The main purpose of college is to transfer knowledge to students, but that requires getting them to the classroom… and actually keeping them there until graduation. Nationwide, less than 60 percent of college students complete a bachelor’s degree within six years.
State governments increasingly are tying money for higher-education institutions to performance-based outcomes such as graduation rates, rather than just student enrollment. Twenty-five states now have some sort of performance-based model and four others are planning to follow. But there are still major questions about how schools respond to these models and what outcomes they have. Those issues were the focus of a panel discussion at EWA’s 67th National Seminar, held last month at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
It’s well known that obtaining a college degree can give graduates a leg up financially over their lifetime, but it turns out that a person’s overall well-being after commencement has little to do with the type of institution attended.
For many college students — whether fresh out of high school or adults returning to school — their most serious obstacles to a degree won’t be homework or tests, but rather the challenges of navigating student life. Colleges are now being forced to face the longstanding problems that have often led to students’ flailing and failing on their own.
For decades, the Mission Graduates nonprofit program has helped boost education among Latino families in San Francisco’s Mission District.
The program provides after-school programs, encourages parent involvement and college preparatory programming.
Below are tweets I picked that may help reporters tackle this important question of fairness on a demographic group tagged with many myths. Population projections show that by 2050 one in 10 Americans will have an Asian background. Thirteen percent of the U.S. will be African American.
Trey Mack, a doctoral candidate in astronomy, didn’t believe he could land a spot in a great master’s program, let alone a doctoral program, until a friend of a friend introduced him to the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge program.
For higher education reporters, Inside Higher Ed editor Scott Jaschik’s annual top-10 list of story ideas is a highlight of EWA’s National Seminar. This year at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Jaschik kicked off his roundup with an issue that has affected many institutions around the country: sexual assault. The key to covering this story, he said, is not to imply that this is a new problem. Increased attention from the White House has challenged the ways that many colleges have addressed these incidents.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — When it comes to being engaged at work and experiencing high well-being after graduation, a new Gallup-Purdue University study of college graduates shows that the type of institution they attended matters less than what they experienced there. Yet, just 3% of all the graduates studied had the types of experiences in college that Gallup finds strongly relate to great jobs and great lives afterward.
A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education
A Detailed Look at Postsecondary Attainment - Nationally and in Every State
This is Lumina Foundation’s fifth annual issue of A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, our signature report on progress toward Goal 2025. In this report, we measure progress in the higher education attainment rate — the percentage of the nation’s adult, working-age population holding a high-quality postsecondary credential.
The states with the largest Latino populations don’t necessarily have the best track record for graduating Latinos from college, a new state-by-state analysis shows.
According to the report from the advocacy group Excelencia in Education, in 2011-12 only about 20 percent of Latinos ages 25 and older had at least an associate’s degree. The overall population had a much higher rate, at 36 percent.
Several reports dropped this week about the difficulties community college students face transferring into a four-year college.
Nearly half of all postsecondary students are enrolled at a community college, and a poll from 2012 indicates 80 percent of those students aim to complete a degree at a four-year college or university. But while that goal is shared by many students, few actually successfully jump from a two-year to a four-year program.
In the state supplement to its sixth Signature Report, a national study on college completion, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center takes a state-by-state look at the various pathways that students take to complete a college degree or certificate.
It is well established that students who begin postsecondary education at a community college are less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than otherwise similar undergraduates who begin at a 4-year school, but there is less consensus over the mechanisms generating this disparity. We explore these using national longitudinal transcript data and propensity-score methods. …
This is a report by the Council of Independent Colleges. The report authors say the findings suggest that, as a sector, small and mid-sized private institutions perform better than public institutions in students’ persistence and undergraduate degree completion rates in STEM fields and they substantially outperform public nondoctoral institutions.
The Department of Education (Education) relies on collection agencies to assist borrowers in rehabilitating defaulted student loans, which allows borrowers who make nine on-time monthly payments within 10 months to have the default removed from their credit reports. Education works with 22 collection agencies to locate borrowers and explain repayment options, including rehabilitation.
