Source: Jen Mishory, Century Foundation, July 12, 2018
– Statewide free college, also known as “Promise” programs, have expanded rapidly in states across the country, and older free college programs can provide lessons for the design of these programs.
– Advocates of the model point to their structure as a free benefit and to the goal of universality as potential drivers of long-term political sustainability: that increased participation and a clear message will help increase and retain aid funding.
– This report identifies and studies six statewide Promise programs that were in operation through the Great Recession to see how they fared. Their resiliency during that significant downturn demonstrates that the model might in fact benefit from more enduring funding support, and that budgetary protections, social insurance-like design, and the defined benefit structure meant that means-tested free college programs also enjoyed that sustained funding.
Source: Matt Reed, Inside Higher Ed, Confessions of a Community College Dean, July 12, 2018
Can a college get better and smaller at the same time? ….The more common case involves sustained incremental cutting and watering-down. That takes the form of replacing full-time faculty with adjuncts, replacing administrators with contracted services, raising class caps, outsourcing campus functions, and the like. As short-term measures, many of those make sense at first, and a few may make sense generally. But after the low-hanging fruit has been picked, the trends don’t stop. This approach assumes, whether consciously or not, that the hard times are temporary. That might make sense in the aftermath of a natural disaster, but it’s delusional in the face of long-term demographic decline. Over time, the decline tends to outpace the incremental cuts, and the college has to resort to layoffs. Those are a nightmare for all involved. Aside from the frustration and hand-wringing of the usual approach, there’s a lack of vision. The challenge for each budget year is to keep doing essentially the same thing, but with less. But with long-term demographic decline, doing essentially the same thing guarantees continuing to get disappointing results. As a long-term survival strategy, it’s exactly wrong. ….
Source: Katharine O. Strunk, Dan Goldhaber, David S. Knight, Nate Brown, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Early View, First published: July 5, 2018
From the abstract:
Few studies examine employee responses to layoff‐induced unemployment risk; none that we know of quantify the impact of job insecurity on individual employee productivity. Using data from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Washington State during the Great Recession, we provide the first evidence about the impact of the layoff process on teacher productivity. In both sites we find that teachers impacted by the layoff process are less productive than those who do not face layoff‐induced job threat. LAUSD teachers who are laid off and then rehired to return to the district are less productive in the two years following the layoff. Washington teachers who are given a reduction‐in‐force (RIF) notice and are then not laid off have reduced effectiveness in the year of the RIF. We argue that these results are likely driven by impacts of the layoff process on teachers’ job commitment and present evidence to rule out alternate explanations.
Source: Adebola Kushimo, Roger S Brown, Alexandra S. Parker, Moody’s, Sector Comment, June 27, 2018
On June 22, the Oklahoma (Aa2 negative) Supreme Court rejected an effort to nullify a legislative package that increases state taxes to provide teachers with a pay raise. The court refused to permit a referendum that would have given voters a chance to block the tax increases, which include tax hikes on gasoline and oil production. The ruling is credit positive for school districts because it preserves state funding for the teacher pay increases, which came as teachers threatened to strike earlier this year and eventually did. The activists opposing the tax increases could still mount another effort to hold a referendum, hoping voters will overturn the tax hikes. The court noted that they have until July 18 to submit a new list of signatures that could lead to a November vote…..
Source: Jared Brewster, Susan I Fitzgerald, Kendra M. Smith, Cassandra Golden, Moody’s, Sector In-Depth, June 28, 2018
For the second consecutive year, median public university revenue growth declined, falling below 3% and trailing expense growth for the first time since fiscal 2014, according to our fiscal 2017 medians. Nearly 25% of public universities reported declining revenue and more than 60% reported revenue growth below higher education inflation. Revenue growth will remain muted as public universities face tuition affordability concerns and ongoing state funding constraints, putting continued pressure on universities to curtail expense growth to maintain margins.
Source: Domingo Morel, The Conversation, July 3, 2018
When states take over local school districts – like they’ve done or are trying to do in Kentucky, Georgia and Mississippi – school improvement is typically the stated objective.
Although the research on the effects of state takeovers on academic outcomes is mixed, takeovers often have devastating political and economic implications for black communities. As states increasingly attempt to take over school districts in major Southern cities, it’s worth exploring whether school improvement is the real purpose, or whether political motives are at play.
I raise this issue as the author of the first systematic study of state takeovers of local school districts. I am also a researcher who focuses racial and ethnic politics, urban politics, education politics and public policy…..
Source: Keith Wardrip, Eileen Divringi, and Kyle DeMaria, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Community Development and Regional Outreach, May 2018
This report examines the early impacts of a financial aid program that reduces or eliminates tuition and campus fee costs for lower- and middle-income New Jersey residents. The program boosted enrollment among lower-income students, improved students’ perception of college affordability, and reduced student financial stress. However, it is unclear whether first-year improvements in academic performance are attributable to the program.
Source: Barbara Gault, Jessica Milli, Lindsey Reichlin Cruse, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, #C469, June 2018
From the summary:
Investing in Single Mothers’ Higher Education: Costs and Benefits to Individuals, Families, and Society Postsecondary education is a reliable pathway to economic security and is increasingly important to securing family-sustaining employment. For single mother families, who make up a growing share of U.S. families, and who are especially likely to live in poverty, college attainment is a game changer for improving family well-being and meeting the demands of a changing economy. College credentials are associated with a host of positive outcomes, including increased earnings, higher rates of employment, improved health, increased civic engagement, and improved outcomes among the children of college graduates.
Source: Anthony P. Carnevale Neil Ridley Megan L. Fasules, Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce, 2018
From the press release:
Certificate recipients in Oregon ages 29 or younger reap sizable earnings gains, in some cases more than doubling their pay, as they build their skills and enter the workforce, according to a new analysis of community college programs in the state. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center) report, Certificates in Oregon: A Model for Workers to Jump-Start or Reboot Careers, highlights the role of certificates for people seeking to enter the labor market, an issue that has drawn increasing attention from policymakers in Washington, DC and across the nation.
The new analysis is based on state-level data that sheds light on their labor market value by field of study and their impact on both college-age students entering the labor market and adults established in the workforce. It also shows the importance of major national and state investments in data systems that have allowed states like Oregon to track the earnings returns of particular credentials.
Source: Erik Schmidt, U.S. Census Bureau, Report Number: P20-580, April 2018
From the abstract:
Education is highly valued in the United States as a means to acquire skills and experience that allow individuals to realize greater earnings over the course of their working lives. The value placed on education is evidenced by the fact that 89 percent of people 25 years and older have completed high school, and 60 percent have studied beyond the high school level. The value placed on education is also seen in the increase in college enrollment over time, from 2.4 million students in 1955 to 19.1 million students in 2015. While enrollment has increased over the long run, enrollment has increased and decreased within this long-term increase. This report provides an overview of postsecondary enrollment during one of these periods, covering the years preceding and since the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, using data collected in the Current Population Survey (CPS). It examines the postsecondary enrollment of the adult population by demographic and social characteristics, such as age, sex, and race and Hispanic origin.