IR in the Know keeps you up to date on current and emerging issues related to higher education data collection, analyses, and reporting with a brief summary of topics and links to more detailed information. The Policy Watch section alerts readers to developing policy news and topics that may warrant attention over the next few months. We welcome your feedback and suggestions. If you discover a resource or article you think might be useful to other IR professionals, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published May 6, 2013
Rethinking Pell Grants (Zhao Yang)
In Rethinking Pell Grants, The College Board Advocacy and Policy Center presents recommendations for strengthening the Pell Grant program and increasing the benefits it provides to both students and society as a whole. A study group, convened by the College Board and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation, focused on designing a system to use financial aid as effectively as possible. Recognizing the Pell Grant program serves multiple populations with different educational and career goals, the report outlines two paths for the program – Pell Y for younger students and Pell A for older adults – to better meet the differing needs of young people growing up in low- and moderate-income families and of older adults returning to school to improve their job/career opportunities. The study group recommended the federal government simplify the financial aid application process and eligibility determination, support award levels based on the number of credits in which students are enrolled, establish financial incentives for colleges that do the best job of helping Pell recipients complete their academic programs, and create educational accounts to help children from low-income families pay for their college expenses.
Improving Postsecondary Education through the State Budget Process: Challenges and Opportunities (Ellen Peters)
The National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) report, Improving Postsecondary Education through the State Budget Process: Challenges and Opportunities, presents both the current status of higher education finance and opportunities for improving it from the perspective of state budget officers. While the current system may have worked well in the past, fiscal changes at the federal and state levels and in the private market make reform necessary to keep college affordable and raise student success. Specific strategies and recommendations include restricting tuition increases, tying funding to performance and results, creating incentives for improving access, increasing cost-efficiency and productivity, and making information about postsecondary spending more transparent. The report concludes that the current economic and political climate creates an opportunity for higher education officials and policymakers to work closely together to reform postsecondary funding systems.
Metrics, Dollars, and Systems Change (Ellen Peters)
Metrics, Dollars, and Systems Change: Learning from Washington State’s Student Achievement Initiative to Design Effective Postsecondary Performance Funding Policies, a policy brief from the Community College Research Center, summarizes lessons learned in developing, implementing, and monitoring a performance funding system. Suggested recommendations include: (1) measure what states consider to be most important; (2) develop metrics targeted toward individual institutional goals; (3) use fiscal incentives to motivate change, phase in consequences to allow for learning and adjustments, and provide technical assistance for colleges that need it; and (4) measure an institution’s improvement in performance against its own historical baseline rather than against the performance of other colleges. By highlighting what has worked in the state of Washington’s performance funding system, the brief provides policymakers in other states a possible blueprint for increasing postsecondary productivity and student success.
Demography as Destiny: Policy Considerations in Enrollment Management (Ellen Peters)
The Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) April 2013 Policy Insights report, Demography as Destiny: Policy Considerations in Enrollment Management, summarizes the main findings from WICHE’s eighth edition of Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates. The Demography as Destiny report looks at changes in the size and racial/ethnic composition of high school graduates in the context of the college completion agenda and the need for greater educational attainment. It also addresses how the demographic changes and fiscal stress impact enrollment management. The report concludes by offering reflections on how policymakers and institutional leaders can respond to these challenges with policies and practices that align with society's rising needs and expectations for higher education.
AAUP Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession (Melodie Christal)
Each year, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) collects salary and benefit data for full-time instructional faculty from colleges and universities through the AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey. The report Here’s the News: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2012-13, presents the most recent survey results. In addition to the salary data, the report addresses three “perennial problems,” including the continuing rise in the number of non-tenure-track faculty, the decline in state appropriations for higher education, and growing pay differentials between the public and private sectors. The main report, addressing trends in full-time faculty compensation over the past year, is available to all readers. The report's appendices, which includes salary and compensation data at specific institutions, is available only to AAUP members.
National Center for Education Statistics (Bruce Mentzer)
Federal Student Loan Debt Burden of Noncompleters (NCES 2013-155), a Statistics in Brief publication, focuses on the median federal student debt accrued by students not completing a postsecondary credential within six years after enrolling. The study is based on NCES longitudinal data from the two most recent cohorts of beginning postsecondary students (1995-96 and 2003-04). The study addresses three questions: (1) How prevalent is noncompletion and at what rate did noncompleters borrow from federal student loan programs? (2) How did the rate and amount of borrowing and how did employment rates differ between completers and noncompleters? (3) What was the median cumulative federal debt for noncompleters relative to their income and what percentage of noncompleters had a federal debt burden 100% or higher of their annual income?
The NCES Technical Report, The Adult Training and Education Survey (ATES) Pilot Study (NCES 2013-190), describes the process and findings of a pilot test of survey items developed to assess the prevalence and characteristics of certifications/licenses and subbaccalaureate educational certificates in the U.S. adult population.
Distance Education (Melodie Christal)
The Commission on the Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education was established to develop recommendations to address the cost and issues postsecondary institutions face in complying with state laws and regulations in providing distance education. In the report Advancing Access through Regulatory Reform: Findings, Principles, and Recommendations for the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), the Commission proposes a plan for interstate reciprocity based on voluntary participation of colleges and universities.
New State Spending Charts Available from the Department of Education (Christine Keller)
The Department of Education released the newest State Spending Charts on April 5. Per the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), the state spending charts feature summary information on changes in state appropriations for postsecondary education, state aid for students, and tuition and fees. These charts include annual percentage changes for data spanning 2005-06 through 2010-11.
College for America (Christine Keller)
In April, the U.S. Department of Education approved Southern New Hampshire University's (SNHU) College for America (CfA). CfA will be the first program in the country to receive federal financial aid based on "direct assessment" of learning, rather than the credit hour. The New America Foundation discusses the significance of this decision in their April 18 blog post.
Published April 8, 2013
State Higher Education Finance FY 2012 (Katie Zaback)
The State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) released State Higher Education Finance FY 2012 documenting state and national trends in educational appropriations, tuition revenue, and enrollment over the last 25 years. The report is intended to help higher education leaders and state policymakers focus on how discrete, year-to-year decisions fit into broader patterns of change over time, and to help them make decisions in the coming years. In 2012, the effects of the 2008 recession continued with total state and local support at $81.2 billion–down 7 percent from 2011. Although enrollment stabilized in 2012 at 11.5 percent, the reduction in state and local support, combined with an increase in inflation, contributed to a 9-percent decrease from 2011 to 2012 in state and local support per student in constant dollars. Per-student support in 2012 is $5,896, the lowest level in the 25 years shown in the report. Net tuition revenue per student reached $5,189 in 2012, an all-time high. Over the past 25 years, the percentage of educational revenue supported by tuition has climbed steadily from 23.3 percent in 1987 to 47.0 percent in 2012. Despite tuition increases, total educational revenue (net tuition plus state and local funding) per student dropped by 8 percent in constant dollars, from $12,067 in 2008 to $11,085 in 2012.
Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery Project (Katie Zaback)
As part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery project, 16 organizations have released reports recommending changes to the major financial aid programs, information provided to students, and measures on which colleges are held accountable. Some of the recommendations are shared across the 16 organizations and some are contradictory. To assist in understanding the reports, the Chronicle of Higher Education has created a chart for their subscribers that provides a comparison of key topics in the 16 reports. The State Higher Education Executive Officers’ (SHEEO) website also provides links to the individual RADD reports. Additionally, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) has a matrix that compares the policy recommendations of each paper. Within the papers there is agreement that the financial aid system is broken, but there is less agreement about what needs to be done to fix it. A number of factors influence this divergence, primarily different beliefs about the purpose of the financial aid system and a lack of data that allows policy analysts to research the system fully. Financial aid will likely receive increasing scrutiny as tuition increases and alternative support for higher education declines.
Doing Better for More Students: Putting Student Outcomes at the Center of Federal Financial Aid (Patricia Gregg and Tom Martin)
HCM Strategists charged a technical panel to examine the federal financial aid system and develop innovative policies to respond to today’s fiscal, economic, and demographic realities. Results from this eight-month study are presented in Doing Better for More Students: Putting Student Outcomes at the Center of Federal Financial Aid. The report begins with the premise that the current financial aid system was “built for a different age” and provides a summary of federal student aid policy. It then examines obstacles policymakers should address to provide a more effective student aid program focused on improving student outcomes. The report offers four policy options intended to work together to provide a comprehensive, more financially sustainable financial aid system: (1) Simplify student financial aid to have a single grant program and a single loan program; (2) Simplify the federal tax credit for higher education; (3) Promote a shared responsibility for completion with students and institutions. (4) Spend a portion of the federal aid budget on demonstration programs that spur innovation and experimentation. Specific proposals are detailed, including three sample programs: Pell-Ready Grant, Competency-Based Higher Education, and Performance Contract. The narrative report is followed by 11 extensive data tables outlining anticipated costs and benefits of the proposed reform options.
Recent Deep State Higher Education Cuts May Harm Students and the Economy for Years to Come (Mary McLean-Scanlon)
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report, Recent Deep State Higher Education Cuts Harm Students and the Economy for Years to Come, argues the economic downturn and states’ hesitance to raise funds is having profound negative effects on higher education. Across the nation, states are spending almost a third less per student on higher education in 2013 than they did in 2008. When states cut funding, colleges and universities have essentially two choices: increase tuition or cut spending. As a case in point, four-year public college tuition has increased 27 percent since the 2008 school year and student aid has not always covered the increase. To reduce spending, institutions have cut faculty positions, eliminated course offerings, closed campuses, and reduced student services. The report concludes such cuts will have consequences for the quality of education at the very time when the economic importance of higher education is the highest it has ever been for the nation. The authors assert that states need to consider these repercussions of higher education spending cuts and create responsible modes of addressing them. With the economic importance of higher education higher than ever, taking a closer look at the deficits created by decreased funding for higher education is needed. The authors suggest that states need to consider the repercussions of higher education spending cuts and create responsible modes of addressing them.
A Matter of Degrees: The Effect of Educational Attainment on Regional Economic Prosperity (Tom Martin)
The Milikin Institute report, A Matter of Degrees: The Effect of Educational Attainment on Regional Economic Prosperity uses a dataset linking educational attainment and occupational trends by region over 30 years to assess the relationship between education and a region’s economic performance. Key findings include that education increases regional prosperity--the better educated the worker, the greater the benefit is to the worker and the region. The authors conclude with five recommendations: (1) Make higher education more affordable; (2) Make higher education more accessible; (3) Increase graduation rates; (4) Strengthen coordination between higher education and the employment sector; (5) Promote more research and development.
Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas (Jim Lynch)
The Community College Research Center (CCRC) study, Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas, reports students enrolled in face-to-face courses achieve higher retention rates and better grade-point averages compared to students enrolled in online courses; furthermore, black students, males, younger students, and students with poor academic records were more susceptible to weaker performance in online courses. The study suggests postsecondary institutions need to take a hard look at how to improve the quality of the online course experience, ensuring that “learning outcomes are equal to those of face-to-face courses, regardless of the composition of the students enrolled…” Colleges must prepare students to take online courses, especially during their formative exposure to distance education – for example, a growing number of institutions require students to take a prerequisite online learning tutorial to ensure they are prepared to enroll in online courses.
The College Decision-Making Process: A Survey of Parents of 5th - 12th-Grade Students (Patricia Gregg)
Inside Higher Ed and Gallup have released The College Decision-Making Process: A Survey of Parents of 5th - 12th Grade Students (March 2013). The survey addresses questions about the process parents go through in making or influencing where their children will attend college. Telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample of over 3,000 parents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Parents responding to the survey indicated the most important reason for their child to get education beyond high school was to get a good job. However, nearly half (47%) of those surveyed believed there might be ways other than college that would lead to a good job. The majority of parents reported they were likely to restrict the colleges to which their children could apply based on tuition and fees. Survey findings also address affirmative action and acceptable levels of student loan debt. The report breaks out responses for parents of younger (5th-8th grade) and older (9th-12th grade) students and by demographics or family income levels where germane to the question.
