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Topic: Educational Transformation

Blog Post
December 15, 2020

Ithaka S+R to Expand Transfer Improvement Efforts with CUNY

With Support from the Petrie Foundation, ACT Project Expands from Three to Seven CUNY Campuses 

When students transfer from one college to another they frequently are unable to count their previously earned credits toward degree requirements at their new institutions, jeopardizing these students’ ability to earn their degrees. 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. While other…
Issue Brief
December 14, 2020

Accelerating Advising Technology Implementation in Response to COVID-19

A Case Study of Jacksonville University

Advising undergraduate students on how to succeed in their academics, careers, and life is one of the most common practices in higher education. Advising is also something that many institutions struggle to resource or coordinate sufficiently, potentially leaving students without needed support on their paths to successful program completion. It is also important to note that barriers to a successful college experience are not borne equally across higher education. The institutions that serve the highest proportions of students from low-income…
Blog Post
December 10, 2020

Reimagining the Future of Higher Education Funding

Ithaka S+R Releases Two New Issue Briefs on State Higher Education Funding

Since the early 2000s, per student state funding has declined while costs of public higher education have shifted towards students and families. This comes during a period when wealth and income gaps have been climbing. The Great Recession of 2008 accelerated this shifting cost burden at a time when many individuals unable to secure employment returned to postsecondary education for new training or upskilling. In the wake of the Great Recession, state funding for higher education…
Issue Brief
December 10, 2020

Reimagining State Higher Education Funding

Recommendations from the Ithaka S+R Convening

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still unfolding, but already the pandemic seems likely to have an unprecedented impact on higher education finances. In response to declining tax revenues, states are beginning to curtail higher education funding, a key source of revenue for many public colleges and universities. Changing enrollment patterns and rising unemployment has softened demand for some colleges, which can negatively affect tuition revenues. Limitations on in-person activities and increased health-related costs are shrinking auxiliary revenues, a…
Issue Brief
December 10, 2020

An Overview of State Higher Education Funding Approaches

Lessons and Recommendations

With a pandemic-driven recession and unemployment stratified by postsecondary attainment levels, investments in education, including higher education, are needed now more than ever. Yet, the outlook for state finances is grim, especially if federal investment stalls, and shrinking budgets and financial instability are likely to lead to reductions in state spending. As we discuss in a companion brief, during times of constrained resources, states’ playbooks should include three key elements: ensuring that higher education funding is adequate, ensuring that institutions…
Blog Post
November 16, 2020

Examining Institution-Level Income Distribution and Financial Aid Trends

New Report

In a 2019 report, we shared initial findings from a novel effort to compare key statistics on the income distribution of undergraduate populations and financial aid awards from three public sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS), Opportunity Insights, and the Common Data Set (CDS). Comparing these data sources across groups of higher education institutions organized by control (public or private) and admissions selectivity, we found that they presented similar income distributions, and…
Research Report
November 16, 2020

Comparing Public Institution-Level Data on Students’ Family Income and Financial Aid

In a recent research report titled “Better Than We Thought,” our team at Ithaka S+R compared Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) data on the parental income distribution of entering college students with two other public sources of socioeconomic information on that population. In the report, we first checked the consistency of the income distributions reported by IPEDS with a more comprehensive dataset of tax records collected by researchers Opportunity Insights. Finding that, at the level of aggregate groups of institutions…
Blog Post
October 28, 2020

Building Support for Student Veteran Enrollment

New Practice Brief from the American Talent Initiative

Today, we are excited to release Making the Case for Student Veterans: Building Support for Student Veteran Enrollment. This publication is the first brief in a series from the American Talent Initiative (ATI) focused on helping college and university leaders lay the groundwork for enrolling, supporting, and graduating more student veterans.  Student veterans are significantly underrepresented at the colleges…
Issue Brief
October 28, 2020

Making the Case for Student Veterans

Building Support for Student Veteran Enrollment

A college degree is increasingly associated with greater economic opportunity for individuals and positive economic, social, and civic benefits for society. Yet, gaps in college access by income and race/ethnicity persist, especially at the most selective colleges and universities where students have the best chance to succeed due to greater resources and high graduation rates. These gaps perpetuate economic and social inequality, as access to high-quality education is essential for social mobility. Veterans and service members of the United States…
Blog Post
October 22, 2020

Estimating the Impact of COVID-19 on Students’ Academic Outcomes

Note: This blog reflects updates to an earlier version published on September 4, 2020 that described results from preliminary analyses of the first group of 12 institutions. The updated results include 18 institutions, total, and also reflect a minor change in the methodology used to predict scores across all institutions. Both the increase in the number of schools included in the analysis and the methodology change are responsible for changes in the results. The biggest change is that…
Blog Post
October 22, 2020

