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.
August 22, 2016
The conversation about the assessment of student learning in higher education has shifted somewhat in recent years. While some critics still question whether colleges are doing enough to try to understand what and how much their students learn, there is no doubt that most institutions -- often prodded by their accreditors and other external pressures -- are engaged in more activity aimed at assessing student learning. Several national groups announced a new program last fall aimed at recognizing institutions that have gone beyond sporadic efforts to assess student learning and sought to assure a more systemic, cross-campus approach that uses results to drive experimentation and change.
July 22, 2016
Pssst! You wanna buy a college education? Of course you do! People with college degrees earn about $1 million more over their lifetimes than those with only high school diplomas, and are far more likely to have jobs they enjoy. At least, that’s how things turn out for the average American graduate,according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
June 23, 2016
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities on Wednesday said it backed an approach to the accreditation process where the agencies focus more time and energy on colleges that have problems than on those that don't. The U.S. Department of Education also recently has said it supports risk-based accreditation.
May 26, 2016
The official graduation rate that colleges must report to the U.S. Department of Education has included only first-time, full-time students who graduate from that college within 150% of normal time (three years for a two-year college or six years for a four-year college). Although part-time and non-first-time students were included in the federal government’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) collection for the first time this year, it will still be about another year or so before those data will be available to the public. (Russell Poulin at WICHE has a nice summary of what the new IPEDS outcome measure data will mean.)