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Topic: Educational Transformation

Blog Post
June 14, 2022

Forgive and Forget? Understanding the Impact of State-Funded Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

While student loan forgiveness is trending at the federal level, little attention has been directed towards learning from state approaches or the impact that federal forgiveness could have on state policy and practice. While not all states have programs, some have loan forgiveness options that pre-date the main federal program, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF. Twenty states operated state-funded student loan forgiveness programs in 2020, spending over $65 million to forgive or partially repay students’ loans. …
Upcoming Event
August 2, 2022

The Chronicle’s Strategic Leadership Program for Department Chairs

Big-Picture Thinking

From August 2 – 19, Ithaka S+R is once again teaming up with the Chronicle of Higher Education and Dever Justice to provide a comprehensive virtual leadership series for department chairs. The series will kick off with strategy workshops to identify shared challenges, followed by six seminars focusing on national trends in higher education; the higher education business model; faculty diversity; enrollment and retention; innovations in teaching and learning. The series will round out with implementation workshops to take the…
Past Event
June 14, 2022

Webinar: Solving Stranded Credits and Institutional Debt

The Washington Student Achievement Council

On Tuesday, June 14, from 1:00 – 2:00 PDT, Martin Kurzweil will present on “Solving Standard Credits and Institutional Debt” during a webinar for the Washington Student Achievement Council. To register, visit the Council’s website. About the webinar Recent research by Ithaka S+R and others has revealed that more than 6.6 million students nationally owe debt on an unpaid balance to a previously attended college or university, with an average balance of $2,400. The vast majority of institutions withhold…
Blog Post
June 6, 2022

Announcing a New Partnership with the Kessler Scholars Collaborative

First-generation students face unique challenges upon entering college. Compared to their peers whose families have a history of college attendance, these students are more likely to have additional responsibilities outside of the classroom, receive less financial support, and struggle more frequently with their sense of belonging at their institutions. As the first of their families to attend college, many first-generation students often navigate…
Blog Post
May 25, 2022

Measuring the Impacts of Federal Oversight of Accreditation 

Since the 1960s, the accreditation process and accreditors have played an important gatekeeping function for institutions’ access to federal student financial aid. Recognizing this role, Congress and the federal Department of Education (ED) have introduced and modified federal requirements and oversight of accreditors to ensure that these gatekeepers are protecting students and public dollars. While these federal interventions have clearly shifted the ways accreditors operate and interact with the federal government, there has been little research conducted on…
Research Report
May 25, 2022

Overseeing the Overseers

Can Federal Oversight of Accreditation Improve Student Outcomes?

Since the passage of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, the federal government has relied on the accreditation process to ensure quality at postsecondary institutions receiving federal dollars. In the ensuing decades, spending on higher education by the federal government—most significantly through federal student loans and grants—and by individuals has increased exponentially. Even as this spending helped fuel substantial growth in enrollment, a completion crisis has left many former students with debt but no degree, and highly uncertain labor…
Blog Post
May 18, 2022

Gateway Course Completion

Update on Ithaka S+R’s work on Multi-Year Initiative

Ithaka S+R is excited to be working on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s initiative on Gateway Course Completion. The foundation is seeking a solution to the high DFWI (D, F, withdrawal, or incomplete) rate in high-enrollment, general education courses that serve as “gatekeepers” to degree completion. Research has shown that students who do not pass these gateway courses experience delays in their academic progress and are more likely to drop out of college altogether. Working with an array…
Issue Brief
May 16, 2022

Can Evidence-Based Teaching Techniques Address the Education Debt that Students of Color Are Owed?

As colleges and universities become more diverse, higher education practitioners are questioning how they can create an equitable campus that supports students of color who often have distinct needs and challenges.[1] Evidence-based teaching strategies (EBTs) have become increasingly popular among these practitioners, as the practices have been linked to positive academic outcomes (such as higher grades and better retention) and should, theoretically, benefit all students regardless of their background. For instance, cultivating a sense of belonging in classrooms…
Blog Post
May 2, 2022

Addressing Food Insecurity Will Pay Off for States

In order to achieve their ambitious attainment goals, most states will need to rapidly increase credential production. Increasing attainment improves a state’s fiscal outlook, increases individual wages, improves individual health and life outcomes, and increases civic engagement. However, our research suggests that most states’ goals will remain out of reach unless their plans…
Issue Brief
April 28, 2022

Supporting Low-Income Students with SNAP

Every year a subset of postsecondary students goes hungry and lacks stable shelter. Recent research has helped raise national awareness of basic needs insecurity on college campuses across the US. States and institutions of higher education have, until recently, been approaching the problem of student food insecurity in separate, sometimes contradictory ways. While some institutions have developed wrap-around assistance programs for low-income students that have improved retention and completion rates, the students with the most needs often attend institutions with…
Blog Post
March 31, 2022

Understanding the Impacts of Emergency Micro-Grants on Student Success

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, many college students across the country faced challenges in meeting their basic needs, including access to food, housing, childcare, and transportation. These barriers, combined with rising prices relative to income and grant aid, are a key reason that over 36 million former students have left college without earning their degree. The pandemic has exacerbated students’ financial issues, and many more have chosen not…
Research Report
March 31, 2022

