leader of Complete College America was none other than Stan Jones, Indiana’s longtime higher ed commissioner and the Indiana Chamber’s 2009 Government Leader of the Year

There is no underestimating the importance of education, no matter the level. It’s all about the young people of today, who will comprise our workforce and our leadership of tomorrow. The Chamber will continue its focus in its policy efforts, as will BizVoice through its reporting and analysis. 

Netflix Raises Rates: So What?

If you’re a Netflix subscriber, more than likely you’ve heard about the impending rate increase that is coming September 1. Or, if you’re brand new to the DVD-sharing/instant online video streaming service, your new rates go into effect immediately.

It’s a service that I pay for and thoroughly enjoy as a connoisseur of television and movies. And one of its greatest selling points is how cheap it is – especially when I used to travel to the video stores of yore and pay $4 or $5 per video. (I wonder if my children will even know what a video store is?) Honestly – my husband and I sat down and did the math of what we were spending at the store versus how much we would spend with Netflix. There was no competition back then and there still isn’t competition today.

The plan that we have now (all instant streaming and two DVDs at a time through the mail) runs about $16. Apparently with the new prices, that plan will go up to $20 per month. Still cheaper per month than the gym (and its monthly membership) that I never go to.

Eight bucks a month will continue to get you instant streaming and if you want just one DVD at a time paired with the streaming, you’ll pay $16.

Seems that many of the loyal Netflix subscribers are royally ticked off that their rates are going up (want to see some angry comments – go visit Netflix’s Facebook page. Beware, there is some nasty language!). I think a chill pill is in order.

I can’t be too surprised at the price hikes: I’ve always wondered how the company is able to make it so cheap. While I’m sure there’s not a whole lot of overhead, everyone knows how expensive mailing anything is and the company mails DVDs in numbers I can’t even imagine. Also, the copyrights to all of your favorite shows and movies don’t come cheap.

Honestly, it’s a silly thing to get mad about. Maybe if it was for food, utilities or some other necessity in life, I could get behind a movement against 60% rate hikes. But this is just entertainment for entertainment’s sake. Let’s protest something that actually matters.