Providing schools and students with the research-based support they need on the path to college and career readiness, by identifying successful practices to increase educational access and better preparation for postsecondary needs.
Educators, parents, and communities want their schools to be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime and violence. Explore these selected reports, tools and informational graphics to learn more about crime and safety incidents in schools, how they are handled, and what approaches may be having a positive effect.
The growth of the postsecondary competency-based education (CBE) ecosystem is contingent on CBE programs demonstrating that they fulfill core value propositions for students, including improving access, success, quality, and affordability. To support program leaders and researchers in building evidence about student outcomes in CBE programs, AIR and the Institute for Competency-Based Education at Texas A&M University-Commerce developed this brief, which proposes a CBE Student Outcomes Metrics Framework for descriptive and evaluative research.
The Southeast Comprehensive Center publishes this biannual list of resources that focus on college- and career-readiness standards and assessment. It includes materials from the federal content centers, comprehensive centers, and regional educational laboratories, as well as other organizations with expertise in education policy, research, and technical assistance.
Many students rely on student loans as a way of covering college expenses and for many, loan repayments exceed their ability to repay, leading to financial distress or default. Income share agreements are an income-driven college financing option in which an investor provides a student with the funds required to pay for college and, in return, the student promises to pay a percentage of their income for a number of years after leaving school. These resources offer a better understanding of how, and for whom, income share agreements may work.
Aligning for Learning: Evaluating Connections is the third presentation/video in a four-part series designed to help institutions use data to demonstrate the value of competency-based education (CBE) programs for their students and continuously improve program quality. This webinar presents the importance of alignment in relation to validity of learning and evaluation of program effectiveness, and explores implications for ways to address misunderstandings in the larger field of higher education around high quality CBE programs through communication of internal alignment.
The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) reports that 94 percent of prisoners have at most a high school education—and 30 percent of those who previously attended high school did not earn a diploma. Yet, access to in-prison education and work experience are associated with a reduction in the likelihood of recidivism and provide inmates with a critical element on the path to reshape their personal identities. Could offering prisoners more education and work experience inside prison be a key solution to mass incarceration in the U.S.?
Prior research shows that rural students’ education expectations and aspirations, as well as their postsecondary enrollment and persistence rates, tend to be lower than those of nonrural students. This study aims to support policymakers and other stakeholders in the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest states by informing policy recommendations for improving postsecondary attainment among rural students in the region.
College education is fundamental to students’ upward mobility, states’ economic growth, and the country’s economic competitiveness. To better enable middle and high schools to increase college participation and success rates among their students, the University of Minnesota developed Ramp-Up to Readiness™, a schoolwide advisory program to increase students’ likelihood of college enrollment and completion. This report describes a study of the impacts of the program after one year of implementation and provides information on how it differs from college-related supports in other schools.
Contingent—also known as adjunct or clinical—faculty are college instructors who are not in a tenure-track position or are at an institution without a tenure system. According to a recent study by AIR’s Delta Cost Project for the TIAA Institute, contingent instructors made up at least half of instructional faculty in 2013 among different types of institutions. Find out more in this infographic.
U.S. colleges and universities are increasingly hiring contingent faculty, or full- and part-time faculty who work on contract. While institutions say doing so saves money, two studies by the Delta Cost Project at AIR find the strategy has not translated into a large overall savings. In this blog post, Deanna Hill and Steve Hurlburt share these results and consider whether long-term unintended consequences may off-set short-term cost savings.
Previous research has demonstrated that some form of education or training after high school is critical to both the upward mobility of individuals and the economic competitiveness of the country. Recent federal policy has recognized the need to address the postsecondary opportunities of nontraditional students and adult learners. The findings of this research were compared with existing research on strategies to address adult basic education transition to postsecondary education and training opportunities.
The path to college and career readiness is complex. Providing schools and students with the research-based support they need at every critical stage can make all the difference for success, and ESSA provides an opportunity for states and districts to develop a more coherent and coordinated approach to ensuring all students are college and career ready. AIR works with leaders at the state, district and school levels to consider strategies that fit the local context and are supported by evidence.
