Here are some new resources and news for the field of higher education.

ACE Initiative to Examine Equity Gaps in Higher Education  A new, three-year initiative by the American Council on Education (ACE) will provide a “data-informed foundation” to promote policies and practices that support students, faculty and staff of color in higher education. (Diverse Issues in Higher Education)

Stackable Credentials: Do They Have Labor Market Value?  Stackable credentials–sequential postsecondary awards that allow individuals to progress on a career path–have been suggested as a way to enhance the labor market prospects of middle-skill workers. The authors’ estimates of stackable credentials show only weakly positive and inconsistent gains from these award combinations. Generally, these estimates are indistinguishable from the returns to only one postsecondary credential. There is no clear evidence of how earnings vary across types of stack (progressive, supplemental, or independent) or student characteristics. However, estimated earnings gains from stackable credentials may be imprecise. Few college students stack awards, the motives for stacking are unknown, and notably, the number of stacked awards depends on whether general vocational awards are included. Future research should examine why students stack awards and how they can choose combinations of awards that maximize their earnings gains from stacking. (Community College Research Center)

Seeking Educator Feedback on College and Career Pathway Endorsement Competencies Feedback is being sought on draft competencies for College and Career Pathway Endorsements as part of the effort to implement the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act. These competencies were developed by public-private committees in four areas: Finance and Business Services, Health Sciences, Information Technology, and Manufacturing and Engineering. The competency-mapping process will be extended to additional sectors starting in the spring. Feedback collected via this survey will be incorporated into edits and evaluation of the drafted statement, and educator voices are essential.  The survey is open until January 15. Please feel free to share the survey with colleagues and networks. Please contact Andrea Messing-Mathie at or Leah Moschella at with any questions.

Ohio–Rural Schools Join Forces to Make College the Rule Rather Than the Exception  Cooperation among sparsely populated districts in Ohio fuels a successful push for college in a place where manufacturing jobs have disappeared. (Hechinger Report)

101: Today’s Students  The Higher Education Act was last updated in 2008 and originally written in 1965, back when most students attended a four-year college or trade school directly out of high school. Federal policy is serving a smaller and smaller share of students, just as the demand for higher learning is at an all-time high. Today’s students are different than the students that federal policy is designed to serve. They are working adults, parents, part-time and online learners, veterans and more diverse in terms of age, race, and income. We need new policies for a new generation of students, but first, we need a clear picture of who those students are. Better policy starts with knowing who today’s students are and focusing on their needs. Higher Learning Advocates has developed  “101: Today’s Students”, a visually-engaging, intro-level primer on the changing demographics of higher learning.

Beyond Financial Aid: Helping adult students with the cost of college  This Ed Note blog post shows how states can look to a broader set of financial supports to help more low-income adult students. This is the final blog post in a series following the Supporting Adult Learners for Postsecondary Success convening, and it comes from Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield, senior policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy.
Getting ‘Near-Completers’ Back to Campus  This Ed Note blog post looks at a couple of ways that states are trying to get former students back to campus to finish their degrees. This post is the fourth in a series exploring challenges and opportunities to better serve adult students, and it comes from Ivy Love, policy analyst at New America.

Scramble for Dual-Credit Certification  States and institutions are still working out incentives and programs to get dual-credit instructors qualified to meet a change in accreditation standards. (Inside Higher Ed)