Topic: Higher education costs
March 23, 2023
Using Data to Uncover Barriers to Student Success and Increase Retention
One of the most significant challenges that higher education institutions are currently facing is shrinking undergraduate enrollment, a trend accelerated by the disruptions of the pandemic. Among four-year institutions, enrollment declines have been particularly acute for those institutions that admit a relatively large percentage of their applicants and are dependent on tuition for a significant share of their revenue. Between fall 2020 and 2022, colleges and universities that admit between 75 and 85 percent of applicants experienced…
April 3, 2023
Innovative Approaches to Re-Enrollment, Retention, and Completion
Supporting Undergraduate College Students
Declines in enrollment and retention are increasingly common challenges in higher education. At the 2023 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Annual Conference on April 3, 2023, Brittany Pearce and Daniel Rossman will present a session addressing the issue. The presenters will share research and explore two solutions that can inform practice: retention and completion grants and addressing stranded credits. Participants will learn about how these new approaches can help students and higher education institutions. Through an interactive activity,…
March 7, 2023
Beyond Transfer: Learner-Centered Credit Mobility
Session at SXSW EDU 2023
Ithaka S+R’s Sarah Pingel will join panelists Marty Alvarado, Allson Kadlec, and Kenyatta Lovett at a SXSW EDU session presented by Ascendium Education Group, focused on learner-centered credit mobility and what’s needed from policymakers, system leaders, institutional leaders, and innovators to make progress. The session will discuss Ithaka S+R’s project on transfer and holistic credit mobility. Learn more about the event, scheduled to take place on March 7 at 2:30 – 3:30 pm CT.
February 1, 2023
Using A University-Wide Initiative to Fuel Transfer Reforms
Transfer Explorer At CUNY
On February 1 from 4:10 – 5:00 pm ET, Pooja Patel will participate in a National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS) annual conference session on “Using a university-wide initiative to fuel transfer reforms.” This session provides an overview of the continued development of Transfer Explorer, a tool introduced at the 2022 NISTS conference that aims to reduce loss of transfer credit, and its adoption at the City University of New York (CUNY) as part…
January 10, 2023
New Jersey Poised to Become Ninth State to Ban Transcript Withholding—But Only Sometimes
Over the last 13 months, New Jersey state legislators have considered four bills related to transcript withholding—or the practice of postsecondary institutions withholding a student’s transcript until they have paid their full balance. It appears now that the state may be one step closer to banning the practice—but only some of the time. Assembly Bill 1198 was recently assigned to the Senate Higher Education Committee, which may now move forward with discussing, debating, and amending the legislation before sending…
October 31, 2022
Joining Hands to Improve Student Access to College
Successfully addressing student debt, transcript holds, and re-enrollment for adult learners often requires cross-organizational partnerships. The Ohio College Comeback Compact is doing exactly that in northeast Ohio. A regional collaborative of eight public colleges and universities, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, Ithaka S+R, and College Now Greater Cleveland, the Ohio Compact is an innovative program allowing students to return to one of the participating institutions despite owing institutional debt that likely resulted in a transcript hold.
November 17, 2022
Stranded Credits: Challenges and Opportunities
Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) 2022 Conference
On November 17 at 2:00 – 3:15 pm PT, Ithaka S+R’s Elizabeth Looker and James Dean Ward will participate in an interactive symposium at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) 2022 Conference, which will bring together scholars who are addressing the challenge of stranded credits from multiple perspectives and contexts. The event provides an opportunity for attendees to better understand the causes and consequences of stranded credits, learn about existing solutions, and collaboratively reimagine new approaches…
April 3, 2023
Plenary: An Economic Outlook and Environmental Scan for Higher Education
National Conference on Trusteeship 2023
On Monday, April 3 at 4:00 – 5:00 pm PT, Ithaka S+R’s Catharine Bond Hill will participate in a session with Kathryn Dominguez discussing the actionable implications of global economic change for higher education and beyond. Learn more about the session, taking place at the 2023 National Conference on Trusteeship in San Diego, California.