Evaluation for Improvement is the second in a four-part series designed to help institutions use data to demonstrate the value of competency-based education (CBE) programs for their students and continuously improve program quality. In this webinar, participants learned the fundamentals of two continuous quality improvement models—Root Cause Analysis and the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle—and how they applied to improvement within the context of CBE program.
Colleges and universities are relying heavily on contingent faculty to increase flexibility and reduce costs, yet little is known about whether such savings actually result in lower overall costs or if the money saved on instruction is being spent in other areas. This brief documents the financial trade-offs being made by institutions as they hire more part-time contingent faculty.
Contingent faculty—that is, full- and part-time instructors not on the tenure track—now comprise the majority of all faculty at U.S. colleges and universities. The first of a two-part series, the goal of this brief is to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the landscape surrounding changes to the academic workforce, and to identify whether contingent faculty are more likely to be employed in certain types of institutions.
Getting Started with Evaluation is the first in a four-part series designed to help institutions use data to demonstrate the value of competency-based education (CBE) programs for their students and continuously improve program quality.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) develops people’s ability to make successful life choices, to achieve academically, and to be college and career ready. In this video, Nick Yoder explains how SEL can help students and what research says about its effectiveness.
Better evidence about student outcomes in competency-based education (CBE) and how they compare with outcomes in traditional programs is important as institutions and policymakers consider investing in them. This brief presents evidence that CBE programs are on the path to success in fulfilling their value propositions of broadening access, offering paths to credentials, and improving cost and quality.
Postsecondary competency-based education (CBE) is receiving considerable attention from advocates, colleges, and policymakers as a way to help more students complete high-quality postsecondary credentials in less time and at a lower cost—but we're just beginning to build rigorous evidence to understand whether CBE programs are fulfilling those value propositions.
Students invest their time and money in postsecondary education for many reasons, but one of the most important is the belief that a college degree will lead to a good job and a higher salary. This report centers on several important findings related to wage outcomes of
postsecondary graduates in Minnesota.
As student debt piles up and college costs escalate, concern about the value of a college degree has grown. While a college education is an investment in human capital that leads, on average, to significantly higher earnings over the course of a person’s work life, the data in this report show wide variation in the payoff of a college education across different fields of study and among students completing different postsecondary credentials.
This brief, the fourth in a series about ISAs, addresses evidence that suggests loan aversion may be especially prevalent among underserved and underrepresented students. The brief concludes that ISAs could provide an alternative to student loans—in particular, for loan-averse individuals whose views of student debt are determined primarily by negative experiences with debt among family and friends, thereby removing one key barrier to college-going for this population.
A strong science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education is becoming increasingly recognized as a key driver of opportunity. In a series of discussion-based workshops, 30 experts and thought leaders were invited to exchange ideas and develop recommendations for the future of STEM education.
This rubric, drawn from the expertise of leaders within the postsecondary Competency-based education (CBE) field, is designed to help CBE program leaders, their campus colleagues, and researchers describe key features of their CBE program.
School teachers have been taking attendance since there were school teachers. It turns out that the simple act of noting who is missing—and then doing something about it in a systematic way—may be a key element in student success. In this blog post, David Blumenthal shares the latest research and tools for early warning systems that help schools and districts better serve at-risk students.
What is the value of community college and does it help students succeed? With “America’s College Promise” proposed by President Obama, the first two years of community college would be free. If implemented, it could affect over 9 million students. Research provides some surprising answers.
The wages of graduates from public colleges and universities in Texas vary radically across majors. As students think about their options—and as they think about how much college will cost and how much they might need to borrow to pay for their postsecondary education—the kinds of data highlighted in this report should help them make better decisions.
In our May 2016 blog, Have You Met Carl Perkins, Chaney Mosley offered five changes to the Perkins Act that Congress might consider, in light of his years of CTE teaching and administration. In this blog post, Mosley addresses those changes based on the new bill and raises a few flags about how the proposal might fall short.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) advocates are still eagerly awaiting reauthorization of the Perkins Act. While we wait, two important events could change the face of CTE across the country: 1) the passage of ESSA and 2) a new vision for CTE released by Advance CTE. In this blog post, Chaney Mosely explores whether ESSA will support states in carrying out the new vision proposed by Advance CTE.
