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

College Remediation Goes Back to High School: Evidence from a Statewide Program in Tennessee “Many U.S. students arrive on college campus lacking the skills expected for college-level work. As state leaders seek to increase postsecondary enrollment and completion, public colleges have sought to lessen the delays created by remedial course requirements. Tennessee has taken a novel approach by allowing students to complete their remediation requirements in high school. Using both a difference-in-differences and a regression discontinuity design, we evaluate the program’s impact on college enrollment and credit accumulation, finding that the program boosted enrollment in college-level math during the first year of college and allowed students to earn a modest 4.5 additional college credits by their second year. We also report the first causal evidence on remediation’s impact on students’ math skills, finding that the program did not improve students’ math achievement, nor boost students’ chances of passing college math. Our findings cast doubt on the effectiveness of the current model of remediation—whether in high school or college—in improving students’ math skills. They also suggest that the time cost of remediation—whether pre-requisite or co-requisite remediation—is not the primary barrier causing low degree completion for students with weak math preparation.” (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Summer Reading: How Emerging Technology Is Reshaping Higher Ed  Pressure is growing for colleges to improve student outcomes but sliding enrollment and tighter budgets threaten their ability to do so. In response, they are deploying technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics that promise to help them do more with less. Some colleges are using those tools to improve how they recruit and retain students. Others are using them to bring more accessibility into the classroom or to create personalized learning plans. But effective implementation is key, as the wrong move could negatively impact the student experience and even push learners away.

If the Tuition Doesn’t Get You, the Cost of Student Housing Will  In 2015, Sabrina Martinez got into the University of Texas at Austin, the UT system’s flagship campus and its most selective. She was thrilled. Her parents, not so much. “They were just like ‘Nope. You can’t afford it. You shouldn’t go. Loans are ridiculous.’ ” They encouraged her to go to the cheaper University of Texas at El Paso, to which she could commute while living at home. “But I clicked ‘accept’ on my admission anyway,” she says, figuring that attending UT Austin’s lauded journalism school would lead to more internship opportunities and, ultimately, a job after she graduated. Martinez’s parents are divorced. Her mother works as a teacher and receives child support from her father, who works in the oil fields of West Texas. Her family always had money for necessities, Martinez says, but with her two younger siblings to take care of, there usually wasn’t much left over for luxuries. That meant paying for college fell squarely on her shoulders. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

When Illinois Students Leave The State For College, Who Reaps The Rewards?  A few years ago, when he was going to Yorkville High School, Matt Pitstick saw college recruiters roaming his school who surprised him and made his friends laugh. They were recruiters from a university more than 700 miles away: the University of Alabama. “I remember when I first saw it, we all just joked about it — like ‘Haha yeah, the University of Alabama,” he said. “But then you look into it and it’s like, ‘You know what, maybe that’s not a bad idea.” It was the scholarships they were willing to offer that got his attention. He says he sent in his ACT scores and eventually received a letter telling him he’d gotten a full-ride scholarship.

Report: The Organizational Ecology of College Affordability: Research Activity, State Grant Aid Policies, and Student Debt at U.S. Public Universities  Sociologists have theorized U.S. universities as a heterogeneous organizational ecology. We use this lens to compare student debt and college prices for low-income students across public universities according to their research intensiveness and varied state grant aid policies. We show that students at research-intensive public universities have had an easier time repaying student loans than at other schools. By linking multiple data sets, we also provide the first comprehensive assessment for all 50 states of state-level need-based grant aid programs, which might alleviate loan repayment challenges. We find large disparities. California, Washington, Wyoming, and New Jersey spent more than $4,000 on aid per low-income student in 2015, more than the federal expenditure on Pell Grants for their state. Most states spend little in comparison. Contra the Bennett hypothesis, we also find that state need-based aid is strongly associated with both lower net prices and lower student loan nonrepayment rates.

