Category Archives: Education

College Calculus: What’s the real value of higher education?

Source: John Cassidy, New Yorker, September 7, 2015

….No idea has had more influence on education policy than the notion that colleges teach their students specific, marketable skills, which they can use to get a good job. Economists refer to this as the “human capital” theory of education, and for the past twenty or thirty years it has gone largely unchallenged. If you’ve completed a two-year associate’s degree, you’ve got more “human capital” than a high-school graduate. And if you’ve completed a four-year bachelor’s degree you’ve got more “human capital” than someone who attended a community college. Once you enter the labor market, the theory says, you will be rewarded with a better job, brighter career prospects, and higher wages. There’s no doubt that college graduates earn more money, on average, than people who don’t have a degree. And for many years the so-called “college wage premium” grew…. During the past decade or so, however, a number of things have happened that don’t easily mesh with that theory. If college graduates remain in short supply, their wages should still be rising. But they aren’t. …. Many students and their families extend themselves to pay for a college education out of fear of falling into the low-wage economy. That’s perfectly understandable. But how sound an investment is it? ….

We Are Living in the Era of Job Gentrification
Source: Brentin Mock, Citylab, September 3, 2015

Employers increasingly want Ivy League grads for minor-league jobs.

More education still means more pay in 2014
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, September 2, 2015

Better Information for Better College Choice & Institutional Performance
Source: U.S. Department of Education, September 2015

…..This paper describes the measurements included in the updated College Scorecard and explores how the data can be combined to measure the tradeoffs that exist among outcomes and costs of different institutions of higher education. It accompanies a technical paper that describes the data, and explores
their use and limitations in greater detail. ….

Are Universities Becoming More Unequal?

Source: Yan Lau, Harvey S. Rosen, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w21432, July 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Observers have expressed concern about growing inequality in resources across universities. But are universities really becoming more unequal? We argue that the typical approach of examining endowment growth alone is not sensible. In line with the literature on household inequality, we focus instead on a comprehensive income measure. We find that although there is considerable inequality among institutions, concerns about the inexorable growth of inequality are overblown. Whether one looks at income, endowment wealth, or expenditure, inequality has been high but stable, exhibiting only negligible increases in recent years. Furthermore, there has been little mobility within the higher education sector.

How Did Revenue and Spending per Student Change at Four-Year Colleges and Universities Between 2006-07 and 2012-13?

Source: Nate Johnson & Takeshi Yanagiura, Postsecondary Analytics, LLC, August 2015

From the press release:
An independent report released today finds that overall four-year public universities have expended more resources educating students despite absorbing overall funding losses due to state budget cuts not fully offset by tuition and fee revenue. During the six year period of 2006-07 to 2012-13, after adjusting for inflation, four-year public universities experienced state funding cuts of $2,370 per student, while tuition and fee revenues increased by only $1,940 – a net loss of $430 per full-time student. Over that same period of time, four-year public universities increased educational and related expenditures by $528 per full time student.

Colleges Flush With Cash Saddle Poorest Students With Debt

Source: Annie Waldman and Sisi Wei, ProPublica, September 12, 2015

A ProPublica analysis of newly available federal data shows that some of the nation’s wealthiest colleges are leaving their poorest students with plenty of debt. ….

Debt By Degrees
Use our interactive database to search new federal data on almost 7,000 schools in the U.S. to see how well they support their poorest students financially. School categories include: for-profit, non-profit, and public.

In Historic Shift, More Nurses Graduate with Bachelor’s Degrees

Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge, August/September 2015

The nursing workforce has also become larger and more diverse, survey finds.

The nation’s nursing workforce has reached a critical tipping point. In 2011, for the first time ever, the number of nurses who earned baccalaureate degrees in the science of nursing (BSN) was higher than the number who earned two-year associate degrees in nursing (ADN), according to a recent study of newly available government data about nurse education.

The change marks an historic shift in nurse education levels; in every year before 2011, the number of nurses earning ADNs outpaced those earning BSNs.

By 2012, more nurses (53 percent) were earning four-year baccalaureate than two-year associate degrees (47 percent). The percentages were mirror images of each other a decade earlier; in 2002, 55 percent of nurses earned an ADN and 45 percent earned a BSN.

Do Associate Degree Registered Nurses Fare Differently in the Nurse Labor Market Compared to Baccalaureate-Prepared RNs?

Source: David I. Auerbach, Peter I. Buerhaus, Douglas O. Staiger, Nursing Economics, Vol. 33 no. 1, January/February 2015

• Roughly 40% of the nearly 3 million registered nurses (RNs) in the United States have an associate’s degree (ADN) as their highest level of nursing education.
• Yet even before the recent Institute of Medicine report on The Future of Nursing, employers of RNs have increasingly preferred baccalaureate-prepared RNs (BSNs), at least anecdotally.
• Data from the American Community Survey (2003-2013) were analyzed with respect to employment setting, earnings, and employment outcomes of ADN and BSN-prepared RNs.
• The data reveal a divergence in employment setting: the percentage of ADN-prepared RNs employed in hospitals dropped from 65% to 60% while the percentage of BSN-prepared RNs employed in hospitals grew from 67% to 72% over this period.
• Many ADNs who would have otherwise been employed in hospitals seem to have shifted to long-term care settings.

Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers

Source: Department of Treasury, Council of Economic Advisers, and the Department of Labor, July 2015

From the summary:
“Occupational licensing” may sound like a dry subject, but its rise has been one of the more important economic trends of the past few decades. Today, one-quarter of U.S. workers must have a State license to do their jobs, a five-fold increase since the 1950s. Including Federal and local licenses, an even higher share of the workforce now has a license. Smart regulation of workers can benefit consumers through higher-quality services and improved health and safety standards. Yet too often, policymakers do not carefully weigh the costs and benefits when licensing a particular profession, resulting in a patchwork of different licensing decisions and requirements. Estimates suggest that while 1,100 professions are regulated in at least one State, fewer than 60 are regulated in all 50 States. A report from the Department of Treasury, Council of Economic Advisers, and the Department of Labor released today explores the rise in occupational licensing and its important consequences for our economy.

Report 1: Financial Distress At The Start Of College

Source: Micere Keels, Myles Durkee, & Elan Hope, Minority College Cohort Study, Occasional Report, August 2015

From the Futurity summary:
A new study of more than 500 black and Latino college students confirms that many encounter obstacles after enrolling in college without adequate financial resources. … Consequently, disproportionate numbers of blacks and Latinos are entering adulthood with college debt but without a degree. Nationally, approximately 40 percent of black and 52 percent of Latino freshmen obtain their degree within six years, compared to 63 percent of white and 70 percent of Asian students. Black and Latino students also have significantly more student debt than white and Asian students. For example, approximately 43 percent of black and 30 percent of Latino graduates have more than $30,500 in student debt, compared to 25 percent of white and 10 percent of Asian students. As a result, broadening access without increasing persistence disproportionately harms black and Latino students….

….The report is the first of a series that will be released from the Minority College Cohort Study, for which Keels is the principal investigator. The study tracks the emerging adult trajectory of black and Latino college freshmen from five public and private universities in Illinois….

Serving Healthy School Meals: Staff development and training needs

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, August 2015

From the overview:
….To investigate the staff development and training needed for schools to adequately meet USDA’s updated meal standards, the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project—a joint initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—commissioned a national survey of school food service directors or their designees, primarily food service managers. Data collection was conducted in SY 2012-13, which was before USDA released the proposed rule on professional standards.

Most survey respondents said they or their staffs needed more training than is currently available through their own resources or federal and state agencies. To meet the new meal requirements, the majority of school food authorities (SFAs) expected to make at least one change in their production approach, such as implementing standard recipes to ensure consistent nutrient content per serving and cooking more food from scratch. Those changes may require additional training in cooking skills, food safety, and the use of new ingredients or kitchen equipment.

This report, based on a nationally representative survey of school food service directors or their designees, describes the educational and experiential background of their staffs, as well as their assessment of training they need to implement USDA’s updated nutrition standards.

• Finding 1: The most common form of training received by school nutrition professionals was on the job (59 percent of SFA directors and 76 percent of food service managers). SFA directors in small and very small SFAs (fewer than 2,500 students) were more likely to report receiving on-the-job training than those from larger SFAs. Only 29 percent of SFA directors and 7 percent of food service managers reported having bachelor’s degrees in food-related fields (nutrition, food service management, baking/culinary arts). SFA directors from large and very large SFAs (10,000 or more students) were more likely to have bachelor’s degrees than those from smaller SFAs.
• Finding 2: Understanding compliance with the new nutrient requirements and meal standards, or patterns, was a top training need for all school nutrition personnel. Training in basic nutrition, cooking skills, and food safety was a top need for kitchen/cafeteria managers and cooks/front-line servers.
• Finding 3: Only 37 percent of SFAs have budgets for staff development and training. Of those, about twothirds reported that the budgets are not sufficient to meet all of their training needs. Seventy-two percent of respondents reported that state child nutrition agencies would not provide all of the training and resources needed to meet the updated requirements.

Based upon the report findings and a series of specific suggestions discussed in the Kitchen Infrastructure, Training, and Equipment in Schools Workshop, the project recommendations are as follows:
• Recommendation 1: School officials should prioritize and plan opportunities for training of food service personnel.
• Recommendation 2: Federal, state, and local policymakers should prioritize making funds available to help school food service personnel complete training.
• Recommendation 3: Nonprofit and for-profit organizations that have an interest in improving community wellness and children’s health and education should work collaboratively with schools and make use of community resources to increase and enhance training opportunities for school nutrition staff.

A sizable majority of SFAs reported needs for additional training and technical assistance to successfully implement the updated meal standards and improve the quality and appeal of their meals. This report will outline the top training needs of SFAs as they work to provide healthier foods to the students they serve…..

College operators share staffing struggles

Source: Becky Schilling, Food Management, August 24, 2015

From employing millennials to dealing with minimum wage increases, four university directors talk about the upcoming school year’s labor issues. Every year at NACUFS, Food Management hosts a small group of operators to discuss the challenges and success stories in college foodservice. This three-hour conversation covered a wide array of topics, from menu development to what is local. One common theme all five participants had was a staffing struggle for the upcoming year. What follows are their comments regarding the topic. ….