Category Archives: Other

Cengage Offers Free Online Learning Tutorials for Cengage Unlimited Subscribers

“Change How You Learn” Tutorials Provide Tips for Students New to Online Learning Because of COVID-19

BOSTON— August 17, 2020 – As COVID-19 forces more schools to pivot to online or hybrid instruction, Cengage, an education and technology company, is providing college students with free tutorials to help navigate online learning. The “Change How You Learn” tutorials are included with a Cengage Unlimited subscription. Cengage Unlimited gives students affordable access to more than 22,000 products, including eBooks, online homework access codes and study guides.

“Many students who had intended to take classes in-person had a difficult experience with online learning this spring when campuses closed and learning quickly moved online,” said Fernando Bleichmar, EVP and General Manager of Higher Education and Skills, Cengage. “Online learning can be intimidating and many students worry if they can be successful in an online environment. They are also worried if they can afford their education because of the financial impact of the pandemic. Cengage Unlimited helps by giving students the flexibility they need, along with affordable access to quality learning with supports to be successful in any environment.”

The “Change How You Learn” tutorials provide quick skills-based learning activities for successful online or hybrid learning. Some of the topics covered include:

• “Best Practices for Online Learning”

• Teaches students to evaluate strengths so they can tailor online learning best practices to fit their style.

• “The Challenges of Online Courses”

• Students can gain awareness of the challenges faced when taking an online course in order to understand the need for discipline and identify methods to succeed in the online learning environment.

• “Tips for Online Test Taking”

• Helps students take charge of their online testing experience by presenting strategies for before, during and after the test.

• “Connecting with Your Peers”

• With remote learning making it hard for students to connect with their peers, this tutorial looks specifically at approaches to connect with peers through online classes.

Students actively looking for a job or currently working can also access “Changing How You Work Tutorials” in the “Career Success Tips” section of their Cengage Unlimited dashboard to find helpful tips to prepare them for the global shift to remote working including tutorials like these:

• “How to Do a Video Interview”

• Student’s next job interview is likely to take place online, so it is imperative they learn to present themselves to a prospective employer in front of the camera.

• “Working Remotely”

• Student employees can learn how to evaluate their strengths and what makes them most productive during remote work in order to tailor best practices to fit their style.

Beyond academic support, students can also find support for Self-Care, including guided meditations, exercise demonstrations, and tutorials about “Managing Feelings of Loneliness” and “Maintaining Social Connections.”

A Cengage Unlimited subscription includes additional college success and career support activities to help with things like time management, financial literacy, studying techniques, health/wellness and resume building.

Since Cengage Unlimited launched in August 2018, more than 2.2 million subscribers have saved more than $200 million.

For more information on offerings within Cengage Unlimited, visit or

About Cengage
Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. As the largest US-based provider of teaching and learning materials for higher education, we offer valuable options at affordable price points. Our industry-leading initiatives include Cengage Unlimited, the first-of-its-kind all-access digital subscription service.  We embrace innovation to create learning experiences that build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. Headquartered in Boston, Cengage also serves K-12, library and workforce training markets around the world. Visit us at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.


Media Contact
Jessica Kravet

Media Education Summit with Academia & Social Justice Leaders Aug. 13

ATT: Students, Job Seekers, Educators and Media Industry Professionals:

Join Newhouse School, Howard University and UVA Deans, Plus blacklist100 Founder Kai Wright for “Jack Myers Leadership Conversation” on the “Future of Education for Media, Marketing, Advertising & Journalism” on August 13

NEW YORK, NY (August 13, 2020) ─  On Thursday, August 13 at 1:00pm ET, leading media ecologist Jack Myers, founder of MediaVillage and, moderates the next Leadership Conversationon theFuture of Education for Media, Marketing, Advertising & Journalism  – for Industry Professionals, Educators, Students & Job Seekers,” with Dean Gracie Lawson-Borders, Howard University Cathy Hughes School of Communications; Dean Mark Lodato, S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University; and Andrea Press, Media Studies Department Head, University of Virginia.  The webinar is complimentary but to attend one must register at here.

Kai Wright, Founder & Curator of blacklist100 and Columbia University lecturer will join Myers for a keynote conversation to open the 90-minute live “Media Education Summit.”

“Whether you are a student, job seeker, parent, educator or media professional, you will gain valuable insight on both the short and long-term future of media education during this 90-minute webinar with leaders in the world of academia and social justice,” said Myers, an education and diversity activist for the media and advertising community who has spent decades researching and reporting on the media, marketing and advertising landscape.

