Here are three reports you should know about this month.
- State disinvestment in public higher education has led to fewer affordable college opportunities, particularly for low-income and underrepresented students, say the authors of a report from The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS). The report proposes a framework for a new federal-state partnership that would increase both financial aid to individual students and support for institutional operating expenses. The report’s authors offer three design principles for an effective federal-state partnership: (1) providing strong incentives to maintain and increase state investment, (2) ensuring stable funding across economic cycles, and (3) making headway in closing racial and economic equity gaps in access and attainment.
- About 68 percent of public two-year college students work while going to school, with more than one-third working 31 hours or more a week, according to a report from the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). Working long hours can hurt low-income students’ academic performance and can even prompt them to drop out. How can colleges keep these working students from dropping out? A growing number of colleges are using various support services to keep those working students going to school. The ACCT report highlights the efforts of three community colleges and their initiatives to better ease the burdens of working students: Lakeshore Technical College’s individualized-degree programs; Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College’s flexible scheduling; and Austin Community College District’s childcare programs.
- The Leadership Conference Education Fund – civil and human rights organization – released a policy brief calling for strong “gainful employment” regulations to protect college students, in particular African-Americans and Latinos, from unscrupulous for-profit schools. The gainful employment (GE) rule, promulgated during the Obama administration mainly to ensure that for-profit institutions were not burdening students with large college loans, was nixed this year by the U.S. Department of Education. The new policy brief noted that African-American and Latino students represent 51 percent of students at for-profit institutions. Students at for-profit colleges are much less likely to graduate than students at public and private non-profit schools, and for-profits are more expensive than public colleges, leading to higher levels of student loan debt, the brief notes. Twenty-one civil rights, consumer lending and education groups signed onto the brief. Of note, a House bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) introduced by Democrats recently would require the Education Department to establish a GE measure.
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