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Topic: Educational Transformation

Upcoming Event
January 10, 2022

The Chronicle’s Strategic-Leadership Program

For Department Chairs

Department chairs help make important curricular, personnel, and budget decisions and increasingly play a crucial role in innovations around student success, research, and technology. Yet, while the department chair is typically the first rung on the ladder to senior leadership in academia, many take on the position without the necessary training or mentorship. We at Ithaka S+R are thrilled once again to be working with The Chronicle of Higher Education and Dever…
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…
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…
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
September 27, 2021

An Interview with Nyree Gray, Chief Civil Rights Officer at Claremont McKenna

A deep dive on campus climate and how the Campus Climate Survey can help build a more equitable academic and social environment

Nyree Gray is associate vice president and chief civil rights officer at Claremont McKenna College (CMC). She has previously presented on a webinar for the American Talent Initiative (ATI) Academic Equity Community of Practice (CoP) and at the 2021 Academic Equity CoP Summer Institute, focusing on the intersection between campus climate and curriculum. In particular, she’s shared how she evaluates insights gained from…
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
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…
Case Study
August 30, 2021

A Georgia Case Study

A Look at the University System Consolidations with an Eye Towards Race, Ethnicity, and Equity

While it is clear that not all mergers and consolidations are a success story, and some collapse under backlash from students, faculty, and other community members, the University System of Georgia (USG) has completed an astounding number of successful mergers between its institutions. In fact, USG has “what is likely the nation’s most aggressive and high-profile campus consolidation program.”In 2010, when discussions regarding consolidations began, the university system had a total of 35 institutions “including roughly 10 in parts of…
Case Study
August 30, 2021

Consolidating the University of Wisconsin Colleges

The Reorganization of the University of Wisconsin System

In 2017 to 2018, the University of Wisconsin (UW) System undertook a major consolidation, removing its two-year college campuses from a standalone sub-system known as the UW Colleges and merging them with nearby four-year UW institutions. The system-level motivation for doing so, in a state undergoing a demographic shift with an aging population, was ultimately budgetary, even if specific savings were not promised. The receiving universities followed several different models for their mergers, some of which appear to have been…
Case Study
August 30, 2021

A Texas Merger

The Creation of University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

In December of 2012 administrators for the University of Texas (UT) System announced a proposed merger of University of Texas-Brownsville and the University of Texas-Pan American “with an eye toward securing increased state funds and potentially building a medical school.” Both increased funding and the medical school were seen as important equity issues, given South Texas’s low per capita incomes and predominantly Hispanic population. The status of University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) and University of Texas Pan American (UTPA)…
Issue Brief
August 25, 2021

Improving Clarity in Financial Aid Offers

Content and Design Recommendations for Transparent Student Communications

The American Talent Initiative’s latest issue brief, “Improving Clarity in Financial Aid Offers,” centers on the need for colleges and universities to prioritize clear, transparent financial aid communications, especially as the cost of college has significantly increased over the past three decades and left a shrinking number of students able to afford higher education (especially amid the pandemic). To address this enduring challenge, institutions can use powerful tools like the financial aid offer to help students understand the true…
Blog Post
August 17, 2021

“It pushes you down even further”

Documenting the Burden of Stranded Credits Through the Voices of Those Affected

In October 2020, Ithaka S+R estimated that 6.6 million people in the US owe a debt to a college or university they previously attended, and because of that, cannot access their transcripts or credentials. This insidious and understudied form of student debt not only saddles individuals with collections, credit rating issues, and other typical consequences of debt, but also prevents them from using credits and credentials they’ve earned to continue their education or…
Research Report
August 17, 2021

Stranded Credits: A Matter of Equity

Usually when student debt is discussed and examined, the focus is on federal and private loans; however there are other more insidious forms of student debt that affect thousands of students each year and impact their ability to matriculate, transfer, qualify for scholarships and even qualify for job opportunities. Stranded credits is a phenomenon where students earn academic credits but cannot access them due to an unpaid balance with a previously attended institution that is holding their transcript as collateral.
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…
Past Event
August 9, 2021

Martin Kurzweil at ASU+GSV

Program Director Martin Kurzweil will be attending ASU+GSV in San Diego, CA, Aug. 9-11. If you are attending and would like to schedule a meeting with Martin, please email him at martin.kurzweil@ithaka.org. For more information about the summit, please visit the event website.
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…