State Funding Hit Lands on 2-Year Colleges

Six states cut funding for two-year institutions by more than 10 percent in the 2021 fiscal year, which began July 1, 2020, and will end June 30, 2021. Only three states cut funding for the four-year sector by a similar amount, according to the analysis, published by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. The analysis builds on findings presented in the most recent Grapevine report on state higher education funding for fiscal year 2021. The new sector-level state funding analysis reveals yet another way two-year institutions have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and resulting economic recession.

50-State Comparison: Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Districts across the country are facing severe shortages of teachers — especially in certain subjects (math, science, special education, career and technical education, and bilingual education) and in specific schools (those that are underperforming; those that are serving students in urban or rural areas or low-income communities; and those serving high percentages of students of color). This resource compiles state-specific data related to teacher shortages and provides a national comparison of state policies to recruit and retain teachers, especially in shortage subject areas and underserved schools. The resource features state educator preparation program completion data, shortage and equity gap data, in addition to policies found in state statutes, regulations and other documents, as of August 2019. 

COVID-Era College: Are Students Satisfied?

Trying to get a pulse on students’ satisfaction this academic year to better support them has been like dreaming an impossible dream. As college and university leaders have reopened campuses, following meticulous plans with 100-page summaries, student feedback has been positive, negative and everything in between. Findings of a new Student Voice survey, conducted by Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse and presented by Kaplan, indicate that students, as a group, are deeply ambivalent about their college experiences right now.

Rethinking higher education: Ohio senator wants to return tuition to students who don’t graduate

Ohio students who attended a public university or college but never graduated could get 50% of their tuition back in a “voucher” for another program under one state senator’s proposal. “One of my concerns has always been students who drop out after two years, 2.5 years in a college or university,” Sen. Jerry Cirino, R-Kirtland, said. “This is intended to give those students a second chance.” Partial refunds are just the start.

Low-Income High Schools Shut Out

College-going rates among high school graduates declined across the board this fall, but far fewer graduates of low-income and high-poverty high schools, and of high schools with many Black and Hispanic students, enrolled in college during the pandemic, new data show. Immediate college enrollment fell by an unprecedented 6.8 percent this fall, compared with a 1.5 percent year-over-year decline in fall 2019, according to a new special analysis of the High School Benchmarks report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. 

Lawmakers reintroduced the College Transparency Act. Could it pass this time?

A bipartisan group of lawmakers this week reintroduced the College Transparency Act, which would allow the federal government to collect student-level data on college outcomes, such as completion rates and post-graduate earnings. Although 270 Congressional lawmakers co-sponsored a version of the bill last year, the measure didn’t make it out of committee. An industry group for private nonprofit colleges and the legislator who wrote the provision that would be overturned oppose the bill, citing student privacy concerns. But advocates say growing support for the measure will make its passage more likely. 

Illinois Moves All Public Universities To Common App In Hopes Of Curbing Out-Migration

Beginning this fall, all 12 of Illinois’ public universities will begin using the Common App, a single online application used by hundreds of colleges and universities across the country. Only three of the state’s public universities, including the University of Illinois’ Chicago campus, use the Common App — in addition to 32 private institutions. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed budget for fiscal 2022 includes $1 million to help universities cover the cost of using the Common App, which is operated as a nonprofit member organization. The Pritzker administration is pushing the change because they believe it will decrease logistical challenges for students and families, lead to a boost in applications at Illinois universities this fall, and curb the out-migration of students to out-of-state schools.

3 ways the pandemic is changing colleges’ mandate right now

The pandemic has underscored the need to dispel notions that most of today’s college students are fresh out of high school and living on campus. One-quarter of undergraduates are also parents, and a similar portion of those attending four-year colleges are going part-time. Large shares of both full-time and part-time college students also hold down a job. “The (students) are certainly not who you see in movies,” said Julie Peller, executive director of Higher Learning Advocates, a nonprofit aiming to improve student outcomes, during a panel. “They’re not, by and large, playing Frisbee on the quad, going to frat parties on Friday nights and leaving in four years.” 

Reopening, With Equity

Now that the fall is complete and the spring in full swing, eyes have turned to the upcoming semester. A number of colleges and universities, spurred by promising vaccine news and the beginning of admissions season, have announced that they plan to return to “normal” this upcoming fall. In-person classes and residential experiences will be the norm, administrations have said. Some higher education experts are beginning to look ahead to that return, including the possible equity concerns that may arise and how institutions can address them.

The stimulus bill is set to give nearly $40 billion to higher education—here’s where that money will go

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provides support to thousands of struggling colleges and students with a specific emphasis on schools that have endowments worth less than $1 million. The legislation dictates that schools that receive assistance must use a portion of the funds to “implement evidence-based practices to monitor and suppress coronavirus in accordance with public health guidelines” and specifically indicates funds shall not be used to support capital projects (such as the construction of new buildings or fancy dorms).

States Maintain Higher Ed Funding

With the help of nearly $2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding, state funding allocations for higher education during the 2021 fiscal year remained roughly the same as last fiscal year, according to the latest Grapevine higher education funding report. Total state support for higher education edged up by 0.3 percent to $96.7 billion in the 2021 fiscal year, which began July 1, 2020, and will end on June 30, 2021. Without federal dollars, direct state funding levels would have declined by 1.3 percent this fiscal year.

Doing Transfer Right

For all the time colleges spend on admissions, the reality is that lots of students do not stay where they first enroll. “A 2018 snapshot found that one-third of the 2.8 million students entering college for the first time in fall 2011 earned credits from two or more institutions within six years” is a reminder of this fact. It comes in a letter from the members of the American Council on Education National Task Force on the Transfer and Award of Credit, which issued its report on yesterday. The report largely features recommendations that have been made before — repeatedly — by advocates for transfer students.

State Funding Hit Lands on 2-Year Colleges

States slashed financial support for two-year colleges by $457 million during the pandemic, while funding for four-year institutions declined by only $63 million, a new analysis of state higher education appropriations shows. Federal stimulus funding softened the blow for many state higher education budgets, but state tax appropriations, which are often the predominant recurring revenue stream for public higher education, declined this fiscal year.

Investment in public higher education is a racial justice issue

A new report, Chicago’s Racial Wealth Gap, issued by University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, shows that while student loan debt is ubiquitous among the middle class, debt patterns differ significantly across racial groups, often stemming from long standing racial disparities in wealth. Despite valuing education as much as their White counterparts, Black and Latinx families lacked the financial resources to help pay for college. In contrast, in keeping with national trends, the Whites we spoke to were more likely to have had substantial (if not full) tuition support from their families.

Community College Bachelor’s Degrees: An Update on State Activity and Policy Considerations

This Policy Brief captures recent state policy activity pertaining to community college bachelor’s degree programs, summarizes arguments for and against these policies and offers policy considerations for states starting or expanding these programs.