The 2018 Tuition Tracker online tool, which was updated and relaunched on Oct. 18, 2018, makes it easy to look up and compare the annual prices charged by more than 3,800 public, private and for-profit colleges and universities.
The nonprofit Council for Adult & Experiential Learning, or CAEL as it is commonly called, advocates for initiatives that enable adults to earn postsecondary credentials more efficiently. They “support ways to link learning from [adults'] work and life experiences to their educational goals—so they earn their degrees and credentials faster.” CAEL’s expertise includes efforts such as prior learning assessment and competency-based education.
It may seem like a paradox: Many Latino and black male students enter community college with enthusiasm and high aspirations. However, minority males are less likely to complete their degrees than their white male counterparts.
The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) by the Center for Community College Student Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin came to that conclusion in its report “Aspirations to Achievement: Men of Color and Community Colleges.”
In episode 3 of EWA Radio, Michele McNeil and Alyson Klein of Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog stop by for some post-State of the Union analysis.
Two new reports by The Education Trust recognize universities that are making the greatest strides in closing achievement gaps for Latino students.
The first study identifies San Diego State University and the University of Southern California for significantly increasing graduation rates among Latino students.
According to the report, the six-year graduation rate for Latino students who began school in 1996 was 31 percent. The rate for students who began in 2005 improved to 58.8 percent. At USC, the graduation rate reached nearly the same level as white students.
Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002): A First Look at 2002 High School Sophomores 10 Years Later
This First Look presents findings from the third, and final, follow-up survey of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002). ELS:2002 provides a wealth of information from multiple sources (tested achievement, questionnaire, and administrative records) about the factors and circumstances related to the performance and social development of the American high school student over time.
How many students are really graduating from college? This number is becoming more important as policymakers look to tie university funding to completion rates. But as more students start to “swirl”—take extended time off or transfer into another institution, acts that eliminate them from many traditional measures of college graduation –what’s the best way to keep track of which students actually earned degrees?
As the nation’s top college football teams prepare to take the field for the elite bowl games, three new reports out this week raise similarly troubling concerns about dismal graduation rates for many of the black players constituting the bulk of the starting lineups.
Life for the nearly 40 million Americans without a high school diploma could be about to get harder as testing companies who create high school equivalency exams are rolling out tougher – and in some cases — more expensive
In 2008, FHI 360 and the Citi Foundation joined together to launch the Citi Postsecondary Success Program, now called the Postsecondary Success Collaborative. Five years and 12,000 students later, the Postsecondary Success Collaborative has transformed the way participating schools and partners in Miami-Dade County, Philadelphia and San Francisco map resources and needs and collaborate to support college readiness and completion.
More than 50 journalists joined EWA for our annual Higher Education Seminar, held Sept. 27-28 at Northeastern University in Boston. As always, we look forward to the coverage inspired and informed by the event. So far, we know about the following stories:
More students are defaulting on their federal college loans, new U.S. Department of Education data show.
About 250 community colleges and four-year institutions recently have pledged to track veterans’ outcomes and support them on campus through a new program of the U.S. Department of Education. How much do we know about the recent success rates of veterans at American colleges and what services exist to support them?
From the “gainful employment” debate to what’s next for MOOCs, Inside Higher Ed Editor Scott Jaschik offers his ideas on topics in postsecondary education that journalists should be tracking.
Shaun Harper, director of the Center for Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, previews new research on how New York City addressed the challenge of guiding more of its black and Latino male students to postsecondary success.
About 250 community colleges and four-year institutions recently have pledged to track veterans’ outcomes and support them on campus through a new program of the U.S. Department of Education. How much do we know about the recent success rates of veterans at American colleges and what services exist to support them? Speakers: Peter Buryk, Senior Project Associate, Rand Corporation; Marc V. Cole, Senior Advisor for Veterans and Military Families, U.S. Department of Education; Ashley Parker-Roman, U.S.
Shaun Harper, director of the Center for Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, previews new research on how New York City addressed the challenge of guiding more of its black and Latino male students to postsecondary success. Recorded Saturday, Sept. 28 at EWA’s 2013 Higher Ed Seminar, Guess Who’s Coming to Campus: What Demographic Changes Mean for Colleges and Reporters.
