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Issue Brief
January 5, 2023

Copyright and Streaming Audiovisual Content in the US Context

Copyright law includes special rights for research and teaching, including the fair use right, which can help address gaps between the educational activities that technology facilitates and the exclusive rights copyright grants to authors. In this brief, we review how US copyright law currently applies to streaming content for educational and research purposes and explore the opportunities for academic libraries.
Issue Brief
November 16, 2022

Holistic Credit Mobility

Centering Learning in Credential Completion

In this issue brief, we introduce holistic credit mobility as a framework for making sense of contemporary student mobility and devising solutions that center the success of mobile students with multiple forms and sources of validated learning. In the sections that follow, we define holistic credit mobility and highlight strategies to support its effective deployment throughout postsecondary institutions and systems.
Issue Brief
August 18, 2022

Post-Baccalaureate Bridge Programs

An Underutilized Tool for Strengthening Faculty Diversity

Over the last 50 years, the US has experienced significant shifts in its racial and ethnic makeup, making it a much more racially diverse country than it was a half century ago. The racial and ethnic composition of the higher education system has shifted too. In spite of this progress, various forms of racial bias, socioeconomic inequality, and academic gatekeeping continue to limit access of students from underrepresented minority (URM) and low-income backgrounds to higher education’s resources and potential benefits.
Issue Brief
July 7, 2022

Lost and Found: State and Institutional Actions to Resolve Stranded Credits

This brief provides a roadmap for stakeholders interested in the underlying practices that create stranded credits and what can be done to improve them. To begin, we provide specific definitions of the terms and practices implicated in the creation of stranded credits. While researchers and policy leaders have increased their attention on the problem of stranded credits, this brief lays out in detail how they are created, why they matter, and what can be done to better balance the interests.
Issue Brief
May 16, 2022

Can Evidence-Based Teaching Techniques Address the Education Debt that Students of Color Are Owed?

Evidence-based teaching strategies (EBTs) have become increasingly popular, as the practices have been linked to positive academic outcomes and should, theoretically, benefit all students regardless of their background. In this brief we identify the areas where research on EBTs lacks a critical, equity-minded orientation and offer suggestions on how future research can utilize an equity-first mindset. We present strategies that can be used by practitioners who hope to orient EBTs towards creating equitable learning environments for their students.
Issue Brief
April 28, 2022

Supporting Low-Income Students with SNAP

States and institutions of higher education have, until recently, been approaching the problem of student food insecurity in separate, sometimes contradictory ways. While some institutions have developed wrap-around assistance programs for low-income students that have improved retention and completion rates, the students with the most needs often attend institutions with the fewest resources to support them. Developing state policies that support low-income students will not only increase the number of successful graduates but also improve students’ work-readiness and earning potential.
Issue Brief
November 9, 2021

No “One Size Fits All” Impact of Doubling Pell Grants

Understanding the Impact of Changing the Maximum Pell Grant on Low- and Middle-Income Students

As policy makers consider revisions to the Higher Education Act (HEA), understanding the impact of increasing the size of Pell grants is important if it is to have the intended impact of improving educational outcomes for lower income students across the various types of colleges and universities. Proposals to increase the Pell grant have been put forward by the Education Trust, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Urban Institute, the Biden administration, and many others. House Republicans have…
Issue Brief
August 25, 2021

Improving Clarity in Financial Aid Offers

Content and Design Recommendations for Transparent Student Communications

The American Talent Initiative’s latest issue brief, “Improving Clarity in Financial Aid Offers,” centers on the need for colleges and universities to prioritize clear, transparent financial aid communications, especially as the cost of college has significantly increased over the past three decades and left a shrinking number of students able to afford higher education (especially amid the pandemic). To address this enduring challenge, institutions can use powerful tools like the financial aid offer to help students understand the true…
Issue Brief
July 21, 2021

Right in Your Backyard

Expanding Local Community College Transfer Pathways to High-Graduation-Rate Institutions

Each year, our country’s most selective four-year institutions invest significant resources to recruit talented high school students from across the country. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, admissions representatives traveled far and wide to convince these prospective students that the academic rigor, amenities, and opportunities at their institution are unparalleled. These students, mostly affluent and white, contemplate admission offers and consider moves to new locales to pursue their postsecondary plans. Yet, many of these selective institutions are overlooking a talented and diverse…
Issue Brief
May 26, 2021

Different Approaches to Piloting Advising Technology

Comparing Webster University and West Virginia State University

Advising undergraduate students on how to succeed in their academics, careers, and life is one of the most common practices in higher education. Advising is also something that many institutions struggle to resource or coordinate sufficiently, due to hurdles such as overwhelming caseloads and limited interdepartmental communication, potentially leaving students without needed support on their paths to successful program completion. The barriers to a successful college experience are not borne equally across higher education. In fact, the institutions that serve…
Issue Brief
May 25, 2021

