Skip to Main Content

Topic: Access to higher education

Blog Post
November 16, 2020

Examining Institution-Level Income Distribution and Financial Aid Trends

New Report

In a 2019 report, we shared initial findings from a novel effort to compare key statistics on the income distribution of undergraduate populations and financial aid awards from three public sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS), Opportunity Insights, and the Common Data Set (CDS). Comparing these data sources across groups of higher education institutions organized by control (public or private) and admissions selectivity, we found that they presented similar income distributions, and…
Research Report
November 16, 2020

Comparing Public Institution-Level Data on Students’ Family Income and Financial Aid

In a recent research report titled “Better Than We Thought,” our team at Ithaka S+R compared Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) data on the parental income distribution of entering college students with two other public sources of socioeconomic information on that population. In the report, we first checked the consistency of the income distributions reported by IPEDS with a more comprehensive dataset of tax records collected by researchers Opportunity Insights. Finding that, at the level of aggregate groups of institutions…
Blog Post
November 11, 2020

Introducing our Student Advisors

Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystems

In 2019, Ithaka S+R began a three-year project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to help community colleges and their academic libraries more effectively support their students. This project, known as Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystems (CCASSE), is part of a growing program of Ithaka S+R research focused on understanding, measuring, and increasing student success at community colleges. Our first phase of…
Blog Post
October 28, 2020

Building Support for Student Veteran Enrollment

New Practice Brief from the American Talent Initiative

Today, we are excited to release Making the Case for Student Veterans: Building Support for Student Veteran Enrollment. This publication is the first brief in a series from the American Talent Initiative (ATI) focused on helping college and university leaders lay the groundwork for enrolling, supporting, and graduating more student veterans.  Student veterans are significantly underrepresented at the colleges…
Issue Brief
October 28, 2020

Making the Case for Student Veterans

Building Support for Student Veteran Enrollment

A college degree is increasingly associated with greater economic opportunity for individuals and positive economic, social, and civic benefits for society. Yet, gaps in college access by income and race/ethnicity persist, especially at the most selective colleges and universities where students have the best chance to succeed due to greater resources and high graduation rates. These gaps perpetuate economic and social inequality, as access to high-quality education is essential for social mobility. Veterans and service members of the United States…
Blog Post
October 27, 2020

Student Success, Basic Needs, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Institutional Research Perspectives on Holistic Student Success Metrics

This year has undoubtedly been marked with unprecedented challenges for higher education, as we and others have documented through ever-building evidence from students, faculty, and administrators alike. As colleges and universities work to maintain enrollment, retention, and student learning outcomes, they are grappling with how to better understand and address the challenges their students are facing. The growing urgency to support students holistically—that…
Blog Post
October 20, 2020

Transitioning Introductory Math Courses Online to Meet Quality and Efficiency Goals

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities made an almost instantaneous switch from their traditional modes of learning to remote instruction in the middle of the spring 2020 term. Although remote teaching and learning have been used and well-understood in some corners of the academic world for some time, its implementation on this scale by academic leaders and faculty with little or no experience in remote teaching, is unprecedented. The new normal requires new investments and…
Blog Post
October 19, 2020

Increasing Access to Quality Educational Resources to Support Higher Education in Prison

New Project Announcement 

We are excited to announce a new project funded by Ascendium Education Group that will allow us to expand our current work on increasing access to quality educational resources for higher education in prison (HEP) programs. This grant will support both Ithaka S+R’s growing research focus in the field as well as JSTOR Labs’ innovative work on increasing access to academic resources for incarcerated students. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that both HEP programs and…
Research Report
October 13, 2020

How to Support and Lead the Urgent Transition to Quality Online Learning in Intro Math

A Resource Guide

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place orders enforced throughout the country prompted a rush to emergency remote learning in spring 2020. As institutions enter the next phase of planning with a substantial share of their courses expected to be delivered in hybrid or fully online formats, there is an urgent need to move emergency remote instruction toward more sustainable and intentional models that incorporate evidence-based standards and practices for online learning. It is imperative that higher education institutions capitalize on…
Blog Post
October 8, 2020

