Lumina Focus magazine: Working credentials

Associate degrees and high-quality certificates pay off for students and employers alike and, in many instances, serve as a steppingstone to higher-level postsecondary degrees. The latest issue of Lumina Focus magazine examines the benefits of sub-baccalaureate education through the eyes and stories of students from varied backgrounds and circumstances in Dayton, Ohio.  Also from Dayton, Learn to Earn Dayton aims to prepare students for high-skilled jobs by increasing the percentage of students with postsecondary degrees or certificates to 50 percent by 2025.  Read Lumina President Jamie Merisotis’ speech at the launch of Learn to Earn.

Memphis economy tied to Latino education success

Education success for Latino students is imperative to Memphis’ future, contend business and education leaders in Part III of this video on an effort to shrink the equity gap and increase access and higher education attainment for Latinos in Memphis. More »

See all 3 videos in this series »

Critical Outcome 1: Preparation

Readiness | A big reality gap

Ninety-three percent of middle school students say their goal is to attend college. However, only 44 percent enroll in college and 26 percent graduate with a college diploma within six years of enrolling. Read more college and career readiness statistics in this fact sheet from the National High School Center.

Equity | Helping disconnected youth reconnect

At a time when the labor market demands more educated workers, 5.8 million young people between the ages of 16 and 24 currently are neither working nor in school, says One in Seven, from Measure of America. The report calls for additional pathways to postsecondary certificates and associate degree programs for individuals who choose alternative routes to postsecondary training.

Insight | Information & college access

Do information campaigns on the value of postsecondary education really resonate with economically disadvantaged students? Yes, according to this working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study, conducted by two Canadian researchers, examines the relationship between information and college access.

Trends | More Americans earning bachelor’s degrees

A college degree pays off, and more young people are taking note. An analysis of Census data from the Pew Research Center shows a record number of young adults are completing high school, going to college and earning a degree. For the first time, one third of the nation’s 25- to 29-year-olds have earned at least a bachelor’s degree, the report says.

Information | Survey: College education valuable, but costly

A new national survey of Americans’ views regarding the value, benefits and obstacles associated of higher education says most people believe college is necessary for success in life, but that costs make it harder to attain a college degree today.

Critical Outcome 2: Success

Equity | Improving student success for Black males

Participation from a wide variety of stakeholders, including colleges and universities, community-based organizations, and foundations, is key to improving college readiness, postsecondary educational outcomes, and degree-attainment rates for Black men, says this report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Read A Role for Policymakers in Improving the Status of Black Male Students in U.S. Higher Education.

Persistence | Cornerstones of completion

A new policy brief from Jobs for the Future offers 10 state policy recommendations designed to help colleges support accelerated, structured pathways to college credentials and transfer. Among the recommendations: Leverage technology to support individualized student planning, tracking, degree audits and early warning systems and design financial aid to encourage and reward student progress.

Degree attainment | Report: Solid grad rates for CC transfers

Sixty percent of community college students who transfer to a four-year institution earn a bachelor’s degree within four years, says a report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The report notes that graduation rates are highest among students who transfer after receiving their associate’s degree.

Community colleges | Report: Engagement matters

Community colleges have long been at the forefront in promoting increased educational access and attainment for undocumented students, says Dreaming Big, from the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education. The report examines exemplary practices of community colleges that are improving educational prospects of undocumented students.

Policy | Study calls for more state dollars in student supports

A report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy calls for additional state investments in student support strategies and developmental education to help disadvantaged adults and others obtain the degrees and credentials that Kentucky needs for its future economic success. The report, Crossing the Finish Line, highlights community colleges and their role in Kentucky’s degree-attainment goals.

Developmental ed | A comprehensive approach to assessment, placement

Community colleges need a more comprehensive approach to effectively evaluate and place new students in developmental or college-level courses, says Improving Developmental Education Assessment and Placement, from the Community College Research Center. The study examines assessment and placement practices at community colleges in Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Critical Outcome 3: Productivity

Workforce | From education to employment

Too many young people are getting lost along the way from education to employment, says a new report from McKinsey & Company. Based on surveys with 8,000 young adults, employers, and education providers in nine countries, Education to Employment examines the components, interventions and programs behind successful education-to-employment systems and what can be done to bring these efforts to scale.

Policy | Key elements of outcomes-based funding policies

Outcomes-based funding, which awards state dollars to public colleges based in part on student completion rather than enrollment only, is a growing strategy among states to increase college-attainment rates. Essential Elements of State Policy for College Completion: Outcomes-Based Funding, from the Southern Regional Education Board, examines various state outcome-based efforts and offers essential elements it says are necessary for effective statewide outcomes-based funding policies.

Trends | The college degree pathway

More students follow diverse pathways to obtain their college degree, with many transferring to several schools before they graduate, enrolling part time or switching between part-time and full-time status. These realities call for changes in the way attainment rates are currently calculated, says Completing College, from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Equity | Economic benefits of education attainment

As U.S. policymakers search for answers to rebuild the economy, one priority strategy must be a plan to eliminate gaps in education attainment so that the fastest-growing populations – students of color and diverse ethnicities – can reach their full potential, concludes a report from Alliance for Excellent Education. Read Inseparable Imperatives: Equity in Education and the Future of the American Economy.

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