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Topic: Access to higher education

Blog Post
January 18, 2022

Turning on the TAP

Restoring Tuition Assistance for Incarcerated Students in New York

In her first State of the State address since taking office, New York Governor Kathy Hochul outlined an agenda that included repealing the 27-year ban on college tuition assistance, also known as TAP, for incarcerated students. In 1995, when the ban was first instituted, incarcerated students accounted for less than 1 percent of TAP funding state-wide. The ban dovetailed with the 1994 Crime Bill’s elimination of federal Pell grants for incarcerated students and…
Blog Post
January 5, 2022

Providing Library Services for Higher Education in Prison

An Interview with Jessica Licklider and Jeannie Colson

In a previous blog post I interviewed Jeanie Austin of the San Francisco Public Library about their new book on providing library services to incarcerated people. With the restoration of Pell funding for incarcerated students set to take place in 2023, the field of higher education in prison (HEP) is currently grappling with how to prepare for this long-awaited expansion of funding and opportunity, and academic libraries that wish to serve this student group must likewise prepare to meet…
Blog Post
December 8, 2021

A Sustainable Solution to Settle Students’ Debt and Release Stranded Credits

Ithaka S+R and Eight Ohio Public Institutions Announce Promising New Pilot

Since publishing our first report on the subject in October 2020, Ithaka S+R has been at the forefront of defining the problem of stranded credits. We are now moving ahead with testing a potentially groundbreaking solution. “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…
Blog Post
December 7, 2021

Providing Library Services to the Incarcerated

An Interview with Jeanie Austin on Their New Book

Providing library services to people held in prisons and jails can be a challenging endeavor. Those who take on this work will need to navigate complex, and not always welcoming, corrections’ bureaucracies and face censorship or be themselves co-opted into censoring in ways that are antithetical to the ethical tenets of librarianship. Yet the information needs among incarcerated and detained people are immense given their limited access to the internet or other technologies…
Past Event
November 10, 2021

Breaking Down Barriers: The Impact of State Authorization Reciprocity on Online Enrollment.

James Ward at State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) Annual Conference

On November 10, James Ward will present on the impact of state authorization reciprocity on online enrollment at State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) Annual Conference Abstract 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…
Past Event
November 9, 2021

Solving Stranded Credits

James Ward at State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) Annual Conference

On November 9, James Ward Solving will present on Stranded Credits at the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) Annual Conference. Abstract: In this session we hope to introduce the issue of stranded credits, or credits students cannot access due to unpaid balances that result in a transcript hold. We estimate roughly 6.6 million students across the country may currently have stranded credits. Three presenters will share information and new research on the scope of the problem and how it…
Past Event
November 4, 2021

Institutions in Debt: Understanding Borrowing during Periods of Crisis

James Ward at Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Annual Conference

On November 4, James Ward will present preliminary findings on Understanding Institutional Borrowing during a Time of Crisis at the 2021 Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Annual Conference…
Blog Post
November 10, 2021

Unpacking the Effects of Increasing Pell Grants

The Pell Grant is America’s most prominent tool to promote college access and affordability for low- and middle-income students. With a substantial increase in the maximum Pell award under consideration by Congress, a natural question is how that increase is likely to impact the access and affordability goals of the program. The answer, it turns out, depends a lot on the college or university at which a Pell recipient uses the grant. In a new…
Issue Brief
November 9, 2021

No “One Size Fits All” Impact of Doubling Pell Grants

Understanding the Impact of Changing the Maximum Pell Grant on Low- and Middle-Income Students

As policy makers consider revisions to the Higher Education Act (HEA), understanding the impact of increasing the size of Pell grants is important if it is to have the intended impact of improving educational outcomes for lower income students across the various types of colleges and universities. Proposals to increase the Pell grant have been put forward by the Education Trust, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Urban Institute, the Biden administration, and many others. House Republicans have…
Blog Post
October 5, 2021

Censorship in Prisons

Recording from the San Francisco Public Library's Banned Books Event Now Available

Last week was Banned Books Week, an annual event meant to celebrate the freedom to read and draw attention to censorship and other threats to free expression. As a report by the free expression advocacy group PEN America points out, America’s prisons are the locus of the country’s largest and most extensive censorship regime. While the free and unencumbered access to literature is a challenge for all incarcerated…
Past Event
November 11, 2021

Kurtis Tanaka at the 2021 National Conference on Higher Education in Prison (NCHEP)