Proposed Changes for the IPEDS 2014-15 Data Collections Open for Comment until May 13, 2013
The 60-day comment period for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 IPEDS data collections is open and can be accessed through the Federal Register website (Federal Register Volume 78, Number 50, Pages 16259-16260). Details on the proposed changes can be found in Part A of the Supporting Statements posted on the regulations website. Comments should be submitted through this site and are due by May 13, 2013.
Published March 12, 2013
Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates (Christine Keller)
The National Student Clearinghouse released Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates – a supplement to their national study on college completion. The report offers a state-by-state look at the various pathways students take to complete a college degree or certificate. The report is based on student-level data made available to the Clearinghouse by more than 3,300 colleges and universities, and includes nearly 97 percent of students attending public and private nonprofit postsecondary institutions. Among the study’s state-level findings: In Minnesota, 27 percent of students who started at a four-year public university in fall 2006 completed their degree at a different institution. One in five students in Virginia who started at a two-year public institution completed at a four-year institution within six years. In Alaska, 28 percent of students who started at a four-year public institution and later graduated had earned that credential in a different institution and in a different state.
Doing Away With Debt: Using Existing Resources to Ensure College Affordability for Low and Middle-Income Families (Susan Gracia)
In Doing Away With Debt: Using Existing Resources to Ensure College Affordability for Low and Middle-Income Families, Education Trust proposes a redesign of the financial aid system to increase college completion, reduce student debt, and close the opportunity and attainment gaps. The authors argue the current system is outdated and does not adequately address the college affordability challenges brought on in part by growth in tuition and fees and changing student demographics. The proposed redesign would keep the Pell grant program intact and consolidate other federal programs to provide state grants that can be targeted to needy students and colleges.
The College Completion Agenda: 2012 Progress Report (Christine Keller)
The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center’s The College Completion Agenda: 2012 Progress Report and updated website summarize progress toward the national goal to increase the proportion of young adults holding a postsecondary credential to 55 percent by 2025. The report provides a brief overview and highlights selected statistics while the updated website offers more detailed information on indicators, national summaries, and the ability to create state comparisons across all education levels from preschool to college. The report findings show some progress has been made toward reaching the national goal. For example, between 2008 and 2010, the overall number of degrees increased over 257,000 with the greatest increases in associate and baccalaureate degrees. The U.S. ranking has improved from 16th place out of 36 nations to 14th place in terms of the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with an associate degree or higher.
America’s Call for Higher Education Redesign (Susan Gracia)
The Lumina Foundation and Gallup report, America’s Call for Higher Education Redesign, presents results from a telephone survey of 1,009 adults in U.S. households. The objective of the study was to determine perceptions of the general American population about higher education issues including degree attainment, quality and value, costs, and innovative learning models. The findings indicate although Americans believe higher education is important and a college degree provides financial and job security, there are barriers to enrollment and degree completion such as family demands and the high cost of tuition and fees. Interviewees encouraged colleges and universities to rethink outdated ideas about who students are, how to educate them in this technological age, and how to assess what students have learned. The findings suggest Americans are open to new ways for making higher education accessible and affordable.
Mega-States: An Analysis of Student Performance in the Five Most Heavily Populated States in the Nation (Zhao Yang)
The National Center for Education (NCES) report, Mega-States: An Analysis of Student Performance in the Five Most Heavily Populated States in the Nation (NCES 2013-450), provides information on the performance of public elementary and secondary students in the five most populated states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas. Students in these five states comprise close to 40 percent of the nation’s public school students – many of whom will eventually enter the higher education system. These states are at the forefront of U.S. demographic shifts, serving more than half of the nation’s English language learners and large concentrations of children from lower-income families. They also foreshadow upcoming challenges for colleges and universities on how to best serve these populations. The report provides an in-depth look into the performance of specific student groups and performance by subject, including academic performance over time and in the most recent assessments.
2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments (Zhao Yang)
The 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments (2012 NCSE) is available for purchase from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). Selected tables are available free on the NACUBO website. The 2012 NCSE results are based on 831 U.S. college and university endowments and affiliated foundations, representing over $406 billion in endowment assets. The tables list endowment market values, percentage changes, average and median annual net investment return, and one-, three-, and 10-year annual returns for the periods ending past year, as well as asset allocation and average annual spending rates.
Department of Education Releases College Scorecard (Jeff Johnson)
The U.S. Department of Education College Affordability and Transparency Center released its new College Scorecard on February 13. The scorecard provides an institution's net price, graduation rate, loan default rate, and median student loan burden. Employment information is not currently available but is planned for the future. Data is drawn from both IPEDS and NSLDS. The public interface allows browsing by institution and searching on several common criteria.
Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification (Zhao Yang)
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching invites institutions with a focus on community engagement to apply for the elective Community Engagement classification. This classification was first offered in 2006 and allows institutions to describe their identity and commitment to community with a nationally recognized classification. For more information about the application process, see the Carnegie website. Applications are available from May 1-July 1, 2013, and are due on April 15, 2014.
Published February 11, 2013
Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates (Ellen Peters)
In the eighth edition of Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) forecasts high school graduates by state and race/ethnicity through the class of 2028. The projections indicate the recent growth in the number of high school graduates is coming to an end, and most states will experience modest declines in the short term, as well as more diverse graduating classes. The change in the number of graduates will vary by region and state, with some states projected to have losses of 15% or more and others to have increases of 15% or more. The full report, state profiles, map views, and data tables are available on the Knocking website, which also offers a tool for obtaining customizable data tables and graphs.
Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues for 2013 (Zhao Yang)
For the sixth year, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) released its Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues for 2013. “Boosting Institutional Performance” topped the list for 2013 and included the increasingly common practice of linking state financing to student completion. State higher education financing dropped to the number two spot, after being the number one issue for the past six years. According to the analysts, the change reflects a “broadening acceptance that state reinvestment in public higher education will be slow in coming—and institutions must readjust both their operations and revenue mix accordingly.” Tuition pricing and tuition policy rank third with the focus on college affordability, the shift from state funding to tuition and fees, and tuition-setting authority. Emerging issues to watch include competency-based and online educational opportunities and guns on campus.
Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States (Zhao Yang)
Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States summarizes results of the 2012 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group. The number of students taking at least one online course during fall 2011 has now surpassed 6.7 million, a 9.3% increase over the previous year, with 32% of higher education students now enrolling in at least one online course. Currently, 2.6% of higher education institutions offer a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), and 9.4% report MOOCs are in the planning stages. The report notes academic leaders remain unconvinced that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses, but believe they provide an important means for institutions to learn about online pedagogy. Other key findings indicate over 69% of the respondents believe online learning is critical to their long-term strategy, but report low retention rates in online courses remain a barrier to the growth of online instruction.
How Long Does It Take? STEM PhD Completion for Underrepresented Minorities (Zhao Yang)
The issue brief, How Long Does It Take? STEM PhD Completion for Underrepresented Minorities, examines the relationships between social and institutional factors and students’ time to STEM PhD completion. The study addresses three research questions: (1) What characteristics are related to time to completion of a STEM PhD? (2) Are there differences in time to completion based on race/ethnicity of students? (3) Do significant racial/ethnic differences in time to completion remain after controlling for other background and college experiences? Researchers found differences in time to degree completion within racial/ethnic groups that may be related to educational experiences during graduate school or life circumstances. They conclude a better understanding of the differences will contribute to addressing disparities in STEM participation by underrepresented minorities and women.
Academic Spending Versus Athletic Spending: Who Wins? (Zhao Yang)
The Delta Cost Project report, Academic Spending Versus Athletic Spending: Who Wins?, looks at academic and athletic spending in NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division I public universities. The report highlights trends in athletic and academic spending between 2005 and 2010. Athletic departments spent more per athlete than institutions spent to educate the average student, and athletic costs increased twice as fast as academic spending in the three Division I subdivisions. Although the belief is college sports are a financial boon to colleges and universities, the report concludes specific sports at some universities may be profitable and help support other campus programs, but most athletic departments receive subsidies from their colleges and universities because they do not generate enough revenue to cover all of their costs.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (Zhao Yang)
The NCES Projections of Education Statistics to 2021 (NCES 2013-008) provides 15 years of national data and projections on key education statistics such as enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools, and enrollment, degrees conferred, and expenditures in postsecondary institutions. At the state level, projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high-school graduates are provided to the year 2021.
Web Tables—Trends in Debt for Bachelor’s Degree Recipients a Year After Graduation: 1994, 2001 and 2009 (NCES 2013-156) presents tables on the debt of three cohorts of bachelor degree recipients (1992-93, 1999-2000, and 2007-08) spanning a 15-year period. Statistics on loan repayment, further educational pursuits, and employment status are included. In addition, tables present graduates’ debt status relative to their living arrangements, family structure (e.g., single, married, cohabitating, children), and whether borrowers had a spouse also repaying loans. Data are provided by key demographic, enrollment, and employment characteristics.
Published January 14, 2013
Improving the College Scorecard: Using Student Feedback to Create an Effective Disclosure (Marv Noltze)
The Center for American Progress (CAP) report, Improving the College Scorecard: Using Student Feedback to Create an Effective Disclosure, provides user feedback on the White House College Scorecard -- a one-page summary of institutional metrics such as tuition cost, job placement, and loan repayment intended to assist students and families in identifying and choosing high-quality, affordable colleges. As part of the study, CAP conducted focus groups with college-bound high school students to elicit their input on the utility of the College Scorecard. The students expressed confusion and uncertainty about the Scorecard’s purpose, terminology, and interpretation of key measures. The CAP report includes the following recommendations for improving the Scorecard: (1) introduce the scorecard with a simple descriptive statement; (2) highlight the four-year graduation rate, not the six-year rate; (3) develop alternatives to communicate concepts such as net price and student debt; and (4) provide links to additional employment outcomes so students can see details by program.
College Prices, Costs, and Outcomes: Who’s Minding the Gap between Higher Education and the Public? (Jeff Johnson)
Results from the 2012 Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) Survey of Higher Education Governance are compiled in College Prices, Costs, and Outcomes: Who’s Minding the Gap between Higher Education and the Public? Survey results from more than 2,500 governing board members from public and independent colleges and universities focus on board members’ views of college prices, costs, and the disparity between their perceptions of issues in higher education in general and in their own institution. For example, board members almost universally see great value in higher education and support increasing graduation rates, but nearly a quarter of board members do not believe that the United States needs more college graduates. While more than half of board members think higher education is too expensive, only 17% think their own institution is too costly, and half believe their institution is doing all it can to control expenses.
The Missing “One-Offs”: The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income Students (Scott Jenkins)
A recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, The Missing “One-Offs”: The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income Students, examines the college application behavior of students designated as high-achieving, low-income students. A higher proportion of high-achieving, low-income students applied to non-selective schools than their high-income counterparts, despite data suggesting high-achieving, low-income students receive comparable financial assistance and progress at similar rates as high-achievers in the top family income quartile. The high-achieving, low-income students who apply to non-selective schools often live in areas without selective public high schools, may not have a critical mass of high-achieving high school peers, and are less likely to encounter teachers or older cohort of students who attended a selective school. Based on such findings, the report offers improved recruiting strategies for high-achieving, low-income students. This report can be purchased for $5 from the SSRN website.
