Pennsylvania’s Plans to Consolidate 6 State Universities

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education published a pair of consolidation plans for two groups of public universities. The plans were published eight months after the university system announced its intention to consolidate six universities. The state higher education system has struggled with declining enrollments and anemic state funding for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the system to hasten its plan for financial sustainability.

Podcast: Judging Colleges By Their Students Career Outcomes

In this episode of The Key, they examine a new way of judging colleges and universities based on how quickly their students recoup what they spent out of pocket for their degree or certificate. (Spoiler alert: students at one-fifth of institutions still hadn’t gotten a return on their investment within a decade.) Michael Itzkowitz of Third Way discusses the think tank’s analysis, and Rutgers University’s Michelle Van Noy talks about the overall landscape for holding colleges accountable for their students’ workplace success.

Adult Education Strategies: Identifying and Building Evidence of Effectiveness

Nearly 43 million U.S. adults lack the basic English literacy skills required to succeed in the workforce and achieve economic self-sufficiency. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is the key federal investment helping adults acquire these and other important skills, as well as to earn a high school equivalency credential. WIOA encourages adult education programs to use evidence-based strategies to improve services and participant success. This systematic research review suggests a need for more rigorous studies, as there is not yet much evidence to guide decision making around instructional and support strategies for adult

College During the Pandemic

This brief provides data on the extent to which the patterns in college enrollment and retention for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) graduates changed in 2020, after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift to a remote setting for high school and college students during the spring. Despite these challenges, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the enrollment and retention rates of CPS graduates appeared to be smaller than the national rates reported by the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), particularly for four-year college outcomes.

The Credentials Students Earn Beyond a High School Diploma

Individuals in the United States can pursue a variety of different types of postsecondary education credentials. This Perspective describes four common types: degrees, certificates, industry certifications and licenses, and apprenticeships. Bachelor’s degrees are the most commonly awarded postsecondary credential in the United States (approximately two million each year), though at least one million each of associate degrees, graduate degrees, and certificates are also awarded annually. Programs such as apprenticeships and dislocated worker programs also provide training to hundreds of thousands of adults each year, and these programs often result in industry-recognized credentials. In national surveys, 47 percent of Americans report holding some type of degree, and approximately one-fifth report holding a license or certification.

Test-Optional Admissions Yields Benefits

This year, just about every competitive college — and plenty of not-so-competitive ones — went test optional (or test blind) in admissions. The push was the result of the pandemic, of course, and many of the newly test-optional colleges are leaving open the possibility that they will stay test optional. They will just need research, they say, on the impact of their decisions.

Degrees of success: 2 new Utah laws make finishing college online more affordable

Many Utahns who became unemployed during the pandemic are seeking to resume their careers with even better jobs by finishing their college degrees. Now, two new laws are making it easier for adults to get that long-delayed diploma. At Southern Utah University, Monday, Governor Spencer Cox signed House Bill 328 and Senate Bill 136, which provide grants and scholarships to adults seeking to complete their degrees online. Rep. Lowry Snow (R – St. George) sponsored H.B. 328.

Here’s a List of Colleges That Will Require Students or Employees to Be Vaccinated Against Covid-19

As colleges look toward the fall-2021 semester, they’re grappling with whether to require — or just strongly encourage — students to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Here’s a chart of institutions that have decided to issue blanket vaccination requirements of all students, students living on campus, and/or employees. Know a campus that should be added to this list? Email

Steep Enrollment Declines This Spring

Spring undergraduate enrollment fell 5.9 percent compared to this time last year, the largest drop since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Community colleges were particularly hard hit, with a double-digit enrollment decrease of 11.3 percent, down from 9.5 percent in fall 2020. The data, collected as of March 25, include 12.6 million students and incorporate 76 percent of higher education institutions.