October 11, 2022
CFPB Ends Transcript Withholding for Students Owing Institutional Loans
Last week, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued new guidance that postsecondary institutions cannot withhold academic transcripts from students owing past due institutional loan payments. The action is part of a series of decisions aimed at regulating institutionally-based aid programs such as loans and Income Share Agreements, or ISAs. This move protects some students with stranded credits, or credits students have earned but cannot document because of a past due balance.
September 23, 2022
Adequacy in Higher Education Funding Convening
On September 23, Sarah Pingel will participate in a convening hosted by Advance Illinois and Complete College America, bringing experts together to unpack Adequacy in Higher Education Funding and examine the possibilities and complexities of adequacy funding for two-year and four-year public institutions. Attendees include national and state higher education funding experts, researchers, academics, policymakers, advocates, and institutional and agency leaders.
August 31, 2022
The Importance and Risks of Institutional Borrowing
New Report with TIAA Institute
While student loan debt has ballooned to over $1.7 trillion, institutional debt, or money colleges and universities borrow as organizations, is frequently overlooked as a significant factor in higher education finance. With support from the TIAA Institute, Ithaka S+R examined institutional borrowing practices. Specifically, we examined how periods of crisis and financial strain impact the decision to borrow and identified institutional characteristics linked to growth in debt levels during the 2008 Great Recession.
August 30, 2022
Borrowing During a Time of Crisis
Examining Institutional Debt During the Great Recession and COVID-19
Although a great deal of attention is paid to student debt, colleges and universities have increased their institutional debt substantially over the past several decades. While institutional borrowing is an important tool colleges can use to meet strategic goals, unchecked or irresponsible debts can undercut a college’s ability to adequately serve students. Ithaka S+R conducted a mixed methods study, with the generous support of the TIAA Institute, to better understand how institutional borrowing decisions are made during periods of crisis.
September 8, 2022
The State of Affordability in Higher Ed: State Aid’s Role in Student Success
Come To Believe Network Panel
On Thursday, September 8 at 1-2 pm ET, Ithaka S+R Senior Researcher Sarah Pingel will participate in a panel discussion on the importance of state grant aid in higher education, hosted by the Come To Believe Network. The event will feature a research presentation on the impact of grant aid by Brent Evans and will a discussion with state aid providers in Illinois and Minnesota, as well as national stakeholders, including Jacqueline Moreno, Meghan Flores, and Frank Ballman. Register for…
August 15, 2022
Stranded Credits: State-Level Actions and Opportunities
Over the past several years, state and federal regulators have increasingly scrutinized the practice of transcript withholding. As of June 15, 2022, five states have pending bills and eight states have enacted bills that prohibit postsecondary institutions from withholding transcripts. Without transcript holds, students will be able to re-enroll in college, transfer to an institution that better fits their needs, apply for jobs that require postsecondary degrees, and potentially be in a better position to pay off their educational debt.
August 2, 2022
New Opportunity for Stopped-Out College Students in Northeast Ohio to Settle Debt and Access Stranded Credits
Ohio College Comeback Compact Launches Summer 2022
Thousands of college students in Northeast Ohio who left school without a degree and owe money to their former college now have a pathway back to settle the debt and continue their education. Beginning this month, the Ohio College Comeback Compact is contacting approximately 15,000 students with a new proposition: come back to any public college in the region, even if you owe money and your transcript is being held because of it. Eligible students who…
July 27, 2022
Benefit Pros Weigh In: Unpacking the Limited PSLF Waiver
On Wednesday, July 27 at 1:00 pm ET, Ithaka S+R's Managing Director Catherine Bond Hill will discuss the Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver and what it means for nonprofits and public sector employers, as well as benefit advisors and employees, as part of a virtual panel. Other panelists will include Dr. Grace Ingram, Paul Joo, and moderator Bridget Haile. Learn more about the webinar, hosted by Summer, here.
July 7, 2022
Lost and Found: State and Institutional Actions to Resolve Stranded Credits
This brief provides a roadmap for stakeholders interested in the underlying practices that create stranded credits and what can be done to improve them. To begin, we provide specific definitions of the terms and practices implicated in the creation of stranded credits. While researchers and policy leaders have increased their attention on the problem of stranded credits, this brief lays out in detail how they are created, why they matter, and what can be done to better balance the interests.
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. …
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…
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…