Topics discussed by Wright and the Deans in conversation with Myers include:

• Recommendations for advancing relevant educational connections and collaboration between the media community and academia;
• How can we successfully attract diverse new majority talent to media and advertising professions, especially from non-traditional sources;
• How can academic institutions help feed diverse leaders into senior positions of responsibility in media, advertising and journalism;
• What are the best models for assuring that diverse students see themselves reflected in the professional ranks of the media community;
• How can we hold the media, advertising and marketing community responsible for delivering on ambitious talent development goals and what are those goals;
• What are the realities confronting college students as they enter or return to school and what are the different models being tested;
• What are college communications, journalism and advertising programs doing to adapt their curriculum to the new realities of the fake news, social media, commercial-free environment.

To quote a section of Wright’s introduction of the “blacklist100”: “Sorry, but not sorry, this isn’t a message of hope; it’s a message to stay woke. Because education, representation, and talent development are all critical components to building a healthy work environment & community for all, we cannot allow leaders to stay asleep at the wheel any longer.”

Dean Lawson-Borders is a member of the advisory board of, and the editorial board of the International Journal on Media Management. Her book Media Organizations and Convergence: Case Studies of Media Convergence Pioneers focuses on convergence of technologies in media organizations.

Dean Lodato is making his first public appearance since joining the Newhouse School in July from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, where he established partnerships between the school and such major media outlets as NBC News, CBS News, ABC News, Univision, Fox Sports Arizona, Pac-12 Networks, E.W. Scripps Co., TEGNA and Meredith Corporation. Lodato’s career in broadcast journalism preceded his academic career, working at network affiliates in Phoenix, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Ft. Myers, Florida, as an investigative reporter, political correspondent, and anchor.

Andrea Press is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Media Studies and Sociology at the University of Virginia, where she founded the Media Studies Program. Professor Press is internationally known for her interdisciplinary scholarship on the media audience, on feminist media issues, and on media and social class in the U.S. She has authored the forthcoming US Media-Ready Feminism and Everyday Sexism and Women Watching Television: Gender, Class and Generation In The American Television Experience.

Jack Myers Leadership Conversations support the MediaVillage Media Industry Advancing Diversity & Economic Relief Fund efforts. Ten organizations were selected as recipients of the Relief Fund by the Advancing Diversity Council, an organization of 45 industry diversity and inclusion leaders focused on advancing diversity from advocacy to activism.  The 10 beneficiaries are: 4A’s Foundation, ADCOLOR, Advancing Diversity/Mentor’s Playlist, American Education Foundation (AEF), AAF AdCamp for High School Students, Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, International Radio & TV Society Foundation (IRTS), Jacaronda Foundation College Loan Relief,  John A. Reisenbach Foundation, and TD Foundation for Children of Wounded Warriors and Fallen Heroes.

For interviews with Jack Myers, who is author of the best-selling 2013 book Hooked Up: A New Generation’s Surprising Take on Sex, Politics and Saving the World and recently wrote “The numbers don’t lie, diverse workforces make companies more money,” for MarketWatch’s Opinion page; to learn more about MediaVillage’s and’s diversity and education programs; or to get a copy of Myers’ white paper on “The Case for Education & Diversity as Tools for Business Growth in Marketing & Media,” contact

About MediaVillage:
MediaVillage is the media and advertising community’s leading education and diversity activist. Through our collective impact approach, we implement effective and cost efficient B2B growth solutions. For the past decade, MediaVillage, in collaboration with partners across the marketing ecosystem, has been developing innovative strategies for generating growth through education and diversity programs. Today, more than 150 companies, organizations and industry leaders are members of the MediaVillage Knowledge Exchange, a B2B Solutions Marketplace and Center of Excellence for Advancing Marketing Solutions, Diversity and Education. Follow @mediavillagecom @advdiversity

About Jack Myers:
For more than 40 years, MediaVillage founder Jack Myers has been singularly dedicated to identifying, developing, and introducing solutions to the challenges confronting media companies. As the world’s leading media ecologist, he’s a noted expert on generational and gender shifts, the impact of technological advances on business economics, and the dynamics of business growth and decline. His background includes executive roles at CBS Television, ABC Radio, Metromedia Outdoor, Television Production Partners, and UTV Cable Network. Follow @jackmyersbiz

Media Contact:
Diane Stefani
(917) 519-8130

The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Presented New Challenges—What May This Mean for Your Mental Health?

