Category Archives: Higher Education

Occupational Licensing Database

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Governor’s Association and the Council of State Governments, 2018

Occupational licensing is a regulatory method that requires individuals to secure a license from government in order to practice a certain trade or profession. Currently, 1-in-4 occupations in the U.S. currently require a license and most licensure requirements vary drastically from state to state.

NCSL, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Governor’s Association and the Council of State Governments, is working to research occupational licensing to help states identify best practices and solutions to their licensing issues, including to help decrease barriers to labor market entry and to increase the portability of licenses across state lines. This database contains legislation from all 50 states covering 34 distinct occupations that have been identified based on the following criteria:
– Each must be licensed in at least 30 states.
– Each much require less than a bachelor’s degree in most states.
– The projected employment growth rate for the occupation must be at or higher than the national average. – Each occupation must currently have employment levels of 10,000 or more.

The database also contains legislation on occupational licensure laws more generally and includes legislation impacting the following four population groups that have been identified as being disproportiantely impacted by licensure-related barriers to labor market entry:
– Skilled immigrants.
– Individuals with criminal records.
– Active duty military, veterans and their spouses.
– Unemployed and dislocated workers.

Growing online education is credit positive for US higher education

Source: Pranav Sharma, Edith Behr, Susan I Fitzgerald, Kendra M. Smith, Moody’s, Sector In-Depth, February 12, 2018
(subscription required)

Development of a successful online program is costly, but universities without an online strategy risk losing students who expect an online curriculum to be a part of their learning experience. 

The Macroeconomic Effects of Student Debt Cancellation

Source: Scott Fullwiler, Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, and Marshall Steinbaum, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, February 2018

From the summary:
Among the more ambitious policies that have been proposed to address the problem of escalating student loan debt are various forms of debt cancellation. In this report, Scott Fullwiler, Research Associate Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, and Marshall Steinbaum examine the likely macroeconomic impacts of a one-time, federally funded cancellation of all outstanding student debt.

The report analyzes households’ mounting reliance on debt to finance higher education, including the distributive implications of student debt and debt cancellation; describes the financial mechanics required to carry out the cancellation of debt held by the Department of Education (which makes up the vast majority of student loans outstanding) as well as privately owned student debt; and uses two macroeconometric models to provide a plausible range for the likely impacts of student debt cancellation on key economic variables over a 10-year horizon.

The authors find that cancellation would have a meaningful stimulus effect, characterized by greater economic activity as measured by GDP and employment, with only moderate effects on the federal budget deficit, interest rates, and inflation (while state budgets improve). These results suggest that policies like student debt cancellation can be a viable part of a needed reorientation of US higher education policy.

Measuring Up: How BLS Data Would Inflate Earnings for Career Training Graduates

Source: Ben Barrett and Sophie Nguyen, New American Foundation, February 2018

From the summary:
On January 29, the U.S. Department of Education released a blueprint for how it plans to revise the gainful employment (GE) regulations, which the Obama administration put in place in 2014. Most notably, the Department’s proposed rule would eliminate all sanctions for career-oriented programs that leave students with large debt but without the training to land a well-paying job after graduation. Preserving only a modified version of the current disclosure requirements, the regulations could be further weakened if for-profit colleges get their way during the second round of negotiations. Instead of disclosing or holding career-oriented college programs accountable for the amount of debt that graduates borrow relative to the amount they earn a few years after completing, as the current rules do, for-profit college leaders and lobbyists have called for substituting actual students’ earnings with local estimates derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the Department’s proposal to strike any consequence from the GE regulations may seem brazen in comparison, attempting to use BLS data in place of actual graduates’ earnings would have nearly the same impact as no accountability at all. Unfortunately, using BLS estimates instead of real earnings data would not only tell prospective students very little about the quality of the program that they are considering, it will actively mislead them. More troubling still, this approach would prevent the government from holding individual colleges accountable. 

To illustrate just how misleading it would be to use BLS data for the purpose of measuring program outcomes, we compared national and local BLS earnings with actual earnings from graduates of specific career-training programs. We found that, on average, the median annual earnings for graduates of all programs subject to the gainful employment regulations were $27,494. But if local BLS estimates were used instead, the median annual earnings would rise to an average of $49,341—an increase of $21,847, or nearly 80 percent…..

Grapevine, Fiscal Year 2017-18

Source: Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers, January 2018

From the summary:
Data reported by the states in the latest Grapevine survey indicate that initially approved state fiscal support for higher education nationwide increased by a modest 1.6 percent from fiscal 2016–2017 (fiscal 2017) to fiscal year 2017–2018 (fiscal 2018). This is the lowest annual percent increase in the past five years. Almost all of the increase between fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018 was accounted for by appropriations in only three relatively large states: California, Florida, and Georgia. Total funding across the remaining 47 states rose by only 0.2 percent.

The Biggest Problem for State Higher-Ed Policy? Federal Higher-Ed Policy

Source: Eric Kelderman, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 16, 2018

The biggest concern for state higher-education policy in 2018 isn’t the continuing economic volatility, the questions about affordability for students, the disputes about free speech on campuses, or the difficulties in preventing and punishing campus sexual assaults.

Instead, the top issue for states is the uncertainty created by the federal government, according to an annual report from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities….

Why your child’s preschool teacher should have a college degree

Source: Anne Douglass, The Conversation, January 2, 2018

How much education does a preschool teacher need?

When the District of Columbia announced in March that it would require an associate’s degree for all lead teachers at child care centers who work with children up to age 5, the reaction was widely negative. …. The science of brain development shows a clear connection between positive early educational experiences and later success in life. The foundation for literacy, mathematics and science develops rapidly in infancy and continues throughout early childhood. The competencies early educators must have to guide this development effectively, as outlined in a 2015 Institute of Medicine report, are extensive. They include a “sophisticated understanding of the child’s cognitive and socioemotional development [and] knowledge of a broad range of subject-matter content areas.” ….

Enrollment and Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2016; and Financial Statistics and Academic Libraries, Fiscal Year 2016: First Look (Provisional Data)

Source: Scott Ginder, et. al., National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Publication #: NCES 2018002, December 2017

From the abstract:
This provisional First Look report includes fully edited and imputed data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) spring 2017 data collection, which included four survey components: Enrollment for fall 2016; Finance for fiscal year 2016; data on employees in postsecondary education for Fall 2016; and data for Academic Libraries for fiscal year 2016.

Everything Passes, Everything Changes: Unionization and Collective Bargaining in Higher Education

Source: William A. Herbert, Jacob Apkarian, Perspectives on Work, 2017

From the abstract:
This article begins with a brief history of unionization and collective bargaining in higher education. It then presents data concerning the recent growth in newly certified collective bargaining representatives at private and public-sector institutions of higher education, particularly among non-tenure track faculty. The data is analyzed in the context of legal decisions concerning employee status and unit composition under applicable federal and state laws. Lastly, the article presents data concerning strike activities on campuses between January 2013 and May 31, 2017.