Category Archives: Higher Education

Thin Budgets in 30 Days

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. ….

Higher education – US – Medians – Public university median revenue growth falls for second year

Source: Jared Brewster, Susan I Fitzgerald, Kendra M. Smith, Cassandra Golden, Moody’s, Sector In-Depth, June 28, 2018
(subscription required)

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.

How Does Last-Dollar Financial Aid Affect First-Year Student Outcomes? Evidence from the Bridging the Gap Study

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.

Investing in Single Mothers’ Higher Education: Costs and Benefits to Individuals, Families, and Society

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.

Certificates in Oregon: A Model for Workers to Jump-Start or Reboot Careers

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.

Postsecondary Enrollment Before, During, and Since the Great Recessionc

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.

There’s a growing need for child-care centers on college campuses

Source: Jillian Berman, MarketWatch, June 5, 2018

The fate of thousands of college students— and their kids—hangs in the balance.

…. Across the country, campus child-care programs, like the one Preciado relies on, are eagerly waiting to see whether they’ll be able to afford to maintain their services or even expand them. Earlier this year, Congress authorized an increase in funding to the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, which supports efforts by colleges to help low-income student parents afford child care. But it still remains unclear which of the many campus child-care programs across the country will get the new funds and how that will be decided. ….

Postsecondary Institutions and Cost of Attendance in 2017-18; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2016-17; and 12-Month Enrollment: 2016-17: First Look (Preliminary Data)

Source: Scott A. Ginder, Janice E. Kelly-Reid, Farrah B. Mann, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Publication #: NCES 2018060, May 2018

From the abstract:
This First Look presents preliminary data findings from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) fall 2017 collection, which included three survey components: Institutional Characteristics for the 2017-18 academic year, Completions covering the period July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, and data on 12-Month Enrollment for the 2016-17 academic year.

Moving Beyond the Degree Debate

Source: Linda Smith, Bipartisan Policy Center blog, April 30, 2018

The draft Power to the Profession framework outlining professional qualifications for early care and learning professionals has reopened a debate in the early childhood community that many felt had been put to rest with the publication of the report Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). In fact, most had hoped that it had been put to rest. But the new draft framework includes a recommendation that an associate degree, or AA, be the entry-level credential for early childhood educators. So, necessarily, here we are again, debating whether a bachelor’s degree, or BA, is the appropriate entry-level credential for a lead early childhood educator.

Declining enrollment credit negative due to continued pressure on net tuition revenue

Source: Edison Castaneda, Susan I Fitzgerald, Dennis M. Gephardt, Moody’s, Sector Comment, May 29, 2018
(subscription required)

On May 21, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) released data showing that enrollment at US colleges and universities declined by 1.3% year-over-year in spring 2018 with some variation by type of institution (see Exhibit 1). This enrollment decline is credit negative for the sector given US colleges and universities’ high reliance on tuition and other student-generated revenue. Tuition and other student-generated income represents roughly 74% and 61% of revenue for four-year public and four-year private universities, respectively. Demographic trends and tuition pricing constraints will continue to suppress tuition revenue growth in fiscal 2018 with Moody’s projecting median net tuition revenue growth to increase just 2.4% for public universities and 2.0% for privates. Additionally, we project over 20% of public universities and 23% of privates to have declining net tuition revenue in fiscal 2018.

Related:
Current Term Enrollment Estimates – Spring 2018
Source: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, Spring 2018

From the overview:
In spring 2018, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased1.3 percent from the previous spring. Figure1 shows the 12-month percentage change (fall-to-fall and spring-to-spring) for each term over the last three years. Enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-6.8 percent), two-year public institutions (-2.0 percent), four-year private nonprofit institutions (-0.4 percent), and four-year public institutions (-0.2 percent). Taken as a whole, public sector enrollments (two year and four-year combined) declined by 0.9 percent this spring. Current Term Enrollment Estimates, published every December and May by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, include national enrollment estimates by institutional sector, state, enrollment intensity, age group, and gender. Enrollment estimates are adjusted for Clearinghouse data coverage rates by institutional sector, state, and year. As of spring 2018, postsecondary institutions actively submitting enrollment data to the Clearinghouse account for 97 percent of enrollments at U.S. Title IV, degree-granting institutions. Most institutions submit enrollment data to the Clearinghouse several times per term, resulting in highly current data. Moreover, since the Clearinghouse collects data at the student level, it is possible to report an unduplicated headcount, which avoids double-counting students who are simultaneously enrolled at multiple institutions.