Sponsored by Alkermes, Inc.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of our lives and the way the world operates, including the higher education system.1 Campuses closed, classes moved online, vacations postponed, and carefully cultivated student support networks disabled by distance. 1,2 Our typical routines have changed completely—and all within just a few weeks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new environment with unexpected and unprecedented obstacles that may pose new mental health challenges for students.1,3 Under normal circumstances, the transition to college and the college years can be difficult with many changes, including newfound freedom and unexpected pressures. Mental health challenges among the collegiate population are common and, in many cases, increasing.College-age students are often exposed to circumstances that can place them at risk for serious mental illnesses.5 These mental illnesses usually first appear in a young adult’s early 20s,6,7 often coinciding with the college years, and by their mid-20s, 75% of those who will have a mental health disorder in their life have experienced their first onset.8

As we continue to navigate new challenges during this time, students and families should be aware of the impact on a person’s mental health. What can be done to differentiate between expected stressors or mental health challenges as the result of the pandemic and what could be signs that a more serious mental illness is developing?

Here are a few things to consider:

• Consider taking a mental health screener. Online screening is one way to determine if you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental healthcondition.9Screeners are anonymous, free and easily accessible online.10 Mental Health America (MHA), a national mental health advocacy organization, saw an increase in screening between January 2020 and May 2020. This increase represents thousands of people whose lives and health may have been affected by mental health concerns at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.11 Other organizations offering mental health screeners include MHA, MindWise and PsyCom.

• Access digital educational support resources. An entire community of mental health professionals, advocates and individuals living with mental illness are available to help. Treatment locators, which help people find local treatment programs and facilities, can offer guidance on how to access support in your own community. Educational guides and resources are available online from several organizations, including MHA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).12MHA has resources for Mental Health Month 2020 that families and those living with SMI may find useful during this time.

• Consider telehealth services, such as tele-counseling. While many of these services have existed for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many healthcare providers, including psychiatrists, to transition to using more tele-psychiatry and tele-counseling services and platforms to continue consistent health care delivery for patients while following social distancing and other quarantine guidelines.13 There are many telehealth resources available for students and their families that can offer support.14 A recent study suggests that some patients may be willing to engage with tele-counseling. These results suggest that patients studied reported similar levels of satisfaction for both telemedicine encounters and in-person interactions and that those who engaged in telemedicine interactions appreciated their clinician-patient relationship experiences and overall user experience.15 The move to more virtual interactions may extend beyond the pandemic. Ask your doctor or school counselors how to best take advantage of these resources now and in the future.

• Together with your HCP, research your treatment options. Online support groups and healthcare providers can help guide decisions on the treatment options that may be the best fit for your health, condition and lifestyle.16 There are many different types of medications for mental illness, including pills or capsules, taken daily. Some can also be available as liquids, injections, patches or dissolvable tablets.17Each person and diagnosis is unique and will likely require an individualized care plan. Always speak with your healthcare provider to better understand all available options and work with them to choose the option that is best for your specific needs.18

• Consider an online group. Online mental health support groups can also help. Others’ perspectives can offer a sense of comfort and self-empowerment as you navigate a diagnosis and the treatment landscape. Groups can encourage empathy, productive discussions, and a sense of community, all within a confidential setting.19,20 Programs can also direct members to additional tools and resources that may be helpful.

Remember, you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to seek more information or support as you navigate this challenging time. As our entire world adapts to the many changes brought on by the global pandemic, it is important to actively monitor your mental health and wellness. Support is available.

This is intended as informational only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition.


1 Anderson, G. (Mar 31, 2020) Coping With a Pandemic. [online] Available at:

Lipson, S. (2020). COVID-19’s mental health effects by age group: Children, college students, working-age adults and older adults. Healio[online] Available at:

3 (2020). The Impact of COVID-19 on Student Mental Health. [online] Available at:

4 Pedrelli P, Nyer M, Yeung A, Zulauf C, Wilens T. College Students: Mental Health Problems and Treatment Considerations. Acad Psychiatry. 2015;39(5):503–511. doi:10.1007/s40596-014-0205-9

5 Blanco C, Okuda M, Wright C, Hasin DS, Grant BF, Liu SM, Olfson M. Mental health of college students and their non-college-attending peers: results from the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008 Dec;65(12):1429-37. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.65.12.1429.

6 Gogtay N, Vyas NS, Testa R, Wood SJ, Pantelis C. Age of onset of schizophrenia: perspectives from structural neuroimaging studies. Schizophr Bull. 2011;37(3):504–513. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbr030

7 American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group. Executive Summary Spring 2018. Silver Spring, MD: American College. Health Association; 2018.

