Class Notes: Student Debt, Virginia Tech and More Education News

Each week, TIME's Kayla Webley fills you in on the goings on in the education world, everything from pre-K to higher ed.

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Students Protest Student Loan Interest Rate Increase
College students delivered 130,000 letters to Congress on Tuesday in protest of the scheduled doubling of interest rates on some federal student loans. The interest rate on Stafford Loans will increase from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1 unless Congress extends the interest-rate cut, which was rolled out in 2007 as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. If rates increase, the seven million students who receive Stafford loans will see their debt load increased by $2,800 over a 10-year repayment term. Keeping the interest rates at 3.4% would cost about $5 billion. Read more here.

Jury Finds Virginia Tech Negligent in 2007 Shooting
A jury sided with the parents of two Virginia Tech students who were killed on April 16, 2007 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The parents alleged Virginia Tech officials were negligent in taking too long to notify the campus of a gunman on campus, who ultimately killed 32 people before killing himself. Each family is set to receive $4 million in the wrongful death case, but the state is giving strong signals it will appeal the decision. Read more here.

What If March Madness Was Based on Academic Success?
As March Madness kicks off, Inside Higher Ed offers its take on how the teams would shape up if academics were the deciding factor. According to their version of the NCAA bracket, the final four would be Lehigh (15), Davidson (13), Texas (11) and Kansas (2). The choices are made using Academic Progress Rate, which the NCAA uses to measure classroom performance. Unsurprisingly, Harvard makes it to the Elite Eight. Read more here.

Number of the Week: 118,000
The number of Indian citizens who will be enrolled at American colleges by 2020, according to a report from the British Council; the figures mean India will soon overtake China as the country who sends the most people to study in the U.S.

Pearson Survey Shows “Dramatic” Increase in Tablet Use By Students
According to the Pearson Foundation’s Survey on Students and Tablets, 25% of college students now own tablets, as opposed to just 7% in 2011. Among high schoolers, 17% own tablets, up from 4% in 2011. The results are good news for Apple and other players in the digital textbook arena, including Pearson.

TED Talks for Kids
Now, in addition to spreading big ideas about how to improve education and learning, TED is going to be doing a little teaching of its own. On March 12, the latest iteration of the popular and seemingly ever-expanding conference series launched TED Ed, a series on online, educational videos. TED Ed will provide hand-picked lessons on a variety of topics—in 10 minutes or less—and feature animation and language geared toward younger ears. Read more here.

Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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