Category Archives: Education

State Fiscal Support for Higher Education: Fiscal Year 2016-2017

Source: Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers, February 2017

From the press release:
This year’s Grapevine survey tentatively points to a modest national 3.4% increase in state support for higher education from fiscal year 2015-16 (FY16) to fiscal year 2016-17 (FY17), though an exact figure awaits a budget resolution in Illinois. There, legislators enacted only a partial FY17 budget that funded higher education through December 2016, and an agreement for augmenting those funds through the rest of the fiscal year has not yet been reached. This continues an ongoing budget impasse that left Illinois without a state budget in FY16, when funding for higher education was also limited to partial stopgap monies. In all, Illinois higher education funding remains sharply curtailed. Stopgap monies appropriated in FY16 amounted to only 17% of funding allocated in fiscal year 2014-15 (FY15), the last fiscal year for which Illinois enacted a full state budget. Stopgap monies allocated so far in FY17, although an increase over the partial funding amount appropriated in FY16, amount to only 29% of FY15 funding.

In the remaining 49 states, FY17 fiscal support for higher education represent an overall one-year increase of 2.7% from FY16: 39 states registered increases ranging from 0.2% to 10.5%, and 10 reported decreases ranging from 0.4% to 8.8%. The 2.7% increase for these 49 states is lower than the 4.1% increase registered from FY15 to FY16 in last year’s survey. Slumping energy prices appear to have taken a toll in at least some states, including Alaska, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming—states with a high economic stake in the oil and gas sector and that reported the largest declines in higher education funding between FY16 and FY17.

Refinanciang Student Loans

Source: Dustin Weeden, LegisBrief, Vol. 25 no. 8, February 2017

Increasing numbers of students are borrowing money to pay for higher education, incurring historically high levels of debt. Policymakers are concerned about the amount students are borrowing, their ability to repay, and the broader economic impacts of student debt. Refinancing existing loans at lower interest rates is one solution, and at least 12 states currently operate their own refinancing programs for students.

The Winds of Changes Shift: An Analysis of Recent Growth in Bargaining Units and Representation Efforts in Higher Education

Source: William A. Herbert, City University of New York – Hunter College, December 2016, Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy (forthcoming)

From the abstract:
This article analyzes data accumulated during the first three quarters of 2016 regarding completed and pending questions of representation involving faculty and student employees in higher education. It is part of a larger and continuing National Center research project that tracks faculty and graduate student employee unionization growth and representation efforts at private and public institutions of higher learning since January 1, 2013.

The data presented in this article demonstrates that the rate of newly certified units at private colleges and universities since January 1, 2016 far outpaces new units in the public sector. There has been a 25.9% increase in certified private sector faculty units over the number of private sector units identified by the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions in 2012, while the increase in the public sector has been 2.1%. The largest number of newly certified units involves non-tenure track faculty at private non-profit institutions. The second largest group of new units in higher education involves tenured and tenure-track faculty at public institutions. The average final election tallies demonstrate strong support for unionization among higher education faculty: 72.8% among private sector tenured/tenure-track and contingent faculty, and 73.3% among public sector tenure-track and contingent faculty.

The article demonstrates that unionization efforts by private sector tenured and tenure-track faculty and faculty continue to be adversely impacted by two judicially-created doctrines, despite modifications made to the applicable standards in a 2014 National Labor Relations Board decision. It also examines pending and completed unionization efforts by graduate and research assistants in light of the recent NLRB decision finding that private sector graduate student employees are entitled to the associational rights guaranteed under federal labor law.

Connecting All Children to High-Quality Early Care and Education: Promising Strategies From the International Community

Source: American Institutes for Research, Issue Brief, October 2016

From the summary:
In Europe, rich and poor kids alike are enrolling in early care and preschool programs in large numbers. These accomplishments offer us insights for our collective efforts to strengthen early education in the U.S….
Related:
Report

Recent Flattening in the Higher Education Wage Premium: Polarization, Skill Downgrading, or Both?

Source: Robert G. Valletta, National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. 22935, December 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Wage gaps between workers with a college or graduate degree and those with only a high school degree rose rapidly in the United States during the 1980s. Since then, the rate of growth in these wage gaps has progressively slowed, and though the gaps remain large, they were essentially unchanged between 2010 and 2015. I assess this flattening over time in higher education wage premiums with reference to two related explanations for changing U.S. employment patterns: (i) a shift away from middle-skilled occupations driven largely by technological change (“polarization”); and (ii) a general weakening in the demand for advanced cognitive skills (“skill downgrading”). Analyses of wage and employment data from the U.S. Current Population Survey suggest that both factors have contributed to the flattening of higher education wage premiums.
Note: A summary and discussion of the paper can be found at Inside HigherEd

Where to Find Better Candidates? Oregon Unions Are Growing Their Own

Source: Sara Ryan, Labor Notes, January 13, 2017

…..A coalition of public- and private-sector unions created the Oregon Labor Candidate School in 2012. It’s an independent nonprofit, with a board of staffers and officers from unions representing nurses, firefighters, teachers, school bus drivers, electricians and other building trades, public employees, direct care providers, and professors.

Our goal is to build a bench of candidates who will stand up and fight. We want leaders throughout Oregon who will push forward policies like a $15 minimum wage, paid time off for maternity and elder care, paid sick days, strong labor agreements with developers, health care available to everyone, and so much more.

Plus, when union contracts come up for negotiation, it’s essential to have members on local city councils and school boards who can speak up for workers. Having a firefighter on a school board and a teacher on a fire board benefits all public-sector employees……

State Expenditure Report (Fiscal 2014-2016)

Source: National Association of State Budget Officers, 2016

Overview:
This annual report examines spending in the functional areas of state budgets: elementary and secondary education, higher education, public assistance, Medicaid, corrections, transportation, and all other. It also includes data on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and on revenue sources in state general funds.

– The total state spending growth rate slowed in fiscal 2016, following a 10-year high in fiscal 2015.
– Medicaid continued to increase as a share of total state spending, while K-12 remained the largest category from state funds.
– Transportation led the way in spending growth from state funds in both fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2016, while Medicaid experienced the largest gains from all funds.
– Revenue growth slowed considerably in fiscal 2016 as states saw weaker collections from sales, personal income, and corporate income taxes.
Related:
Summary
Archives

Community Colleges and Employers: How Can We Understand Their Connection?

Source: Paul Osterman, Andrew Weaver, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Vol. 55, Issue 4, October 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This paper uses an original, nationally representative survey of manufacturing establishments to shed light on the interaction of employers with community colleges, including information on skill requirements and human resource practices. We test three hypotheses: that high‐skill employers use community colleges, that community colleges are a substitute for employer‐based training, and that community colleges are a complement to so‐called “high‐road” or “high‐commitment” human resource practices. We find limited utilization of community colleges by employers, but those that do establish a relationship are generally satisfied. Employers that demand high skills are more likely to use community colleges, as are “high‐commitment” firms.