Higher Education: A Small Percentage of Families Save in 529 Plans (Ellen Peters)
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Survey of Consumer Finances report, Higher Education: A Small Percentage of Families Save in 529 Plans, a small percentage of U.S. families saved in 529 plans in 2010, and those who did tended to be wealthier than others. Even among those families who considered saving for education a priority, fewer than 1 in 10 had a 529 plan or a Coverdell Education Savings Plan, a similar but less-used college savings plan. Families with these plans had about 25 times the median financial assets, three times the median income, and were twice as likely to have earned college degrees as those families without either type of savings plan. States offer consumers a variety of 529 plan features, which along with several other factors, can affect participation. Some of the most important features families consider when choosing a 529 plan are tax benefits, fees, and investment options.
2012 Year-End Poll of Employers: A Look at Hiring and Salary Projections for the Coming Year (Marv Noltze)
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reports hiring prospects for business graduates in the report, 2012 Year-End Poll of Employers: A Look at Hiring and Salary Projections for the Coming Year. According to this report, hiring projections are looking up in 2013 for a broad spectrum of business graduates, particularly for MBA graduates. 2013 salaries are also expected to increase at or above the rate of inflation. In addition, internships will be abundant for MBA students. The report details employment prospects by industry and business specialty as a resource for graduate business programs, campus career centers, and institutions overall.
Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2011 (Bruce Mentzer)
Results from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) annual Survey of Earned Doctorates are now available through an interactive web portal: Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2011. The report provides information on individuals who receive research doctoral degrees including demographic trends, common paths to the degree, fields of study, financial support/debt, and labor market outcomes and salaries. The 2011 report shows an increase in the number of doctorates awarded in science and engineering, the increased representation of women in all fields, and a tight labor market. A summary report, an interactive report, and detailed data tables are available through the NSF web portal.
Rethinking the Carnegie Unit (Sean McKitrick)
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching announced in December 2012 that it would use a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to examine the Carnegie Unit and its role in American education. The Carnegie Unit has historically formed the basis of measuring student progress in secondary and higher education, but it is increasingly criticized as an outdated and inadequate measure of student learning.
Published January 3, 2013
Special Announcement (1/3/2013)
IPEDS TRP Report: Additional Selected Outcomes of the Advisory Committee on Measures of Student Success (Mary Sapp)
Feedback is requested on suggestions from the IPEDS Technical Review Panel (TRP) #40 report: “Additional Selected Outcomes of the Advisory Committee on Measures of Student Success,” which is posted on the TRP webpage under the “Recent Summaries Open for Comment” section. Comments should be sent to ipedsTRPcomment@rti.org by January 14, 2013. The TRP suggested that IPEDS reporting be expanded to include reporting on outcomes for four student cohorts: full-time (FT) and part-time (PT) first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates and FT and PT non-first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates. Students would be reported in the following outcome categories: 1) whether a formal award was received or not, crossed-tabulated with 2) enrollment status (at reporting institution, at another institution, or unknown). NCES requests feedback on two potential approaches for timing: at two points after matriculation (i.e., six years and eight years for 4-year institutions and three years and six years for 2-year institutions) or after only the longer time period. NCES would also appreciate comments on the feasibility of, and reporting burden associated with, reporting the status of past entering cohorts.
Published December 10, 2012
Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates (Christine Keller)
A November report by the National Student Clearinghouse, Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates, provides new analyses about the pathways, progression, and completion of students in U.S. postsecondary education. Several of the findings from this report indicate higher college completion rates than other published data on college completion. For example, more than 1 in 5 students who completed a degree did so at an institution other than the one where they started, and over 15% of two-year starters completed a degree at a four-year institution within six years. The Clearinghouse manages institutional data for 94% of students at all types of institutions and enables analysis of enrollment and completion for students across multiple institutions.
Transfer: An Indispensable Part of the Community College Mission (Melodie Christal)
The American Association of Community College policy brief, Transfer: An Indispensable Part of the Community College Mission, reports that 28% of bachelor’s degree recipients began their postsecondary education at a community college, and 47% took at least one course at a community college. This brief addresses the role of community colleges in bachelor’s degree attainment, the mobility of credits between different types of institutions, and cost savings accrued to students who start at a community college. Challenges associated with capturing the effects of transfer include providing a “precise, data-driven definition” and the ability to identify and track transfers given the nonlinear paths of students in their postsecondary endeavors.
Record Shares of Young Adults Have Finished Both High School and College (Jeff Johnson)
The percentage of American adults who have completed a bachelor's degree has reached a record high, according to the Pew Research Center study, Record Shares of Young Adults Have Finished Both High School and College. Richard Fry and Kim Parker show that 31% of the population over 25 has completed at least a bachelor's degree, up from 12% in 1971 and 26% in 2001. Gains among young adults (25 to 29 years old), however, were not equally distributed across demographic groups. In 1971, 20% of men but only 14% of women had completed a bachelor's degree; by 2012, 37% of women but only 30% of men had done so. Racial gaps persist but have narrowed somewhat, with completion rates doubling among Whites (from 20% to 40%) but tripling among Blacks and Hispanics (from 7% to 23% and from 5% to 15%, respectively). Fry and Parker conclude the "education reversal" of the early 2000s, which saw declining rates of college completion among young adults for several years, has ended. The pattern of educational attainment has shifted away from being exclusively an early adulthood event, with increasing educational attainment beyond the age of 29 for a cohort. The study is based on recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey.
Context for Success: Measuring Colleges’ Impact (Christine Keller)
A series of papers and issue briefs released by HCM Strategists explore the development of assessment tools for evaluating the performance of postsecondary institutions while taking into account the differing levels of preparation by entering students. The papers are part of the Context for Success project funded by the Gates Foundation. As part of the project, education scholars and practitioners were convened to discuss and outline the theoretical and practical issues that should be considered in designing “input-adjusted” metrics for judging the effectiveness of colleges and universities. The research papers apply or discuss each of three approaches to outcomes measurement: progression/completion, labor market outcomes, and direct assessment of student learning.
Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012 (Jeff Johnson)
Implementing new technologies and consumer-facing IT initiatives are the key issues for IT leaders in higher education, according to EDUCAUSE's annual survey. Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012, published in June, identified "updating IT professionals' skills and roles to accommodate emerging technologies and changing IT management and service delivery models" as the greatest concern for 2012. Supporting new technologies and delivery systems such as "bring your own device," cloud computing, big data, and analytics were common concerns. Other issues raised in the survey included how to use IT to directly support campus information consumers such as decision makers, researchers, and those engaged in operations and assessment. The results of the survey are not comparable to previous EDUCAUSE annual surveys due to a change in the methodology aimed explicitly at raising issues that had not been raised in previous surveys.
Higher Education and the 2012 Elections (Melodie Christal)
Higher Education and the 2012 Elections, a new Policy Matters brief published by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, summarizes fiscal and policy implications from the November elections for higher education. Consequences of federal elections are explored, including issues that may be addressed by Congress in 2013. The brief also highlights outcomes of state elections and ballot measures that influence funding, access, capital improvements, and governance for higher education.
Promoting Student Learning and Institutional Improvement: Lessons from NSSE at 13—Annual Results 2012 (Melodie Christal)
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) released its new report, Promoting Student Learning and Institutional Improvement: Lessons from NSSE at 13—Annual Results 2012, in mid-November. This report presents findings from the 2012 NSSE survey with a focus on updating key findings from NSSE’s first 13 years. It also provides examples of how colleges and universities use NSSE to enhance the quality of undergraduate education. The report notes that a majority of students worry about paying for college and 1 in 3 frequently opt not to purchase course materials because of the cost. Full-time students who work more than 20 hours per week have the greatest stress, and 3 in 5 students report that work interferes with their academic performance. The report also provides insights on the student use of social media. Nine out of ten students use social media to connect with friends and family, and students using social media to interact with peers, faculty, and campus staff are more engaged. On the other hand, students who used social media during class for non-class activities have lower grades.
NSSE is launching an updated survey in 2013. For information about the history of NSSE, or using the results, visit the NSSE website or refer to the New Directions for Institutional Research, Using NSSE in Institutional Research, Number 14, Spring 2009.
2012 Open Doors Report (Bruce Mentzer)
The Institute of International Education updated the information on international students and U.S. students studying abroad within their Open Doors data portal, including 10 years of data, charts, graphs, and maps displaying trends by state, country, and institution. Overall, the 2012 report shows the number of international students at colleges and universities in the U.S. increased by 6%, to a record high of 764,495 in the 2011-12 academic year, while U.S. students studying abroad increased by 1%. The print version of the Open Doors 2012: Report on International Educational Exchange will be released in late January 2013.
Survey of College and University Admissions Directors (Melodie Christal)
The 2012 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Admissions Directors provides information on key issues for admissions professionals, including policies and practices related to recruiting, admission procedures, and higher education costs and programming. Highlights from the survey responses indicate that a substantial number of admissions directors believe the current average loan volume is reasonable, and students and parents are increasingly interested in identifying degree programs with strong job prospects. Other topics included in the survey are: “What student populations are the focus of admissions recruitment efforts? Are higher education costs and levels of student indebtedness affecting admissions choices? Are two-year colleges increasingly competing with four-year colleges/universities for students?”
Published November 30, 2012
Gainful Employment Update (Becky Gerambia)
The Department of Education issued Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #41- Requirements for Adding New Educational Programs on November 21, setting forth requirements for notifying the Department of Education when an institution adds new educational programs. The Announcement reinstates and describes program regulations in effect prior to July 1, 2011.
The Department of Education issued Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #42 - 2011-2012 Disclosures for Gainful Employment Programs on November 23. Announcement #42 states that institutions must now update their Gainful Employment program disclosures for the 2011-2012 award year no later than January 31, 2013, and provides additional information regarding the content, format, and method of GE program disclosures. Institutions that have already updated their disclosures are advised to review those disclosures to ensure they are consistent with the guidance and timeframes set forth in the Announcement.
Published November 12, 2012
ECAR Study of Undergraduates and Information Technology, 2012 (Melodie Christal)
The ECAR Study of Undergraduates and Information Technology, 2012, from the Educause Center for Applied Research, provides information on communication technologies undergraduate students are using and the students’ perceptions of how these technologies contribute to their academic achievement. Based on responses from more than 100,000 students, 66% report they were prepared to use technology when they entered college. Student respondents believe technology is critical to their academic success and a key to their future accomplishments. They expect faculty to use technology to engage them in the learning process and want to access course material and grades on their mobile devices. In the 2012 study, more students reported that instructors use technology to aid in understanding course material (70%) than they did two years ago (49%).
College Board: Trends in Higher Education Series (Melodie Christal)
The annual College Board’s Trends in Higher Education Series was released in late October and presents information and analysis on college pricing and student aid.
Trends in College Pricing 2012 provides information on 2012-13 tuition and fees as well as room and board costs for public two-year, public four-year, and private four-year institutions. The report focuses on both published prices and net prices that take into account grant aid. Trend data on institutional finances and family income also provide measures of college affordability.
Trends in Student Aid 2012 covers the types, sources, and amounts of financial aid available to assist students and families in paying for postsecondary education. The report looks at both undergraduate and graduate debt. Data in this report are from the 2011-12 academic year.
Student Debt and the Class of 2011 (Melodie Christal)
The Project on Student Debt report, Student Debt and the Class of 2011, provides data on the cumulative student loan debt of recent graduates from four-year institutions. It is estimated that two-thirds of 2011 college graduates have student loan debt, with an average loan of $26,600 for those graduating with loans. The report includes data for each state on the average student debt for 2011 graduates and the percentage of graduates with debt. High-debt states are primarily in the Northeast and Midwest, with most low-debt states in the West and South. A list of high-debt colleges is also included. The report concludes with recommendations to reduce the risks and burdens of student debt.
Graduating to a Pay Gap (Melodie Christal)
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) report, Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation, examines the pay gap between men and women college graduates working full-time after graduation. In 2009, women out of college for one year earned 82% of what their male peers earned. College major is one factor driving differences in pay, as men are more likely to major in higher-paying fields (e.g., engineering, computer science). Other factors such as selected occupation and hours worked also explain some of the gap, but even after those factors are taken into consideration, women still earn about 7% less than men on average. The report also found 20% of women and 15% of men use more than 15% of their earnings to pay student loan debt. The report provides several explanations for the difference in salaries and makes recommendations to eliminate the pay gap and address the burden of student loan debt.
