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tag: Stranded credits

Upcoming Event
August 7, 2024

Engagement to Enrollment

State Approaches to Support Returning Adult Learners

Adult learners with Some College, No Credential (SCNC) frequently experience barriers to enrollment when they return to college, including administrative and financial challenges such as student account holds and past due balances. While many states have passed laws that prohibit or limit the use of transcript holds in recent years, new regulations from the Department of Education limit transcript withholding nationally as of July 2024. With this policy change as a foundation to the session, leaders from three states that…
Blog Post
May 9, 2024

From Debt to Degrees

Evaluating the Ohio College Comeback Compact

Across the US, the number of individuals who started college but stopped out before attaining a degree has continued to grow. Research shows that earning an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or a targeted credential has wide-ranging benefits, from increased lifetime earnings to improved health outcomes. Postsecondary institutions and regional economies also benefit when students re-enroll and complete programs. Returning students face unique challenges to re-enrollment and completion, and this is especially true for students with past-due balances at their…
Research Report
May 9, 2024

Removing the Institutional Debt Hurdle

Findings from an Evaluation of the Ohio College Comeback Compact

This report provides findings from the evaluation of the pilot year of the Ohio College Comeback Compact, an institutional debt cancellation program being implemented at eight public institutions in northeast Ohio. Administrative holds preventing re-enrollment leave students unable to realize the benefits of a postsecondary credential. Fortunately, a number of initiatives and policies, including the Ohio College Comeback Compact, have sought to alleviate this barrier for students.
Research Report
May 9, 2024

Second Chances

A Qualitative Assessment of the Ohio College Comeback Compact

While the rise of institution-specific debt forgiveness programs and state-level policies limiting transcript withholding is encouraging, a regional or national approach could benefit returning students on a wider scale. In response, Ithaka S+R developed a regional solution, the Ohio College Comeback Compact, which launched in August 2022, to address the problems posed by institutional debts and provide stopped-out students with an opportunity to complete their credential and have their debt forgiven.
Blog Post
April 25, 2024

Removing Barriers to Re-Enrollment for Adult Learners

Announcing A New Technical Assistance Project in Kentucky

In collaboration with the Kentucky Council for Postsecondary Education (CPE), Ithaka S+R is providing research and consulting to identify barriers to re-enrolling adult learners who have stopped out and assess intervention opportunities to improve adult learner re-enrollment in Kentucky. This project builds on Ithaka S+R’s prior research, implementation, and evaluation efforts to address stranded credits—credits that students have earned but cannot access because of administrative holds placed by the college or university they previously attended as collateral…
Past Event
May 1, 2024

Adult Learner Re-Engagement in Pennsylvania

Informational Webinar with PDE and Ithaka S+R

On Wednesday May 1 at 11:00am-12:00pm ET, join the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Ithaka S+R for a webinar providing practical information on how higher education institutions in Pennsylvania can better support adult learners. By working with students to resolve past due balances and administrative holds, institutions are able to enroll students who were previously blocked from returning to college. Register to attend by Friday, April 19 to learn about strategies to engage, enroll, and support adult…
Blog Post
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…
Blog Post
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…
Blog Post
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…
Research Report
November 9, 2023

Institutional Supports for Students with Stranded Credits

Survey Results from the Ohio College Comeback Compact

As of 2023, 43.6 million borrowers owe more than $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. The burden of debt negatively impacts borrowers' ability to provide for their families, purchase a car, or buy a home. However, there is another, often overlooked, institutional debt that students may owe their former institutions after stopping out. It is estimated that 6.6 million students owe $15 billion in unpaid balances to their institutions.
Blog Post
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…
Blog Post
September 27, 2023

After Successful Pilot, the Ohio College Comeback Compact Moves to Full Implementation

The Ohio College Comeback Compact successfully concluded its pilot year, demonstrating proof of concept for a novel program aimed at re-enrolling college students with stranded credits and settling the institutional debt they owed their former institutions. The Compact is advancing to a full implementation at the eight original public colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio for the 2023-24 academic year. And, with generous support from Lumina Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation, Ithaka S+R will be…
Past Event
November 8, 2023

