May 16, 2017
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is starting a push to repeal the federal ban on tracking the educational and employment outcomes of college students, Politico reports. The prohibition was enacted as part of the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The legislation they plan to propose would allow the federal government, families, and prospective students to glean more “accurate and complete data” about students at a particular college or in a certain major, whether they graduate on time, and what kinds of jobs they land upon graduation, among other things.
May 15, 2017
A bipartisan group of senators is proposing a major overhaul of the way the federal government collects data on college students, setting the stage for a showdown over how to balance student privacy with a growing interest in measuring college outcomes. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Bill Cassidy (R., La.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.)—all members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee—on Monday introduced legislation that would overturn a decade-old ban on collecting individual student data that track enrollment, completion and graduate success.
May 3, 2017
Accrediting agencies are facing intense scrutiny from academics, policy makers and the general public, with the latest salvo being the decision by Northwestern University’s school of journalism and communications to ditch its accreditor.
April 11, 2017
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in February met with Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, along with 11 presidents of four-year, public universities. She also met with leaders of historically black colleges and universities that month.
April 10, 2017
As tuition costs continue to rise and states rethink their investments in higher education, colleges are under increasing pressure from prospective students and lawmakers to disclose outcomes like on-time graduation rates and earnings potential for particular majors. The information now available is often incomplete—or even outright wrong. But efforts are under way to change that, even if progress has been piecemeal.
April 3, 2017
Various higher education and library organizations representing thousands of colleges, universities nationwide Thursday sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Michael O’Reily, urging them to uphold the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order. The groups believe that the strong net neutrality protections set by the order are essential to protecting freedom of speech, educational achievement and economic growth, according to the letter.
March 16, 2017
Creating a campus culture of data use can drive institutional initiatives to improve student learning and increase degree completion. That is the latest analysis coming from two higher education organizations this week. The Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the Institution for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) have released 14 brief case studies that “spotlight the importance of student-level data in the development and implementation of programs and strategies to improve student learning and increase degree completion,” according to the APLU website. Each case study explains how the college, university or system “turned student data into actionable information and tools that improved student decisions and outcomes.”
December 19, 2016
Craig Lindwarm, director of congressional and governmental affairs for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), points out that over the last several years, public four-year schools have spent more per student than is covered by tuition increases. If the federal government offered states matching funds to reinvest in higher ed, that could ease the burden on institutions and students. “Institutions are doing their best to absorb the costs and not completely pass them on to students,” Lindwarm says. “Still, most students are directly impacted by state disinvestment in higher ed. We think a federal policy to encourage and incentivize states would be very successful in impacting accessibility and affordability.”
September 15, 2016
Building on the College Scorecard program it launched last year, the U.S. Department of Education announced today that it may soon start providing “cautionary indicators” to warn students about potentially problematic schools. While the government didn’t provide specifics about the warnings, college representatives and former Obama Administration officials said the red flags might include low student loan repayment rates, troubled finances, or programs whose graduates end up in low-paying jobs. Currently, the department only issues warnings about colleges facing severe financial difficulties. It has not said when the new changes might go into effect.
September 6, 2016
The data in Third Way’s report on public universities suffers from deficiencies. Importantly, the federal graduation data it uses counts students who transfer institutions as dropouts.
This deficient data led Third Way to the mistaken conclusion that six-year federal graduation rates reflect student success at Michigan public universities. With more complete data from the National Student Clearinghouse, the Student Achievement Measure (SAM) captures the full set of student outcomes. Using SAM, 44% of students graduate from Oakland University in six years, another 15% graduate elsewhere, and 21% are still enrolled. At Wayne State University, 34% of students graduate from WSU in six years, another 7% graduate elsewhere and 28% are still enrolled. Far from “dropout factories” the vast majority of entering students at OU and WSU either graduate or are still in school.
Judgments about student success must start with complete data. Anything less isn’t good enough.