From the “gainful employment” debate to what’s next for MOOCs, Inside Higher Ed Editor Scott Jaschik offers his ideas on topics in postsecondary education that journalists should be tracking.
Recorded Friday, Sept. 27 at EWA’s 2013 Higher Ed Seminar, Guess Who’s Coming to Campus: What Demographic Changes Mean for Colleges and Reporters.
A new report highlighting the growing rate of poverty among suburban residents warns that traditional policies aimed at combating indigence aren’t designed to address the problem adequately.
The biggest obstacles that many undergraduates face en route to a college degree are the remedial or developmental courses in which they will be placed for their first year. These courses, which students must pass before they can take classes that carry college credit, add to the expense and time it takes to earn a degree. Are such classes really needed? Or can schools replace them with other forms of academic support?
What’s the best way to determine how effectively a college goes about the business of educating its students? If popular college rankings in the media are flawed, what other models of crunching the data might deliver more illuminating comparisons? To what extent is a college’s success at graduating students dependent on the types of students it enrolls? This session offers insights on new approaches on how to use the data available to see a more complete picture of college performance.
In May of my senior year at Union College (See photo), the only thing I was thinking about was passing finals and completing papers with pretentious titles. Postgraduation plans, like a job, were nothing more than vapors momentarily wafting in the way of those footnotes buried in my textbooks. I had no idea what kind of job I’d get, but I did know one thing for certain: I’d wrap up my college education with roughly $17,000 in federally subsidized debt.
The latest on what we know about how students learn best, what institutions should be looking for, and how they determine if it’s happening. Panelists: Kenneth Terrell, Education Writers Association (moderator); George Kuh (NILOA) and Robert Gonyea (NSSE); Trudy Banta and Gary Pike, IUPUI. Recorded at EWA’s Seminar for Higher Education Reporters at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Nov. 2-3, 2012.
In recent years, various options have emerged to trim the costs of earning a degree. In this session, we will examine whether options such as three-year degree programs and online education can make higher education more affordable. Panelists: Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed (moderator); Kris Clerkin, Southern New Hampshire University; David Daniels, Pearson; Tom Harnisch, American Association of State Colleges & Universities; Burck Smith, StraighterLine; Tom Snyder, Ivy Tech Community College.
With the help of EWA members, we’ve put together a bingo card of some of the more popular education buzzwords and phrases you can expect to hear at tonight’s debate. If you are planning a debate-watching party — and who isn’t? — you can print out all five cards and play along.
Click here to download your own set of bingo cards.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education released an
action plan that would revise how colleges and universities are
evaluated, with graduation rates to now reflect students who
attend part-time, as well as those who are returning to
The new formula is particularly important for community colleges, which have long complained that two significant segments of their student populations were being underreported. And a new web tool launching today from the College Board could offer more perspective on how community colleges are performing.
Panelists discuss the challenges facing first-generation college students, the difference between “retention” and “persistence,” and the challenge of matching students with ideal institutions. Recorded at EWA’s Nov. 4-5 seminar for higher education reporters at UCLA.
Past valedictorians of low-performing District high schools say their own transitions to college were eye-opening and at times ego-shattering, filled with revelations that — despite taking their public schools’ most difficult classes and acing them — they were not equipped to excel at the nation’s top colleges.
“The nation is, at long last, engaged in a serious discussion of what it might take to make sure that our students leave high school college and career ready. But what exactly, does that mean? Almost three years ago, we decided to find out, by looking at the levels of mathematics and English language literacy high school graduates need to succeed in their first year in our community colleges.”
The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education researches and emphasizes the role that socioeconomic background plays with regard to a student’s ability to earn a college degree. The Pell Institute also studies issues affecting the completion rates of first-generation students and students with disabilities.
The Lumina Foundation for Education is a philanthropic organization dedicated to improving college graduation rates in the United States. The foundation—headquartered in Indianapolis—was established in 2000, and in 2009, Lumina announced its Goal 2025 initiative, which seeks to “increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials from the longstanding rate of 39 percent to 60 percent by the year 2025.” The Lumina Foundation has sponsored the Education Writers Association’s work regarding the coverage of higher education.