Student and Faculty Voices on the Emergency Shift to Remote Learning

An Exploratory Study at a Large Urban Institution

The emergency shift to remote learning that took place during the spring 2020 term in response to the COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented disruptions for students and faculty across colleges and universities, nationwide, and globally. As online and hybrid models of learning become prolonged solutions for institutions seeking to contend with the realities and continued uncertainties of the pandemic, the field can gain valuable and actionable insights from the lived experiences of students and faculty at the height of the…
Research Report
October 22, 2020

Student and Faculty Experiences with Emergency Remote Learning in Spring 2020

The emergency shift to remote learning that took place during the spring 2020 term in response to the COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented disruptions for students and faculty across colleges and universities, nationwide and globally. As online and hybrid models of learning become prolonged solutions for institutions seeking to contend with the realities of the pandemic and continued uncertainty, the field can gain valuable and actionable insights from the lived experiences of students and faculty at the height of the crisis.
Blog Post
October 21, 2020

Announcing ATI’s Academic Equity Community of Practice

Recent months have highlighted long-standing inequities within our nation’s postsecondary education system. The barriers facing historically underserved student populations are not limited to the admissions and enrollment process, but extend throughout the academic experience. For the members of the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities committed to expanding access and opportunity for low- and middle-income students, combating inequities that exist throughout the student lifecycle is essential to fulfilling our collective goals. Today, we…
Blog Post
October 20, 2020

Transitioning Introductory Math Courses Online to Meet Quality and Efficiency Goals

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities made an almost instantaneous switch from their traditional modes of learning to remote instruction in the middle of the spring 2020 term. Although remote teaching and learning have been used and well-understood in some corners of the academic world for some time, its implementation on this scale by academic leaders and faculty with little or no experience in remote teaching, is unprecedented. The new normal requires new investments and…
Research Report
October 13, 2020

How to Support and Lead the Urgent Transition to Quality Online Learning in Intro Math

A Resource Guide

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place orders enforced throughout the country prompted a rush to emergency remote learning in spring 2020. As institutions enter the next phase of planning with a substantial share of their courses expected to be delivered in hybrid or fully online formats, there is an urgent need to move emergency remote instruction toward more sustainable and intentional models that incorporate evidence-based standards and practices for online learning. It is imperative that higher education institutions capitalize on…
Blog Post
October 5, 2020

“Stranded Credits”

New Report Explores Scope and Effects of Transcript Withholding 

In the past 20 years, over thirty-six million Americans have left higher education without earning a postsecondary degree or credential. Those with some college experience but no degree are often left in debt without the requisite labor market opportunities to pay it off, and can struggle financially for several years after dropping out. These impacts are particularly deleterious for students of color, who are often saddled with an…
Research Report
October 5, 2020

Solving Stranded Credits

Assessing the Scope and Effects of Transcript Withholding on Students, States, and Institutions

Attention to the burden of U.S. educational debt, now at $1.7 trillion, has grown in recent years. For too many former postsecondary students—especially Black students—debt they took on to improve their lives and career prospects has instead become a financial hindrance, delaying or undermining their efforts to buy homes, build savings, or provide for their families. The debt burden is especially severe for those who never completed their postsecondary program and therefore did not receive the credentials that might have…
Blog Post
October 1, 2020

An Interview with Dr. Stella Flores

Policies to Ensure Equitable Access to Well-Resourced Colleges and Universities

Stella Flores is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. Dr. Flores is a leading expert on higher education policy and uses quantitative methods to examine the effects of state and federal policies on postsecondary access and completion for low-income and underrepresented populations. She is also the Director of Access and Equity at The Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy. Ithaka S+R graciously thanks Dr. Flores for…
Issue Brief
October 1, 2020

Policies to Ensure Equitable Access to Well-Resourced Colleges and Universities

Inequity in higher education access is a persistent problem. One way in which this manifests is through inequitable opportunities to attend the most well-resourced institutions. When students attend limited-resource institutions, they are less likely to persist and earn a credential and typically have weaker labor market prospects. Low-income and racial and ethnic minority students are more likely to attend under-resourced institutions than their wealthier and white peers. These enrollment patterns vis-à-vis institutional resources stand to perpetuate social and economic inequities.
Blog Post
September 29, 2020

A Novel Approach to Studying and Measuring a Liberal Education and its Economic Value

In response to growing public skepticism about the value of a liberal education, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has funded a series of studies investigating the long-term effects of a liberal education on various outcomes such as health, civic engagement, and cognitive development. Ithaka S+R’s first contribution to the series was a study published in 2019 examining the economic benefits and costs of a liberal education, as this…