Census Bureau (Melodie Christal)
Using data from the American Community Survey, the report Work-Life Earnings by Field of Degree and Occupation for People With a Bachelor’s Degree: 2011, provides evidence that educational attainment, college major, and occupation affect work-life earnings. The data show a $1 million difference in earnings over a lifetime of high-school graduates and those with a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree recipient can expect to earn $2.4 million over his or her work life, with those majoring in engineering, computers, math, science fields, business, and social science earning higher than the average.
Field of Degree and Earnings by Selected Employment Characteristics: 2011 provides information on majors and earnings of baccalaureate recipients of the population 25 years and older. In 2011, there were 59 million people with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Business was the most popular major with 12 million people majoring in this field, followed by education with 8 million majors. Engineering majors had the highest earnings at $92,000 per year. Majors with the lowest earnings included visual and performing arts, communications, education, and psychology.
National Center for Education Statistics (Melodie Christal)
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) preliminary First Look report, Enrollment in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2011; Financial Statistics, Fiscal Year 2011; and Graduation Rates, Selected Cohorts, 2003-08, (NCES 2012-174) presents preliminary findings from four components of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Spring 2012 data collection: student financial aid, Fall 2011 enrollment, graduation rates within 150 percent and 200 percent of program completion, and fiscal year 2011 finances.
Published October 23, 2012
Special Announcement (10/22/2012)
IPEDS TRP Report: Improving Finance Survey Forms for For-Profit Institutions (Mary Sapp)
Feedback is requested on suggestions from the IPEDS Technical Review Panel (TRP) #39 report, “Improving Finance Survey Forms for For-Profit Institutions,” which is posted on the TRP webpage under the “Recent Summaries Open for Comment” section. Comments should be sent to ipedsTRPcomment@rti.org by December 7, 2012. The TRP suggested that private, for-profit institutions provide more detail on their Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) forms for revenues, expenses, scholarships and fellowships, and balance sheet information in order to make for-profit IPEDS finance data, which until now has been collected using a simplified form, more comparable to the considerably more detailed reporting required of other sectors. The TRP also recommended that instructions be clarified in order to minimize burden.
Published October 16, 2012
Cracking the Credit Hour (Christine Keller)
A report by the New America Foundation, Cracking the Credit Hour, argues that the credit hour represents a fundamental disconnect within U.S. higher education - the practice of measuring student seat time rather than student learning. The report outlines the history of the credit hour and recent evidence in support of the view that the credit hour is antiquated – particularly at a time when a college degree is both more important and more expensive. The report concludes that for the U.S. to reclaim its position as the most educated nation in the world, federal policy needs to shift from paying for and valuing time to paying for and valuing learning.
Delta Cost Project (Melodie Christal)
Using newly released data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the Delta Cost Project is providing a series of updates to the 2011 report, Trends in College Spending: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does It Go? What Does It Buy? The Delta Cost data contribute information and analyses for the ongoing discussion of higher education affordability.
Revenues: Where Does the Money Come From? focuses on institutional revenues between 2000 and 2010. The report looks at total operating revenue by source; the interaction between net tuition revenue and state and local appropriations; and tuition discounting and differences between sticker price and gross and net tuition revenues. Report highlights include the following.
State and local appropriations declined over the decade, decreasing by 24% in both research and master’s universities and by 20% in bachelor’s institutions and community colleges. Tuition revenues exceeded state and local appropriations at public research and master’s institutions, and were nearly equal in public bachelor’s institutions. Tuition discounting rates in 2010 ranged between 27% and 36% at private institutions, and from 10% in community colleges to 18% in research universities.
Spending: Where Does the Money Go? focuses on institutional spending between 2000 and 2010. The report looks at total spending by expenditure categories; expenditures from all revenue sources; education and general (E&G) spending; and educational and related (E&R) spending, a subset of expenditures based on the educational mission of institutions. Report highlights include the following.
Spending on instruction between 2009 and 2010 remained flat at public four-year institutions and declined 7% at community colleges while spending for institutional support declined in all categories of institutions. Expenditures on plant operating and maintenance declined considerably at all types of institution, suggesting that colleges and universities are deferring maintenance on their facilities.
The Delta Cost Project also published a set of briefs analyzing postsecondary student attrition that discuss the institutional costs of student attrition, the measurement of attrition costs, and benchmarking to other industries. The briefs can be found on the Delta Cost Project website.
A Record One-in-Five Households Now Owe Student Loan Debt (Katie Zaback)
A Record One-in-Five Households Now Owe Student Loan Debt by the Pew Research Center uses Survey of Consumer Finances data to examine student debt. About one in five households (19%) owed such debt in 2010, increasing from 15% in 2007. For households headed by someone younger than 35, a record 40% have student loan debt, with debt for this age group growing at a faster pace than other age cohorts. The amount of student debt per household increased 14%, from $23,349 in 2007 to $26,682 in 2010. While those at upper-income levels are more likely to have student debt, low-income households typically have less capacity to pay off debts. This report adds to the existing literature and data around student loan debt. As tuition increases and the number of students taking on student loan debt also rises, it will become increasingly important for institutions to understand the long-term impact on students.
Financial Stress: An Everyday Reality for College Students (Melodie Christal)
In An Everyday Reality for College Students, Inceptia, a division of the National Student Loan Program, surveyed college students and recent college graduates on the impact of financial stress. The survey covered personal finances, family life, work commitments, academics, and time management. The top five stressors identified were: the need to repay loans, the cost of education, borrowing money for college, the need to find a job after graduation, and the academic challenge of course work. Almost three-quarters of the survey respondents worked during the academic year, with 15% working full-time. One-third said financial stress had a negative impact on their academic performance or progress, and 20% reported having to reduce their course load to deal with stressors. Inceptia recommends colleges and universities examine the impact of financial stress on their students and graduates and dedicate more resources toward supporting the financial success of their students.
Career and Technical Education: Five Ways That Pay Along The Way to the B.A. (Ellen Peters)
In Career and Technical Education: Five Ways That Pay Along the Way to the B.A. the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce reports there are 29 million jobs that pay $35,000 or more on average and do not require a bachelor’s degree. These “middle jobs” represent one in five jobs in the U.S. and nearly half of all jobs that pay middle-class wages. The report details five Career and Technical Education pathways to educate and train Americans for these jobs: associate's degrees, postsecondary certificates, employer-based training, industry-based certifications, and apprenticeships. The report recommends that the federal government formalize a “learning and earning exchange” to provide transparency to the relationship between Career and Technical Education and the labor market. It also recommends creating career and technical education programs that link high school and postsecondary education with employer-based training.
The Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree: Reform Measure or Red Herring? (Melodie Christal)
The Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree: Reform Measure or Red Herring?, the September 2012 Policy Matter brief of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, examines the three-year degree programs typically designed to improve college affordability, help students complete college in a timely manner, and/or increase institutional productivity. The brief explores goals and models of three-year degrees as well as the benefits and drawbacks. The brief concludes that overall, three-year degree programs have failed to receive sufficient participation to be considered effective, but policymakers should continue to create new models and strategies that will lead to greater student persistence and success.
Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2001 to 2011 (Melodie Christal)
Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2001 to 2011 presents finding from an annual survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Degrees (CGS) and the Graduate Record Examinations Board (GRE). The report provides data on graduate applications and enrollment for fall 2011, degrees conferred in 2010-11, and trend data for one-, five-, and ten-year periods. About 1.7 million students were enrolled in graduate programs in fall 2011 with more than 441,000 first-time graduate students. About 75% of students enrolled in programs leading to a master’s degree or certificate and more than one-half enrolled in education, business, or health science programs. In 2010-11, approximately 92,900 doctoral degrees, 517,000 master’s degrees, and 25,200 certificates were awarded.
Education at a Glance (Melodie Christal)
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators is a compendium of international education statistics for the 34 OECD member countries and Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. This year’s report includes indicators on spending on education, tuition fees, adult participation in education, class sizes, salaries, and national exam systems. The indicators are organized thematically and provide the policy context and information on how to interpret the data. Education at a Glance 2012: Highlights provides a “reader-friendly introduction” to the OECD data focusing on educational levels and student numbers, the economic and social benefits of education, paying for education, the school environment, and equity.
Policy Watch (Christine Keller)
On September 19, NCES announced the release of CEDS Connect. This new tool allows users to find and create "Connections" from data elements to practical applications across the P-20W (early learning through workforce) environment. Connect can be used to find out how others in the field are using data elements to answer policy questions, calculate metrics and indicators, and report to various data requestors.
Project Degree Completion
Nearly 500 four-year public colleges and universities have pledged to boost college completion by 3.8 million students to help the nation reach the goal of 60% of adults possessing a college degree by 2025. Through Project Degree Completion: A Public University Initiative, the institutions will increase the number of college degrees they award from an estimated 14.6 million to 18.4 million over the next 14 years. The participating institutions are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). Their membership represents nearly all the four-year public colleges and universities in the country.
Published September 21, 2012
Online College Students 2012: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences (Ellen Peters)
In Online College Students 2012: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences, The Learning House, Inc. reports survey results of 1,500 individuals enrolled in or planning to enroll in fully online undergraduate or graduate programs. The survey compiled data on motivation for online study; strengths and weaknesses of online formats; services needed; and effective promotion and advertising of online programs. The report notes that students of all ages participate in online education with about 40 percent of online students younger than 30. Most online students live within 100 miles of the physical location of the institution in which they enroll and about two-thirds attend not-for-profit institutions. Survey findings also indicate that online students rely on institutional websites for communication and want compressed terms of study at an affordable cost.
The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm (Katie Zaback)
The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report, The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm, provides a broad analysis of how educational attainment impacts employment for workers in times of recession. The report shows that although unemployment levels increased sharply for all workers, individuals without a college education bore the brunt of the recession’s job losses – losing nearly 5.6 million jobs. Further, the jobs gained during the recovery that began in 2010 have been limited to those requiring a college education. The analysis also examines the differential effects of the recession on wages and by industry, occupations, and for men and for women. The report concludes that the recession exposed the shortcomings of the U.S. workforce and accelerated the long-term trend toward more skilled jobs requiring higher levels of postsecondary education.
Dynamics Affecting Public Higher Education Financing and Highlights from States’ Legislative Sessions in 2012 (Christine Keller)
Dynamics Affecting Public Higher Education Financing and Highlights from States’ Legislative Sessions in 2012 was released in July by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). The brief is part of AASCU's State Outlook series and outlines economic and state policy issues affecting postsecondary education, in particular the dynamics influencing public higher education financing at the start of the 2012-13 fiscal year. The report discusses economic and state revenue conditions and forecasts, as well as specific pressure points affecting state budgets and future public higher education funding. The report also provides a review of state legislative activity involving higher education in the 2012 session. Integrated throughout the report are links to an array of information-rich resources including data from the National Governor's Association (NGA), the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).
The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2012 (Melodie Christal)
Using ACT College Readiness Benchmarks and test scores, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2012 provides snapshots of college readiness for 2012 high school graduates for the nation and each state. ACT defines “college and career readiness” as “the acquisition of the knowledge and skills a student needs to enroll and succeed in credit-bearing first-year courses at a postsecondary institution without the need for remediation.” ACT estimates approximately 28 percent of 2012 high school graduates taking the ACT are not academically prepared for first-year courses in English composition, college algebra, biology, and social sciences. The individual state reports allow policymakers to assess if students enrolled in P-16 are taking core courses, if the courses are sufficiently rigorous, if younger students are on track for college and career, and how the 2011 graduating class is doing.
