Posts published in April, 2012

High School Student Career Maps May Help College Readiness

Career Mapping Eyed to Prepare Students for College
About half of all states mandate that schools help create individual or student learning plans, and most others have optional programs. The practice is picking up momentum with the increased emphasis on college completion, which research shows is more likely when students take rigorous courses and have a career goal. But these career maps take an investment in technology and training.

Effective College Readiness Strategies: A Summary Report

A new report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform examines the burgeoning field of college readiness, with models to help districts, schools, and other interested stakeholders prepare students for college success. The report is part of the College Readiness Indicator System initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The report defines college-readiness through three dimensions — academic preparedness, academic tenacity, and college knowledge. The report finds that common strategies to help students gain content-area knowledge and key cognitive skills for success in college include aligning standards, curricula, and assessments to college-ready expectations; using data to drive college-readiness policies; and intervening early to keep students on a college-ready track. Successful programs also promote academic tenacity by exposing students to tenacity-building activities; providing accelerated and extended learning opportunities that promote persistence and attainment; restructuring schools into personalized learning communities; and providing additional supports for at-risk students. Finally, successful programs create a college-going culture in the school and community; support students through the college-planning process; and engage families in learning about and supporting college-going. The guide includes references to the Postsecondary Success Initiative, a project of Public Education Network, taking place in local education funds in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Miami.
See the report:   Source:PEN Newsblast

Successful College On Line Will Be A Blend

Can online education’s future be both profitable, student-friendly?
Educational technology experts speculate that future successful online, for-profit, education companies will look like a blend of current sector giants, such as the University of Phoenix, and up-and-comer start-ups, such as Udacity and Coursera. The new online higher education model will also have to successfully prepare and credential students for gainful employment.

Economic Consequences Of Low Male College Completion

Men’s college degree attainment key to lowering U.S. unemployment According to David Autor, professor of economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, “middle-skill jobs, typically well-paying work that doesn’t require extensive higher education, are vanishing.” While women are earning the degrees required for the new jobs our economy is creating, men’s degree attainment is growing at a slower rate.  Because there is a mismatch between employers’ demands for knowledge workers and the labor market supply, men without college degrees are a driving factor between high unemployment rates in the U.S.

New Tools For Undergrad And Graduate Student Decisions About College Choices

Guest Blogger: Alysia Dupuy

An inordinate amount of pressure falls on teenagers to excel in school and gain admission to top universities. Many high school juniors tend to fixate on the most well-known schools, without truly considering what they want in their college experience and which institutions best fit their unique desires. With this resource, users can rank, filter, and compare colleges by location, tuition, mean GPA or SAT admitted, and much more to find schools that complement their individual expectations.

Once that elusive acceptance letter has arrived, the next obstacle is the cost of college. Whether you are looking to mitigate fee hikes and tuition increases, or looking for a full-ride scholarship, the scholarship database provides the same instruments to allow for a customized search. Identify niche grants specific to you–whether based on gender, background, interests, or skills–and improve your chances of an award.

After four years as an undergraduate, the anxiety of applications returns, as many pursue graduate school. Whether you are looking for a degree from one of the top business schools,  prestigious law schools, or best medical schools, this resource enables students to sort through all U.S. accredited universities in a search for their perfect fit.

New Types Of Coaches Can Increase Freshman College Persistence

Coaching college freshmen so they don’t drop out
Executive-style coaching is making its way onto campuses across the country as schools struggle to keep students from dropping out. In much the same way career coaches help executives reflect on their job performance and goals, student coaches talk with freshmen about studying, financial challenges, family issues, and long-term planning. Eric Bettinger, an associate professor at Stanford University’s School of Education, compared the academic records of more than 13,500 students; half had received coaching and half hadn’t. He found that freshmen in the coached group were 15 percent more likely to still be in school 18 to 24 months later. Coaches “actually call the student and aggressively go after them, rather than expecting the students to come to a service,” Bettinger says.

