Improving College Readiness: Perspectives for Research, Policy, and Practice

Since 2005, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) has held an annual policy summit exploring a timely issue or challenge with implications for higher education research, policy, and practice. The summit brings together a diverse range of stakeholders to engage in cross-sector dialogue and collaboration related to the given theme. Past summits have addressed topics including the education to workforce connection, the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education, the “Difficult Dialogues” needed to achieve college attainment goals while containing costs, and the contribution of higher education to economic development and community revitalization. The 7th annual MHEC policy summit, Ready or Not Here They Come: Ensuring the College Success of All Students, held November 14-15, 2011, brought over 200 participants from the K-12, higher education, government, business, and non-profi t sectors to Iowa City, Iowa to discuss issues surrounding college readiness and success. More »


Aid and Innovation

Financial aid is an effective and necessary policy lever to promote college-completion pathways, says this report from Jobs for the Future. The report examines how state policy leaders and financial aid experts are overcoming financial aid rules and regulations with innovative solutions that help more students, especially low-income student, progress toward a postsecondary credential. More »


Left Out. Forgotten? Recent High School Graduates and the Great Recession

The cost of a higher education remains an obstacle for many young high school graduates. Despite a widespread recognition that they will need further education, only 38 percent say they definitely plan to attend college in the next few years, according to this report by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. More »


The Economic Case for Higher Education

Higher education is both a pathway to individual economic advancement and a key factor for improving intergenerational mobility, according to this report from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education. The report shows that without a degree, children born to parents in the lowest income bracket have a 45-percent chance of staying there as adults. With a degree, they have less than a 20-percent chance of remaining there. More »

Community colleges

Closing the Door, Increasing the Gap

The “open-door” policy of community colleges has become closed to more of the nation’s neediest students due to insufficient funding, says this report, from the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education. The report notes that more community colleges are “rebooting” their curriculums, putting emphasis on narrow job training and less on the education necessary to achieve a bachelor’s degree. More »

video | affordability

College Institutions & Restructuring

Lumina President Jamie Merisotis discusses how a redesign of higher education is necessary in order to make it more affordable and accessible in this video from Nightly Business Report.  

Degree completion

Employer Views on the Value of PLA

The idea that college-level skills and knowledge can be acquired on the job or through life experience is resonating with more employers, according to this research brief from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. Study findings highlight conversations with 19 U.S. employers on prior learning assessments and how incorporating PLA into employer tuition-assistance programs may save time and money for workers who pursue additional education, training, and credentials. More »

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