The ACT Profile Report provides information for each state on the performance of the 2012 high school graduates who took the ACT as sophomores, juniors, or seniors. The report focuses on performance, access, percent of students pursuing a core curriculum, course rigor, college readiness, the extent to which student aspirations match performance, and the colleges and universities to which students sent their test results. ACT also provides suggestions for states on how to improve students’ scores and college readiness.
Strategies for Success: Promising Ideas in Adult College Completion (Melodie Christal)
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Policy Exchange, Strategies for Success: Promising Ideas in Adult College Completion, addresses five topics relevant to increasing adult degree and certificate completion: (1) the need for better data on adults with prior college; (2) partnerships between employers and higher education institutions; (3) effective marketing campaigns targeted to reach adults with prior college credits; (4) evaluation of transfer credits; and (5) credit for prior learning and work experience. The report highlights promising strategies and practices for each topic.
Performance-Based Funding of Higher Education: A Detailed Look at Best Practices in 6 States (Melodie Christal)
In Performance-Based Funding of Higher Education: A Detailed Look at Best Practices in 6 States, the Center for American Progress summarizes the history of performance-based funding and outlines experiences in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Tennessee, Washington, and Louisiana. Best practices include involving key stakeholders in the funding model design and recognizing institutional differences with separate formulas or metrics, ensuring sufficient funding to create incentives strong enough to change behavior, and using indicators to emphasize incremental progress such as course completion.
U.S. Department of Education and National Center for Education Statistics (Christine Keller)
In late August, the congressionally mandated report Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study (NCES 2012-046) was released. The 46 indicators and multivariate analyses document the scope and nature of gaps in access and persistence in higher education by sex and race/ethnicity. Report findings showed that females were more likely than males to graduate with a high school diploma, enroll in college, and earn an associate's or bachelor's degree. The gender gaps were generally consistent for all racial and ethnic groups. Findings also indicated that Black and Hispanic students had a lower probability of earning an associate's or bachelor's degree (43 percent and 25 percent lower respectively) than did White students after accounting for background characteristics.
This report presents indicators that include the most recently available, nationally representative data from NCES, other federal agencies, and selected items from ACT and the College Board. The report draws on multiple sources that represent different years and different populations and provides nationally comparative data for postsecondary institutions to track access and persistence for students in their institution or region.
In July, the U.S. Department of Education released college attainment numbers by state based on Census Bureau data from 2009 to 2010. The percentage of 25-34 year olds with some kind of postsecondary credential increased from 38.8 percent to 39.3 percent, marking progress toward President Obama’s goal for America to become first in the world in the proportion of college graduates.
Trends Among Young Adults Over Three Decades, 1974-2006 (NCES 2012-345) reports on the transition from high school to adulthood for four cohorts of high school seniors. The data are from four NCES studies: the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972; High School and Beyond (1980); the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988; and the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002. The report addresses postsecondary enrollment, labor force roles, family formation, and civic engagement through voting or military service.
Published September 10, 2012
Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), Version 3, was released for public comment on September 5. This version includes a significant expansion of postsecondary data elements. All are encouraged to review this draft of the standards and submit comments by September 28 via the CEDS website.
There will be two additional CEDS releases this month:
Race to the Top Assessment Support
- Elements to support the Assessment Interoperability Framework (AIF) will be released this week (week of September 10). The documentation on this work can be found at the CEDS website
Connect Tool - On September 19, CEDS will expand with the release of the latest tool, Connect. This tool allows users to develop Connections (metrics, indicators, and policy questions mapped to necessary data elements) relevant to the educational world for others to view and use.
CEDS supports the development of a common vocabulary for P-20W (early learning through workforce). It is a collection of definitions and formats for the most commonly used P-20W education data elements.
Published August 22, 2012
Making Performance Funding Work For All (Katie Zaback)
The Working Poor Families Project (WPFP) policy brief, Making Performance Funding Work For All, provides a history of performance funding since its inception in the 1970s. According to the brief, current performing funding models, referred to as Performance Funding 2.0, have six design characteristics: 1) links performance funding to achievement of clear, shared, state policy goals; 2) provides meaningful, stable financial rewards; 3) recognizes the diversity of institutional missions; 4) encourages simplicity in measurement systems; 5) defines performance broadly; and 6) signals clear expectations, starting small and building steadily. WPFP offers five recommendations for how states can link performance funding to statewide workforce and economic development goals to ensure postsecondary systems best meet the needs of America's low-income working families. Recommendations include articulating the connection between postsecondary success and economic prosperity; defining postsecondary education broadly; adopting performance criteria that reward intermediate educational outcomes such as persistence; offering incentives for serving low-income populations; and emphasizing the development of robust state data systems and outcome measurements.
National Center for Education Statistics (Melodie Christal)
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) First Look publication, Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in the United States: 2011-12, Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2010-11, and 12-Month Enrollment: 2010–11 (NCES 2012-289), presents preliminary data from three components of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) fall 2011 data collection: Institutional Characteristics (including information on tuition and fees and price of attendance); Completions, and 12-Month Enrollment.
The NCES First Look publication, Employees in Postsecondary Education, Fall 2011 and Student Financial Aid, Academic Year 2010-11 (NCES 2012-156), presents preliminary data from two survey components in the IPEDS winter 2011-12 data collection: Human Resources and Student Financial Aid.
In order to make IPEDS data available as quickly as possible for national, state, or institutional level analyses, IPEDS data will now be publicly released in three stages, beginning with data submitted in the 2011-12 data collection cycle. The three stages are preliminary, provisional, and final. The recently released First Look publications based on preliminary data from the fall and winter collections provide users with full access to IPEDS data soon after the close of the data collection.
Additionally, the IPEDS Analytic: Delta Cost Project Database has been updated to include 2009-10 data. The database includes institutional data from the IPEDS finance, enrollment, staffing, completions, and student aid surveys from 1987-2010 and can be used to support longitudinal analyses. This database is updated annually.
Reverse Transfer: A National View of Student Mobility from Four-Year to Two-Year Institutions (Melodie Christal)
The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center released a new report, Reverse Transfer: A National View of Student Mobility from Four-Year to Two-Year Institutions, as a follow-up to its second Signature Report, Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Pre-Degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions. Focusing specifically on students who move from four-year to two-year institutions or “reverse transfers,” the report indicates 14.4% of first-time students enrolled at four-year institutions in fall 2005 transferred to a two-year institution. Only 16.6% of these reverse transfer students returned to the four-year institution where they began, and 28.3% later transferred to a different institution in the four-year sector. By the end of six years, one-third of reverse transfers had completed a bachelor’s degree or were enrolled in a four-year institution. The report recommends a more in-depth examination of reverse transfers so policies can be developed to help institutions meet their enrollment goals and to ensure student success.
How America Pays for College 2012 (Melodie Christal)
Sallie Mae’s How America Pays for College 2012 describes the decisions families make in paying for a college education, focusing on undergraduate students ages 18 to 24. The study provides the average amounts and proportion of total costs paid from each funding source a “typical” family uses to pay for college. In 2011-12, average family spending declined for the second year in a row, dropping by 5 percent to $20,902. In addition, families shifted how they pay for college. Drawing from savings, income and loans, students paid 30% of the total bill, up from 24% four years ago, while parents covered 37% of the bill, down from 45% four years ago. The report also addresses the use of credit cards by families and students to cover college costs as well as the effect of the Card Act of 2009, which restricted the marketing and distribution of credit cards to students.
Is College Affordable? In Search of a Meaningful Definition (Mary Sapp)
The Institute for Higher Education Policy Issue Brief, Is College Affordable? In Search of a Meaningful Definition, argues that perceptions about college affordability are more negative than reality as it is difficult for people to think about college as an investment. The brief recommends shifting college affordability discussions from sticker price to net price and treating college as an investment with a high rate of return that should not simply be funded from residual family income. The affordability debate is further complicated as investments in a college education do not pay off equally for all students and are typically not viewed as an investment to be paid over time from increased lifetime income. The report proposes better information about complex pricing, financial aid, and the benefits of postsecondary education as well as efforts to provide more grant aid, targeted tax subsides, and better protection for students who cannot repay loans.
New Americans in Postsecondary Education (Melodie Christal)
The NCES Statistics in Brief, New Americans in Postsecondary Education: A Profile of Immigrant and Second-Generation American Undergraduates, presents data from the 2007-08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:08) on undergraduates who immigrated to the United States or who had at least one immigrant parent, i.e., a second-generation American. The report compares background characteristics, educational pursuits, and attainment for these two immigrant groups with all undergraduates (excluding foreign students). The report also compares immigrants of Asian and Hispanic descent—the most prevalent immigrant and second-generation American undergraduates.
Published August 7, 2012 (Special Announcement)
IPEDS TRP Report: Using IPEDS Data to Construct Institutional Groups for Consumer Comparisons (Mary Sapp
Feedback is requested on suggestions from the IPEDS Technical Review Panel (TRP) #38, “Using IPEDS Data to Construct Institutional Groups for Consumer Comparisons”
(upper right corner of page under “Recent Summaries Open for Comment). Comments should be sent by August 27 to ipedsTRPcomment@rti.org
. The TRP recommends comparison groups for consumer information tools such as the College Scorecard be defined using IPEDS data. Pre-defined groups should be based on the predominant undergraduate degree awarded, and consumers should also be able to define their own comparison groups by choosing specific institutions or by using other criteria (e.g., region, selectivity, etc.).Published July 26, 2012
Assuring Academic Quality in the 21st Century: Self-Regulation in a New Era (Christine Keller)
Assuring Academic Quality in the 21st Century: Self-Regulation in a New Era
, from the American Council on Education (ACE) National Task Force on Institutional Accreditation, considers the central characteristics of accreditation and outlines common criticisms of the process. It offers six major recommendations for colleges, universities, and regional accreditors to ensure accreditation meets its public accountability responsibilities given the enormous diversity of American higher education. The academic leaders who made up the task force also urged the higher education community to strengthen and improve the quality and public accountability of the institutional accreditation process.
Remediation: Higher Education’s Bridge to Nowhere (Alice Van Ommeren)
Remediation: Higher Education's Bridge to Nowhere, a report from Complete College America, finds that more than one-half of students entering community colleges and about 20% of students entering four-year institutions are placed in remedial classes. The report cites the large numbers of students in remedial classes as a significant barrier to certificate/degree completion. Fewer than 1 in 10 students who start in remedial courses graduate from a community college in three years and only about one-third complete a bachelor’s degree in six years. Instead of traditional remediation, the report suggests four steps states can take to increase student success: (1) strengthen high school preparation; (2) place students with deficiencies in redesigned college-level courses with built-in, co-requisite support; (3) build extra support around gateway courses; and (4) encourage students to enter programs of study when they first enroll. The report provides Common Completion Metrics data from 31 states as well as examples of successful initiatives.
Going the Distance in Adult College Completion: Lessons from the Non-Traditional No More Project (Melodie Christal)
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) report, Going the Distance in Adult College Completion: Lessons from the Non-Traditional No More Project, summarizes policies and practices targeted at increasing adult degree completion. WICHE worked with Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, and South Dakota to identify and eliminate barriers keeping adult learners with a significant number of college credits from returning to college to complete their degrees. The report addresses five areas in which barriers were identified and promising strategies were designed to better serve the adult learner. The report recommends that institutions offer a single point of contact for returning adults to help them through the readmission process and increased flexibility regarding policies and practices.
NASSGAP Annual Survey Report on State-Sponsored Financial Aid (Melodie Christal)
The National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP) report, 42nd Annual Survey Report on State-Sponsored Financial Aid, provides data on 2010-11 state-funded expenditures for postsecondary student financial aid. In 2010-11, states awarded approximately $11 billion in state-funded financial aid, a 2.5% increase from the prior year with the majority of aid awarded in the form of grants; 71% of the grants were need-based and 29% were non-need-based. States provided more than $1.8 billion in non-grant student aid, including loans, work study, and tuition waivers, down almost 5% from last year. Additional resources are available on the NASSGAP website, such as a State Data Quick Check tool, which shows expenditures by programs for a selected year, and an online tool that allows for customized queries of survey data.
