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Topic: Higher education costs

Blog Post
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.
Past Event
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…
Upcoming Event
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.
Blog Post
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.
Past Event
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.
Blog Post
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.
Research Report
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.
Past Event
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…
Blog Post
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.
Blog Post
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…
Past Event
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.
Issue Brief
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.
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. …
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…
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…
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…