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February 22, 2024

Providing Credit Transfer Visibility to Improve Credit Mobility

Ithaka S+R’s “Universal Credit Transfer Explorer” Launching in Three States in 2024

To help address the many challenges college students face when they move between institutions or attempt to transfer credits they have earned in high school or elsewhere, Ithaka S+R is launching a new, public, non-profit, national credit mobility website. This “universal credit transfer explorer” will go live later this year with data from an inaugural set of institutions across three states, thanks to collaborations with the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, the South Carolina Commission on Higher…
February 14, 2024

From the Ground Up

Developing Robust Student Success Programming to Boost Statewide Credential Attainment

Like many states, Texas is seeking to increase the share of adults with postsecondary degrees and credentials. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)’s Building a Talent Strong Texas strategic plan lays out the state’s ambitious goal: by 2030, 60 percent of Texans ages 25-65 will hold a credential of value. To meet this target, the state has activated and engaged institutions, agencies, and advocates across the state (and nationally) to address the highly-varied educational needs of Texas…
February 13, 2024

No Longer Stranded?

How New Department of Education Rule Creates Opportunities for Students and Institutions

In 2020, Ithaka S+R estimated that approximately 6.6 million students did not have access to their educational transcripts due to past due balances, resulting in stranded credits. This challenge may impact any student, but our research indicated it was more likely to affect students who identified as women, racial and ethnic minorities, and those from low-income backgrounds. During our initial investigation of stranded credits, we found that nearly all higher education institutions used transcript holds as a tool to…
February 12, 2024

From Awareness to Action

Addressing Basic Needs Insecurity on Campus

The latest federal data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) highlights some of the critical challenges students face outside of the classroom when it comes to basic needs: roughly one in five undergraduate students (23 percent) and one in 10 graduate students (12 percent) are experiencing food insecurity, while 8 percent of undergraduate students and 5 percent of graduate students are experiencing homelessness. For millions of students, the struggle to…
February 8, 2024

Biomedical Research and Generative AI

Announcing an International Survey

AI has driven important advances in biomedical research for some time, spurring drug discovery, improving medical imaging, and facilitating engagements with large datasets in emerging fields like precision medicine. However, recent advances, notably the advent of consumer-friendly generative AI tools, have increased the likelihood that AI-informed research and scholarly communication will be ubiquitous in the near future. Managing this transformation in ways that ensure high-quality, reproducible results and ethical, inclusive research practices is important across academic disciplines, but identifying current…
February 7, 2024

The US Instructor Survey 2024 is Open

We are excited to announce that Ithaka S+R has launched the 2024 US Instructor Survey! For over 20 years, we have surveyed teaching and research faculty in the US, and as universities and colleges continue their commitment to teaching and learning, we have officially launched an instruction-focused edition of the survey to over 150,000 faculty members across the country. As higher education evolves, this new survey is designed to support a variety of stakeholders and decision makers by providing…
February 6, 2024

Unveiling AI in Academia

Insights from the University of Baltimore's Study

In September 2023, Ithaka S+R kicked off its Making AI Generative for Higher Education project, a two year collaboration with 19 universities who are committed to learning about generative AI’s impact on higher education and developing institution-specific strategies to best leverage the technology. This fall and winter, each university in the cohort has been focused on assessing the needs and experiences of their campus communities in relation to generative AI. One of these institutions, the University of Baltimore, surveyed…
January 29, 2024

Shared Infrastructure for the Second Digital Transformation of Scholarly Publishing

The scholarly publishing sector is undergoing its second digital transformation. In the first, we saw a massive shift from paper to digital, but otherwise publishing retained many of the characteristics of the print era. In this current second digital transformation, many of these structures, workflows, incentives, and outputs are being revamped in favor of new approaches that bring tremendous opportunities, and also non-trivial risks, to scholarly communication. In a report published today, with funding from…
January 22, 2024

Announcing a New Project on Higher Education, Civic Engagement, and Democracy

Political polarization, mis/disinformation, and the lack of civil deliberation are affecting campus climates across the country, while at the same time trust in colleges and universities is on the decline. Against this backdrop, how are higher education institutions thinking about their role in stewarding democratic principles and civic engagement, and what are they doing to shape informed, active citizens? To begin answering those questions, today we are thrilled to share that Ithaka S+R is collaborating with the American…
January 18, 2024

Understanding ROI on Postsecondary Education

Using Data to Support Strategic State Investments

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) recently shared findings from their annual survey, shedding light on the top ten policy priorities among the public executives in each state responsible for overseeing postsecondary education. Topping the list were three key areas: (1) supporting workforce and economic development, (2) ensuring adequate funding for public colleges and universities, and (3) addressing the growing concern among students and the public regarding the value of a college degree. States need better data…
January 16, 2024

