Senate Passes Bill to Give Students College, Wage Data

West Virginia students may soon get detailed reports on college costs and in-demand jobs under a bill passed by the Senate. Lawmakers unanimously approved the measure, dubbed the Students’ Right-to-Know Act, sending it to the House of Delegates for consideration. The proposal would require the state education board to compile an annual report containing the state’s most sought after jobs, entry-level wages and common degree requirements for those careers. It would also include figures on the average cost of college, student loan payments and median wages for degree areas.

Report: Education Pays 2019

As in previous editions, Education Pays 2019 this report documented differences in the earnings and employment patterns of U.S. adults with different levels of education. It also compared health-related behaviors, reliance on public assistance programs, civic participation, and indicators of the well-being of the next generation. This year’s report presents data on variation in earnings by different characteristics such as gender, race/ethnicity, occupation, college major, and sector. Moreover, it also examines the persistent disparities across different socioeconomic groups in college participation as well as completion. (College Board)

UNC System Students are Graduating at Higher Rates

More students are graduating from UNC System universities within five years than ever before, and the upward progress is expected to continue. The 5-year graduation rate across the UNC System hit 71 percent in 2018 after a steady increase over the past five years, according to new data presented at the UNC Board of Governors meeting Thursday. By hitting that number, the system exceeded the goal it set for 2022 in its strategic plan. The graduation rate improved by one percentage point each year over five years, which Andrew Kelly, UNC System senior vice president for strategy and policy, said was an aggressive goal.

School Climate Surveys in State ESSA Plans

School climate and student engagement have emerged as key elements in promoting academic success. Recognizing this, the drafters of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) required states to include non-academic factors in judging schools’ performance. Three-quarters of the states added student absenteeism to their accountability systems as part of the School Quality and Student Success indicator. But in a trend that has received much less attention, 13 states have chosen to gauge school climate and student engagement through annual surveys of students, teachers and parents. (FutureEd)

A Primer on Higher Education, Student Aid, and the Federal Budget Process

This piece explores the relationship between student aid policy and the federal budget process. The federal budget process defined is the process by which Congress reviews spending and revenues for the coming year. Higher education scholars tend to focus on the more direct aspects of the effects of financial aid. The purpose of the article is to effectively describe the federal budget process and its implications for higher education as well as student aid practitioners as it relates to student aid policy reforms. (Journal of Student Financial Aid)

Many Nonprofit College Programs Would Fail Gainful Test

Only about 60 percent of programs at private nonprofit institutions, and 70 percent of those at public colleges and universities, would pass the Obama administration’s gainful-employment test, if it were in place and applied to them, according to an online tool developed by a conservative Texas policy group. The tool made public by the Texas Public Policy Foundation was aimed in part to further the idea that public and nonprofit institutions – and not just for-profit colleges – should face scrutiny for how well graduates do financially.

More College Students Than Ever Seek Mental Health Services

A deeper investigation reveals many colleges and universities are struggling to meet increasing demand. This is evident where the number of college students seeking treatment for depression and anxiety has continued to rise over the past several years, according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State. However, similar studies reveal that college students seeking mental health help can wait weeks, sometimes months for an appointment with a counselor.

Kentucky’s Universities are Asking the State for First Budget Funding Hike in Over a Decade

Just days before Gov. Andy Beshear is scheduled to unveil his state budget proposal for the next two fiscal years, the coordinating agency for state colleges and universities told legislators those institutions are requesting their first funding increase in over a decade. Aaron Thompson, the president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, told members of a budget subcommittee that public colleges will request a 6.2 percent increase in funding in the next fiscal year, along with an 8.8 percent increase in the 2022 fiscal year beyond current base funding levels.  While higher education institutions received $862.9 million from the General Fund for the current fiscal year, this budget request would raise that total to $913.3 million in 2021 and $935.8 million in 2022.

