In a recent conversation about potential threats to higher education, W. Joseph King, president of Lyon College and an author of How to Run a College, made an astute observation about today’s environment. When you see the lowest birthrate ever recorded, he said, the challenges of demographic change are simply a reality that all colleges are going to need to face. “But,” he added, “it’s not just the demographics.” In other words, as important as demographic forces will be in coming years, colleges must act decisively to control the many things that are within their power. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
A new study released by Georgetown University in part refutes the notion that African American and Latinx minorities can improve their socioeconomic standing just by going to college. According to the study, between 1991 and 2016, black and Latino Americans increased their likelihood of obtaining and maintaining a good job, but their white peers still disproportionately hold better jobs compared to their overall employment. “It’s a pretty damning story all together, and it says that there’s a huge challenge ahead of us,” said Anthony Carnevale, a research professor at Georgetown and director of the university’s Center on Education and the Workforce, who is also a co-author of the study. A good job as defined by the study is one that provides “family-sustaining earnings,” which translates to minimums of $35,000 annually for workers 25 to 44 and $45,000 for workers 45–64.
JUST RELEASED: Complete College America’s new report to guide implementation of Purpose First, a strategy that creates a “missing link” between career choice, guided pathways, and first-year momentum. The report lays out the components of a Purpose First experience focused on helping students explore interests and careers, make informed choices and hit early benchmarks toward on-time graduation. It also features findings from a three-year demonstration project supported by Strada Education Network.
Inmates in Michigan’s prisons have a new avenue for getting financial aid for post-secondary education thanks to a change to a state program that had long excluded incarcerated individuals. The 2020 state budget struck boilerplate language that previously banned people in prison from accessing Michigan’s Tuition Incentive Program, or TIP. The state-funded program reimburses tuition costs for Medicaid-eligible students at participating public and private institutions. TIP covers reimbursement for an associate’s degree or certificate. Then, up to $2,000 is offered toward a bachelor’s degree. Terrell Blount, a program associate with the Vera Institute of Justice, said expanding eligibility to inmates is a “big win” for Michigan, where college funding opportunities for people in prison are limited. Michigan is now among 18 states that don’t have a barrier to state financial aid for incarcerated students, he said.
Inequities in access to good jobs by race and ethnicity have grown in past decades. The Unequal Race for Good Jobs: How Whites Made Outsized Gains in Education and Good Jobs Compared to Blacks and Latinos explores how White workers have relied on their educational and economic privileges to build disproportionate advantages in the educational pipeline and the workforce. Black and Latino workers, on the other hand, have striven to overcome discrimination, racism, and other injustices that continue to perpetuate earnings inequality. Policy changes can help narrow these equity gaps; otherwise, they will continue for generations to come.
The United States saw nearly one million Some College, No Degree students in just five years who, against all the odds, found their way back into post secondary education and worked their way through to ultimately earn their first undergraduate credential. This report tells a story of success and points the way to further success. Former students are most likely to re-enroll and complete in a different institution than their institution of last enrollment, but in the same type of institution and state. They are drawn to online programs, but their most common destination is a local community college. To reach a state’s post secondary attainment goal or to address enrollment challenges facing institutions, each state should start with the most up-to-date information from this report to assess and target, for example, how many Some College, No Degree students are residing in state, which students are most likely to return, where they last enrolled, where they are most likely to re-enroll and graduate, and what type of credential they are likely to pursue.
No gains have been made in student preparedness for college, according to ACT data. There are still gaps in scores between white and minority students, excluding Asian American students, who have improved over the past few years. The new ACT score results show that scores across the country are continuing to decline slightly from last year, especially in math and English. The number of graduates meeting the required benchmarks in math and English is the lowest it has been in 15 years. The average composite score was 20.7, a tiny drop from 20.8 last year and down from 21 in 2017. The ACT test is scored on a 36-point scale. Almost 1.8 million students, or 52 percent of the 2019 graduating class, took the ACT. Of the Class of 2019 who took the test, 37 percent met three of the four College Readiness Benchmarks, and 36 percent did not meet any. The latter number has grown over the past few years, reports ACT. Students who took the recommended high school core curriculum stayed steady in their readiness in English and math.
As states assess their workforce needs and opportunities for further economic development, workforce boards commonly go beyond the 12 required functions set out in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). States go beyond these requirements by aligning with governors’ workforce development priorities and initiatives and setting out missions and state plans for workforce development activities. While this process looks different in every state, the following state examples highlight unique approaches to workforce board missions and charges. In an effort to link workforce activities with the state’s attainment goal, Maine’s State Workforce Board monitors workforce agency and statewide goals, making recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the workforce system. The board specifically ensures a balance between rural and urban workforce development and supports monitoring the post secondary and credential attainment goal.
Far too many students graduate from high school still unprepared for the lives they want to lead. They enroll in college and land in remedial courses, or start jobs and discover they’re missing skills they need. We wanted to understand why. To do this, we followed nearly 4,000 students in five diverse school systems to learn more about their experiences. What we found was unnerving: classroom after classroom filled with A and B students whose big goals for their lives are slipping further away each day, unbeknownst to them and their families—not because they can’t master challenging material, but because they’re rarely given a real chance to try.
Improving funding so that federal Head Start programs can partner with colleges could be the answer to the childcare needs of student parents, who numbered 3.8 million in the 2015-16 academic year, according to a study released Wednesday from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Head Start programs provide early childhood education as well as parental support in the form of assistance in reaching self-sufficiency goals. Nearly half of college student parents with children under 6 meet the income requirements to be eligible for Head Start, according to the study. As the number of on-campus childcare centers at colleges declines, the report says that Head Start programs could fill in the gap and help student parents achieve a degree and thus greater economic security. The institute found 82 partnerships nationally between Head Start and colleges. Most serve student parents.