Four Perspectives on Re-Enrolling Adult Learners and Supporting Them Through Completion

In this session at the CAEL Conference on November 8 at 1:40-2:30pm ET in Key Ballroom 1, panelists will discuss the challenges they see and their approaches to supporting adults to complete their postsecondary education. Ithaka S+R’s Liz Looker will speak on stranded credits and Ithaka S+R’s projects to support adult learners seeking to complete their credentials, including the Ohio College Comeback Compact. Other panelists include Steve Ast, Mike Krause, and Dr. Mark Sorrells. Learn more about the…
Past Event
September 12, 2023

Solving the Stranded Credits Problem

Today, 6.6 million students are facing the challenge of “stranded credits”—credits that cannot be transferred between colleges. In a system of competing higher ed institutions, a never-ending discussion on which courses count toward credits has resulted in a portion of the US population left in a perpetual state of near-completion toward a degree. Sometimes, these students have unpaid bills to colleges, so their transcripts are withheld. Underprivileged students are often disproportionately affected. In an upcoming virtual forum on September…
Past Event
November 9, 2023

Increasing Adult Learner Enrollment and Resolving Stranded Credits

“Stranded credits” are credits that students have earned but can’t access because their former institution is holding their transcript as collateral for an unpaid balance to the institution. Ninety-five percent of institutions withhold transcripts when students have a balance, and Ithaka S+R estimates that 6.6 million students nationally have stranded credits. Like student loan debt, stranded credits are inequitably distributed: institutions with higher shares of students of color and Pell-eligible students are estimated to have more former students…
Past Event
May 18, 2023

Martin Kurzweil at (Re)Engage Alabama

On May 18, Martin Kurzweil and Kent State University’s Chris Dorsten will talk about stranded credits and the Ohio College Comeback Compact at the (Re)Engage Alabama Convening in Montgomery, Alabama.
Past Event
August 7, 2023

Bans, Compacts, and Collections… Oh My! State Approaches to Addressing Stranded Credits

Institutions and states are facing increasing pressures to stop the practice of withholding student transcripts for failure to pay balances in full. In fact, over half of states have enacted or considered policies on this issue over the past several years. The Department of Education and the CFPB have also weighed in with guidance and new policies. In this session at the 2023 SHEEO Higher Education Policy Conference, leaders from three states that have taken unique approaches to addressing…
Past Event
April 3, 2023

Innovative Approaches to Re-Enrollment, Retention, and Completion

Supporting Undergraduate College Students

Declines in enrollment and retention are increasingly common challenges in higher education. At the 2023 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Annual Conference on April 3, 2023, Brittany Pearce and Daniel Rossman will present a session addressing the issue. The presenters will share research and explore two solutions that can inform practice: retention and completion grants and addressing stranded credits. Participants will learn about how these new approaches can help students and higher education institutions. Through an interactive activity,…
Past Event
April 27, 2023

Holistic Credit Mobility: Centering Learning in Credential Completion

Session at the WICHE Academic Leadership Forum

At the 2023 Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Academic Leadership Forum, Martin Kurzweil and Chau-Fang Lin will present on holistic credit mobility and the framework for centering learning in credential completion, sharing findings from an Ithaka S+R issue brief funded by the Ascendium Education Group. The session is schedule for Thursday, April 27 at 11:15 – 12:15 pm.
Past Event
February 22, 2023

Holistic Credit Mobility

An Innovative Framework to Foster Credit and Learning Mobility

On Wednesday, February 22 from 2:50 – 3:40 pm PST at the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students Conference, Sarah Pingel will present on Ithaka S+R’s holistic credit mobility project with Ascendium Education Group’s Carolynn Lee. The session will define the concept of holistic credit mobility and propose a framework to understand how higher education can be responsive to the needs of today’s mobile students. The session will include worked examples that allow participants to…