8 Kessler RC, Amminger GP, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Alonso J, Lee S, Ustün TB. Age of onset of mental disorders: a review of recent literature. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2007;20(4):359–364. doi:10.1097/YCO.0b013e32816ebc8c (2020). Take A Mental Health Test. [online] Available at:

10 Care for Your Mind (2013). How Can Mental Health Screening Help? [online] Available at:

11 (2020).  Mental Health America Releases May 2020 Screening Data; 88,000 Have Anxiety Or Depression, And Results Point To Possible Epidemic Of Suicidal Ideation [online]. Available at:

12 (2020). About Mental Illness. Treatments. [online] Available at:

13Shore JH, Schneck CD, Mishkind MC. Telepsychiatry and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic—Current and Future Outcomes of the Rapid Virtualization of Psychiatric Care. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online May 11, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1643

14 Hilty DM, Sunderji N, Suo S, Chan S, McCarron RM. Telepsychiatry and other technologies for integrated care: evidence base, best practice models and competencies. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2018;30(6):292‐309. doi:10.1080/09540261.2019.1571483

15Elliot T, Tong I, Sheridan A, Lown B. Beyond Convenience: Patients’ Perceptions of Physician Interactional Skills and Compassion via Telemedicine. Mayo Clin Proc Inn Qual Out. Published online June 2020. doi:

16 (2020). Mental Health Treatments. [online]. Available at:

17 (2020) Mental Health Medications. [online] Available at:

18 (2020). Mental Health Treatments. [online] Available at:

19 (2020). Find Support Groups. [online] Available at:

20 (2020). Support & Education: NAMI Connection. [online] Available at:

ALKERMES® is a registered trademark of Alkermes, Inc. ©2020 Alkermes, Inc. All rights reserved. UNB-003068

Media Contact
Hope Buckner
Finn Partners

PlumeBio Reinvents Social Networking with Personal Bio Hosting Service

New service removes barriers between job seekers and recruiters, overcoming limitations and risks of today’s dominant “who you know” platforms

WASHINGTON, D.C.—August 5, 2020—PlumeBio, the personal bio hosting service for people with a university (.edu) email, has launched, reinventing social network for job seekers. PlumeBio offers a free public bio page with a short URL for users. The service is completely free of ads and the common “engagement traps” found on the dominant networking platforms. Users, envisioned mostly as students or recent graduates looking to showcase their skills to find internships/jobs, can take advantage of a spam-protected contact form to communicate with prospective employers and other professional connections.

“The major social networking sites are failing job seekers,” said a spokesperson for PlumeBio. “I think we all know this, intuitively, but there have been few alternatives, until now. We are keeping things simple and focused on helping people network on their terms, not according to practices that maximize shareholder value at the expense of actual site users.” He added, “In the pandemic moment, we already have so many barriers between job seekers and recruiters. Our service breaks these down, enabling open, productive connections.”

Dissatisfaction with established “who you know” platforms is increasing, with users expressing frustration with relentless sales pitches and pressure to upgrade to premium memberships. Indeed, research is now revealing that such practices are counterproductive for job seekers. A recent research paper from the American Psychological Association found indications that using LinkedIn actually lowers one’s job search prospects. It noted, “an increase in job search behavior on LinkedIn was found to lead to poorer job search self-efficacy,” for example. The report also found the more individuals use LinkedIn for job search, “the more they become depleted, and the poorer their ensuing job search success.”

PlumeBio offers its users an easy-to-use template for writing a personal bio. In addition to job seeking, sample use cases include academic researchers looking to disseminate publications, people looking to connect with like-minded colleagues and people wishing to build a personal brand. Each user benefits from a contact form with advanced spam protection that is linked to their personal email address. Site visitors never see the user’s email or phone number, which mitigates the risk of abuse, spam and fraud.

Users need to submit a valid .edu email address to be permitted to use the site. PlumeBio will display that the email address has been verified. After setting up a bio page, the user can share their PlumeBio URL with others. The bios are discoverable on search engines. Users can modify their contact emails. The site also enables the use of emojis, which allows for personal style and a bit of levity in an otherwise serious context.

As of now, the service is only for individuals. Corporations are not currently able to create profiles of themselves on the site. However, employees of a business can post personal bios.

For more information, visit

Media Contact

Back to School: Cengage Launches new Subscription Option to Help College Students Save on Textbooks

Cengage Unlimited eTextbooks Gives Students Access to 14,000 eTextbooks, Study Guides, Test Prep and College Success/Career Support for $69.99 a Semester

BOSTON— August 4, 2020 – Whether students are heading back to school in-person or virtually, they have another option for affordable textbooks with the commercial launch of Cengage Unlimited eTextbooks. Following the success of the Cengage Unlimited subscription, which has helped 2.2 million college students save more than $200 million on textbooks and course materials, Cengage Unlimited eTextbooks gives students access to 14,000 eTextbooks, study tools and more for $69.99 a semester.