Using Data to Fuel Inclusive Excellence at Virginia Tech

In Fall 2020, the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities committed to expanding access and opportunity for low- and middle-income students, established its newest community of practice (CoP) focused on academic equity. Together, the 37 CoP members explore topics related to creating equitable academic communities. One such area of focus is how institutions can more effectively utilize data to enhance equity-related projects. In January 2021, members participated in a webinar discussion on this topic, during…
Issue Brief
March 31, 2021

The Disproportionate Impact of the Pandemic on Women and Caregivers in Academia

Evidence is mounting that women in academia have disproportionately been affected by the pandemic. Recent research points to new gender gaps in productivity and publishing, with fewer women publishing articles and manuscripts. And in addition to these professional challenges, women in academia are also facing unique personal challenges during the pandemic, including balancing childcare and home responsibilities while working towards achieving tenure in an academic pipeline where it is already challenging for women to succeed.
Issue Brief
March 26, 2021

The Many Facets of Faculty Involvement in the Implementation Process

A Case Study of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Advising undergraduate students on how to succeed in their academics, careers, and life is one of the most common practices in higher education. Advising is also something that many institutions struggle to resource or coordinate sufficiently, potentially leaving students without needed support on their paths to successful program completion. The barriers to a successful college experience are not borne equally across higher education. In fact, the institutions that serve the highest proportions of students from historically minoritized backgrounds (including low-income,…
Issue Brief
March 15, 2021

Federal Policies for Increasing Socioeconomic Diversity at Selective Colleges and Universities

Earning a bachelor’s degree is increasingly important to an individual’s longer-term economic prospects. Communities, at all levels, also benefit when their members earn postsecondary credentials, through improved economic, social, and health outcomes. Yet, despite an increase in college participation over the last two decades, severe inequities in bachelor’s degree attainment remain; inequities that often leave lower-income and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) students with debt and no or low-value credentials. With Democrats coalescing around a number of federal…
Issue Brief
March 11, 2021

Homeless and Foster Youth, Racial Inequity, and Policy Shifts for Systemic Change

Each year, roughly 4.2 million young people experience homelessness, and more than 600,000 children interact with the foster care system nationwide.[1] Although youth homelessness and foster care are distinct experiences, many youth will crossover between these two groups. Both groups also face similar challenges, including highly unstable living environments, food insecurity, and often gaps in educational achievement and attainment. While the legal definition of youth homelessness varies across states and targeted policies, the Department of Education defines homeless…
Issue Brief
February 25, 2021

Academic Research Budgets

A Look Ahead with Special Emphasis on Research Enablement and Support

The United States university sector’s research enterprise is an important national asset. It is highly competitive and highly innovative in ordinary times, and during the past year plagued by coronavirus it pivoted quickly to conduct urgently needed research on a new threat. Beyond its national and international significance, the research enterprise is also an enormous asset—intellectually and financially—for each of the individual universities with a major stake in it. At the high level, the pandemic may seem not to have…
Issue Brief
February 25, 2021

University Budget Models and Indirect Costs

A Primer

Budgets do not only pay the costs of activities. They also reveal the ambitions and limitations of an organization. The opportunities presented in a budget are also bounded by the structural elements used by that institution: how costs and revenues are organized, how overhead is calculated and apportioned, and how assets and investments are calculated and utilized, among others. In the higher education sector in the US, there are many common budgeting elements but also several important areas of differentiation.
Issue Brief
January 19, 2021

It’s Complicated

The Relationship between Postsecondary Attainment and State Finances

Increased college-going and attainment comes with a host of benefits for individuals and society. A college credential is associated with increased civic engagement, volunteering, happiness, life satisfaction, and better health and wellness, as well as lower incarceration rates and reliance on social services. In addition to the host of nonpecuniary benefits of higher education, there is a direct link between both college access and attainment and students’ future economic outcomes. For example, students with test scores just above the eligibility…
Issue Brief
December 14, 2020

Accelerating Advising Technology Implementation in Response to COVID-19

A Case Study of Jacksonville University

Advising undergraduate students on how to succeed in their academics, careers, and life is one of the most common practices in higher education. Advising is also something that many institutions struggle to resource or coordinate sufficiently, potentially leaving students without needed support on their paths to successful program completion. It is also important to note that barriers to a successful college experience are not borne equally across higher education. The institutions that serve the highest proportions of students from low-income…
Issue Brief
December 10, 2020

Reimagining State Higher Education Funding

Recommendations from the Ithaka S+R Convening

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still unfolding, but already the pandemic seems likely to have an unprecedented impact on higher education finances. In response to declining tax revenues, states are beginning to curtail higher education funding, a key source of revenue for many public colleges and universities. Changing enrollment patterns and rising unemployment has softened demand for some colleges, which can negatively affect tuition revenues. Limitations on in-person activities and increased health-related costs are shrinking auxiliary revenues, a…