What It’s Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2009 (Melodie Christal)
The U.S Census Bureau’s Household Economic Study What It’s Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2009 explores the relationship among educational attainment, field of training, and occupation and earnings using data collected in the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The report includes comparisons between 1984 and 2009 for specific degrees including vocational certificates, associate degrees, and advanced degrees - data not available in most other time series. Managerial and professional jobs are predominately held by those with a bachelor’s degree or higher and the majority of positions in technical fields are held by those with credentials lower than a bachelor’s degree. Not only do occupations vary by education level, but higher levels of earnings are associated with higher educational attainment.
College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2011 High School Graduates (Melodie Christal)
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has published a report providing information on 2011 high school graduates (16 to 24 years old) and their educational attainment and work activity. As of October 2011, 68.3% of 2011 high school graduates were enrolled in postsecondary education, with women enrolling at a higher rate than men (72.3% vs. 64.6%). The enrollment rate of Asians (86.7%) was higher than whites (67.7%), blacks (67.5%), and Hispanics (66.6%). Recent high school graduates who were not enrolled in college in October 2011 were more likely to be working or looking for work than those who were enrolled in college - 68.7% compared with 38.8%.
Condition of Education 2012 (Melodie Christal)
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Condition of Education 2012 report presents 49 indicators on the status and condition of education covering all levels of education from early childhood through postsecondary education. This year’s report examines how demographic and policy changes have impacted high schools over the past 20 years.
Open Data Initiatives and the Education DataJam
In June, the Obama Administration launched the Education Data Initiative, an effort to make education data more available and useful to key stakeholders and consumers. As part of this initiative, staff from the White House, the U.S. Department of Education, educational technology experts, and others participated in a “DataJam” on July 10 to brainstorm new applications, products, and services that could be developed using education data to facilitate student success. Materials from the DataJam can be found at the bottom of the Office of Educational Technology website. More information can also be found on the White House blog. The Department of Education will also be hosting a similar “Data Palooza” event this fall.
Resources for 2012-13 IPEDS Changes on Distance Education
The 2012-13 IPEDS data collection cycle will include several new items related to distance education on the Institutional Characteristics, Completions, and Enrollment components of the IPEDS surveys. More information is available in the July 10 edition of This Week in IPEDS. To view the new items as they will appear on the survey forms, select the 2011-12 Survey Materials; and click on the icons in the far right column under “2012-13 Changes.” AIR is also preparing a web tutorial on the topic.
Published: July 11, 2012
Gainful Employment Update
A day before the Department of Education’s new regulations for vocational programs (commonly known as “Gainful Employment”) went into effect on July 1, a federal judge invalidated one of its key elements and blocked enforcement. The judge ruled that the Department of Education had failed to provide sufficient evidence to justify the third standard: the requirement that at least 35 percent of a program's former students repay their federal student loans. While the judge's ruling undercut some provisions of the gainful employment rule, it reinforced the Department of Education’s authority to address the problems associated with underperforming vocational education programs - i.e., excessive student debt and limited job prospects. As of July 8, the Department of Education had not issued an official statement on planned next steps for the regulation. Read more from Inside Higher Ed and the New York Times.
Published: June 21, 2012
Pathways Through Graduate School and Into Careers (Mary Sapp)
The Council of Graduate Schools and the Educational Testing Service report, Pathways Through Graduate School and Into Careers, projects that over the next eight years jobs requiring a master's degree or doctoral/professional degree will increase by 22% and 20%, respectively and calls for greater cooperation among universities, business, nonprofit organizations, and government. The report urges universities to clarify and strengthen career pathways by tracking careers of their graduates, providing better career counseling services, connecting graduate students with graduate alumni, developing business-related skills valued by employers, and creating more opportunities for interactions with nonacademic employers. Businesses are encouraged to expand collaboration with universities, invest in graduate programs, provide more internships, offer sabbatical/research opportunities for faculty, and provide financial support for employees to attend graduate school. Governments are advised to provide professional development for graduate students, increase funding for graduate education, and create an advisory commission to clarify pathways.
The Completion Arch: Measuring Community College Student Success (Melodie Christal)
The College Board Advocacy and Policy Center report, The Completion Arch: Measuring Community College Student Success, summarizes indicators linked to student progress and success at community colleges from national and state data as well as from other initiatives. Metrics and summary statistics are available on the Completion Arch web tool. The indicators are organized in five key areas: (1) enrollment, (2) developmental education placement, (3) progress, transfer, and completion, (4) workforce preparation, and (5) employment outcomes. Each indicator includes a graphic display of data and explanatory text describing what the data mean, who is counted, why it is important, and other information including limitations and caveats.
Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees (Melodie Christal)
Postsecondary certificates are the fastest growing form of college credentials in the nation, with more than one million awarded annually. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report, Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees, describes the value of postsecondary certificates in terms of earnings and employment. The report includes data on the demographic characteristics of certificate holders and states where certificates provide the highest return on earnings.
Return on Investment Dashboard (Melodie Christal)
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) have developed a Return on Investment (ROI) Dashboard. This interactive tool uses data from the Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the Department of Education data to project the short-term and long-term effects on federal and state revenue of increasing the number of adults with postsecondary credentials. Data are provided for the United States and each state. The data show that even in tough economic times, increasing credential attainment pays off for individuals, families, communities, states, and the country. For example, if the U.S. meets the 2025 goals of postsecondary educational attainment, the average annual per capita income would increase by approximately $1,400 in 2025 and federal revenues would be $67 billion, about six times higher than the estimated cost of increasing credential attainment. State revenues would also increase to approximately $64 billion, triple the estimated state cost for increasing the credential attainment.
Latino College Completion in 50 States (Melodie Christal)
Excelencia in Education’s report provides a summary of college completion among Latinos in Latino College Completion in 50 States. The report emphasizes that increasing Latino educational attainment is essential for the United States to meet its future societal and workforce needs. The report highlights three initiatives to improve Latino degree attainment. Fact sheets for each state provide a snapshot about Latinos in the educational pipeline and the equity gap between Latinos and whites.
Beyond Need and Merit (Katie Zaback)
Beyond Need and Merit, a report from the Brookings Institution State Grant Aid Study Group provides recommendations for how states should target financial aid systems to help optimize support for educational attainment in the face of declining state funding and increasing tuition levels. The report, developed by national, state, and institutional leaders, recognizes there is no one model for state financial aid but recommends all states should consider structuring aid programs to: (1) focus resources on students whose chances of enrolling and succeeding in college would be improved by state support; (2) consolidate and simplify programs for college students and their families; and (3) encourage success within postsecondary education as well as access. An inventory of 2009-10 state grants is included in the report and is also available as a spreadsheet.
2012 National Freshman Attitudes Report (Ellen Peters)
According to the Noel-Levitz 2012 National Freshman Attitudes Report, male college freshmen tend to be less likely than females to enjoy reading, to study hard, or to take careful notes in class. The seventh annual study examines a range of student attitudes and motivations at the beginning and again at the middle of the first year. The report’s findings emphasize the importance of monitoring students' attitudes and behaviors and following up with appropriate services to help more students complete their coursework and succeed in college.
Principles of Excellence for Military Tuition Assistance and Veterans Education Benefits Programs (Lesley McBain)
In April 2012, President Obama issued an Executive Order requiring the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Education to establish “Principles of Excellence” applying to all institutions receiving federal military and veterans education benefit funds (including but not limited to active-duty military Tuition Assistance and the Post-9/11 GI Bill program). In addition to new readmission-, refund-, and accreditation-related requirements, the principles require institutions to provide data on the total cost of the educational program including tuition and fees, financial aid, and student outcomes to prospective military/veteran students and their families. Specific guidance on data and compliance issues has not yet been issued.
College Affordability and Transparency Lists (Melodie Christal)
To comply with requirements outlined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), the U.S. Department of Education released the annual College Affordability and Transparency Lists on June 12, publishing lists of the most- and least-expensive colleges, by sector. The data are posted in the College Affordability and Transparency Center, which is linked from the College Navigator website.
Published: May 11, 2012
IPEDS TRP Report: Selected Outcomes of the Advisory Committee on Measures of Student Success
Feedback is requested on suggestions from the IPEDS Technical Review Panel (TRP) #37 report, “Selected Outcomes of the Advisory Committee on Measures of Student Success,” which is posted on the TRP webpage (under the “Recent Summaries Open for Comment” section). Comments should be sent to ipedsTRPcomment@rti.org by May 29, 2012. The TRP suggestions include: (1) a revised definition of Degree/Certificate-seeking Student that spells out groups to include for IPEDS reporting; (2) IPEDS reporting of progression and completion measures for cohorts of part-time students; and (3) alternative reporting schedules for part-time cohorts.
Published: May 22, 2012
A Stronger Nation through Education (Christine Keller)
Lumina Foundation’s latest report, A Stronger Nation through Education, tracks U.S. progress toward Lumina’s “Big Goal” that 60% of Americans will hold a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential by 2025. The data shows modest gains in college attainment rates with 38.3% of working-age adults (ages 24-65) holding a two-year or four-year degree in 2010. However, the growth rate is not sufficient to reach 60% attainment by 2025. The report provides detailed breakdowns of degree attainment at the national, state, and county levels as well as each of the nation’s 100 most populous metropolitan areas.
It’s A Matter of Time: Low-Income Students and Community Colleges (Christine Keller)
The policy brief It’s A Matter of Time: Low-Income Students and Community Colleges from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) suggests the current concept of Student Right to Know (150% of “normal time” to complete a degree) is outdated and a shorter time-to-degree is not necessarily a more efficient or better experience for the student. Instead, the needs and attendance patterns of nontraditional and low-income students also need to be factored into the equation. The brief examines the investment of time since students choose to spend their time on what they value. For example, low-income students spend more time studying than students in higher income brackets. The brief provides examples of the potential negative consequences for these student populations when financial aid policy decisions are based on a limited understanding of the time constraints under which low-income students operate.
Tying Funding to Community College Outcomes (Melodie Christal)
The Jobs for the Future report, Tying Funding to Community College Outcomes: Models, Tools, and Recommendations for States, provides tools to help states design performance-based funding systems for community colleges that can influence student and institutional behavior, avoid unintended consequences, and withstand shifts in political and economic climates. States abandoned past efforts to implement performance-based funding after encountering resistance from institutions and failing to achieve desired results. Driven by campaigns to bolster student success, states are now revisiting performance-based funding models to allocate some state support based on institutional progress in improving student retention and degree completion. The report highlights Ohio's new performance-based funding system and the rationale to develop different systems for community colleges and four-year institutions.
Reclaiming the American Dream (Melodie Christal)
In summer 2011, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) launched a new initiative to educate an additional five million students by 2020. Reclaiming the American Dream is the culminating report from the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community College. The report focuses on the “Three Rs:” reform: (1) redesign students’ educational experiences; (2) reinvent institutional roles; and (3) reset the system to create partnerships and incentives for student and institutional success. The report includes seven recommendations and strategies for implementing the “Three Rs.”
Simplifying Student Aid: What It Would Mean for States (Melodie Christal)
The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center report, Simplifying Student Aid: What It Would Mean for States, looks at implications of the federal government's proposal to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Five states (Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, and Vermont) are studied to determine if a simpler FAFSA would have an impact on state budgets and determining who should receive financial aid. The report concludes the simplified FAFSA would lead to minor changes in the allocation of federal and state awards and the general integrity of financial aid programs would be retained. The report also notes the simpler FAFSA would most likely lead to increased participation in postsecondary education of low-income students.
