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Topic: Access to higher education

Blog Post
July 14, 2020

Now Available: Fall Semester COVID-19 Surveys

While the challenges colleges and universities faced in the spring semester were unprecedented, it’s clear that the disruptions are far from over. Even as the fall semester approaches, institutions are still deciding how many students to bring back to campus and how to deliver instruction effectively. Over the past few months, we have partnered with over 20 colleges and universities to provide actionable insights on student and faculty needs…
Blog Post
July 14, 2020

Streamlining Transfer for CUNY Students in the Bronx

Approximately one-third of college students begin their postsecondary education in community colleges, yet over 80 percent of these students aspire to earn at least a bachelor’s degree. In order to achieve their goals, these students will need to transfer from their community colleges (which mostly offer associate’s degrees) to colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees. Yet, only 13 percent of students successfully transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of entering community college. Black and…
Blog Post
June 29, 2020

Three Questions for Melissa Sturm-Smith

Drake University and COVID-19

Melissa Sturm-Smith, Associate Provost for Academic Excellence and Student Success, worked with Ithaka S+R to field the COVID-19 student survey at Drake University in the spring semester. We recently asked her about the challenges Drake students faced in light of the pandemic and the steps the university has taken to meet their needs. 1) Can you tell us about some of the challenges you faced as a leader at Drake University during the spring semester? Our…
Blog Post
June 25, 2020

COVID-19 and the Student Experience

Reporting Large-Scale Results from the Spring Semester

Today we release results from a large-scale study of student experiences during the spring term. The findings, which represent the experiences and needs of over 15,000 students, provide us with an understanding of the challenges that students—and in turn, their faculty, administrators, and institutions more broadly—have faced as we now approach a new year of instruction. While these results should not be interpreted to represent perceptions of online learning that occur outside of the context…
Research Report
June 25, 2020

Student Experiences During the Pandemic Pivot

The spring 2020 term was unmistakably shaped by forces outside of the control of higher education leaders. The COVID-19 pandemic caused colleges and universities across the country—and the world—to quickly pivot in an emergency fashion to online teaching, learning, and research while grappling with a host of complex issues in serving students, supporting faculty and staff, and ensuring their financial viability. Thousands of institutions and millions of students were impacted in the United States alone. In response to…
Blog Post
June 18, 2020

Building a Practice-Sharing Resource on Planning for Fall 2020

Colleges and universities across the country are planning for a fall semester unlike any other. Now more than ever, the health and safety of the campus community and the needs of the most vulnerable students should guide decisions about whether and how to resume in-person campus activities in Fall 2020.  To facilitate institutional collaboration and planning during this period of uncertainty, Ithaka S+R is launching an effort to aggregate and synthesize information related to fall reopening…
Blog Post
June 11, 2020

New Report Identifies Strategies for Independent Colleges Looking to Improve Transfer Pathways 

Covid-19 has fundamentally altered the landscape of higher education, producing both challenges and opportunities for higher education institutions to better serve traditionally understudied student populations. Transfer students, specifically students that transfer from community colleges to four-year independent colleges, are one such population that has been historically underserved but whose needs will be all the more relevant during and after the pandemic. Enrollment shifts caused by the pandemic highlight the need for…
Research Report
June 11, 2020

Transfer Pathways to Independent Colleges

Every fall, an estimated one million American students begin their postsecondary education at community colleges. In fact, close to half of all postsecondary students start off at these institutions—especially students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. While most intend to eventually earn their bachelor’s degree, less than a third transfer-in to a four-year institution and only 13 percent actually earn their bachelor’s degree in six years. Transfer between two- and four-year institutions is a difficult pathway for students, leaving the well-documented benefits…
Research Report
June 11, 2020

Executive Summary: Transfer Pathways to Independent Colleges

COVID-19 and its aftermath highlight the urgency for innovation around community college to independent college transfer. The pandemic is expected to produce an increase in community college enrollment due to students’ inability to safely travel further from home and families’ financial situations in the current recession. Meanwhile, independent colleges facing declines in fall enrollment will need to turn to local transfer students as a source of much-needed tuition revenue. Yet, the path from community college to four-year institution is often…
Blog Post
June 10, 2020

Resource Launch: Tracking Higher Ed’s Response to COVID-19 and Plans for Reopening

