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

College- and Career-Readiness Standards and Assessment Resource List  This report lists resources that focus on college- and career-readiness standards and assessment. Designed to assist staff in state education agencies and other educators in their curricula, instruction, standards, and assessment efforts, the resources include briefs, reports, tools, and other materials. Sources for these materials include organizations that specialize in education policy, research, and technical assistance. To enhance usability, featured resources are categorized into six sections: Every Student Succeeds Act, assessment and accountability, English language arts resources, mathematics resources, science resources, and general resources. (American Institutes for Research)

Reforming the American Community College: Promising Changes and Their Challenges  Enrolling more than 6 million students each fall, community colleges carry out a crucial function in higher education by providing access to college, including baccalaureate opportunities, occupational education, remedial education, and other educational services. At the same time, community colleges face great challenges that have elicited calls for major reforms. This paper begins by discussing the social roles and organization of community colleges in the United States, their main social contributions, and the challenges they face. It then describes and evaluates the sweeping policy proposals that have been made to address these challenges. (Community College Research Center)

Education Department Signals Possible Changes to Gainful-Employment Rule  The gainful-employment regulation was written to weed out poor-performing career education programs that produce too many graduates with debt they can’t repay. To hold programs accountable, it ties access to federal student aid funds to performance on a debt-to-earnings metric. (Inside Higher Ed)

State Innovations for Near-Completers  This Promising Practices report overviews the 2017 policy landscape regarding near-completers, reviews three states’ outreach strategies to this population and includes policy considerations for state leaders.

Grad Rate Benchmark Exempts HBCUs  The new metric would require that minority-serving institutions have a 25 percent graduation or transfer rate to qualify for Title III and Title V grants. Should the provision be included in a final law, it would mark the first time Congress attached a performance-based measure to higher ed funding. (Inside Higher Ed)

Cornerstones of Student Success: Institutions Yielding High Return on Investment for Underserved Students  (IERC 2017-5) authored by Janet Holt and Daniel Duffy.  This study analyzes publicly available institutional data on graduation rates, earnings, student loan debt, and loan default rates to identify seven 4-year postsecondary institutions in Illinois which are the best investments for underserved students.  The report puts the focus on institutions that are admitting a fair number of low-income students and helping them graduate and gain employment with less debt, and highlights universities that are doing an excellent job of serving students who have been traditionally underserved.

Proposed Higher-Ed Revamp Could Shake Up Student Aid, Teacher Prep A long-awaited bill to overhaul the nation’s higher education law would change how students obtain federal student aid, place new limits on that financial aid, and eliminate current federal language governing teacher preparation, among other notable shifts. (Education Week)

Incentivizing Diversity: Midwestern Performance Funding Policy ad Diversity Indicators  Jones’ report presents a multi-case study examining postsecondary performance funding policies in four Midwestern states (including Illinois) and explores how each policy’s metrics and weights address racial diversity in higher education. This important research addresses gaps in the literature concerning the development and use of state performance funding policy to incentivize racial diversity goals in higher education. Dr. Jones provides recommendations to help policymakers move past symbolic efforts to address racial diversity in higher education and increase the participation and retention of underrepresented students of color. It also contains guidance for researchers planning future studies on performance funding policy and institutional diversity goals.

Cornerstones of Student Success: Institutions Yielding High Return on Investment for Underserved Students  This analysis of publicly available institutional data on graduation rates, earnings, student loan debt and loan default rates ranks 55 public, nonprofit private, and for-profit private institutions in Illinois and identifies the top seven for underserved students. (Illinois Education Research Council)

Why New Jersey is Banking on a Credential Registry to Boost its Middle Class  State officials in New Jersey recently announced an ambitious goal to arm 65 percent of the state’s workforce with at least one postsecondary credential by 2025. That’s about 15 percent more than the state’s current higher-education attainment. (EdSurge)

Who Changes Majors? (Not Who You Think)  Graduates with math degrees fare well on the job market, but a greater share of students leave the major than any other, new federal data show. (Inside Higher Ed)