Closing The Race Gap In College Enrollment

Cambridge, MA. (April 18, 2012) – According to findings released today by researchers at the Strategic Data Project (SDP), the gap in college enrollment rates between black students and white students in four large, urban districts disappears or even reverses direction once prior achievement and socioeconomic background is accounted for. The SDP team also found that the same measure considerably reduces the gap between white and Latino students, although the gap still remains in most districts. These data highlight the importance of ensuring equal access to high quality instruction regardless of economic background and can help districts understand where they ought to target their efforts to increase college enrollment.

Find all materials on this webpage:

Reports Worth Reading

Recommended by ECS

  • Assessment      of Opportunities and Models for Adults to Complete the Baccalaureate  Degree at Virginia Four-Year Institutions (State Council of Higher  Education in Virginia; also see report summary and fact sheet)
  • Latino College Completion  in 50 States (Excelencia in Education)
  • A Stronger Nation  through Higher Education (Lumina Foundation)

Report Urges Eliminating Tuition Tax Breaks For Wealthy Families And Expanding Pell Grants

Eliminate College Tuition Tax Breaks, New Education Sector Report Argues 

Washington, D.C. – During the last several years, Congress and the Obama administration have made significant cuts to federal student aid funding to shore up the budget of the Pell Grant program, the primary source of government aid to low-income students. But in a new Education Sector Chart You Can Trust, Stephen Burd argues that the federal government has a better way to keep the Pell Grant program viable: eliminate the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the other federal tuition, tax-break programs.

“At a time when the budget axe is falling on the Pell Grant program, providing billions of dollars in tax benefits to upper-middle income families who would send their children to college without the help is a luxury that the government can no longer afford,” Burd says in Moving On Up: How Tuition Tax Breaks Increasingly Favor the Upper-Middle Class.

Burd analyzed data from the Internal Revenue Service collected by the College Board to document how tuition tax credits have increasingly shifted away from the students and families who need them most. In the years between 1999 and 2001, nearly 83 percent of the higher education tax benefits went to families earning less than $75,000 per year. No benefits went to those earning more than $100,000. By contrast, in the last three tax years alone, families making between $100,000 and $180,000 received nearly a quarter of the benefits. The share going to middle-income families sharply declined.

Burd’s proposal is certain to be controversial. Providing tax breaks for college tuition is one policy area in which both Democratic and Republican elected officials have agreed. In 2001, President Bush included a tax deduction for higher education in his tax cut plan. President Obama made the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) a centerpiece in the budget stimulus package Congress passed in 2009.

But although the tax breaks do not count as spending in the federal budget, Burd points out that they are still very expensive. He quotes figures from the U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation, estimating that the government will spend about $55 billion on the tuition tax-break programs from 2010 to 2014. The largest amount and share of these benefits will likely go to families making more than $100,000.

Instead of making further cuts to Pell eligibility, reducing grant amounts, or eliminating interest subsidies for student loans, Congress should allow the AOTC to expire at the end of this year, eliminate all of the other tuition tax breaks, and use the savings to ensure that the Pell Grant program remains on a sustainable path, Burd argues.

Read Moving On Up: How Tuition Tax Breaks Increasingly Favor the Upper-Middle Class.

New State Policies To Regulate For Profit Colleges

Changing Dynamics in State Oversight of For-Profit Colleges

Enrollments at for-profit colleges nationwide continue to increase, with the industry now enrolling a critical mass of postsecondary students. While for-profit colleges have made some positive contributions to advancing students’ interests and meeting labor markets needs, accusations of systemic consumer fraud and abuse by these education businesses have been on the rise. Further, concerns continue to mount regarding both the unbearable financial indebtedness faced by some students attending these institutions, and the simultaneous lack of meaningful employment opportunities upon graduation.
State governments have a vital, if underappreciated, role to play in ensuring that students are not only protected from fraudulent and abusive business practices that may take place at for-profit colleges, but that they also receive an education that advances career opportunities. This policy brief illustrates the for-profit college industry’s rapid ascension in American higher education; discusses troubling patterns of impropriety and unsatisfactory student outcomes; re-examines the state’s responsibilities in this sector; and outlines national and state reform efforts.
Authored by Thomas L. Harnisch, AASCU Policy Analyst