Indications of the New Normal

A (Farewell) Fall 2020 Update from the Academic Library Response to COVID-19 Survey

This is the fourth and final analysis of results from the Academic Library Response to COVID-19 survey, which we deployed on March 11 in order to gather as-it-happens data from and for the academic library community. Libraries were encouraged to not only log their current status but to also come back to retake the survey as circumstances evolved.  In past posts, we have presented an analysis…
Blog Post
October 5, 2020

“Stranded Credits”

New Report Explores Scope and Effects of Transcript Withholding 

In the past 20 years, over thirty-six million Americans have left higher education without earning a postsecondary degree or credential. Those with some college experience but no degree are often left in debt without the requisite labor market opportunities to pay it off, and can struggle financially for several years after dropping out. These impacts are particularly deleterious for students of color, who are often saddled with an…
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…
Blog Post
October 1, 2020

An Interview with Dr. Stella Flores

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

Stella Flores is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. Dr. Flores is a leading expert on higher education policy and uses quantitative methods to examine the effects of state and federal policies on postsecondary access and completion for low-income and underrepresented populations. She is also the Director of Access and Equity at The Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy. Ithaka S+R graciously thanks Dr. Flores for…
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.
Blog Post
September 30, 2020

Holistically Measuring Student Success

Higher education institutions often use quantitative, outcome-based metrics to define student success. These measurements, which are reported to and used by government, regulatory, and accrediting agencies, are influential for decision-making, benchmarking, ranking, and most importantly, funding. However, these traditional outcome metrics provide a limited view of the goals, challenges, and experiences of college students, especially those who attend community colleges. Employing additional, holistic metrics—such as those that focus on basic needs, feelings…
Research Report
September 30, 2020

Measuring the Whole Student

Landscape Review of Traditional and Holistic Approaches to Community College Student Success

As colleges and universities work to enhance student success, they frequently use traditional outcome-based metrics—such as graduation rates, year-to-year retention, and post-graduation employment—to define that “success.” These measurements, which throughout this report we refer to as traditional metrics, are often prioritized across higher education given their impact on and consequences toward institutional decision-making, benchmarking, and most importantly, funding. While these quantitative metrics can provide a useful—albeit limited—view into student experiences inside and outside of the classroom, they often focus on…
Issue Brief
August 27, 2020

Seven Practices for Building Community and Student Belonging Virtually

Most colleges and universities have traditionally provided in-person programming and supports to strengthen bonds between students and build a sense of community. These activities, such as campus-wide events, one-on-one advising appointments, career development workshops, and mentorship programs, help students develop a sense of belonging at the institution, improve their academic experience, and boost their chances of graduating. These programs and supports are especially important for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, whose experiences of exclusion on campus can impede their progress…
Blog Post
August 25, 2020

Incorporating Equity into Fall Reopening Plans

Earlier this summer, Ithaka S+R began aggregating colleges’ plans for re-opening campuses in Fall 2020, with the goal of facilitating collaboration and planning across the sector. As of August 17th, we have reviewed and synthesized 95 institutional plans, including updates to those plans, into a single resource (click here to view). We are publishing the findings from our analysis of these plans in a series of blog posts, hosted on Ithaka S+R’s…
Blog Post
August 17, 2020

Teaching with Cultural Heritage Online During the Pandemic

New Mellon-Funded Project

Today we are excited to announce a new project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will explore how teaching and learning with cultural heritage collections and materials is evolving in response to the pandemic. Instructors who seek to use cultural heritage objects from museums, archives, and special collections face unique challenges when adapting to remote teaching. What is needed is deeper understanding of, and better support for these instructors in this current moment.  This…
Blog Post
August 12, 2020

Expanding Access and Opportunity Through Community-Based Organization-College Partnerships

New Report from the American Talent Initiative and College Greenlight

Today, the American Talent Initiative (ATI) and College Greenlight released a new report that highlights how community-based organizations (CBOs) and colleges can partner to expand access and opportunity for students from lower-income backgrounds. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, and especially now, CBOs provide a leg up to tens of thousands of talented lower-income students nationwide who aspire to pursue a postsecondary education, but face…