“You don’t have to look far to see that the pandemic has widened education disparities and put higher education out of reach for more students simply because they cannot afford it,” said Michael E. Hansen, CEO of Cengage. “While at the same time, more than 40 million adults are out of work and many will need to enroll in some post-secondary education in order to reskill and find sustainable employment. Expanding Cengage Unlimited to provide another affordable option for course materials helps remove one barrier for current and prospective students.”

For less than the average price of one print textbook, Cengage Unlimited eTextbooks includes thousands of eTextbooks and free access to college success and career support, as well as free resources from Kaplan, Quizlet, Evernote and Dashlane. In addition to the eTextbooks and other tools, students who prefer print can rent up to four free hardcopy textbooks, with a $7.99 shipping fee per book. Students may upgrade to a full Cengage Unlimited subscription that includes online homework access codes/courseware.

With Cengage Unlimited eTextbooks, students can also access all of their Cengage eTextbooks offline via the free Cengage Mobile App. Available on iOS and Android devices, the app provides offline e-reader capabilities, allowing students to download entire eTextbooks to their smartphone. Once downloaded, students can highlight, make notes, search and bookmark material, regardless of whether they are connected to the internet or working offline. In addition to e-reader capabilities, the Cengage Mobile App provides organizational tools, study materials and push notifications to help students stay on track.

Professors also benefit from the easy integration of Cengage eTextbooks directly into their campus’ Learning Management System (LMS), and access to thousands of eTextbooks to customize their course.

Students can purchase Cengage Unlimited eTextbooks through Cengage and at online or campus bookstores. Students can also use financial aid to purchase a subscription.

For more information about Cengage Unlimited eTextbooks, view the video here or visit:

About Cengage

Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. As the largest US-based provider of teaching and learning materials for higher education, we offer valuable options at affordable price points. Our industry-leading initiatives include Cengage Unlimited, the first-of-its-kind all-access digital subscription service.  We embrace innovation to create learning experiences that build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. Headquartered in Boston, Cengage also serves K-12, library and workforce training markets around the world. Visit us at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.


Media Contact

Kristina Massari

College Sports Face Permanent Elimination after COVID-19 Budget Cuts

Athletes, alumni and fans are rallying communities on GoFundMe to help college athletics stay afloat

Redwood City, California | July 23, 2020 — As the economic effects of the coronavirus continue to devastate communities, some college sports are facing permanent elimination while athletic departments grapple with budget cuts. Athletes and alumni are scrambling to save their programs and are turning to GoFundMe to generate support for university and college sports during coronavirus.

College sports ranging from the University of Alabama hockey to Winthrop University tennis to Furman University baseball to South Carolina State soccer are in danger of elimination, with some fighting back to be reinstated. The loss of college sports will leave many students unable to afford college, as athletic scholarships provide financial assistance that allows them to attend school. The programs also provide jobs to coaches, students and university faculty.

In response, many programs are rallying their communities and raising funds on GoFundMe to help their programs weather the economic turmoil. In May, University of Alabama in Huntsville Hockey nearly lost their program due to the school’s athletic budget cuts. They were given a chance to save their program and had only a few days to find the $1 million needed. Their GoFundMe campaign raised over $500,000 in donations in just four days, and paired with private donations, the team is now preparing for their next season.

Many other programs are hoping for this same outcome. Sports have a way of uniting communities but their future remains hanging in the balance. For more information about programs looking for support, and how alumni and communities can help college sports programs stay afloat, please visit:

About GoFundMe
Started in 2010, GoFundMe is the world’s largest free social fundraising platform. The GoFundMe community has raised over $9 billion from more than 120 million donations for people, causes, and organizations. GoFundMe is changing the way the world gives. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


Media Contact
Madeline Purdue

Student Spending on College Course Materials Continues Multi-Year Decline

Independent Research from Student Watch and Student Monitor Unveiled in New Reports, Video

June 25, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) – Average student spending on college textbooks and digital course materials has steadily declined in recent years, according to new data unveiled today from Student Watch, which is funded by the National Association of College Stores Foundation, and Student Monitor, an independent research firm.

In its new annual report, Student Watch reports a decline in student spending on course materials of 35 percent over the past six years, while Student Monitor’s semi-annual report similarly indicates a 39 percent decline over the same time period.

“Students are actually spending less on college course materials than we have seen them spend before,” commented Brittany Conley, Research Analyst, On Campus Research for the National Association of College Stores (NACS). “We saw that students spent about $413 across the academic year on course materials. Ten years ago, that number was closer to $700.”