2011 Year in Review: Global changes in Tuition Fee Policies and Student Financial Assistance (Melodie Christal)
The Higher Education Strategy Associate report, 2011 Year in Review: Global changes in Tuition Fee Policies and Student Financial Assistance, outlines major changes related to higher education affordability around the world in 2011 based on data from the G-40 countries, which account for more than 90% of higher education enrollment and research activity. The report addresses the economic, social, and political context in which higher education operates; tuition and student aid policies; and policy changes in key nations. Tuition fees rose around the world by 2.58% in 2011 but because of inflation, the global tuition index fell by 1.76%. The report concludes that higher education affordability increased in Columbia, France, Germany, Sweden, and Saudi Arabia and decreased in the United States, Philippines, and Spain.
NCES (Katie Zaback)
The schedule for the 2012-13 IPEDS collection cycle is now posted on the IPEDS Data Provider Center (see “Data Submission Info” on the left-hand side of the page). Changes in the data collected are also available.
Data submitted for the IPEDS 2011-12 Human Resource and 2010-11 Student Financial Aid survey components are now available at the Additional Early Release level of the IPEDS Data Center.
The National Center for Education Statistics recently released several enhancements to the IPEDS data tools to support postsecondary data analysis:
The IPEDS Trend Generator offers increased flexibility to access select IPEDS data over time. Data currently available include institutional characteristics, enrollment, awards conferred, graduation rates, employment, and institutional revenue. The Trend Generator provides datasets designed to answer specific key questions. For example, under graduation rates one question is “What is the graduation rate within 150% of normal time at 4-year postsecondary institutions?” The tool allows users to create tables or trend charts and to select how to display the data. Depending on the question, data can be displayed by institution type, student type, or state.
The College and Career Tables Library is a searchable database of over 5,000 tables from NCES postsecondary publications including IPEDS, Baccalaureate and Beyond, Beginning Postsecondary Students, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, and the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty. The user can search for tables by data source, keyword, topic, and/or release date.
NCES now houses data from the Delta Cost project in IPEDS Analytic: Delta Cost Project Database. The database includes institutional data from the IPEDS finance, enrollment, staffing, completions, and student aid surveys from 1987-2009 and can be used to support longitudinal analyses. This database will be updated annually.
Policy Watch (Melodie Christal)
The Department of Education developed an action plan for improving measures of student success based on recommendations in the final report of the Committee on Measures of Student Success. For example, broadening graduation rate reporting to include part-time students and students who previously attended another postsecondary institution is being explored. A meeting of the IPEDS Technical Review Panel was held in February to discuss selected outcomes from the Committee on Measures of Student Success, including the feasibility of establishing a part-time cohort for graduation rate reporting. A summary of that meeting can be found on the Technical Review Panel website.
A notice in the May 4, 2012 Federal Register Volume 77, Number 87 includes a request for information about practices and policies on education data systems that disaggregate data on subgroups within the Asian and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Island student population. The Department of Education plans to use the information to help educational entities identify and overcome challenges in disaggregating data on subgroups of this population. Written submissions must be received by the Department of Education on or before July 3, 2012.
Published: April 26, 2012
Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Pre-Degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions (Melodie Christal)
The second in a series of Signature Reports from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center, Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Pre-Degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions examines students’ increasingly complex transfer patterns. Most data analyses currently view students as progressing linearly through college at one institution and treating students who do not receive a degree at that institution as dropouts. NSC found one-third of the fall 2006 first-time students changed or transferred institutions before earning a degree, a rate consistent across all types of institutions excluding the for-profit sector. Of those students who transfer, 37% transfer in their second year, and 22% transfer as late as their fourth or fifth years. In addition, 25% transfer more than one time. Given the mobility of students, the authors suggest postsecondary education should investigate new approaches and metrics to better inform students and institutions about the range of successful enrollment patterns.
The Role of Pell Grants in Access, Persistence, and Completion (Katie Zaback)
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) released the Issue Brief, The Role of Pell Grants in Access, Persistence, and Completion that examines the shifting policy emphasis from college access to college completion and student success, and the potential consequences for students. The brief suggests access itself is not enough to ensure attainment of a higher education credential, and while Pell grants and student aid programs reduce financial barriers, low- and moderate-income students continue to struggle with persistence and completion. It questions whether the benefits of education should be measured in terms of individual success or as a return on societal investment. The report also explores several approaches to help improve student success.
The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators? (Melodie Christal)
The Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) report, The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators?, uses data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) longitudinal survey to compare students attending for-profit institutions with students attending public or private nonprofit institutions. For-profit institutions are more successful than public and nonprofit institutions at retaining students in their first year and getting them to complete short programs at the certificate and associate levels. On the other hand, students enrolled in for-profit institutions have lower earnings six years after entering postsecondary education as well as higher debt levels and default rates on their student loans. This paper is also available in the winter 2012 issue of Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26 (1), 139–164.
State Higher Education Finance FY 2011 (Katie Zaback)
The State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) annual report State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) provides a comprehensive review of state and local funding and enrollment trends for public higher education. Compiled from data collected from each state, SHEF FY 2011 shows relatively flat state funding for higher education in FY 2011 over 2010, and below the FY 2008 level. Due to continued enrollment growth, FY 2011 educational appropriations per FTE fell to $6,290 and net tuition revenues per FTE reached $4,774. These figures represent the lowest educational appropriations per FTE in inflation-adjusted terms and the highest share from tuition in the 25 years of the study. Supplemental data are also available on the SHEEO website.
National Center for Education Statistics (Ellen Peters)
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) First Look report, Enrollment in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2010; Financial Statistics, Fiscal Year 2010; and Graduation Rates, Selected Cohorts, 2002-07, (NCES 2012-280) presents findings from five components of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) spring 2011 data collection: student financial aid, enrollment by selected characteristics; graduation rates within 150 and 200 percent of program completion; and finance, such as revenues and operating expenditures. The report’s data are available through the IPEDS Data Center and the College Navigator for more than 7,000 postsecondary education institutions that participate in Title IV federal student financial aid programs.
CUPA-HR (College and University Personnel Association for Human Resources) (Melodie Christal)
CUPA-HR conducts several surveys on compensation of higher education positions each year and released new reports in February (AAUP) and March (National Faculty and Two-Year College Faculty) of this year. Information on each survey listed below is available at the CUPA-HR website under the Survey tab. CUPA also offers DataOnDemand, a hands-on application that provides institutions aggregate information for peer comparison groups they create. The prices for these reports and services are available on the CUPA website.
AAUP Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession (Melodie Christal)
Each year, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) collects salary and benefit data for full-time instructional faculty from colleges and universities through the AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey. A Very Slow Recovery, 2011-12, presents the most recent survey results. National and regional data are provided as well as institutional data. This year’s report also addresses the rising price of college tuition and what is driving it.
The National Faculty Salary Survey for Four-Year Institutions (NFSS) provides average salary data for full-time faculty by rank (professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, new assistant professors) and discipline, based on the four-digit Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) developed by the National Center for Education Statistics. Data are reported for all institutions and for public and private institutions separately.
The Two-Year College Faculty Salary Survey provides average salaries for full-time faculty by discipline at two-year institutions. Because two-year colleges have a diverse pay structure, the survey provides four options for reporting salaries: by level of education/degree, academic rank, discipline with faculty unranked, and discipline with faculty ranked.
The Administrative Compensation Survey (AdComp) collects salary and demographic data for selected administrative positions in colleges and universities. In general, positions at or above the director level are reported in this survey. The report provides a summary of median salaries by position for all institutions.
Chronicle of Higher Education Faculty Salary Database
The Chronicle of Higher Education interactive tool provides information about individual colleges and universities using data from the 2011-12 AAUP faculty salary survey and IPEDS. Some of the data available from this site are average faculty salaries by institution and rank, number of faculty, enrollment, and student-faculty ratio. While these data are available from other sources, the Chronicle of Higher Education makes the current year faculty salary data available earlier than most sources.
The Mid-Level Administrative and Professional Salary Survey collects salary and demographic data for selected mid-level positions in higher education. In general, positions below the director level are reported in this survey.
U.S. Census Bureau (Melodie Christal)
Two new U.S. Census Bureau products address education:
Educational Attainment in the United States: 2011 – The tables present national statistics on the levels of education achieved by various demographic characteristics, as well as changes over time. Data on educational attainment are derived from the question on the Current Population Survey, "What is the highest grade of school...has completed, or the highest degree...has received?"
Field of Bachelor’s Degree in the United States: 2009 – This report estimates fields of bachelor’s degrees by demographic characteristics using data from the 2009 American Community Survey. It also looks at geographic and earnings differences across fields of degree.
Published: March 28, 2012
The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011 (Ellen Peters)
The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011 report was released in January by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) at UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute (HERI). This annual report of entering first-year students is based on the findings from the 2011 Freshman Survey and includes responses from over 200,000 first-time, full-time students at 270 colleges and universities. The report shows that fall 2011 first-time, full-time students differ from respondents in past years in their political views, academic behaviors and attitudes, resources for paying for college, and use of social networking. In addition, there were differences in the reasons students attend college by intended major and in college choice for first-generation students.
Why Access Matters: The Community College Student Body (Melodie Christal)
The American Association of Community Colleges policy brief, Why Access Matters: The Community College Student Body (2012-01 PBL), discusses the contribution of community colleges in providing access to higher education and how recent policies on completions and public returns on investment may undermine this access for many students. The brief describes the variety of students served by community colleges and explains the shortcomings of current student success measures when applied to community colleges, particularly the federal graduation rate. The brief concludes with recommended actions to ensure that access to community colleges does not deteriorate.
A Matter of Degrees: Promising Practices for Community College Student Success (Melodie Christal)
A Matter of Degrees: Promising Practices for Community College Student Success from the Center for Community College Student Engagement explores innovative, data-informed programs for educating underprepared students, engaging underserved students, and helping students from all backgrounds succeed. The Center’s multiyear project uses input from students, faculty, and college leaders to explore the relative and combined value of 13 promising educational practices, including design principals critical for student success: a strong start, clear pathways, integrated support, high expectations and high support, intensive student engagement, design for scale, and professional development.
Pathways to Success: Integrating Learning with Life and Work to Increase National College Completion (Patrick Rossol-Allison)
The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance released the report Pathways to Success: Integrating Learning with Life and Work to Increase National College Completion outlining the barriers traditional and nontraditional college students face in completing their degrees. The report highlights best practices at higher education institutions and describes state and federal government strategies to improve student completion rates. The Advisory Committee calculates that increasing the number of successful nontraditional students will require significant modifications in the structure and delivery of higher education as well as changes to federal student aid programs. The proposed changes most relevant to institutional researchers are revisions to IPEDS to better reflect how nontraditional students complete their educational goals and the need for cooperation between different data consortia to define key data elements.
What Do Students Pay for College (Melodie Christal)
NCES Web Tables What Do Students Pay for College? (NCES 2012-263) present data on the average net price of attendance in 2006-07 and 2008-09 for two groups of first-time, full-time undergraduate students (FTFTUG): (1) grant recipients from any source, and (2) Title IV aid recipients. Under the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), net price of attendance is calculated as the cost of attendance for FTFTUG minus the total amount of need-based grant aid and merit-based grant aid from federal, state, and institutional sources divided by the number of FTFTUG students receiving this aid. Using data from the IPEDS Institutional Characteristics and Student Financial Aid surveys, the Web Tables present information on the extent to which the average net price of attendance varies by control and level of institution for both the grant recipient group and the Title IV recipient group, and by income levels for the Title IV aid recipient group.
Policy Watch (Melodie Christal, Christine Keller)
The White House is seeking feedback on a new tool, College Scorecard, to be included in the College Affordability and Transparency Center to assist prospective students and their families in comparing colleges using five measures of college affordability and value. Comments can be submitted through the College Scorecard website.
