Even Some College Tends to Pay Off

Much of the attention around rising college costs and loan debt has focused on students who never earn a credential, with conventional wisdom holding that they wasted time and money in the process. But a new study found that attending college typically isn’t a waste of time, even for students who fail to graduate. The research found “very substantial increases in employability and income” for this group of former students, who attended community college or a four-year institution, said Paul Attewell, a professor of sociology at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, who co-wrote the paper with Matt Giani, a research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin’s Office of Strategy and Policy, and David Walling, a software developer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at UT. These benefits extend across various student groups. (Inside Higher Ed)

Nudging Doesn’t Scale Nationally 

Nationalized “nudge” campaigns that shower students with emails and text messages to encourage them to apply for federal financial aid do not budge enrollment rates, as education researchers may have hoped based on the past success of smaller-scale outreach. A study by economists at five universities, released this month by the National Bureau for Economic Research, suggests that consistently nudging incoming and current college students to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid had no effect on college enrollment or financial aid recipient rates. Researchers tested a campaign on two distinct groups of students — high school seniors who applied to college using the Common Application and college students of all levels (incoming, applied but did not enroll, currently enrolled and dropouts) who applied within an undisclosed large state system, said Kelly Rosinger, an assistant professor of education at Pennsylvania State University and one of the six researchers who authored “Nudging at Scale: Experimental Evidence From FAFSA Completion Campaigns.” Her colleagues were from Brandeis and Brigham Young Universities and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Virginia. (Inside Higher Ed)

Governor Signs Law Expanding Tuition Assistance for Oregon National Guard Members 

A new bill just signed into law by Governor Kate Brown will allow members of the Oregon National Guard to receive tuition assistance at Oregon Health and Science University and private colleges — in addition to the community college and public universities that were previously allowed, according to the Oregon Military Department (OMD). “This law will expand higher education grants to qualified members of the Oregon National Guard by permitting grants to be used for undergraduate degree program at OHSU or qualifying private post-secondary institutions,” OMD said, “Or for program or curriculum designed to lead to certificate of completion at community college, public university, OHSU or qualifying private post-secondary institutions.” (KDRV)

Connecting the Dots: Aligning Attainment Goals to the Workforce 

By the year 2030, the U.S. could lose $1.7 trillion in revenue because of labor shortages. These shortages are due mostly to the lack of required skills and credentials needed for future jobs. This shortage gap varies depending on level of education, with estimated worker shortages of around 800,000 for those with an associate or some college and over 8.5 million for those with a bachelor’s or higher by 2030. As states work toward aligning education to the workforce, the general perspective on the value of post secondary education is a mixed bag. A public opinion poll from the Post secondary Value Commission showed 89 percent of respondents think students should pursue education beyond high school, but only 39 percent think higher education is the right direction. Strada-Gallup consumer data reveals only 26 percent of working adults strongly agree their education is relevant to their work.

To Help First-Generation Students Succeed, Colleges Enlist Their Parents  

Students who are first in their families to attend college contend with unique challenges. They are more likely to come from poor-performing high schools, low-income backgrounds and households where English isn’t spoken. And without the benefit of parents’ college-going experience, they have fewer tools to navigate college bureaucracies and day-to-day campus life. These factors combine to depress first-generation student graduation rates, say higher education experts. According to one study, a third of first-generation college students drop out within three years. In recent years, colleges have been trying to slow that exodus by creating offices devoted to first-generation students, organizing peer groups and connecting students with tutoring and extra support. (Hechinger Report)

Maine Community Colleges Start Class with Increased Workforce Focus   

Maine’s community colleges opened this week and next week with new academic degree and certificate programs, new short-term job training opportunities and refurbished and new facilities, much of it aimed at meeting the state’s workforce needs. New programs address the combined impact of an aging workforce, low unemployment and critical workforce shortages across multiple sectors in Maine, according to a news release from the Maine Community College System. “We are constantly expanding opportunities for our students and making sure we help them get the best start possible, from short-term training to two-year programs including options to transfer seamlessly to four-year programs,” said MCCS President David Daigler in the release. (Mainebiz)

Policies Addressing Guns on Campus 

This Policy Snapshot reviews 2018 and 2019 legislative activity addressing guns on campus. It includes state examples of enacted and failed legislation. For more on recent legislative activity related to post secondary campus safety, see the companion Policy Snapshot on Campus Sexual Assault Policies.