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

MO Unveils New Higher Education Tools for Students  The Missouri Department of Higher Education has launched two interactive features on the Journey to College website to help students make informed decisions about higher education. (Joplin Globe)

The Degree Rules, for Now  College credentials still loom large in hiring. But a new survey of HR leaders finds growing interest in skills-based hiring, online microcredentials and prehire assessments. (Inside Higher Ed)

US Student Debt Levels Set a New Record in 2018—Here’s How Much the Typical Borrower Owes  The most recent Survey of Household Economics and Decision-making (SHED) from the Federal Reserve Board indicates that 42 percent of Americans who attended college, and 30 percent of all adults, have incurred debt in order to finance a degree. (CNBC)

Speaking from experience  Mount Wachusett Community College students Janice Bergeron and Nicole Leeper were part of a first-generation panel that shared its experiences as part of National First-Generation College Students Day.

College Completion Grants: The Financial Aid Every College Should Offer  Financial aid has traditionally focused on helping lower-income students gain access to higher education, paving paths to college for millions of poor students. Recently, an increasing number of colleges are targeting a portion of their aid to help financially struggling undergraduates cross the finish line to graduation.  College completion grants are small, just-in-time awards that help students who are on the brink of dropping out of college despite being tantalizing close to finishing their degree.

State Law to Mandate Black History Courses at Public Colleges in IL  Beginning Tuesday, public colleges and universities throughout the state must offer a course studying black history. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Partnership Working to Connect Degrees and Certifications  “We hope that this important new collaboration to engage higher education institutions and certification bodies on curriculum development will help better prepare students for certification exams, and help students bolster the value of their degrees as they gain the attention of employers in a competitive job landscape,” noted Holly Zanville, senior advisor for credentialing and workforce development at Lumina Foundation, in a statement. (Campus Technology)

Overhauling Rules for Higher Ed The Education Department’s proposals for upcoming negotiated rule-making process would narrow the responsibilities of accreditors and modify federal definitions for credit hour and distance education.

Illinois State part of national effort to increase college access and completion Illinois State University is part of a new nationwide effort to increase college access, close the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more college degrees by 2025. The initiative, known as Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success, is organized by The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and brings together 130 public universities and systems.