Posts published in January, 2014

Why Do First Year College Students Drop Out?

A recent study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research uses a new, dynamic model to understand factors other than financial constraints that contribute to a student’s decision to drop out of college. NBER’s study attributes 45% of the dropout that occurs in the first year of college to what students learn about their academic performance. To learn more about the policy implications, check out the study here. (New to the ECS Database)

College Experience From 2002 to 2014 For 2002 High School Sophomores

In 2002 this survey followed high school sophomores until 2014. There are some interesting findings. 84% have some college, but only 33% have a BA. 60 % of the college students took out loans. See more below:  It’s interesting how many 27 year olds get a degree and how few don’t graduate high school.


Liberal Arts Graduates Fare Well In Employment

How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment: A Report on Earnings and Long-Term Career Paths

By Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly

Student, parents, and policy makers interested in the “return on investment” of college education tend to place unwarranted emphasis on the choice of undergraduate major, often assuming that a major in a liberal arts field has a negative effect on employment prospects and earnings potential. This new report—which includes data on earnings, employment rates, graduate school earnings bumps, and commonly chosen professions—presents clear evidence to the contrary. It shows not only that the college degree remains a sound investment, especially in these difficult economic times, but also that—as compared to students who major in professional, preprofessional, or STEM fields—liberal arts majors fare very well in terms of both earnings and long-term career success.

Order your print copy today.

Also available for purchase in eBook Version (PDF).

Read an excerpt of this publication online.

Frequent Tests can Enhance College Learning

Grading college students on quizzes given at the beginning of every class, rather than on midterms or a final exam, increases both attendance and overall performance, scientists reported Wednesday. The findings — from an experiment in which 901 students in a popular introduction to psychology course at the University of Texas took their laptops to class and were quizzed online — demonstrate that the computers can act as an aid to teaching, not just a distraction. The article is in The New York Times.

Majority Of College Students Not A Good Match For Their College

College-Student Mismatches
A new study reports that a majority of students are mismatched in college — the quality of the college they attend does not match their academic ability. Mismatch has implications for the design of state higher education systems and for student aid policy. Learn more here. (New to the ECS Research Studies Database).

A Defense Of The Residential Liberal Arts College

University of Evansville President Thomas Kazee writes in the Huffington Post: The din of voices clamoring for educational reform, including President Obama’s, has threatened to drown out attention to what should be a key driver of our national educational policy. How do we ensure that college graduates in this country have a fundamental understanding of how society works — how the complex pieces of our social order fit together? More online education, more competency-based credits, more certificates and “badges,” more focus on how much our graduates earn in their first job — all of this is understandable in a world that seems increasingly credentials-crazy. To assume, however, that true education is simply a matter of bundling such loosely connected experiences until one satisfies requirements for a credential is misguided and ultimately a recipe for national weakness, not strength.

Source: Carnegie Foundation

Complete College America Claims Much Progress

By Stan Jones

26 states have implemented or are working toward performance funding for their public institutions. 22 states (and the District of Columbia) have committed to significantly increase the number of remedial college students who complete college-level math and English within their first year. 15 states are deploying extensive “15 to Finish” campaigns. And another 11 states are developing plans for either structured schedules or Guided Pathways to Success. There’s no doubt: our Alliance of States is making progress to boost college completion, and the year ahead brings with it exciting opportunities to build upon that momentum.

Complete College America has launched into 2014 with an ongoing laser-like focus on increasing the number of Americans with a college degree or credential of value and closing attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations. With the release of our most recent report, The Game Changers, we have pinpoint the five best college completion strategies and provided a clear roadmap for achieving significant results. Everything we do in 2014 – our events, publications, and our brand new website – will reflect this steadfast focus on these proven strategies.

In support of these efforts, I had the privilege last week of joining postsecondary education leaders from across the country at a White House summit centered on expanding college opportunity. At the event, it was my great honor to recognize the 23 Alliance of States members that have committed to ensuring more remedial education students succeed in our public higher education institutions.

In addition, we’ve already held our first in-state academy of the year with West Virginia, collaborating with state and institutional leaders who recognize that remediation reform is a critical element in closing the skills gap and securing our economic future. As we look to the year ahead, we are preparing for additional high-impact technical assistance events that focus on the Game Changers.

In the coming months, we will ramp up our efforts surrounding Guided Pathways to Success in STEM, an initiative spearheaded by five grant recipients (D.C., Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Ohio) that were announced at the end of last year. Thanks to our partnership with the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, these states and their ambitious plans will provide a blueprint for the rest of the country as we work to increase the number of STEM graduates coming out of American higher education.

In late December, Tennessee was announced as the first of three states to receive a $1 million grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education in partnership with Complete College America. The three-year grant will help the state’s institutions provide clearly sequenced degree plans to students that will help them follow the best and shortest paths to graduation. The other two states will be announced in the coming weeks, and 2014 will yield substantial work in this area.