“Students’ out of pocket spending for learning materials and textbooks continues to decline year after year after year,” commented Eric Weil, Managing Partner, Student Monitor LLC.

The new data on the multi-year decline in student spending is highlighted in a video interview with representatives from the two research organizations, which can be seen here.

AAP Video: Student Spending on College Course Materials Continues Multi-Year Decline from Cara Duckworth on Vimeo.

Student Monitor Report

Student Monitor’s LIFESTYLE & MEDIA report found that student spending on course materials went from an average of $691 for the 2014-2015 academic year to $422 for the 2019-2020 school year, a decline of 39 percent over a six-year period. The 2019-2020 figure represents a 14 percent decline as compared to the average student spend of $492 during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Student Watch Survey

The most recent Student Watch survey indicated that course material spending dropped from $638 for the 2014-2015 academic year to $413 for the 2019-2020 academic year, a decline of 35 percent over the last six years. The latest figure represents a 0.5 percent decline as compared to the average student spend of $415 during the 2018-2019 academic year.


The 2020 Student Watch survey involved more than 14,000 students across 35 institutions.

The Student Monitor findings are the result of hour-long, one-on-one, on campus intercept interviews conducted among 1,202 four-year, full time undergraduates attending 93 representative colleges and universities.

“Numbers are going to differ in studies like these just based on general methodology,” Student Watch’s Conley said.  “What you really want to look at are things like overall trends in where the data’s going, what it looks like. And in the case of Student Watch and Student Monitor, we’re seeing the overall trends be consistent. Both of us are reporting a decline in course material spending, which is what you really want to look at when you’re comparing the two and seeing if they’re telling the same story.”


Education publishers understand that students struggle with the overall cost of college and have for years worked to lower the cost of the high-quality course materials they produce while creating increasingly innovative options to access. There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ solution for college course materials that cover a vast diversity of subject areas, but some publishers have addressed affordability by launching online learning solutions such as Inclusive Access, which provide students with discounted materials on the first day of class. Other options, including subscription models, provide unlimited access to a range of textbooks, online homework access codes and study guides all for one price.

“Students have at least 10 different options or combination of options when it comes to deciding what textbooks or course materials they are going to acquire,” said Student Monitor’s Weil. “They can purchase a new printed textbook, a used printed textbook. They can rent a textbook instead of purchasing a printed textbook. They can acquire an e-Textbook for either limited or unlimited use. They can take advantage of one of these new subscription programs providing unlimited access to print and digital for either a single term or the entire academic year for a flat subscription price. From a student’s perspective, nothing could be more convenient than a subscription model that provides you everything that you need at a discounted price.”

“Inclusive Access is a new concept, a new system,” Weil continued.  “It offers a lot of promise, a lot of benefits to all concerned. From a student’s perspective, what happens is that the student receives all of their digital materials. They’re billed for those materials either through whatever financial aid they may be receiving or through their student account and the access to those materials are actually provided before the first day of class. This is really convenient, really adds to the value of the course from an instructors’ perspective. It’s just an exciting new approach that is more convenient for the student, saves money for the student, increases the value of their tuition dollar. It just makes perfect sense.”

Conley added, “We’re really just seeing a large number of things being offered in the course material space. They’re all playing a part in lowering that overall cost that students end up having to pay. If we’re talking about what’s prevalent among all course material options, rentals is something that we see more prevalent. This year, around 40 percent of students had rented at least one course material over the semester or academic term.”

Students continue to embrace a wide range of options for acquiring their course materials: according to the Student Monitor report, the $422 in average student spending during the 2019-2020 school year included  $174 for new, printed textbooks; $95 for used, printed textbooks; $67 for rented, printed textbooks; $39 for eTextbooks for unlimited use; and $24 for eTextbooks for limited time use.

Student Watch reports that during the 2019-2020 school year, students embraced a wide range of options, mixing print, digital, rental and purchase. 48 percent preferred some type of print book, while 21 percent of students preferred digital-only content. During the year, 80 percent of students purchased course materials during the year, and 44 percent rented course materials.

