Tuition freezes in New Jersey

Bunch of carrots

Not the only option, but a good one.

What’s the best way to reduce college costs? Joseph Cryan, who represents New Jersey’s 20th legislative district in the State Assembly, has proposed a bill to freeze tuition and fees for all state residents for nine semesters after their first enrollment.

I found out about the bill, A2807, through Inside Higher Ed and was a little surprised to see that they thought it wouldn’t go anywhere in the legislature. Democrats like Cryan control both the assembly and the senate. Matt Friedman, who wrote the article on that the Inside Higher Ed piece is based on, wrote that even if it does get through the assembly and the senate, Governor Christie will probably veto the bill:

Continue reading

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Startup Weekend: A How-To Guide

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a great experience at Startup Weekend EDU in Oakland. Today, I’d like to share my thoughts on how to make the most of SWEDU and what I admired about the winners, mySidekick.

  1. Pitch your idea. Yes, you. Startup Weekend always begins Continue reading
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UBound wins 2nd place at Startup Weekend EDU

Great news: my idea, UBound, won second place at Startup Weekend EDU! We also took first place of the votes of other participants.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour business plan competition. Participants show up on a Friday, give a 60-second pitch to everyone (if they want to), then form teams to work on the best ideas for a day and a half. On Sunday, the teams pitch their business to a panel of judges who have never heard them before. I’ll write more about the experience and the other awesome teams in another post, but I wanted to share about my team and what we worked on.

We pitched UBound, an online platform to connect high school students with college students and professionals who can answer their questions about getting into and attending college. Continue reading

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More playing to fight conflict

Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu smile at each other.

If only this could be enjoyable.

Thanks again to Asi Burak, co-creator of the PeaceMaker Game and director of Games for Change, who responded to my recent post on in-person and gamified conflict resolution.

Asi shared with me research that has been done using Peacemaker to gauge how much people can improve their ability to take a balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Continue reading

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Why such bad translations?

Google Translate mis-translates "thanks"  ("merci") from Persian as "Wow."

On the left is “merci,” the most common expression Iranians use to say thanks.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve recently restarted studying Persian, a language that I wanted to learn years ago but have let slide.

There aren’t a lot of online resources for learning Persian, so I often find that I’m working with examples that are either introductory or a little above my (very basic) level. Continue reading

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We’re number 1! (Well, kind of)

Photo of Matthew Vassar

He probably wouldn’t approve, and that’s just fine.

The New York Times Upshot section is at it again with an analysis of economic diversity at top colleges in the United States. They’ve created something they call the College Access Index to measure how successful elite institutions are at enrolling students from different economic backgrounds (“Top Colleges That Enroll Rich, Middle Class and Poor“).

Reading it makes me feel a little patriotic (matriotic?) – Continue reading

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On international understanding

I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback in the last week on things I’ve posted here.

Many thanks to Asi Burak for sharing research on PeaceMaker and feedback on what I wrote about in-person and gamified conflict resolution. I’m looking forward to digging into the research this week. For any other readers, if you have suggestions for my reading list, please send me a tweet @finnismundi.

In response to that post, I heard from Chintan Girish Modi, founder of Friendships Across Borders and a recent delegate to Seeds of Peace. Chintan is also co-author of Continue reading

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