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Publications

Research Report
October 5, 2020

Solving Stranded Credits

Assessing the Scope and Effects of Transcript Withholding on Students, States, and Institutions

Attention to the burden of U.S. educational debt, now at $1.7 trillion, has grown in recent years. For too many former postsecondary students—especially Black students—debt they took on to improve their lives and career prospects has instead become a financial hindrance, delaying or undermining their efforts to buy homes, build savings, or provide for their families. The debt burden is especially severe for those who never completed their postsecondary program and therefore did not receive the credentials that might have…
Issue Brief
October 1, 2020

Policies to Ensure Equitable Access to Well-Resourced Colleges and Universities

Inequity in higher education access is a persistent problem. One way in which this manifests is through inequitable opportunities to attend the most well-resourced institutions. When students attend limited-resource institutions, they are less likely to persist and earn a credential and typically have weaker labor market prospects. Low-income and racial and ethnic minority students are more likely to attend under-resourced institutions than their wealthier and white peers. These enrollment patterns vis-à-vis institutional resources stand to perpetuate social and economic inequities.
Research Report
February 13, 2020

Raising the Bar

What States Need to Do to Hit Their Ambitious Higher Education Attainment Goals

Over the past decade, there has been considerable attention placed on the role that state higher education systems play in preparing residents for a rapidly changing labor market. Given the increasing importance of a postsecondary degree in this market—both due to disproportionate growth in high skilled jobs and an influx of credentialization—educational attainment has become a focal point in discussions amongst researchers, policy advocates, and institutional actors. The attainment rate, calculated as the share of adults possessing a postsecondary credential,…
Issue Brief
December 12, 2019

Expanding Pathways to College Enrollment and Degree Attainment

Policies and Reforms for a Diverse Population

For states to increase access to and attainment of higher education, they must implement policies and reforms that support learners who have not traditionally been well-served by higher education. By 2020, the United States is projected to have a shortage of five million workers with the adequate postsecondary education to fulfill workforce needs. States have a vested interest in and obligation to create multiple pathways to college enrollment and credential attainment that fit the needs of their diverse populations, not…
Issue Brief
October 2, 2019

The Strategic Alignment of State Appropriations, Tuition, and Financial Aid Policies

In response to the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, states reduced their expenditures on many public services and goods, including substantial cuts to higher education spending. Despite a strong economic recovery since the Great Recession and significant increases in student enrollment, most states’ spending on higher education has not returned to pre-recession levels. Reductions in state spending and rising costs have led a number of public colleges and universities to increase tuition, making college less affordable for many students…
Issue Brief
June 12, 2019

Setting a North Star

Motivations, Implications, and Approaches to State Postsecondary Attainment Goals

Higher education attainment goals can serve as a “north star” to guide states’ postsecondary policies, investments, and agendas. The extent to which state attainment goals lead to substantive improvements in college-going rates, college graduation rates, postsecondary credential attainment rates, and reductions in labor market skills gaps is as yet unclear. Further, the likelihood a state will meet its attainment goals varies by state and depends on contextual factors that are within and outside the purview of the education sector. In…