Posts published on August 23, 2016

Graduate Students May Unionize, NLRB Rules

Inside Higher Ed

Graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at private universities are entitled to collective bargaining, the National Labor Relations Board ruled Tuesday.

The NLRB said that a previous ruling by the board — that these workers were not entitled to collective bargaining because they are students — was flawed.

The board’s ruling, 3-1, came in a case involving a bid by the United Automobile Workers to organize graduate students at Columbia University. Many graduate students at public universities are already unionized as their right to do so is covered by state law, not federal law.

The ruling largely rejects the fights of previous boards over whether teaching assistants should be seen primarily as students or employees. They can be both, the majority decision said.

Read more about the ruling here.

Keys To Successful School/College Dual Enrollment

To assist legislators, chiefs, higher education officials and others learn from the experience of other states, Education Commission of the States has once again updated its comprehensive 50-state comparison on dual/concurrent enrollment policies.

This resource, the only one of its kind, provides a national look at the number of states that have each of 20 policies in place regarding dual enrollment basics, as well as the four key dual enrollment policy areas of access, finance, ensuring course quality and transferability.

Some key takeaways from this resource:

  • Without a requirement that eligible students may participate, schools and districts may not be inclined to promote dual/concurrent enrollment for students.
  • Some express concern that dual enrollment courses taught by high school teachers may not meet the same level of rigor as courses taught by postsecondary faculty on postsecondary campuses.
  • How funding flows can either incentivize schools to participate or deter participation. If courses meet rigorous criteria yet students are denied transfer credit at another postsecondary institution, the value of dual enrollment as an option for students to save money and time to degree is negated.

For questions, contact 

Education Commission of the States Director of Communications Amy Skinner at or 303.299.3609.