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Topic: Access to higher education

Research Report
August 3, 2021

Breaking Down Barriers

The Impact of State Authorization Reciprocity on Online Enrollment

State authorization, or the approval by a given state for a college to operate within its jurisdiction, is an important part of the regulatory triad. The triad is the three-pronged oversight of higher education that includes the federal government, accrediting bodies, and state governments. State authorization has become more complicated with the rapid expansion of online education that is blurring state geographic boundaries. Colleges seeking to enroll students from numerous states in online programs must obtain authorization in each of…
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…
Blog Post
July 16, 2021

Participate in Advancing Higher Education in Prison Research

Visit Ithaka S+R’s New Online Forum

Higher education in prison programming has entered a period of great opportunity and promise. In December 2020, the nation lifted a 26-year ban on need-based Pell Grants to incarcerated undergraduates. Over the next several years, the restoration of this federal funding stream will propel the expansion of college programming to many of the estimated half million Pell-eligible incarcerated adult learners. However, nuts-and-bolts questions persist, such as how best to scale high-quality educational programming…
Case Study
July 12, 2021

Using Equity Data to Guide the Design and Implementation of the New General Education Curriculum at Ohio State

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 their equity-related projects. In January 2021, members participated in a webinar discussion on this topic,…
Blog Post
July 8, 2021

Provocative, Productive, and Collaborative: The 2021 Academic Equity Summer Institute

We gratefully acknowledge the many individuals who devoted their time, energy, and expertise to the 2021 summer institute and the insights shared below, including Randall Bass, Heidi Elmendorf, Mark Joy, Susannah McGowan, and Brittany Toscano Gore of Georgetown University, Katie Brock and Ulili Emore of the University of Texas at Austin, and Nathaniel Holmes and Richard Peters of Xavier University of Louisiana. The ongoing work of the ATI academic equity community of practice would not be possible without them. Introduction…
Research Report
June 29, 2021

American Talent Initiative 2021

Third Annual Progress Report

The American Talent Initiative (ATI) brings together a coalition of four-year colleges and universities in pursuit of a common goal: enrolling, supporting, and graduating 50,000 additional lower-income students by 2025 at the colleges and universities that consistently graduate at least 70 percent of their students in six years. ATI’s third annual progress report provides a snapshot of progress—and setbacks. It comes at a time when a global pandemic has deepened inequality, and a national uprising against systemic racism has sharpened…
Blog Post
May 25, 2021

Using Data to Advance Equity in the Academic Experience

A New American Talent Initiative Case Study Series

We’re excited to announce the first publication in a new case study series from the American Talent Initiative’s Academic Equity Community of Practice, highlighting the ways in which colleges and universities have leveraged data and evidence-based research to enhance equity-related projects on their respective campuses. In Fall 2020, 37 members of the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities committed to expanding…
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…
Blog Post
May 6, 2021

Reconciling with the Past: Addressing Institutional Connections with Slavery

In a series of blog posts, I have discussed the origins and developments of postsecondary efforts to address institutional connections with slavery. This final blog post will discuss how institutions can push beyond their historical entanglements with slavery to address the current legacies of institutional racism. While a growing number of institutions have sponsored historical inquiries examining their own institutional involvement with slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries, and many have issued statements decrying systemic…
Blog Post
May 4, 2021

A State-by-State Snapshot of Stranded Credits Data and Policy

As the higher education sector begins to address the adverse effects of the pandemic on enrollment, institutions and policymakers alike have begun to turn their attention to a pernicious form of debt that could be preventing over six million students, especially low-income students and students of color, from re-enrolling and earning their degrees. This form of debt prevents students from accessing their transcripts at institutions they attended in the past, leading those previously earned credits to become “stranded” at…
Blog Post
April 28, 2021

What Will it Take to Move the Needle on Student Basic Needs?

Last year, we released a landscape review delving into how different metrics of student success are currently prioritized, defined, quantified, and used within the community college sector—examining how traditional metrics of success, like those aligning with typical college objectives like graduation, retention, enrollment, and course completion, are more often prioritized and required for funding, accountability, and accreditation purposes. Subsequent interviews with institutional research and effectiveness officers provided even…
Research Report
April 28, 2021

Moving the Needle on College Student Basic Needs

National Community College Provost Perspectives

For many years, higher education data collection and funding efforts have focused on student success metrics like enrollment, graduation, retention, and course completion rates. At the same time, higher education leaders have become increasingly aware—in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic—of the vast array of challenges that college students face outside of the classroom that prevent them from fully succeeding. To shed light on the challenges and opportunities associated with the collection and prioritization of a broader set of student…
Blog Post
April 15, 2021

Three Questions for Kara Bledsoe

On April 1, Kara Bledsoe joined Ithaka S+R’s Libraries, Scholarly Communication, and Museums team. In this interview, she reflects on what brought her to Ithaka S+R and what she hopes to accomplish through her work with us. What attracted you to Ithaka S+R? My background is in management consulting for cultural organizations. I drafted strategic plans, facilitated visioning workshops, and evaluated clients’ operations to help them optimize the balance between market forces and their missions. Most of the research…
Blog Post
March 15, 2021

Post-NCHEP Reflection

The Need for Digital Literacy in a Digitally-Connected World

The National Conference on Higher Education in Prison (NCHEP) concluded earlier this month. Due to the pandemic, this annual meeting of practitioners, students, and advocates moved online for the first time, and, while the in-person experience of community building is not easy to duplicate remotely, the increased opportunity for engagement and access certainly aligned with this year’s conference theme, “Amplifying Access.” With its assembly of breakout sessions, plenaries, and chat-boxes, the virtualized conference was better able to prioritize…
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…
Past Event
April 28, 2021

Christine Wolff-Eisenberg and Melissa Blankstein at NISOD 2021

Christine Wolff-Eisenberg and Melissa Blankstein will unveil brand new national survey findings of community college provosts on efforts to measure and address student basic needs. Join them to discuss the current landscape of metrics for determining student success and opportunities for including new holistic student metrics going forward. For more information, please visit this site. …
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…
Blog Post
March 8, 2021

Three Questions for Ithaka S+R’s Newest Analysts

In January, we welcomed three new analysts to our team. In this interview, they reflect on what brought them to Ithaka S+R and what they hope to accomplish through their work with us. What attracted you to Ithaka S+R?  Darnell Epps: I found the work around college in prison to be quite appealing, especially the goal of advancing educational equity through technology. Although I would later matriculate and graduate from Cornell University, the first…
Blog Post
March 3, 2021

How Can Community College Services Be Organized to Best Meet Student Needs?

Over the course of their attendance, community college students must navigate through an array of services—delivered through student affairs departments, academic affairs departments, libraries, and their instructors—to find the support they need. Whether they find that support depends in part on whether their institutions have developed effective service models and organizational strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the attendant necessity for increased remoting learning amidst enrollment declines and budgetary strains, also creates new challenges for students as well as…
Research Report
March 3, 2021

Student Focused

Fostering Cross-Unit Collaboration to Meet the Changing Needs of Community College Students

Ensuring that community college students have access to academic and student support services requires more than simply understanding students’ needs—it also requires relating those needs to actionable service models and organizational strategies. Community college students navigate ecosystems of services provided and supported by academic affairs departments, student affairs departments, libraries, and faculty. How can these ecosystems best be organized and developed to adapt to changing student needs—particularly amidst the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic?…