Kurtis Tanaka is presenting at two sessions during the 2021 National Conference on Higher Education in Prison (NCHEP). The conference will take place from November 11-14. An Untapped Resource: Why and How to Partner with Your Institutional Library Speakers: Rebecca J. Bott, Education Justice Project; Josh Honn, Northwestern Prison Education Program; Kurtis Tanaka, Ithaka S+R Higher education in prison programs routinely struggle to provide incarcerated students with timely, equitable access to library materials and services. This meeting will…
Past Event
October 1, 2021

Kurtis Tanaka at San Francisco Public Library’s Banned Books Week

On Friday Oct 1, Kurtis Tanaka will present during San Francisco Public Library’ Banned Books Week on preliminary findings on technology, media review policy, prison censorship and self-censorship. For more information, please visit this site and read the abstract below: Abstract Kurtis Tanaka, of Ithaka S+R, presents preliminary findings from an ongoing research project on technology, media review policy, prison censorship and self-censorship. A key selling point of many technologies in the prison space is the ability to monitor…
Blog Post
September 14, 2021

As War Ends, Let’s Ensure Veterans Have Access to Higher Education

The similarities between the helicopters that left Saigon and the scenes last month at the Kabul airport are painful. For whatever reasons, we have not learned to retreat safely for our citizens and allies. We have failed in our obligations and commitments to those Afghans who most importantly assisted and protected our young men and women who we sent in harm’s way.  There is another lesson from Vietnam that I hope we have learned, even if…
Blog Post
September 13, 2021

What Does It Mean to Be Successful as a Student During a Pandemic?

Centering Student Experiences

Ithaka S+R has long explored how students define their own success and how academic and student support services can most effectively advance that success—and our work on these issues has only ramped up during the pandemic. When it became clear that the pandemic was here to stay, students had to face dramatic shifts to their learning, a staggering amount of communication and newly-implemented policies from their institutions, and new expectations on what it means to be a…
Blog Post
September 9, 2021

How Can the Library Best Support Student and Institutional Success?

Perspectives from a National Survey of Community College Library Directors

For the past three years, Ithaka S+R has explored how student-facing service departments—including academic libraries—are organized, funded, and staffed at community and technical colleges across the country. As part of this ongoing IMLS-funded Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystem (CCASSE) research initiative, we surveyed community college library directors this past February. Today, I’m pleased to announce the publication of our findings from that national study. In Library Strategy and Collaboration Across the College Ecosystem…
Research Report
September 9, 2021

Library Strategy and Collaboration Across the College Ecosystem

Results from a National Survey of Community College Library Directors

How can the library be best positioned to continue enabling student and institutional success? The Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystem research initiative seeks to examine how student-facing service departments—including academic libraries—are organized, funded, and staffed at community and technical colleges across the country. In February 2021, we surveyed 321 community college library directors to provide the community with a snapshot of current service provision, leadership perspectives on the impact of COVID-19, and challenges faced in making decisions and…
Past Event
September 17, 2021

Rayane Alamuddin and Christy McDaniel at the 2021 First Year Student Success Virtual Institute

On September 17th, Rayane Alamuddin and Christy McDaniel will present during the 2021 First Year Student Success Virtual Institute during a session titled, “The Past and Future of First Year Programming at Two Year Institutions”. For more information on registration, please visit the link here. …
Blog Post
August 30, 2021

Collecting Data on New Debt Relief Programs

What’s the Impact on Stranded Credits and Student Outcomes?

Stranded credits, or academic credits previously earned but inaccessible due to an outstanding debt to an institution, impact an estimated 6.6 million students across the country. Students affected by stranded credits represent nearly one-sixth of the estimated 36 million students who left college with some credit, but no degree, and are more likely to be students of color and from lower-income backgrounds. Recently, the issue of stranded credits…
Blog Post
August 30, 2021

Higher Ed Consolidation and Equity

Across American higher education, institutional consolidations are on the rise. In particular, multiple state systems have proposed or completed mergers of regional universities and/or community colleges with the stated goal of increasing efficiency. The conditions prompting these consolidations have been mounting for years—among them a long-term downward trend in state support for higher education and demographic shifts away from traditional-aged college students, especially in rural areas where numerous public institutions are located. With the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to…
Research Report
August 30, 2021

Public College and University Consolidations and the Implications for Equity

Across American higher education, institutional consolidations are on the rise. In particular, multiple state systems have proposed or completed mergers of regional universities and/or community colleges with the stated goal of increasing efficiency. The conditions prompting these consolidations have been mounting for years—among them a long-term downward trend in state support for higher education and demographic shifts away from traditional-aged college students, especially in rural areas where numerous public institutions are located. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting recession…