The Institute for Higher Education Policy “is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to promoting access to and success in higher education for all students.” IHEP approaches postsecondary improvement with five key goals in mind: access and success; accountability; diversity; finance; and global impact.
Complete College America, launched in 2009, is a national nonprofit set up to “work with states to significantly increase the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees and to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.” The shifting demographics of American society are central to CCA’s efforts as they note “we must move with urgency to reinvent American higher education to meet the needs of the new majority of students on our campuses, delicately balancing the jobs they need with the education they desire.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in December 2008 announced a $69 million multiyear grants initiative to “double the number of low-income students who earn a postsecondary degree or credential with genuine value in the workplace by age 26.” While the foundation has done extensive, non-education-related work in developing nations, “In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.” The Gates Foundation has sponsored the Education Writers Association’s work regardin
The College Board is known primarily for their SAT and Advanced Placement tests, which play critical roles in the college admissions process, both for students and admissions officers across the country. The College Board, however, does also have an Advocacy & Policy Center that actively researches key issues of college access and success. Their annual reports regarding trends in college costs and financial aid are key tools of the higher education beat.
The number of Americans graduating from college has surged in recent years, sending the share with a college degree to a new high, federal data shows.
The GED no longer has a lock on the market for tests that serve as the equivalent of a high school degree. Three states have switched to new competitors from Educational Testing Service (ETS) and McGraw-Hill — and many more are mulling a change.
Looking at college explicitly in terms of its “return on investment,” measured in starting salaries and potential earnings, is something new—a confluence of anxieties about the rising cost of college, mounting debt among students, a flaccid economy, and the ubiquitous vocabulary of the market.
The Institute for College Access and Success is an advocacy group that works to promote college affordability. Based in San Francisco, they can offer perspectives on various aspects of college costs, such as net price calculators, student debt, and income-based repayment of student loans.
California’s community college system on April 9 unveiled Web-based “scorecards” on student performance at its 112 colleges. The new data tool is user-friendly and often sobering, with graduation, retention and transfer rates for each of the colleges and for the overall system, which enrolls 2.4 million students.
Legislation will be introduced in the California Senate that could reshape higher education by requiring the state’s public colleges and universities to give credit for faculty-approved online courses taken by students unable to register for oversubscribed classes on campus.
If it passes, as seems likely, it would be the first time that state legislators have instructed public universities to grant credit for courses that were not their own — including those taught by a private vendor, not by a college or university.
But few traditional schools in Indiana have plans to adopt competency-based education in a way that allows students to progress toward degrees on their own time lines. Such schools as Indiana University, Indiana State University and even for-profit educators like Harrison College say they plan to stick closely to their models that require specific amounts of time in class to graduate.
The growing role of class in academic success has taken experts by surprise since it follows decades of equal opportunity efforts and counters racial trends, where differences have narrowed. It adds to fears over recent evidence suggesting that low-income Americans have lower chances of upward mobility than counterparts in Canada and Western Europe.
Of the $956 billion in student-loan debt outstanding as of September, 11 percent was delinquent — up from less than 9 percent in the second quarter, and higher than the 10.5 percent of credit-card debt, which was delinquent in the third quarter. By comparison, delinquency rates on mortgages, home-equity lines of credit and auto loans stood at 5.9 percent, 4.9 percent, and 4.3 percent respectively as of September.
A joint examination by ProPublica and The Chronicle of Higher Education has found that Plus loans can sometimes hurt the very families they are intended to help: The loans are both remarkably easy to get and nearly impossible to get out from under for families who’ve overreached. When a parent applies for a Plus loan, the government checks credit history, but it doesn’t assess whether the borrower has the ability to repay the loan. It doesn’t check income. It doesn’t check employment status.
Lawyers drained Linda Brice’s bank account and seized a quarter of her take-home pay, or more than $900 a month. Brice, a first-grade teacher and Coast Guard veteran, begged for mercy, saying she couldn’t afford food, gas or utilities.
