Category Archives: Education

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….

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

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.

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.

Occupational Requirements in the United States – 2016

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release, USDL-16-2231, December 1, 2016

Workers spent 61.0 percent of the workday standing or walking in jobs surveyed in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This is the first release of the Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) which is an establishment-based survey and provides information about the physical demands, mental requirements, education and training, and environmental conditions of jobs in the U.S. economy….

State-Federal Partnerships in Postsecondary Education

Source: Education Commission of the States, 2016

The responsibility for providing a high-quality, cohesive postsecondary education is split between different levels of government. Both the federal government and state governments have distinct roles in higher education. Policymakers need to marry federal and state higher education policies to provide a cohesive policy playbook that supports student success and moves the nation toward meeting aggressive attainment goals.

Education Commission of the States coordinated the creation and dissemination of a series of policy briefs focused on the interaction between state- and federal-level policies pertaining to higher education. These issue briefs are composed by a diverse collection of notable educational policy and thought leaders representing state and federal perspectives from both a public and private sector viewpoint. Topics include, but are not limited to, financial aid, data policies, the “triad” and workforce needs.

Wiping the Slate Clean: A new federalism for the 21st century student
Authors: Dr. James L. Applegate, Executive Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education and Mary Fulton, Senior Policy Analyst, Education Commission of the States.
This brief outlines the current structure of federal and state higher education policies and funding that emerged consequently. Included in the brief are policy and practice changes that address meeting college attainment goals and ensuring affordability for low and middle income students.

Leveraging Community Colleges in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A blueprint for state policymakers
Authors: Colleen Campbell, Senior Policy Analyst, Association of Community College Trustees and Ivy Love, Policy Analyst, Association of Community College Trustees.
This brief looks at how to increase coordination between institutions and regional workforce needs, specifically how states can capitalize on federal investments to improve this alignment.

Rethinking the Federal-State Partnership for Free Community College: Early indicators from Oregon
Authors: Ben Cannon, Executive Director, Higher Education Coordinating Commission and Jennifer Joyalle, Doctoral Student, Portland State University.
This brief details aspects of the Oregon Promise Program including funding, program limitations, examine costs and opportunities associated with a more intentional state/federal partnership.

Rowing Together: Aligning state and federal investments in talent to common outcomes
Authors: Kristin D. Conklin, Partner, HCM, Martha Snyder, Director, HCM, Jeff Stanley, Chief of Staff, HCM and Scott Boelscher, Senior-Level Associate, HCM.
Thirteen states have outcomes-based funding policies that work to align sought-after outcomes with state funding. This brief argues that it is desirable to align federal financial aid policies with metrics in state outcomes-based funding policies.

Fixing Affordability: An approach for advancing federalism in the modern era
Author: Michelle Asha Cooper, President, Institute for Higher Education Policy.
There is a constant push and pull between state and the federal governments to find the right balance of federalism. By applying this “push-pull” framework to higher education, this brief looks at past policy interventions and how this framework can help to understand the free college movement.

Better Together? State and Federal Funding for Student Financial Aid
Authors: William R. Doyle, Associate Professor of Higher Education, Vanderbilt University and Sarah Pingel, Senior Policy Analyst, Education Commission of the States.
This brief focuses on three aspects of state financial aid: (1) how states use financial aid programs to make college more affordable; (2) how federalist solutions can assist state-only efforts to make college more affordable; and (3) how federal funds can help to level out state volatility in tighter economic times.

Enhancing State Authorization: The need for action by states as stewards of higher education performance
Authors: Thomas Harnisch, Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Barmak Nassirian, Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Amber Saddler, Policy Assistant, EducationCounsel LLC and Art Coleman, Managing Partner and Co-founder, EducationCounsel LLC.
This brief examines the “triad” of state governments, the federal government and accrediting agencies and, by shining light on the unique role that state governments play in this partnership, the authors propose reforms that will strengthen the role of state governments, without neglecting the two other legs of the higher education stool.

Role Clarity: The interplay of entities funding higher education
Author: Dr. Christopher M. Mullin, Executive Vice Chancellor, Florida College System.
This brief outlines the appropriate interplay between federal, state and institutional actions to ensure a coordinated higher education system including four options for future action: (1) a stacked approach; (2) a centralized approach; (3) a sequential approach; and (4) a segmented approach.

Fast Track to College Success
Author: Mary Nguyen Barry, Senior Policy Analyst, Education Reform Now.
This brief focuses on 12th grade students who are ready for postsecondary work, but are spending unnecessary time in high school. The brief discusses options for paying for the transition, including K-12 funds reimbursing families for tuition or 12th graders being eligible for Pell.

Creating an Ideal State-Federal Data Partnership to Improve Policymaking Related to College Affordability
Authors: Brian Prescott, Associate Vice President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, Demaree Michelau, Vice President, Policy Analysis and Research, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and Patrick Lane, Project Manager, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
This brief explores how federal data policies are intertwined with states’ and argues that a more effective partnership could equip states with information they can use to more precisely target policies on the barriers to postsecondary access and success.