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After a long reign as the fastest-growing and most problematic sector in higher education, for-profit colleges are on the ropes.

This week the U.S. Department of Education announced that it will review how federal student aid is administered at one of the country's largest for-profit colleges, the University of Phoenix. Owned by the publicly traded Apollo Group, the University of Phoenix enrolls over 200,000 students, rivaling the size of the nation's largest public university system.


If you had the opportunity, would you attend a college that sends you around the world to live in world-class cities while taking all of your classes online? The Minerva Project is a university that is raising eyebrows with its non-traditional approach.

Traditionally, college students earn credit for how many hours they spend in a classroom. But a different approach gives credit based on how much you know -- and know how to do. As the cost of college soars, proponents say competency-based education could save students and employers thousands.

In today's tight job market, increasingly, the public often views college as a way to learn the skills necessary to find a fulfilling career, but many don't realize that research is close to the heart of those who work in higher education. In his recent essayThe Soul of the Research Institution, Nicholas Lemann, staff writer at the New Yorker, defends the value of university research.

In Nashville last month, WGBH's On Campus sat down with Lemann to talk about research and higher education.

The demand for computer science majors is booming. Even at traditionally liberal arts institutions, students who want to learn how to code are flocking to colleges and universities. It's almost hard to believe that the field wasn't even considered a real major back in the 1960s. 

In Cambridge this week, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is celebrating 50 years of computing and the birth of a new field.

Big data. Twitter. Media startups. The way we all communicate and consume the news has changed significantly, and journalism schools are racing to keep up -- to teach their students the skills necessary in a rapidly shifting media landscape. 

Last year, Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism revamped its curriculum and students are now learning how to tweet and write code. Steve Coll is dean of the journalism school. WGBH's On Campus recently sat down with Coll to talk about professional higher education.

In a striking move, part-time faculty at Northeastern University voted to unionize Thursday, making it the third Boston-area college in the past seven months to do so.

Thursday's vote is part of a popular national movement to give part-time professors collective bargaining rights at a time when colleges and universities are increasingly depending on their work. More than half of Northeastern's faculty is part-time, though the university notes that adjuncts deliver about 27 percent of all instruction.

How low can college sticker prices go? Southern New Hampshire University announced this month it will offer the country's first fully-accredited $10,000 bachelor's degree online.

The Manchester-based university is partnering with more than 50 employers - from Blue Cross Blue Shield to McDonald's - to offer degrees aimed at working adults.

Freshmen in David Nurenberg’s honors English course were spending their Monday morning analyzing the ending to “Oedipus the King.” For an hour, students theorized about why Oedipus would blind himself with his mother’s brooch and debated who, if anyone, was at fault in the famous Greek tragedy. One student dissected the play’s prophecy and another compared Oedipus to Lenny in “Of Mice and Men.”

It was the kind of discussion that some at Concord-Carlisle High School initially feared would become a rarity when Massachusetts adopted the Common Core State Standards, a nationally developed set of math and English language arts standards designed to prepare all students for college or the workforce.

Stanford University announced Wednesday that it will no longer use any of its $18 billion endowment to support coal mining companies.

Listen to the story from The World

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