A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education

Gains in national college-attainment rates are on the uptick, but not at levels needed to keep pace with current and future workforce demands. In this video, Lumina’s Jamie Merisotis, along with business leaders, policy experts and others reflect on Lumina’s A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education report and offer insight on what must be done to reach Goal 2025 and its 60-percent degree attainment rate in the U.S.

People and Place Matter: Lessons on Increasing College Attainment

Mayors and civic leaders gathered in Memphis in April to examine how best to champion college success in their cities. Lumina President Jamie Merisotis emphasized the importance of place-based, metro-area efforts to bring a wider array of citizens into the education pipeline to ensure progress and prosperity to America. Read his speech.

Improving college access/success via technology

As part of Lumina’s Next Generation of Student Supports project, six organizations are leveraging the potential of new technologies – including the Web and mobile devices – to support first-generation and low-income students and help them achieve their college-attainment goals. Learn more.

Applications Invited

The Academy for State Policy Leadership in Higher Education, developed by the State Higher Education Executive Officers and Lumina Foundation, is designed for individuals whose interests and professional experience are preparing them for senior leadership positions in state higher education policy. For more information and application instructions, please visit: http://www.sheeo.org/misc/PolicyAcademyInvitation2012.pdf.

Critical Outcome 1: Preparation

Readiness | Building a grad nation

Some states are making significant inroads to boost high school graduation rates and get their students on a college track, says Building a Grad Nation 2012. Co-authored by Civic Enterprises, America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education, the report highlights several state policies and strategies helping to get high schoolers ready for college and to compete in a global economy.

Trends | Dual-enrollment studied

Dual-enrollment programs can give high school students a head-start on college-level work and may help them persist and succeed once they actually arrive on a college campus, says What We Know About Dual Enrollment this from the Community College Research Center.

Research | High debt, low information

A report from NERA Economic Consulting and Young Invincibles underscores the need for better financial literacy education on the student-loan process. Report findings show 65 percent of respondents did not fully understand their student loans or were surprised by certain aspects of them.

Affordability | Money top concern for college applicants

Students and families are more worried about college costs and whether they’ll have enough financial resources to attend their first-choice college, says the 2012 College Hopes & Worries Survey, from The Princeton Review.

Information | Trends in state higher-ed funding

In the 2007-2008 academic year, state and local support for higher education was $88.8 billion; $1.3 billion lower in 2011. During the same period, college enrollment grew by 12.5% to 11.7 million students, according to an annual report from the State Higher Education Executive Offiers on public higher education financing trends.

Trends | College enrollment growth slows

Enrollment in higher education is growing, but at a slower pace than previous years, says a report from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Critical Outcome 2: Success

Degree completion | Latino college completion in 50 states

A new report from Excelencia in Education provides individual state profile fact sheets on college-completion rates of Latinos. The report includes examples of successful efforts and programs for getting more Latino students to and through college.

Insight | College culture & first-generation students

One in six college students are the first in their family to attend college. Unseen Disadvantage from the Kellogg School of Management suggests that these students face a “cultural mismatch” after they arrive on campus, with some institutions inadvertently reproducing the social inequalities they hope to alleviate.

Research | What it’s worth

The relationship between educational attainment and economic outcomes is shaped by several educational experiences, including field of training, length of time spent in school, and level of attainment, says a Census Bureau report. The report notes that managerial and professional jobs are mostly held by individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 53 percent and 69 percent respectively. Read What It’s Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2009.

Critical Outcome 3: Productivity

Policy | Performance funding: Lessons learned

As demand for college credentials increases, several states are employing performance-based funding models that tie a percentage of state support to completion of a postsecondary degree. This policy brief from Jobs for the Future offers policy lessons from past and current state experiences with performance-based funding.

Outcomes | Incentivizing student success

The recent recession is causing states to explore new ways to reform their financial aid policies and programs, says this policy brief from Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Massachusetts, for example, is designing a pilot program to test whether performance-based scholarships – in which grants are contingent upon the successful progress and completion of courses – have a positive effect on degree and persistence rates of low-income students.

Attainment | Removing degree-completion barriers

Small, inexpensive policy changes could go a long way in helping New Jersey raise its college-completion rates while simultaneously meeting workforce goals, says Close, But No Degree, from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University. The report calls for better integration of higher education opportunities into the state workforce development system, which it says could expand options for 18 percent of New Jersey workers with some college credits but no degree.

Insight | Rethinking higher-ed business models

Containing college costs while improving student outcomes is one of the key challenges facing higher education, and information technology business models have the potential to address this challenge, says this policy brief from the Center for American Progress.

Trends | Report analyzes state support for higher ed

As states spend less on public higher education, they need to refocus their investments on the goal of enrolling and graduating more students with a quality degree or credential, recommends a report titled The Great Cost Shift: How Higher Education Cuts Undermine the Future Middle Class, from the think-tank Demos.

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