To Get Free Tuition, Graduates  in Florida Will Have To Agree to Work

A bill that would create a new “Sunshine Scholarship” for students from low- and moderate-income families passed through committees in both chambers of the Legislature this week. The scholarship would pay for any tuition and fees of community colleges or public career colleges that were not already covered by other forms of financial aid, such as the federal Pell Grant for low-income students or the Florida Bright Futures merit-based scholarship. Students who accept the money would have to stay in Florida after graduation to work the same amount of time they received the aid, or they’d have to repay the scholarship with interest.

For Provosts, Pressure Over Money

According to the 2020 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers by Inside Higher Ed, only 22 percent of provosts believe that their institution is very effective at recruiting and retaining talented faculty members. These results are the lowest measured to date in the nine years this survey has been conducted, and nearly half of what they were from 2012 to 2014. The totals come from Inside Higher Ed’s annual survey of provosts (or equivalent job title when a college doesn’t have a provost). This year, 597 provosts answered at least some of the questions in the survey.

A Legal Challenge for Inclusive Access

In a class-action lawsuit on 23rd of last month, four companies representing independent bookstores accused publishers including Pearson, Cengage, McGraw-Hill Education and bookstore chains Barnes and Noble Education and Follett of trying to push them out of business. In court documents, the independent bookstores describe inclusive access programs as a “conspiracy” whose “end goal and result is eliminating competitors and raising prices.” “The defendants’ illegal actions have and will ultimately result in a total monopoly,” the suit says.

California Looks to Expand Bachelor’s Programs Behind Bars

A proposal in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state budget plan, could make bachelor’s programs a possibility for incarcerated students at several prisons within the state. Under the proposal, CDCR would partner with the California State University system to expand bachelor’s programs to as many as seven prisons. Newsom’s budget puts $1.7 million toward that goal next year, then, beginning in 2021, dedicates $3.5 million a year to the effort on an ongoing basis. The money would cover things like tuition, books and other materials.

Washington, Iowa Show Ways Oregon Potentially Could Graduate Thousands More Students

In the latest state data released by the state Department of Education, Oregon recorded its highest ever graduation rate with 80% of students across the state graduating in four years.  This number is an increase of 1.3% from last year, which equates to about 600 students, according to the state. The rate has increased about 8 percent in the last five years. Also, the completer rate — or rate of students who received a four-year diploma or another equivalent such as a GED, extended diploma or adult high school diploma — was higher at 83.7 percent.

The State of U.S. Science and Engineering

One of the main takeaways of the “State of U.S. Science and Engineering” 2020 report, is how the U.S. share of global science and technology activity has shrunk in some areas even as absolute activity has continued to grow, as China and other Asian countries have invested in science and engineering education and increased their research spending. Additionally, the report examines recent trends in science and engineering education, attraction of foreign talent to the U.S., the science and engineering workforce, publication output, and research and development spending amounts and funding sources, among other topics; and as a result presents interesting findings.

Paper: Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest in Stem Majors

Substantial earnings differences exist across majors with the majors that pay well also having lower grades and higher workloads. We show that the harsher grading policies in STEM courses disproportionately affect women. To show this, we estimate a model of student demand courses and optimal effort choices of students conditional on the chosen courses. Instructor grading policies are treated as equilibrium objects that in part depend on student demand for courses. Restrictions on grading policies that equalize average grades across classes helps to close the STEM gender gap as well as increasing overall enrollment in STEM classes. (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Fewer Students Are Going To College. Here’s Why That Matters

Last fall, there were nearly 250,000 fewer students enrolled in college than a year ago, according to new numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which tracks college enrollment by student. “That’s a lot of students that we’re losing,” says Doug Shapiro, who leads the research center at the Clearinghouse. And 2019 wasn’t the first time this has happened. Over the past eight years, college enrollment nationwide has fallen about 11%. Every sector — public state schools, community colleges, for-profits and private liberal arts schools — has felt the decline, though it has been especially painful for small private colleges, where, in some cases, institutions have been forced to close. The biggest factor for the years of decline? The strong economy.