How the California Consumer Privacy Act will Affect Higher Education Data Privacy Practices  Upon implementation, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will be the most robust data privacy measure enacted in the U.S. to date, and many believe that other states – and even federal legislation – will follow soon after. As a result, higher ed institutions must be proactive in making data privacy a cornerstone of their operations. Our new playbook explores how CCPA will impact higher education data privacy practices, and also highlights: The details behind the legislation impacting California residents, Strategies higher education institutions can implement to vet external partners and steps your institution can take now to ensure your institution is ready for CCPA.

State Plans To Raise Attainment Vary  More than 40 states have attainment goals and the strategic plans to achieve them, but they vary in their ambition, progress so far and prospects for long-term success, according to a report from Ithaka S+R. Massachusetts and Colorado have the highest attainment rates across all types of postsecondary credentials, while Oregon is the most ambitious with a goal of having 80% of its residents earn at least an associate degree or career-related certificate by 2025.  From 2005 to 2017, the national attainment rate increased by 5.1 percentage points, though the report notes that it’s difficult to assess whether the increases are due to a push from the states or external factors. At the center of this effort is the Lumina Foundation, which has a goal of 60% of American adults holding some form of postsecondary credential by 2025. States have generally followed suit, though not all in the same way.

Gen Z Takeover: Showing Students How To Afford College  This fall semester, 20-year-old Isaac Irvin will spend several hours a week teaching his fellow students at Indiana University Bloomington about financial wellness. The junior is slated to start working as a peer financial educator with the college’s MoneySmarts team, which teaches students through presentations and one-on-one meetings about budgeting and paying off loans, among other topics. MoneySmarts is part of an effort spearheaded by the university to bring more clarity to college costs. In July, it announced an alliance for colleges that want to help students improve their financial position.

Massachusetts Higher Ed Leaders Weigh Proposal To Prevent Sudden Colleges Closures  In response to a recent spate of private college closures, Massachusetts’ higher education commissioner is drumming up support for new policies that would expand state oversight to all its colleges and universities that accept state student aid. The proposed regulations, on which the state Board of Higher Education is expected to vote this fall, would require colleges to notify students ahead of time if they are in precarious financial health and foresee closing. Currently, there is no such requirement.  Closer monitoring aims to ease the shock of closure by ensuring the institution is taking the proper steps in time to help students finish their degrees or transfer. Failure to comply could lead to the state withholding student aid.

Does Requiring Seniors to Fill Out FAFSA Forms Increase College Attendance?  In an effort to connect students with college financial aid, some states are requiring graduating seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. In the 2021-22 school year, Texas will become the second to require students to fill out the FAFSA, or its state version called TAFSA, in order to graduate. It follows Louisiana, which just completed its second year of the requirement. And Illinois may soon become the third, barring a governor’s veto. Research demonstrates that students who fill out the FAFSA are more likely to attend college, said MorraLee Keller, director of technical assistance at the National College Access Network. “Louisiana saw 6% increase in higher education enrollment after the requirement was put in place,” Keller said. (Education Dive)

The Value of Voc Ed  High schoolers who take career and technology education courses achieve the same college success as students who focus on more academic courses, and they are only slightly less likely to enroll in college in the first place, a study published Tuesday by Education Next found. Researchers Daniel Kreisman, an assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University, and Kevin Stange, an associate professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, reviewed data from nearly 4,000 participants in the 1998-2015 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and found that for each upper-level CTE class a student took in high school, they earned about 2 percent more annually, even if they didn’t go to college, compared to people who took more academic courses without going to college, who had no such return. (Inside Higher Ed)

Performance Funding and Underrepresented Student Enrollment  Roughly 35 states have enacted performance-funding formulas that tie support for public colleges to metrics like graduation rates and degree-attainment numbers. Critics worry that colleges may attempt to game the formulas by enrolling fewer students who have a lower likelihood of success. A growing number of states are adding measures of equity to the formulas, such as additional funding for colleges that successfully serve low-income students or those from underrepresented student groups. A newly published study analyzed whether these equity provisions have affected underrepresented student enrollments at community colleges. The study by Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, found that performance funding systems, regardless of whether they include an equity bonus, have little impact on underrepresented student enrollment. (Inside Higher Ed)

