Equity Gap Widens
Economic and racial stratification is increasing in higher education, with growing concentrations of needy students at community colleges. Meanwhile, government funding skews toward universities with more advantaged students, due in part to research support and tax breaks, according to a Century Foundation report. The paper includes policy recommendations to address the growing inequitie
AP Courses vs. Dual Credit: What’s Best for High School Students?
Dual credit and Advanced Placement (AP) offer competing schools of thought on helping high school students earn college credits. Experts say both approaches can work, when done the right way, but they also have pitfalls. In Missouri, a push is building behind AP after years of popularity for dual enrollment. For the first time, the percentage of students passing an AP exam will factor into a district’s report card. Check out ECS’ high school issue site. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 05/19/13)
This issue brief prepared by AYPF for the College and Career Readiness and Success Center at the American Institutes for Research is intended to assist state policymakers in better understanding strategies to prepare students with disabilities and special needs for college and career. The brief provides context and background on the numbers of students with disabilities who are college and career ready; examines issues related to preparation and readiness for postsecondary education and careers; and includes examples of current programs and policies that help students with disabilities to successfully transition to college and careers.
Click here to find all briefs and reports
By Daniela Fairchild, Fordham Foundation
The Obama administration has shown commitment to evidence-based policies through its Head Start reforms, programs to reduce teen pregnancy, and efforts to boost parenting skills; it is time to show the same commitment for college-readiness programs, argues this policy brief. The brief, which accompanies the latest Future of Children journal issue, argues that the federal government’s major efforts to better prepare disadvantaged pupils for post-secondary education have yielded no rigorous proof of success. Yet we annually pump $1 billion into the so-called “TRIO programs” (Upward Bound, Talent Search, Student Support Services, and a few smaller programs). In order to streamline efforts—and to ensure program efficacy—the brief authors suggest that Congress consolidate all federal spending in this realm into a single competitive-grant program and fund a broad variety of intervention approaches (tutoring, counseling, and instruction) run by an array of proven providers. The long-time recipients of TRIO dollars will naturally hate this reform, but what’s the point of programs that don’t accomplish their objectives? A tough-minded approach might finally narrow the vast college-enrollment gap between the nation’s poorest and richest students.
As tuition goes up, the long-unquestioned value of a college degree is being questioned. Factors to consider include education’s cost and returns on investment, which vary widely by college and major. Authors look at new ways to measure tuition cost against other variables using College Scoreboard, state databases, U.S. News, and College Reality Check, for example, and call for the postsecondary system to give better information on the value of a college education. (Education Sector)
Concern over high school graduates being unprepared for college has educators and policymakers looking for ways to identify learning gaps earlier. A review by the Community College Research Center finds some form of early-college-readiness assessments are offered in 38 states, and 29 states have interventions to help reduce the need for remedial coursework for incoming college freshman
Early college counseling—as early as middle school—is essential to students’ aspirations for attending college, according to new study from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). The study, “Preparing Students for College: What High Schools Are Doing and How Their Actions Influence Ninth-Graders’ College Attitudes, Aspirations and Plans,” found that instilling positive attitudes about postsecondary education is critical to increasing college and career readiness at the high school level.
“With an increasingly diverse student population, it’s more important than ever to start early with good counseling about post-secondary options,” said Jim Rawlins, NACAC president and executive director of admissions at Colorado State University. “College admission counseling can give students and their families the knowledge and confidence they need to make the best choices about postsecondary education.”
The report finds that among ninth graders whose parents have not earned a bachelor’s degree:
• The amount of time counselors spent on college readiness activities was positively related to students’ belief that their families could afford college.
• A family member’s talking to a counselor about college was positively related to students’ plans to enroll in college.
• A student’s talking to a counselor about college was positively related to students’ plans to enroll in college and take an admission exam, such as the ACT or SAT.
The report was written for NACAC by Alexandria Walton Radford and Nicole Ifill of RTI International. Walton noted that, despite the benefits of early contact, only 18 percent of all ninth-grade students have spoken with a school counselor about college. Forty-eight percent of high school counselors indicated that the first priority for their counseling program, while 13 percent indicated that they felt some counselors at their school had “given up on some students.” Eight percent of high schools required that students develop a college or career plan.
As the Obama administration and Congress work to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), or “No Child Left Behind” Act, school improvement data increasingly indicate the importance of college and career readiness at the high school level.
“Counselors play a significant role in supporting students as they navigate the college selection process,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle. “The middle school years are vital in shaping students’ attitudes toward learning and higher education, and this report highlights the importance of providing systemic advocacy and support networks well before a student’s senior year. Achievement gaps can only be closed if we provide opportunities for all our children to be successful, and we hope more counselors will connect with students to build a system that will support them as they transition into college and beyond.”
Research reveals many barriers to success, particularly for low-income students and students who are the first in their families to consider attending college. Addressing those barriers to achievement, as well as instilling positive attitudes about postsecondary education, is a critical role of the school counselor.
“This report adds to the growing body of research that underscores the importance of school counselors in assisting students and families with educational and career planning,” noted Richard Wong, Executive Director of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). “Schools that enable their school counselors to coordinate and provide direct post-secondary planning assistance to students early, as suggested by the ASCA National Model for school counseling programs, stand to recognize a wide range of outcome improvements as a result.”
The report suggests that the transition between middle and high school can be an important time to reinforce positive attitudes and planning, particularly among low-income families and those segments of the population that will be essential if the United States is to reach President Obama’s ambitious goal to raise the nation’s college completion rate to 60 percent by the year 2020, adding at least 8 million college graduates.
A new analysis from the Pew Research Hispanic Center of U.S. Census Bureau data finds a record 69 percent of Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college last fall, two points higher than the rate among white counterparts. This increase in Hispanic college matriculation accelerated with the recession in 2008, while it declined among whites at the same time. The most recent data also show that in 2011, only 14 percent of Hispanic 16-to-24-year-olds were high school dropouts, versus 28 percent in 2000. The dropout rate among whites also declined during that period, but by less. However, Hispanics continue to lag in several key higher-education measures: Hispanic students are less likely than white counterparts to enroll in a four-year college (56 versus 72 percent), less likely to attend a selective college, less likely to enroll in college full-time, and less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree. The brief posits the rise in high school completion and college enrollment by Latino youth may be driven in part by declining fortunes in the job market. Since 2007, unemployment among Latinos ages 16 to 24 has risen seven percentage points. Another factor, however, could be the growing importance that Latino families place on a college education. More
Richard Vedder | Bloomberg
University presidents aren’t corporate executives. If higher education wishes to maintain its privileged position in American society, it needs to contain its spending. A good place to start is at the top.