Skip to Main Content

Topic: Higher education costs

Blog Post
June 12, 2019

An Interview with Dr. David Tandberg

“North Star” Attainment Goals

David Tandberg is the Vice President for Policy Research and Strategic Initiatives at the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO). Dr. Tandberg is a leading expert on state higher education policy. He currently leads SHEEO in its work to connect empirical research with state policy to improve higher education opportunities for students. Ithaka S+R graciously thanks Dr. Tandberg for sharing his thoughts regarding state “north star” attainment goals. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length. How…
Issue Brief
June 12, 2019

Setting a North Star

Motivations, Implications, and Approaches to State Postsecondary Attainment Goals

Higher education attainment goals can serve as a “north star” to guide states’ postsecondary policies, investments, and agendas. The extent to which state attainment goals lead to substantive improvements in college-going rates, college graduation rates, postsecondary credential attainment rates, and reductions in labor market skills gaps is as yet unclear. Further, the likelihood a state will meet its attainment goals varies by state and depends on contextual factors that are within and outside the purview of the education sector. In…
Past Event
May 21, 2019

Improving Access, Affordability and Success in American Colleges and Universities

Catharine Hill at the Third Biennial Brasenose Undergraduate Access Symposium

On Tuesday, May 21, at 5:30 pm, Catharine Hill is speaking on “Improving Access, Affordability and Success in American Colleges and Universities” at the Third Biennial Brasenose Undergraduate Access Symposium: Access to Higher Education at Oxford and Other Places. More information about this free symposium is available on the Brasenose College website.
Blog Post
May 15, 2019

What Can We Learn from Publicly Available Data on College Students’ Income Distribution?

In January 2017 researchers at the Equality of Opportunity Project—now called Opportunity Insights—released detailed data on the financial circumstances of undergraduate students at each of the vast majority of American colleges and universities. Covering students born between 1980 and 1991, and relying on tax records held by the Internal Revenue Service, the publicly available Opportunity Insights data provided a nuanced look at the family income distribution as well as subsequent earnings of a generation of college-goers. The Opportunity Insights dataset…
Research Report
May 15, 2019

Better Than We Thought

Comparing Publicly Available Data on College Students’ Income Distribution

In this report, we compare and contrast three datasets—IPEDS, CDS, and Opportunity Insights—for various categories of public and private four-year institutions, in the aggregate. We find that, when grouping students who do not receive federal financial aid—whose income is therefore unknown—with students in the top income category, the IPEDS income distribution is very similar to the Opportunity Insights income distribution at this aggregate level. Furthermore, comparing IPEDS data with CDS data provides insights about which students benefit from institutional financial…
Past Event
May 21, 2019

Elevating Student Voices: Advancing Equity Through College Affordability

Martin Kurzweil at IHEP's 2019 National Policy Summit

On Tuesday, May 21, Martin Kurzweil will be participating in IHEP’s 2019 National Policy Summit, “Elevating Student Voices: Advancing Equity Through College Affordability.” The summit will take place in Washington DC. More information about IHEP is available on their website.
Past Event
June 5, 2019

Martin Kurzweil at Eduventures Summit 2019

Martin Kurzweil is taking part in Eduventures Summit 2019 in Boston from June 5-7. For more information, please see the event website. About the summit: The search for a truly new higher education business model must grapple with product, time, cost, and structure and address these important questions: Should most schools buy courses from the best rather than build their own? Could the value of a bachelor’s degree be packaged in 60 credits rather than 120? Could life off-campus…
Issue Brief
April 9, 2019

Challenges to Higher Education’s Most Essential Purposes

In his 2000 Romanes Lecture, entitled “At a Slight Angle to the Universe, the University in a Digitized, Commercialized Age,” William Bowen anticipated many of the challenges higher education faces today. His incisive summary of the most important purposes of higher education offers a useful framework for assessing how higher education is fulfilling its uniquely important role supporting a vibrant democratic society. Those responsible for higher education’s well-being, including presidents, administrators, trustees, faculty, and government policy makers, would do well…
Issue Brief
April 9, 2019

Technology, Georgia Tech, and the Future of Learning

An Interview with Charles Isbell

I invited Charles Isbell, Professor of Computer Science at Georgia Tech to join me at the October 2018 Bowen Colloquium, a forward-looking gathering of college and university presidents and other leaders. In addition to his work in Artificial Intelligence, Professor Isbell is the Associate Dean in the College of Computing responsible for overseeing Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS). Our conversation covered a wide area, from the unsustainable costs of traditional modes of instruction to his…
Past Event
May 30, 2019

Access & Affordability: Flipping the Conversation

Martin Kurzweil Speaks at Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges Conference

On Thursday, May 30, Martin Kurzweil is speaking at the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges’ conference, “Access & Affordability: Flipping the Conversation.” This conference, held at Muhlenberg College, is part of LVAIC’s year-long series, “Facing Higher Education’s Future.” For more information about the conference, please see the event website.
Past Event
March 5, 2019

Martin Kurzweil at SXSW EDU

Who Does Online Education Really Serve?

