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Topic: Higher education costs

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…
Past Event
December 14, 2021

Understanding Research Cores: An Overview of a Critical Component of Research Infrastructure

Roger Schonfeld at CNI Fall 2021 Membership Meeting

On December 14, Roger Schonfeld will present at the CNI Fall 2021 Membership Meeting on Ithaka S + R’s  new report, “What is a Research Core? A Primer on a Critical Component of the Research Enterprise” that illuminates the research core landscape. Research cores, sometimes also referred to as core instrumentation facilities, are shared research enablement facilities that are used on a cross-department if not institutional basis. Notwithstanding pandemic disruptions, trends to improve research support for academic science are taking…
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…
Research Report
December 6, 2021

What Is a Research Core?

A Primer on a Critical Component of the Research Enterprise

As clusters of state-of-the-art instruments and research enablement services, research cores are not only the cornerstone of research activities at university campuses but also critical assets that provide competitive differentiation for their host institutions. However, these research cores are highly expensive for academic institutions to manage. Despite the growing recognition and impact of these research cores, there are few studies that describe the business models for sustaining and funding research cores or their increasing significance to the larger academic community.
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…
Past Event
December 14, 2021

Danielle Cooper at CNI Fall 2021 Membership Meeting

On December 14th, Danielle Cooper will present during a session titled, “Licensing Privacy: Contractual Language and the Challenge of Monitoring Compliance”, at the Fall 2021 CNI Membership Meeting. For more information on this event, please visit this website. Abstract The Licensing Privacy initiative, made possible in part by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to improve how academic libraries leverage licensing terms to advocate for reader privacy. In fall 2021, the Licensing Privacy initiative released: (1)…
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…
Past Event
October 7, 2021

New Directions in Scholarly Publishing

Roger Schonfeld presents during Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) virtual panel

On October 7, Roger Schonfeld will join other panelists to discuss new funding opportunities for researchers and librarians. The panel will discuss how “how authors— especially early career authors—are required to navigate this new funding landscape, how librarians must consider new mandates and requirements from funding agencies while supporting the interests and needs of researchers within their respective institutions, and how funding as we know it is dynamically changing the landscape of academic research.” For more information, please visit this…
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.
Blog Post
May 4, 2021

A State-by-State Snapshot of Stranded Credits Data and Policy

As the higher education sector begins to address the adverse effects of the pandemic on enrollment, institutions and policymakers alike have begun to turn their attention to a pernicious form of debt that could be preventing over six million students, especially low-income students and students of color, from re-enrolling and earning their degrees. This form of debt prevents students from accessing their transcripts at institutions they attended in the past, leading those previously earned credits to become “stranded” at…
Issue Brief
March 15, 2021

Federal Policies for Increasing Socioeconomic Diversity at Selective Colleges and Universities

Earning a bachelor’s degree is increasingly important to an individual’s longer-term economic prospects. Communities, at all levels, also benefit when their members earn postsecondary credentials, through improved economic, social, and health outcomes. Yet, despite an increase in college participation over the last two decades, severe inequities in bachelor’s degree attainment remain; inequities that often leave lower-income and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) students with debt and no or low-value credentials. With Democrats coalescing around a number of federal…
Issue Brief
February 25, 2021

Academic Research Budgets

A Look Ahead with Special Emphasis on Research Enablement and Support

The United States university sector’s research enterprise is an important national asset. It is highly competitive and highly innovative in ordinary times, and during the past year plagued by coronavirus it pivoted quickly to conduct urgently needed research on a new threat. Beyond its national and international significance, the research enterprise is also an enormous asset—intellectually and financially—for each of the individual universities with a major stake in it. At the high level, the pandemic may seem not to have…