Polis Pushes Coloradans To Choose College For The Sake Of The State  In Colorado, the average student loan debt for a bachelor’s degree in 2018 was $25,500, according to the state. But Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Department of Higher Education want Coloradans to know that higher education is worth the cost. “We know that when Coloradans have access to affordable education they thrive, and those benefits lead to great economic growth for our state,” Polis said in a press conference. “More educated workers leads to healthier lives, lower health care costs, more resiliency during economic downturns, and of course, lower likelihood of requiring or needing to receive unemployment insurance.” On Tuesday, the Department of Higher Education released a report summarizing the benefits of higher education and programs to help students during their education, including concurrent enrollment and access to open education resources. Polis said the report shows lawmakers that paying for higher education is a good investment for families and the economy. (CPR News)

Is Time Up On Standardized Tests For College Admissions?  The University of Chicago made headlines last June when it announced it was going test-optional to encourage more first-generation and low-income students to apply. It became the most competitive university to allow U.S. applicants to forgo submitting SAT or ACT scores. But the news wasn’t just U of Chicago’s announcement. It was what happened next. A year later, the school declared the shift a success, along with a range of other changes designed to increase access. It admitted its most diverse freshman class yet, with more low-income, first-generation, veteran and rural students coming to its 217-acre campus. While U of Chicago didn’t start the trend, it has contributed to its growth, with more than 30 schools following suit in the past year to push the number of test-optional four-year institutions across the country to more than 1,000.

Moody’s Maintains Negative Outlook for Higher Ed  The higher education sector will be stabilized for the next 12 months by state funding and investment returns, even as hyper-competition and an intense focus on affordability limit revenue growth, according to a midyear evaluation published Monday by Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s kept in place a negative outlook for the sector. In December, the ratings agency assigned higher education a negative outlook for the second straight year. As many as a fifth of colleges and universities grew their reserves faster than the rate of inflation during the just-closed 2019 fiscal year, Moody’s estimated. But more experienced declines. “For fiscal 2019, we preliminarily project that 15-20 percent of universities will have grown reserves above our 3 percent estimate for higher education inflation while over 30 percent will have had greater than 3 percent declines in cash and investment levels,” the report said. (Inside Higher Ed)

The Truth About Student Debt: 7 Facts No One Is Talking About  The facts seem stark: About 45 million Americans now owe a stunning $1.6 trillion in student debt. That’s roughly one in every four adults, nearly double the number who had higher education loans 15 years ago. Among millennials, the number is one in three, often cited as a reason why so many young adults can’t afford to buy a home, get married, have a family or move out of their parents’ basements. Meanwhile, the average amount that undergraduates borrow has shot up 60 percent over the same period, and defaults on loans have jumped as well. More than one-quarter of students can’t keep up with their payments 12 years after borrowing, vs. 18 percent just a few years ago, and that number is projected to hit 40 percent by 2023. With default can come heartache: It can ruin people’s credit scores, wreck their ability to borrow or rent an apartment and, in some areas, cause their professional licenses to be revoked. (Newsweek)

With Badges, Colleges Take A Hard Look At Teaching Soft Skills  Rolando Sanchez gave his students at Northwest Vista College (NVC) a challenge: record a minute-long speech pitching an idea to a hypothetical senior executive and then a second one pitching the same idea to that person’s teammates. “Sell the idea to the senior executive and persuade the teammates to have them agree to work together to bring the idea to fruition,” explained Sanchez, who teaches economics at NVC, one of five community colleges in the Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio, in an interview with Education Dive. Over three months, Sanchez guided the 51 students through that and other exercises designed to teach them the real-world skills needed to earn an “Initiative badge” — a microcredential akin to a mini specialization.

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