Complete College America’s mission is as important as ever. We’ve seen this country come a long way through efforts to improve access, and, as a result, the freshman class looks more like America than ever before. But, as a nation, we still have work to do to ensure that graduating classes also look more like America. By focusing on the best strategies and growing our alliance of policy makers, thought leaders, and postsecondary education officials, we will see a day where many, many more Americans have the degree needed to secure their economic future and strengthen our states and nation. On behalf of all of us at Complete College America, we’re honored to be a part of this work and look forward to working with all of you in the coming year.

posted by Stan Jones

Critique Of White House College Summit

A White House push to increase the college-going rates of low-income students flies in the face of real-world trends that are heading in exactly the opposite direction—including institutional and federal financial-aid and tax policy that has been shifting in favor of high-income and not low-income families. Students from the poorest families are less than half as likely as those from the wealthiest to get bachelor’s degrees by the time they’re 25, a statistic cited by the Obama administration as a reason 140 heads of universities, foundations, and advocacy groups were invited to the White House to unveil new ideas they promised would increase the number of low-income students who enroll in college and the rate at which they graduate. These include connecting low-income students with colleges that are the best fit for them and waiving the application fees, providing more scholarships for them in science- and technology-related fields, working with primary and secondary schools to better prepare them for college while improving remedial education that often derails them once they arrive there, and connecting them with adult mentors and advisors. All of these things have been proven in pilot programs to increase the college-going and success rates of students from the nation’s poorest families. The article is in The Hechinger Report.

What Predicts Postsecondary Success

From Early Childhood to High School, What Predicts Postsecondary Success?
Intended to help policymakers and educators identify qualities that predict postsecondary success, this brief summarizes research on the subject from early childhood to high school. At the lower levels, predictors mostly leapfrogged to achievement at higher levels — for example, kindergarten readiness correlating with 3rd-grade reading proficiency. At the high school level, there were numerous indicators and predictors reflecting a breadth of research. (American Institutes for Research

Online Tools For College Students

6 online tools for  undergraduate students : By Melissa Burns

Being an undergraduate student is a prestigious status, but also means that you are faced with a great deal of academic writing that consumes more time than you can allow yourself to devote to papers. You can easily be distracted when working on a computer and that little voice in your head is constantly telling you to see what’s going on at Twitter and Facebook in every three minutes. Every distraction is more interesting than the thesis or research you are working on.

It’s clear that a computer connected to the Internet can be a huge distraction from your work, but everything depends on your strength and the way you are using it. There are an immense number of tools that can make your work easier and help you complete papers with greater convenience than ever. To help you use the full potential of online technology, we chose six of the most effective concepts that can help you tackle undergraduate-level academic writing more effectively.

  1. Tutorsclass

When you are an undergraduate student you are concerned with a range of subjects. And studying in the University or College is quite difficult thing. That’s why a lot of student may need a help of tutor. Tutorsclass is a dashboard that enables you to have classes with any tutor or even to be a tutor. You can teach other students or schoolchildren some subjects and  create your own team. And in the same time you can take lessons on the subjects you would like to know better.  If you  find studying or teaching something at home more pleasant or appropriate for you than going to teachers or schools this tool is perfect for you.


In order to make writing an undergraduate-level tasks a little easier, you have to consider the referencing style requested by your professor on top of everything. Maybe you are already experienced using a certain style, but what happens when a professor asks you to reference your paper according to other rules? You use citation generator Writinghouse, of course. This is one of the most appreciated concepts among all students who need to work on academic papers – you can use it to apply the chosen referencing style instantly (the tool supports MLA, APA, Chicago, and Harvard styles). You can finally forget about all those boring referencing guides and focus on the content of your paper.

  1. Q10

Many undergraduate students are already using Q10 as a tool that helps them stay focused when writing academic papers. If you haven’t tried this concept yet, you will be impressed with the effectiveness of its simplistic interface that’s free of all distractions. You can check the page number, word and character count thanks to the tiny toolbar showcased in the interface, but you can also turn it off and work in a completely clean environment. Don’t worry about accessing all functions you need, because you can use keyboard shortcuts for that purpose.

  1. Focus Writer

As an undergraduate student, you can work on topics that truly inspire you, because you are focusing your education to the career of your choice. However, that doesn’t mean you can always stay focused and work with full speed while having piles of studying material waiting to be covered. Focus Writer will make you a typing maniac by providing you with a clean space for writing that will focus your thoughts and keep you away from distractions. You can access the awesome features in the toolbar by moving the cursor to the edge of the computer screen.

  1. Write Monkey

There are many online tools aimed at making you a more effective and faster writer, but WriteMonkey is one of the most appreciated ones. You will easily get used to the keyboard shortcuts that will enable you to write your academic papers without using the computer mouse. Although this seems like an insignificant improvement, it will save 30% of your time, which is something that cannot be ignored.

  1. WriteRoom

What would be the worst thing that could happen to your project in the middle of its development? I’m guessing your first thought: losing all work you have completed so far. There isn’t a student who isn’t paranoid about losing their work, but WriteRoom brings the peace you need. This is also a project intended to enable distraction-free writing, but it includes additional backup and synchronization features that will prevent you from stressing over the safety of your document.

  1. Omm Writer

Among all available tools that make students more focused while writing academic papers, most Mac users prefer Omm Writer. It features a zen-like environment that will relax you and help you stay concentrated on the content of your project. The free version features only three themes, but they are more than enough to start with.


The above-mentioned tools are completely free, but you can upgrade some of them to improved versions for a certain fee. However, as a student, you will find the free alternatives are sufficient as resources that will help you stay focused and work on your paper through longer effective sessions than the usual ones. As soon as you start implementing these convenient tools, you will notice how undergraduate-level academic writing is becoming easier than ever. You will write faster and more efficiently, which will leave you with more time to spend in studying, socializing, relaxing, or whatever else you prefer.


Melissa is a student of journalism. She is passionate about digital technologies and tries to implement them in the sphere of education.