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Topic: Access to higher education

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…
Blog Post
August 11, 2020

Does Setting an Attainment Goal Move the Needle on Postsecondary Attainment?

As COVID-19 continues to threaten state budgets, statewide commitments to improving higher education outcomes remain more important than ever. While there are a multitude of individual, social, and civic benefits to investing in a well-educated population, supporting postsecondary access and completion should also be viewed as critical for states’ post-recession recovery. A college degree is associated with higher lifetime earnings potential, better health outcomes, and even a longer life expectancy. Closing equity gaps is also necessary to address broader social…
Blog Post
August 10, 2020

Is Online Instruction as Good as Face-to-Face?

Unpacking Assumptions in the Wrong Question Everyone is Asking

As the wave of optimism about returning to on-campus instruction recedes in the face of rising cases of Covid-19 around the country, more and more students, parents, policy-makers, and scholars are asking if online instruction is “as good as face-to-face instruction.” This question is not new, and has been raised for almost every new educational innovation, from television to computers to virtual reality. It does take on a new sense of…
Blog Post
August 3, 2020

Engaging and Supporting Prospective Students

How Can Institutions Draw Upon the Principles of Near-Peer Advising?

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the typical college admissions experience. At the same time, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others have drawn heightened attention to the structural and institutional racism that exists within our educational system and the impact this has on our students who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Students preparing to enter college for the first time in Fall 2020 have made enrollment choices as the specifics of…
Blog Post
July 22, 2020

Addressing Challenges Faced by Institutions Supporting Student Veterans

ATI Veterans Community of Practice Comes Together Virtually

College students across the country have experienced the financial, social, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the heightened national conversation on systemic racism. Student veterans are no exception. As we discussed in a previous blog post, the pandemic has exacerbated the complex challenges that student veterans face in completing their postsecondary education: they are now navigating the uncertainties of GI Bill funding and in many cases, balancing financial insecurity and family…
Blog Post
July 21, 2020

Reflections on the Comprehensiveness and Equity Considerations of Institutional Plans for Fall 2020 Reopening

Last month, Ithaka S+R launched an effort to aggregate and synthesize information related to the fall reopening of colleges and universities to facilitate institutional collaboration and planning. As of July 10th, we have synthesized 57 institutional plans into a single resource (click here to view), and plan to continually update this resource with new and evolving information. We are publishing findings from our review of these plans in…
Blog Post
July 17, 2020

Testing, Tracing, and Supported Isolation

A Synthesis of 57 Fall 2020 College Reopening Plans

Last month, Ithaka S+R launched an effort to aggregate and synthesize information related to the fall reopening of colleges and universities to facilitate institutional collaboration and planning. As of July 13th, we have synthesized 57 institutional plans into a single resource (click here to view), and plan to continually update this resource with new and evolving information. We are publishing the findings from our review of these plans in a series of blog posts hosted on our…
Blog Post
July 16, 2020

Overarching Findings from 57 Fall 2020 College Reopening Plans

Last month, Ithaka S+R launched an effort to aggregate and synthesize information related to the fall reopening of colleges and universities in an effort to facilitate institutional collaboration and planning. As of July 13th, we have synthesized 57 institutional plans into a single resource (click here to view), and plan to continually update this resource with new and evolving information. We capture information about several aspects of institutional…
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…