The proposed measures include: (1) What will it cost to attend? (2) How likely am I to graduate and how long will it take? (3) Will I be able to repay my student loans after I graduate? (4) How much debt will I have when I graduate? (5) Will I be able to get a job after I graduate?
Financial Aid Shopping Sheet
In collaboration with the Department of Education, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has designed an example of a Financial Aid Shopping Sheet that institutions might use in presenting financial aid offers to prospective students and families. The CFPB is also requesting feedback through their website about the form and the types of information most useful when evaluating a financial aid offer.
Published: February 22, 2012
AASCU Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues for 2012 (Melodie Christal)
Each year, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) lists the top 10 state issues most likely to affect public higher education during that year. The top state issue in the 2012 Policy Brief is declining state support for public higher education due to the prolonged economic downturn. Other issues listed in rank order are productivity, governance restructuring and regulatory reform, college completion, performance-based funding, tuition policy, state student grant program funding and reform, college readiness, veteran’s education, and immigration policy. In addition to the top ten issues, AASCU predicts discussions will continue on deferred maintenance funding, state level longitudinal data systems, recurring issues of teacher education, weapons on campus, and student enrollment policies.
Grapevine (Katie Zaback)
Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) recently released the results of the annual Grapevine survey of state higher education appropriations for fiscal year 2012. The report shows that nationwide support for higher education declined more than 7%, and 41 states experienced declines between 2011 and 2012. This trend reflects the effects of the lasting recession and the difficulty for states to maintain current funding levels now that federal ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) funds are depleted. In fact, 29% of states are currently operating with levels of support lower than those available five years ago in fiscal year 2007. The report also shows significant variation across states with one year percentage changes (excluding ARRA funds) ranging from negative 21% to positive 12%.
Salary Survey (Ellen Peters)
The January 2012 Salary Survey of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports positive news regarding salary outcomes for the college class of 2011. The overall average salary for 2011 graduates is up to $41,701, 2.3% higher than the 2010 graduate’s average of $40,766. Average salaries have increased across the board, although there are greater gains in engineering and computer science than in other fields. NACE refined its data collection methodology this year, compiling data derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau, and a master dataset developed by Job Search Intelligence. The NACE Executive Summary is available for free; the full report is available to NACE member institutions or by subscription.
Hard Time: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal (Melodie Christal)
The Center on Education and the Workforce addresses the question “Is college worth it?” in Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal. This report analyzes employment outcomes by major for recent college graduates, experienced college graduates, and graduate degrees. The authors conclude college is worth it and the best alternative for young people. Although the unemployment rate for students with new bachelor’s degrees is high at 8.9%, it is much higher for high school graduates (22.9%) and even higher for high school dropouts (31.5%). The risk of unemployment for recent college graduates varies considerably depending on the major. Architecture majors have the highest unemployment rate (13.9%) while majors in healthcare and education have the lowest rates (5.4%).
Women in Intercollegiate Sports: A Longitudinal, National Study, Thirty-Five Year Update (Mary Sapp)
This longitudinal report shows that in 2012, 40 years after the enactment of Title IX, the participation of female athletes in sports is at an all-time high with 8.7 women's teams per college and nearly 200,000 female athletes participating on over 9,000 NCAA teams. An increase in the participation of high-school girls in sports was also found. The report documents a record number of women employed in college sports: over 90% of NCAA programs have at least one female administrator, 20% of all athletic directors are female, and a record number of women are coaching women’s teams. The report notes that the proportion of females in administrative positions tends to be lower in Division I programs.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Reports (Christine Keller)
Beginning Subbaccalaureate Students' Labor Market Experiences: Six Years Later in 2009
This set of web tables presents descriptive statistics on the spring 2009 labor market experiences of subbaccalaureate students who first entered postsecondary education in 2003–04. Data from the 2004/09 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study is used to identify and present the demographic and employment characteristics of certificate and associate’s degree completers and noncompleters. Labor market experiences presented include employment status as of spring 2009, unemployment spells since last enrolled, median salary earned as of spring 2009, employer-offered benefits, and job satisfaction.
America's Youth: Transitions to Adulthood
America's Youth: Transition to Adulthood (NCES 2012-026) contains statistics that address important aspects of the lives of youth, including family, schooling, work, community, and health. The transition to adulthood in the United States has changed in recent decades resulting in increased participation and attainment in education; extenuation of educational completion and subsequent delayed participation in the labor force; and delays in child rearing. This report examines numerous aspects of the lives of youth and young adults, ages 14 to 24, in the United States over the last several decades. The report features status and trend data from multiple surveys on the distribution of youth and their family structure; on school-, employment-, and health-related factors and on future plans.
President Obama’s State of the Union Address
In the January 2012 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for a comprehensive approach to keeping tuition affordable, proposing that federal student aid be tied to campus tuition policies. The White House followed up with a "fact sheet" outlining the President’s proposal.
Common Education Data Standards Version 2 Released
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced the Version 2 release of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) on January 31. The CEDS project is a national, collaborative effort to develop voluntary data standards to streamline the exchange, comparison, and understanding of data within and across P-20. Version 2 of CEDS focuses on elements and modeling in the early learning, K12, and postsecondary sectors and includes domains, entities, elements, options sets, and related use cases. Version 2 of CEDS can be found at the CEDS website.
Published: January 29, 2012
10 Questions State Legislators Should Ask About Higher Education
The American Legislative Exchange Council poses and answers policy questions in 10 Questions State Legislators Should Ask About Higher Education. Some of the issues addressed are college completion rates, student preparation for college, accessibility of a college education, college costs and affordability, how higher education is financed, academic quality, workforce preparation, improving accountability and transparency, and innovations in higher education.
Leveraging Data for College Completion
Leveraging Data for College Completion by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) documents the importance of longitudinal data systems for identifying issues, making decisions, and measuring results. The brief emphasizes the significance of linking higher education data systems to workforce data and K-12 data systems and provides effective strategies for addressing some of the challenges related to data collection and management, as well as data analysis and capacity at the state level. In highlighting the strategies, the report also incorporates several successful state efforts.
Completing College: Assessing Graduation Rates at Four-Year Colleges
The Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA report, Completing College: Assessing Graduation Rates at Four-Year Colleges, introduces a new method for predicting an institution’s graduation rate using data from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey. Many institutions use basic student information such as gender, race/ethnicity, and test scores to project an expected graduation rate. By using the more detailed data from the CIRP Freshman Survey, HERI reports institutions can increase the precision of their predicted graduation rates. HERI also provides online degree completion calculators allowing institutions to evaluate how their own graduation rates can be improved using alternative scenarios.
National Student Clearinghouse Snapshot Reports
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has published three Snapshot Reports highlighting national enrollment trends in two-year and four-year institutions based on their database, which includes 93% of the student enrollments in the United States. The Persistence Snapshot shows that students tended to stay enrolled (i.e., persist) and notes students are often misclassified as dropouts when they may have just transferred to another institution. There were notable differences in fall-to-fall persistence rates of full-time (92.5%) and part-time (71.2%) students. The Mobility Snapshot addresses students who attend more than one institution and the Concurrent Snapshot addresses overlapping student enrollment. In 2010-11, 7.7% of students enrolled in more than one institution and 3.2% enrolled concurrently at more than one institution.
Tuition and Fees in Public Higher Education in the West, 2011-2012
Tuition and Fees in Public Higher Education in the West, 2011-2012 is the latest annual report on tuition and fees from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). This report presents tuition and mandatory fees at two-year and four-year public institutions for WICHE’S 15-state region including changes from one, five, and 10 years ago. The report includes weighted and unweighted tuition and fees averages by full-time equivalent enrollment. Enrollment-weighted averages provide a better estimate of the published price a student pays based on enrollment patterns.
Numbers of Doctorates Awarded in the United States Declined in 2010
The National Science Foundation Info Brief, Numbers of Doctorates Awarded in the United States Declined in 2010 (NSF 12-303), presents data and trends on doctorates awarded in science and engineering collected in the 2010 Survey of Earned Doctorates. As noted in the title, the number of research doctorates in 2010 was down from 2009, the first decline in doctorates awarded since 2002. This report includes demographic information on the doctorate recipients.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
The NCES Stats in Brief: Federal Education Tax Benefits: Who Receives Them and to What Extent Do They Shape the Price of Attendance? (NCES 2012-212) examines the three types of education tax credits: the Hope tax credit, the lifetime learning tax credit, and the tuition and fees deduction. The report addresses three questions: (1) What percentage of 2007-08 undergraduates received an education tax benefit and to what extent did these benefits reduce the overall price of college? (2) Among dependent undergraduate students, how did the receipt of the education tax benefits vary by family income? (3) Among dependent undergraduate tax benefit recipients, how did the extent to which education tax benefits lowered the overall price of college attendance vary by family income? The report notes that nearly one-half of the 2007-08 undergraduates received an education tax benefit, thereby reducing college expenses on average by $700.
The NCES First Look publication, Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2010, and Salaries of Full-Time Instructional Staff, 2010–11 (NCES 2012-276), presents data from the 2010-11 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) human resources survey. The report includes the number of staff employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in fall 2010 by primary function/occupational activity as well as salary data for full-time instructional staff. Almost 3.9 million people were employed at postsecondary institutions in fall 2010 with more than 60% employed full-time. About 2.7 million (70%) of these employees work for four-year institutions. Although the number of instructional staff has increased by 18% since 2004, the percentage of full-time faculty has decreased from 49% to 45%. The average nine-month salary is $104,000 for professors, $74,900 for associate professors, and $63,100 for assistant professors; the average salary for instructors, lecturers, and unranked faculty is about $54,000.
The NCES First Look publication, Academic Libraries: 2010 (NCES 2012-365), presents data from the 2010 Academic Libraries Survey (ALS). NCES first conducted the ALS in 1966 and began an every-other-year collection cycle in 1988. The survey focuses on library services, collections, library staff, expenditures, electronic services, and information literacy. In addition to selected survey findings, this First Look report provides information on the survey methodology, the survey instrument, and a glossary. In fall 2010, academic libraries employed almost 90,000 FTE with librarians accounting for about 30% of the total FTE. In 2009-10, academic libraries conducted approximately 34.6 million information services for individuals, including computer searches. Almost three-quarters of academic libraries now support virtual reference services.
GAO Report on Student Outcomes
The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued the postsecondary education report, Student Outcomes Vary at For-Profit, Nonprofit, and Public Schools (GAO-12-142). The report addresses research on graduation rates, employment outcomes, student loans, and default rates for students at for-profit institutions compared to those at nonprofit and public institutions. It also looks at pass rates on licensing exams for selected occupations. The study uses data primarily from the U.S. Department of Education including the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) Longitudinal Study, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and the National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey (NPSAS), and the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
Committee on Measures of Student Success
After a year of deliberation, the federal Committee on Measures of Student Success released its recommendations to the U.S. Department of Education in December 2011. The committee's report addresses issues that make measuring student completion rates at two-year institutions difficult and includes recommendations to the Department to collect more information about students who transfer, attend part-time, or require developmental education. While the committee's recommendations are targeted at two-year institutions, they could potentially affect four-year institutions as well.
Version 2.0 of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) will be released this month. CEDS is a voluntary standard that provides definitions and code sets for education data elements. It can improve consistency and comparability of data across institutions, states, and between education sectors. CEDS also has the potential to reduce the reporting burden for IPEDS and other reporting efforts. CEDS defines all data elements needed to complete the IPEDS student surveys, and NCES plans to develop a tool that will allow institutions to use the CEDS-defined codes to create IPEDS import files. A data mapping tool will accompany CEDS 2.0 allowing comparison of existing state data dictionaries to each other and the standard. IR offices are encouraged to discuss CEDS with their IT colleagues, ERP vendors, and other partners committed to ensuring a common understanding of educational data.