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought major disruptions to every college and university across the country. Faced with a myriad of challenges—financial, educational, and health-related—each institution must decide how to continue to deliver on its educational mission in a way that safeguards the health of its community and maintains financial viability. While the state of higher education and plans for the fall have received a great deal of…
Blog Post
June 5, 2020

A New Resource to Help CUNY Students Transfer Smarter

When students transfer from one college to another they frequently are unable to count their previously earned credits toward degree requirements at their new institution, jeopardizing these students’ ability to earn degrees at their new institutions. Nationally, 43 percent of credits are wasted during transfer, and students who lose that many credits are far less likely to graduate than students who are able to transfer most of their credits. The COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate this problem. Due to…
Blog Post
May 7, 2020

How Will Postsecondary Education in Prisons Need to Change in Light of COVID-19?

Reflections from an interim report on technological equity for incarcerated college students

The rapid shift to online or distance instruction in the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most pressing and challenging issues for the field of higher education. This sudden, mass migration to online learning has crystallized issues of equity and access, as not all students, instructors, or even institutions are equipped to make this leap. Lacking regular access to computers, and with virtually no access to the internet, incarcerated college students, and the programs that serve them,…
Research Report
May 7, 2020

Advancing Technological Equity for Incarcerated College Students

Examining the Opportunities and Risks

Higher education programs that teach in prisons take on a near impossible task: to provide their students with a high-quality education, equal to anything beyond the prison walls, while working under strict constraints. Incarcerated students rarely have access to learning resources typically taken for granted on the outside—computers, books, and internet access are all heavily restricted by various state Departments of Corrections (DOC)—and instructors must work with and around DOC security protocols while planning and teaching their classes. While innovative…
Blog Post
April 28, 2020

Five strategies for humanely conducting surveys in higher ed during a global crisis

The world has changed drastically in the last few months and so have the challenges that are facing our communities. Decision-making informed by evidence, gathered and acted upon quickly, is as important—if not more important—than it has ever been for higher education leaders. These are not normal circumstances for conducting research, let alone working or living. Under normal circumstances, my colleagues and I might start the development of a major survey by building an advisory board…
Blog Post
April 27, 2020

Online Learning During COVID-19

Digital and Educational Divides Have Similar Boundaries

In 2018, nearly 78 percent of households in America had a desktop or laptop computer and 74 percent had a broadband Internet subscription, a significant increase in digital access over the last two decades. Yet, millions of Americans are without access, and the distribution is wildly uneven across geographic regions (as well as demographic subgroups). A digital divide has existed in America for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed it and made it more relevant than ever…
Blog Post
April 23, 2020

Going Test-Optional with Equity in Mind 

Colleges and universities across the nation are revisiting nearly every aspect of their operations in order to best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of SAT and ACT administration changes and cancellations, at least 70 colleges and university systems have implemented test-optional policies, which either eliminate the requirement for prospective students to submit standardized test scores or…
Blog Post
April 17, 2020

State Higher Education Policy is Essential to Economic Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis has massively disrupted our health, our society, and our economy. State policymakers are appropriately focused on addressing the most urgent needs of their residents. Soon, though, policy and budget decisions will arise that will affect the economic prosperity of states for years to come. Ensuring the vitality of public higher education must be core to those decisions. Public higher education is very much at risk. In the shorter-term, many public colleges and universities will face severe declines…
Blog Post
April 10, 2020

Planning for the Recovery: Advice from a Former College President

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a sudden stall on social and economic activities throughout the world, dramatically changing our lives in just a matter of a few weeks, and increasingly raising concerns about a possible years-long recession. Now entering a month into what is becoming an ever more routine reality of teaching, learning, and working from home, colleges and universities are beginning to transition from the emergent need to preserve health and safety…
Blog Post
April 9, 2020

COVID-19: Incorporating the Student Perspective into Institutional Decision-Making

Over the past month, higher education has faced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of colleges and universities–large and small, two- and four-year–and more than 22 million students are impacted in the U.S. alone. Many institutions have closed their campuses, moved instruction online, changed their admissions timelines, and modified their financial aid policies; they are now contemplating whether to invite students back to campus in the fall. Decisions already made and…
Blog Post
March 24, 2020

First This, Now That: A Look at 10-Day Trends in Academic Library Response to COVID19

This is the third analysis of results from the Academic Library Response to COVID19 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. The first update was received that same day at 11 pm, illustrating just how quickly things have been…