The Impacts of Emergency Micro-Grants on Student Success

Evaluation Study of Georgia State University’s Panther Retention Grant Program

The Panther Retention Grant (PRG) program at Georgia State University (Georgia State) is one of the nation’s pioneering examples of a retention or completion grant program, a type of emergency financial aid program aimed at supporting students with immediate financial need. The program, which specifically targets students who are in good academic standing and have exhausted all other sources of aid, automatically awards up to $2,500 to clear students’ unpaid balances and allow them to remain enrolled for the term.
Research Report
March 30, 2022

Underrepresentation of Black and Latino Undergraduates at America’s Most Selective Private Colleges and Universities

Attending a more selective college or university matters because these institutions graduate a larger share of their students. Attaining a bachelors’ degree in turn increases expected lifetime earnings by roughly 65 percent over attaining only a high school diploma. Who has access to these selective institutions therefore has an impact on economic and social mobility in America, an objective that justifies the large federal, state and local support of higher education across the country. However, the evidence suggests that these…
Blog Post
March 17, 2022

Evaluating the Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts Initiative

Strengthening transfer pathways between two-year and independent not-for-profit four-year institutions is one under-utilized way to increase transfer and bachelor’s degree completion. Independent colleges offer high graduation rates, flexible degree options, and personalized supports that can assist students looking to complete a four-year degree. Increasing transfer to these institutions at scale can be accomplished through state- or consortium-wide pathways that link all community colleges in a state to a critical number of independent four-year institutions.  The…
Research Report
March 17, 2022

Playbook for Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts

How to Design and Implement Statewide Pathways from Community Colleges to Independent Colleges

Bachelor’s degree attainment for community college transfer students is one underutilized but essential pathway for reducing equity gaps in higher education. One way to achieve this at scale is through state-level initiatives dedicated to supporting transfer from community colleges to not-for-profit independent colleges. The Teagle Foundation and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations’ Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts initiative aims to create such pathways in 20 states in the next five years. This playbook draws on the experience of grantees…
Blog Post
March 16, 2022

What Role(s) Do Stakeholders Play in an Advising Technology Implementation?

A New Report Outlines Nine Personas Taken on by Key Stakeholders in an Advising Technology Implementation 

Holistic advising is a resource-intensive yet beneficial practice that prioritizes being student-centered in the institutional process of undergraduate academic advising. This approach has gained prominence within the higher education landscape for its potential to better support student communities that have historically been insufficiently served by more transactional approaches to advising, including students of color, first-generation students, and students experiencing poverty. Given the comprehensive nature of holistic advising, institutions have increasingly turned to technology to support the students, staff,…
Blog Post
March 10, 2022

A Preliminary Analysis of Debt Forgiveness Programs

The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted the ever-increasing amount and crushing effects of student debt, including debts owed directly to postsecondary institutions. In an earlier report, Solving Stranded Credits, we estimated that roughly 6.6 million students owe over $15 billion in unpaid balances to colleges and universities in the United States. The weight of institutional debt can leave students feeling defeated, forcing many to avoid pursuing postsecondary education altogether. On a national scale, these debts…
Past Event
April 12, 2022

Catharine Bond Hill at the National Conference on Trusteeship

Govern for Student Success: Leadership Beyond Disruption

On Tuesday, April 12, Catharine Bond Hill is speaking on the opening plenary panel at the National Conference on Trusteeship. The panel will be moderated by Carlton Brown, former president of Clark Atlanta University and Savannah State University, and the other speakers include Bridget Burns, executive director of the University Innovation Alliance; David Huntley, trustee of Southern Methodist University; and Miriam “Mim” Pride, trustee of Berea College and president emeritus of Blackburn College. The conference is being held virtually and…
Past Event
February 23, 2022

Discerning New Directions in the New Normal

Catharine Bond Hill at the ACAD Annual Meeting

On Wednesday, February 23, Catharine Bond Hill is speaking on the plenary panel, “Discerning New Directions in the New Normal,” at the American Conference of Academic Deans’ Annual Meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida. The panel will take place from 3:30 – 4:45 pm. More information about the event is available on the conference website. About the plenary: Facilitator: Michael K. Wanous, ACAD Chair and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Northern State University Panelists: Catharine (Cappy) Bond Hill,…
Past Event
March 8, 2022

The Chronicle’s Shark Tank: Edu Edition

Catharine Bond Hill at SXSW EDU

On March 8, Catharine Bond Hill will join fellow “sharks” Goldie Blumenstyk and Paul Freedman at SXSW EDU in Austin, Texas. To learn more, please visit the SXSW EDU website. About the session: The seventh annual pitch-a-thon pays homage to the TV show, but with a twist. Our panel of experts brings a mix of viewpoints—from a journalist, a college-president-turned-equity expert, and an entrepreneur—weighing in on transformative ideas from new companies, nonprofits, and big dreamers for improving the college…