Open Source Program Offices

Options for Housing OSPOs within a University

Open Source Program Offices (OSPOs) have become a familiar concept in large technology firms and technology-forward companies in a variety of other industries. Across the past couple of decades, companies have used OSPOs as centralized hubs for their open source software-related activities. OSPOs have been useful for establishing frameworks for how companies use and contribute to open source software, as well as making sure their engagement aligns with their broader business objectives.
December 20, 2023

Keep It Simple: Previewing Changes to FAFSA

In December 2020, policymakers passed the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification Act to address barriers to higher education related to federal student financial aid or Title IV aid—named in reference to Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the landmark legislation that in part sought to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education. Key benefits of FAFSA simplification are a streamlined application process, removal of barriers for…
December 7, 2023

How Can Universities Create AI Tools for their Communities?

An Interview with the Creators of UC San Diego’s TritonGPT

Following the commercial release of tools like ChatGPT, it has become clear that generative AI technology will have a marked impact on higher education. In the midst of widespread discussions on how generative AI can best be leveraged in teaching and research contexts, universities are exploring how they can provide secure access to this technology for faculty, staff, and students. In our recent blog post on university custom AI platforms, we highlighted three institutions—the University of Michigan, Harvard University,…
November 30, 2023

Improving Data Collection and Management Practices to Understand Stranded Credits

Institutional debt is an understudied and overlooked type of student debt that hinders stopped-out students’ ability to complete or further their education. This specific debt often results in “stranded credits”—earned credits that students cannot access because their former institution is withholding their transcript or blocking registration until they settle their unpaid balance. Institution record systems are not designed to facilitate easy access to understanding who is affected by stranded credits. But, with small changes and greater collaboration, institutions…
November 29, 2023

Reflections on the 2023 National Conference on Higher Education in Prisons (NCHEP)

With the restoration of Pell grants for incarcerated students on July 1, the 13th annual National Conference on Higher Education in Prisons (NCHEP), held November 9-11 in Atlanta, marked a turning point in the evolution and growth of the field. This NCHEP was the largest ever, selling out registration weeks in advance and with a record number of first-time attendees, including librarians and representatives from departments of corrections. Most notably, in keeping with the conference theme of “Closing the Gap,”…
November 16, 2023

Supporting College Teaching

Providing excellent instruction is a key priority across colleges and universities in the United States, but the on-the-ground experiences and needs of college teachers are often taken for granted. When approached thoughtfully, evidence about how faculty teach can be used to make meaningful interventions into their day-to-day activities, which in turn benefits their students. Today, we’re publishing a new issue brief intended to serve as a resource for institutions working to improve their support for college instruction through cross-unit…
November 14, 2023

College Admissions After Affirmative Action

Catherine Bond Hill on “The Close”

Last week, Catharine Bond Hill, Ithaka S+R’s managing director, sat down with Bloomberg News’ Scarlet Fu on “The Close” to talk about the shifting landscape of college admissions at highly selective institutions in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action. In the clip below, Cappy discusses strategies college and universities can take to increase diversity on campus, including increasing need-based aid, revisiting admissions policies that privilege high-income students, and recruiting veterans. Further reading Alternative Strategies to…
November 10, 2023

What’s Next? Ideas for Future Exploration in Student Veteran Access and Success

This October, we embarked on a blog series focusing on the experiences of student veterans in higher education, sharing takeaways from our conversations with eight campus-based programs and non-profit organizations that support student veterans’ college success alongside the latest enrollment data. Those conversations provided insights into many best practices that institutions can employ to recruit, enroll, and graduate veteran students, while also introducing new questions and ideas for future work. In this installment, we identify…
November 9, 2023

Who Has Stranded Credits?

Insights from a New Ithaka S+R Survey

In August 2022, the Ohio College Comeback Compact (“Ohio Compact” or “Compact”) was launched to offer a pathway to re-enrollment for stopped-out college students with stranded credits in the Northeast Ohio region. The Compact allows stopped-out students to return to any of the eight participating public colleges and universities despite owing institutional debt and having their transcript withheld. Through the Compact, students are eligible to receive up to $5,000 in debt forgiveness and a release of their transcript…
November 8, 2023

Op-Ed in The Hill Highlights Opportunities Following Education Department’s New Transcript Withholding Ban

Almost exactly three years after Ithaka S+R first published national research on “stranded credits”—credits that students have earned but can’t access because their college is holding their transcript and blocking registration until they pay a balance due—the federal government is on the verge of eliminating transcript withholding as a debt collection practice. In a new op-ed in The Hill, we discuss a package of regulations issued by the US Education Department and aimed at protecting beneficiaries of…