NEW HAVEN — College-campus payments vendor Higher One Holdings Inc. lifted second-quarter sales but profits in fact declined.


Higher One also announced board authorization for a $100 million share repurchase for the company that went public just over two years ago.

For the three months ending June 30, Higher One netted $4.1 million, or seven cents share, down from $4.7 million (nine cents a share) netted the same period in 2011.


Second-quarter sales rose 11 percent to $38.9 million from $35.1 million last year. Summer is typically Higher One's slow season, with fewer students (its principal customers) on college campuses.


Higher One, which went public in June 2010, does not pay a dividend. Shrinking the number of shares circulating on the open market is meant to boost the value of stockholders' remaining shares.


The expanded stock repurchase "is a great way to return capital to shareholders,'' said CEO Mark Volchek.


Indeed, Higher One said it tapped $5.9 million of its cash in the second quarter to repurchase approximately 400,000 shares.

 NORTH HAVEN — Junior Achievement seeks business volunteers to go back to school, spending a morning in classrooms sharing successes and inspiring our students to reach their full potential. JA volunteers: bring real-life experiences to the classroom and provide relevance to what students learn; serve as role models who bring the vital JA business and personal finance curriculum to life; and show students the link between education and future opportunity.

The next “JA in a Day” is June 12 at Ridge Road Elementary School in North Haven from 8:30 a.m.  to 1 p.m. E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for info or to sign up.

 ConnCAN report quantifies nation’s largest achievement gap



NEW HAVEN — On May 25 the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) released its first-ever “Field Guide to Education in Connecticut.” The study by the New Haven non-profit came just six days

prior to an agreement by state education officials ensuring that student performance on standardized tests would account for less than 50 percent of teacher evaluations.


The ConnCAN report contains quite a few superlatives. Unfortunately, none of the superlatives are “bests.”


The Nutmeg State’s status as worst in the nation for its achievement gap between wealthy suburban communities such as Madison and Woodbridge and inner-city school districts such as New Haven are portrayed in sharp relief in the ConnCAN study. Among 16 metrics based on standardized tests, Connecticut ranked No. 50 in seven:


• The gap between low-income and “non-low income” students in fourth-grade math, fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math;


• The gap between African-American and white students in fourth-grade reading;


• The gap between Hispanic/Latino and white students in fourth-grade math, fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math.


Indeed, nowhere among all 16 measures in the ConnCAN study, which measured achievement gaps in fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading, did Connecticut rank higher than 41st nationally.


To place the gap into sharper relief, the ConnCAN report notes that low-income fourth-grade students in Connecticut perform three grade levels behind their more affluent peers.


Are we investing too little in public education? Not according to ConnCAN. Between 2003 and 2009, the number of full-time workers employed in public education in Connecticut skyrocketed by 20 percent. Over the same period, per-pupil spending grew by 15 percent.


And what bang did taxpayers get for those bucks? Over the same period average scores by Connecticut students on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP) standardized tests rose just one percent, while enrollment in the state’s public schools actually declined by 1.0 percent.


In other words, we are spending much more for lower performance.