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AAP Contacts:

John McKay /

Cara Duckworth /

Mind The Gap Launches Solution to Gap Year with LIFE READY Program as Students Defer College Due to Impact of COVID-19

New York, New York – June 2020 – Mind The Gap, a team of educators, parents, students and researchers who believe education has a purpose, one that helps others find success in the real world — not just in school — has officially launched the Mind The Gap LIFE READY Program. At a time of uncertainty due to the impact of COVID-19, high school graduates and those who have already matriculated at colleges across the country are working to make sound decisions on how to best approach the upcoming start of the 2020 college calendar year, with many deferring college admission. And, currently, the higher education system presents challenges to youths who graduate into the workforce burdened by student debt, lacking workplace and life skills, and reporting high levels of mental health concerns. The LIFE READY Program is a 15-week semester, empowering an online learning community that was developed to provide a journey of self-discovery and fill gaps in traditional higher education by giving its participants skills to find success through dedicated experts and resources.

“This pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty for students who are clearly not going to be met with the full on-campus life experience; but yet, would still be paying the full price,” says Abby Brody, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Mind The Gap. “We created the LIFE READY Program to approach the concept of a Gap year in a novel way, and not as a traditional year “off,” but instead a step into the future, providing students with the skills that are not taught in school but are necessary for success in the real world. At the same time, LIFE READY will also allot time and provide tools for our ‘Fellows’ to dive into their personal development and life goals. As obvious as it seems today, this has never been done.”

Research shows students who take a Gap year are 60% more likely to take their academics more seriously and know what they want to study and thus they stick to their majors while reporting a higher sense of self-awareness and feel “more mature” than their peers. Remarkably, 75% note that their Gap year played a substantial role in their first job placement. “The Gap year market in the United States up until now has mostly served the wealthy who capitalize on this clear advantage. We are changing that. The research is clear, all students would benefit from this time.” says Abby.

The LIFE READY Program has been developed for those who have graduated high school in the last five years, and are looking to enrich their lives by investing in themselves. Our Fellows will be assigned a certified life coach through its MTG COACH program to receive personalized direction for their future path, and through the MTG LIFE HACKS curriculum they will learn a multitude of life skills currently not taught in school, such as digital organization and security, personal finance and the analysis of basic contracts. In addition, all Fellows will have the unique opportunity for career exploration through the MTG NEXT curriculum. LIFE READY graduates are confident, equipped, and ready to make their next move in the world — and they trust themselves.

The initial LIFE READY Program semester will begin on September 8, 2020 and run through December 18th, 2020. To start, the LIFE READY Program will accept 30 groups referred to as “Tribes,” each Tribe comprised of approximately 10 Fellows, designed to provide small-group and personalized development. The application process will officially open on Monday, June 8, 2020, and applicants can visit for further details on requirements and costs.

MTG’s LIFE READY Program will fill the void with an enriching semester that won’t break the bank and will ultimately help students feel more prepared to take on the real world,” adds Abby.

For more information on the LIFE READY Program and MTG’s efforts to help today’s students as they make future education decisions, visit

About Mind The Gap

Mind The Gap is a dedicated group of educators, parents, students, and researchers who believe education has a purpose, one that helps others find success in the real world — not just in school. Currently, the higher education system is underserving the country’s youth who are graduating into the workforce burdened by student debt, lacking workplace skills, and reporting higher levels of mental health concerns. Informed by the data sciences, the Mind The Gap team believes deeply in the “Gap” space. The research is clear. A “Gap” is an advantage and well-kept secret. Students who “Gap” prior to or during their higher education have a series of benefits that will serve as real-world differentiators. For more information on Mind The Gap, please visit

Cori Rice
Hill + Knowlton Strategies

Phi Kappa Phi Names Texas State University as 2020 Excellence in Innovation Recipient

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines—today announced Texas State University as the 2020 recipient of its Excellence in Innovation Award. The $100,000 award, given biennially, recognizes Texas State for achievement in helping increase the interest of STEM careers for students in K-12 through their NASA Future Aerospace Engineers and Mathematicians Academy.

“Phi Kappa Phi is proud to recognize Texas State University for its highly innovative project in STEM education and bilingual community outreach,” said Society Executive Director Dr. Mary Todd. “The jury was impressed with the comprehensive nature of FAMA and its mission to underserved students, a fine example of the creative and groundbreaking programming our Excellence in Innovation Award was designed to honor and uplift.”

Established in 2013, FAMA is a hallmark program of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research at Texas State University. The program provides integrated year-round STEM programming to economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented student populations by engaging them in relevant STEM experiences with a focus on NASA contexts.

Since its launch the FAMA project has expanded to included four main programs: STEM Saturday and Summer Camps, the NASA Backpack Program, Technology-Rich Environments and Experiences, and Bilingual Family Community Outreach. Through these programs FAMA has served and enriched STEM experiences for more than 5,600 students.