Brice’s transgression: she defaulted on $3,100 she had borrowed more than 30 years ago to pay for college. The chief federal judge in Los Angeles took her side, ruling that Brice should pay only $25 a month. The law firm of Goldsmith & Hull – representing the federal government — then withdrew $2,496 from her bank account.
In some ways, community colleges have faced the most scrutiny by advocates of the college completion agenda. This article reports on a panel discussion of the impact these efforts have had on two-year colleges. “[If] the focus on completion gets too singular, two-year colleges run the risk of neglecting student access and even the quality of learning on their campuses,” the story notes.
The consequences of leaving college before graduation are not just educational. Dropping out also can have a significant financial impact: “College dropouts are also among the most likely to default on their loans, falling behind at a rate four times that of graduates.”
This is the third major report the Lumina Foundation has released to assess the nation’s progress toward Lumina’s goal “to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.” The report found that only 38.3 percent of working-age Americans held a two- or four-year college degree in 2010, concluding that “if we continue on our current rate of production, only 79.8 million working-age Americans (46.5% of those aged 25-64) will hold degrees by 2025…This will leave us more than 23 million degrees short of the national 60 percent goal.”
With the growing demand for improving college completion rates has come a need for more thorough information about just how well or poorly colleges and their students are performing on a variety of measures. In a growing number of states, that data is being used to improve the number of students who finish their degrees.
EWA 2012 National Reporting Contest winner. College students spend a lot of time listening to lectures. But research shows there are better ways to learn. And experts say students need to learn better because the 21st century economy demands more well-educated workers.
This comprehensive study challenged the conventional image that most college students enter postsecondary education directly from high school and proceed directly to a bachelor’s degree in six years or less. It notes instead that “Nontraditional students are the new majority” and that “Part-time students rarely graduate,” among its other groundbreaking findings.
Developing 20/20 Vision on the 2020 Degree Attainment Goal — The Threat of Income-Based Inequality in Education
In this report, the Pell Institute says that “The nation’s failure to keep pace with other countries in educational attainment among 25- to 34- year-old adults can largely be traced to our inability to adequately educate individuals from families in the bottom half of the income distribution.”
Tracking the national progress toward its goal for college completion, the College Board offers 10 recommendations for improving educational attainment. At the postsecondary level, the goals include reforming college admissions, simplifying and improving financial aid, and offering better academic counseling to college students.
EWA 2010 National Reporting Contest winner. With skyrocketing numbers of applicants and declining percentages of students accepted, how are admissions offices handling the multiple pressures they face? Are schools bringing in more and more accomplished students, or just the same kind of enrollment class compared to students from a decade ago?
The national college completion goals laid out by President Obama and various organizations are literally monumental, aiming to move millions of Americans to college degrees. This article examines efforts to break that large, national goal down into smaller regional and metropolitan goals.
Many advocates for increasing the number of Americans with college credentials assert that one efficient way to raise that number would be to convince adults who have dropped out of college to return and finish their degrees. This article examines the pros and cons of that approach.
This article examines the ideas experts — including some college presidents — shared in a discussion entitled “Competing in a Global Economy: How to Boost College Completion Rates,” sponsored by the Gates Foundation. “American colleges often focus too much on enrolling students and not enough on making sure they graduate, a number of panelists said.”
EWA 2010 National Reporting Contest winner. For college athletes, how much help is too much if they have learning disabilities? This story features a fired disabilities coach who university officials say blurred the line between aiding student-athletes with learning disabilities and academic fraud. Other members of the university’s athletic academic support unit in some cases supplied answers to tests, and in other cases typed papers, for 61 athletes in football and other sports.
This article covers the Gates Foundation’s original announcement of its college completion initiative. A subscription is required to view the full article.
This study, commonly known as the Spellings Report—in reference to U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings who commissioned it—is perhaps one of the earliest landmarks in the current college completion agenda. “We may still have more than our share of the world’s best universities,” the report asserts. “But a lot of other countries have followed our lead, and they are now educating more of their citizens to more advanced levels than we are. Worse, they are passing us by at a time when education is more important to our collective prosperity than ever.”