On Tuesday, March 5, Martin Kurzweil is speaking as part of a panel session on “Who Does Online Education Really Serve?” at SXSW EDU in Austin, Texas. Martin will be joined on the panel by Jill Buban, Chief Academic Officer at Unizen,  Robert Ubell, Vice Dean Emeritus of Online Learning, at New York University, and Jeffrey Young, Senior Editor at EdSurge. The panel will run from 4 – 6:00 pm. For more information and to register, please see the SXSW…
Blog Post
November 15, 2018

What’s the ROI for Instructional Reform?

New Tool Provides Estimates

Last year, Ithaka S+R published Instructional Quality, Student Outcomes, and Institutional Finances, a white paper commissioned by the American Council on Education (ACE) that explored the relationship between institutional finances and instructional quality, asking whether improvements in instructional quality can increase a postsecondary institution’s net revenue. It’s an important question, as many higher education institutions are under strong pressure to improve student learning outcomes as they face increasing financial constraints. The conventional view is that increases in instructional quality…
Blog Post
June 27, 2018

New Research from the American Talent Initiative on Community College Transfer to Top Colleges and Universities

The American Talent Initiative (ATI) just released new research suggesting that, each year, 50,000 high-achieving, low- and moderate-income community college students do not transfer to any four-year institution. Approximately 15,000 of these lower-income students have the academic credentials to be successful at even the most selective colleges and universities, having earned a 3.7 GPA or higher at their community college. ATI’s research demonstrates that enrolling more lower-income freshman is not the only viable strategy for increasing socioeconomic diversity…
Research Report
June 27, 2018

The Talent Blind Spot

The Case for Increasing Community College Transfer to High Graduation Rate Institutions

In addition to expanding access and enhancing educational quality, there is a compelling economic case to be made for increasing transfer students. Specifically, supporting community college transfer pathways may offer four-year colleges a financially sustainable strategy to provide an affordable education to substantially more low- and moderate-income students.
Blog Post
May 22, 2018

Taking a Closer Look at College and University Endowments: New Report

A new report from Sandy Baum, Cappy Hill, and myself, out today, provides an overview of college and university endowments. We seek to inform the public policy debate by exploring how endowments are structured and used, and discussing the extent to which the favorable tax policy for higher education institutions serves the public interest. We find that the distribution of endowment assets is highly skewed across institutions. The median endowment per student for all postsecondary institutions is $12,600, while…
Research Report
May 22, 2018

College and University Endowments

In the Public Interest?

The fact that a handful of colleges and universities control billions of dollars in endowment funds has captured the attention of Congress and the public. Is it in the public interest for these institutions to continue to receive the full exemption from income taxation for the donations to and income from endowments?[1] The passage of the recent federal tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which imposes an excise tax of 1.4 percent on the net investment…
Blog Post
May 8, 2018

Check out Catharine Bond Hill’s Opinion Piece in Inside Higher Ed

Can Higher Ed Change America’s Negative View?

In today’s Inside Higher Ed, Ithaka S+R’s managing director Catharine Bond Hill asks “Can Higher Ed Change America’s Negative View?” In the piece she explores why higher education institutions have lost the public’s trust and sketches out how colleges and universities can regain it.    …
Past Event
May 18, 2018

Catharine Bond Hill at the Education Writers Association National Seminar

Higher Ed Affordability

On Friday, May 18, Cappy Hill will speak on a panel about higher ed affordability at the Education Writers Association National Seminar in Los Angeles. The session runs from 9:00 am – noon. For more details and to register, please visit the EWA website. Session abstract: Deep Dive: Higher Ed Affordability: – You want a story that gets clicks? “Student loans” gets more Google search love than Prince Harry, Paula Abdul or Robert Mueller! Learn everything you need to know…
Blog Post
March 2, 2018

Invest in Talent to Move the Dial on Socioeconomic Diversity on Nation’s College Campuses

Invest in talented young adults, and they will help us solve the world’s problems. That was the charge of Dan Porterfield, president of Franklin & Marshall College and incoming president of the Aspen Institute, to college and university presidents who gathered February 22-23 in New York City for the American Talent Initiative annual presidential summit. The effort, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and co-led by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, has an ambitious goal: attract, enroll and…
Blog Post
February 28, 2018

Insights from the William G. Bowen Colloquium on Higher Education Leadership

Last November, we held the inaugural William G. Bowen Colloquium on Higher Education Leadership. Named for our late, founding board chair and president emeritus of Princeton University and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the event brought together 50 higher education leaders and experts to discuss several contemporary challenges including diversity and inclusiveness, free speech and student activism, and the role of technology in higher education. Today, Kevin Guthrie, Cappy Hill, and I are publishing three papers…