Texas State, on behalf of its efforts through FAMA, was selected as the 2020 recipient of the Excellence in Innovation Award by a jury of emeritus university presidents during a two-part screening process. The university was first chosen as one of six semifinalists before advancing as one of three finalists. The pool of entries represented inventive, multifaceted projects at institutions across the United States. Each institution was assessed on its project’s ability to achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes to create systemic large-scale change.

“As a proud member of Phi Kappa Phi, it is a great honor to be chosen as the winner of the Excellence in Innovation Award,” said university President Denise Trauth. “We deeply value our NASA Future Aerospace Engineers and Mathematicians Academy as it advances STEM education and research. It is a great tribute to our hard-working faculty and staff that the Academy has gained this recognition.”

Since 1932, Phi Kappa Phi has awarded fellowships and grants to members and students on its chapter campuses. Nearly $1 million is awarded each year through programs that last year recognized over 350 individuals. The Excellence in Innovation Award, first awarded in 2016, is the Society’s only award for institutions.

The call for submissions for the 2022 Excellence in Innovation Award will open in the fall of 2021. For more details and to view the finalist portfolios, visit

About Phi Kappa Phi
Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Phi Kappa Phi inducts approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni annually. The Society has chapters on more than 300 select colleges and universities in the United States and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. The Society’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and engage the community of scholars in service to others.” For more information, visit


Media Contact
Alyssa Perez
Communications Director
(225) 923-7777

Stories and Songs Matter More Than Ever Right Now

For much of the time before modern human history, the center of people’s light and life was the humble campfire.  It was a place to teach, share, connect, and give thanks.  It was the hub of culture, where our ancestors gathered nightly to fight back the dark with their myths, stories, and the joy of their voices raised in song.

Stories and songs.  These basic units of shared culture remain with us, even as our source of flickering light has changed.

In 2009, The Onion famously lampooned that we spent 90% of our waking hours staring at glowing rectangles.  They weren’t wrong, but those “gleaming quadrangles”, as they described, weren’t ever merely about the light they generated, rather, they’ve always been about connections and the meaning they carried.

In times like these, when so many of us can feel like little islands, connecting with other people to share stories and songs takes on a special significance.

So it’s not surprising that many social networks and streaming services are reporting global spikes in member activity.

For example, on the “stories” side, nearly 16 million new people joined Netflix during the first part of the year, which was twice as many as they’d expected.  Other streaming services have seen rises as well, including Disney+.  And underscoring the many benefits of engaging in these libraries of ‘once-upon-a-times’, watching streaming video has quickly become the #1 leisure activity for people at home.

On the “songs” side, social singing network Smule has also seen a significant rise in new users joining in from all over the world since people began staying home. Smule is a global online community of music lovers where millions of people from all over come together each day to sing along with millions of popular songs, often with other people – and sometimes with the stars themselves- plus make new friends, cheer each other on, and simply have fun. Regardless of skill level, the thing all Smule members have in common is a love for singing, and a love for connecting with other people through the shared experience of performing songs together.

Playing with the Smule app lies somewhere between SnapChat and YouTube, mashed up with an automated sound and video recording and effects studio.  People can sing or record songs on video with new friends, karaoke by themselves, or acapella with others.  Members of Smule communities include people from all walks of life, including real-life superstars, such as Lewis Capaldi, who upload recorded versions of their top hits for other members to sing along with and repost to the network and other social media platforms. Fans can even sing along with Disney characters like Moana to the hits from popular Disney films.

Thousands of independent singing communities and teams have sprung up around the world, using Smule as the platform to showcase their singalongs.

One such community, Apex Team, is a group of 46 young, talented and dynamic voices from all parts of the world who came together as a virtual choir that inspires online audiences with their enjoyable musical performances. Apex produces more than a hundred group collaborations a year, and most recently, a phenomenal performance of Fight Song, by Rachel Platten and Dave Bassett – edited into a “Thank You” to front line professionals in the fight against COVID-19.

Back to the historical notion of giving thanks.

So, what are the lessons in all this?  What’s the advice from our modern storytellers and singers?  And what was the message from our ancestors?  Is it that we’re not so different from them, or each other, after all?  That we’re still people?  Still communities?  Or is it that we might want to sing a little more?  That we need to reach out to those around us – even if the definition of “around” might now include the other side of the world?  Or that it’s important to let others know how important they are to us?  The answers are probably as varied as people, and the communities they create.

Over untold millennia, some things have changed.  For the average person, it used to be that there was only one light they could gather around; now, there are billions.  And they’re made of us.

Meanwhile, other things remain the same.  Shared light is better together, stories and songs still matter, and the darkness and silence never last.

### members can sing with some of their favorite Disney characters.

Apex Team released a version of Fight Song honoring first responders on