ED AND THE DNC: Before descending on Philadelphia this week for the Democratic convention, Hillary Clinton and her vice presidential pick, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine heated things up this weekend in Miami. Education was at the forefront of their speeches, with Clinton praising Kaine for increasing education spending in his home state while he was governor as well as increasing enrollment in pre-K programs. Kaine has pushed to raise teacher salaries, and he supported the final passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act last year.
In his bilingual introductory speech on Saturday, Kaine said education is “the key to everything we want to achieve as a nation.”
On the higher-ed front, Kaine promised to make college debt-free. Earlier this year, he said he was concerned with Bernie Sanders’ free public college plan because it lacked an income test. Kaine has been a champion of career technical education (CTE), founding the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus in 2014. His wife, Anne Holton, is currently the Secretary of Education in Virginia.
EVERFI, a digital learning platform, has acquired LawRoom, a compliance education provider for corporations and universities, according to a press release. EverFi claims that the acquisition adds 2,000 corporations, foundations, and nonprofits and over 1,300 higher education institutions to its customer base. The acquisition also includes LawRoom subsidiary CampusClarity, which provides sexual violence and alcohol abuse prevention education.
EverFi and CampusClarity plan to form the Campus Prevention Network, a coalition of 1,300 schools dedicated to student wellness through access to technology and recent research. The companies believe the network will reach five million students annually. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
FREE SHIPPING ON LOANS? Two weeks ago it was coffee and baby food. Today Amazon announced it’s getting into the student loan business. In a partnership with Wells Fargo, the e-commerce giant is offering cheaper interest rates to Amazon Prime Student members. Wells Fargo charges between 3.39 percent and 9.03 percent for a variable-rate student loan, and from 5.94 percent to 10.93 percent for a fixed-rate loan. The bank will now shave half a percentage point off of interest rates for Prime Members.
Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Cappex.com, a college and scholarship search site, speculates why Amazon and Wells Fargo would enter the unusual partnership. “Amazon is probably hoping that students will continue with Amazon Prime after they graduate, and Wells Fargo is probably hoping this will increase their loan volume,” he tells the Washington Post.
MBA ON THE GO: The first student cohort in Smartly’s free, online MBA program begins class this week. After opening applications earlier this year, Smartly received thousands of submissions, accepting only a selective 7 percent. The interactive click-and-continue coursework can be completed on a myriad of devices, from laptops to smartphones. The program is recognized by the Washington D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Smartly says it will accept students to additional cohorts later this year.
In 2013, a group of ex-Rosetta-Stone employees founded Pedago, the company behind Smartly. In the past few years it’s partnered with a series of companies and business schools. For instance, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business uses Smartly to teach incoming MBA students the fundamentals of accounting, statistics, economics and finance—all before they step foot on campus.