Do median wages paid to bachelor’s graduates demonstrate gender differences after “controlling” for choice across high and low paying programs of study? Data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board that merges student level data with Unemployment Insurance wage data can provide an initial answer to this question. In this blog post, Mark Schneider (AIR) and Jorge Klor de Alva (Nexus Research and Policy Center) share differences in median wages by gender in ten large college majors
Career and technical education provides students with the employability and technical skills they need to enter the workforce. In this video interview, Chaney Mosley talks about what elements such educational programs need to successfully prepare students and who benefits the most.
The old either/or model of college-prep or vocational education is out of sync with the needs of 21st-century America. Career pathways offer a way out of this bind. They help high school students gain secondary and postsecondary education, training, and support services while they acquire marketable skills, industry-recognized credentials, and eventually good jobs aligned with labor market needs. In this blog post, Jessica Giffin highlights how career pathway systems combine rigorous academics with workplace experience using the latest technologies.
Federal financial aid is critical to millions of college students’ success each year. Making it possible for policy researchers to leverage the data resources of the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office holds the potential to find ways to help even more students succeed. This report outlines six recommendations that the Department of Education might consider in building secure, accessible, and efficient routes to data-driven policy-making.
As higher education policymakers and advocates consider new federal measures of student persistence and completion, how do these measures “stack up” when data from actual institutions—particularly those that serve “post-traditional” students—are used to calculate them? This technical report uses data from 11 institutions to demonstrate the importance of including all students and all outcomes in measures of institutional performance.
As competency-based education (CBE) grows in prominence in higher education, leaders of CBE programs will be asked to demonstrate how students in those programs “stack up” against students in traditional non-CBE programs across an array of outcomes, from learning to time-to-degree and affordability. This brief outlines seven considerations for CBE program leaders who want to begin gathering and using rigorous evidence as they build a case for CBE for internal and external audiences.
The bachelor’s degree is America’s most commonly granted postsecondary degree—and most people equate it with a college education. Yet the associate’s degree is often a far more efficient route into good jobs than the longer, more expensive bachelor’s degree path. In this blog post, Mark Schneider shares recent data that suggests many associate’s degrees put graduates firmly in the middle class.
America’s universities rank high on almost any list of the world’s best universities, but this high esteem rests on a highly unequal distribution of wealth. With less than 4% of the 1,600 or so not-for-profit private universities reporting endowments of more than $1 billion each, why are they tax-exempt? As Mark Schneider argues in this blog post, better tax policies would make sure that this vast accumulation of wealth can be put to better use serving the public welfare.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education John King called for the reauthorization of The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act so that “every student, in every community, has access to rigorous, relevant, and results-driven CTE programs.” In this blog post, Chaney Mosley suggests five changes Congress should consider.
In his final State of the Union address, President Obama said, “We live in a time of extraordinary change… and whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate.” In this blog post, AIR’s Peter Cookson says the key to dealing with this change is education and offers six policy recommendations to improve education in the face of these dramatic changes.
The 2008-09 recession struck hard at college and university finances. In this blog post, AIR's Steven Hurlburt explains that, while colleges and universities continue to show signs of fiscal recovery in 2013, some worrying shifts remain, particularly for public higher education.
Financial and performance trends suggest that, five years after the onset of the recession, higher education finally began to show signs of a fiscal recovery. But are students still picking up some of the slack?
In this commentary originally published in The Tennesseean, AIR's Mark Schneider explains that data show many less-selective “regional” campuses—often little known outside their home state—are putting their students on a path to wages equal to those earned by graduates of state flagship universities.
Most students make the investment in higher education because they want a better chance to land a good career and higher earnings. But as they enter the labor market, some graduates earn far more than others. This report sheds light on the postsecondary earnings of recent graduates and completers from Florida’s public postsecondary educational institutions.
As Purdue University and other schools prepare to offer income share agreements (ISAs) to students, these new programs could put students in a sticky situation. AIR researcher Audrey Peek explains that if they don’t understand the tradeoffs of loans versus ISAs, students could end up replacing their federal loans with much more expensive ISAs.
The second in a series about income share agreements, this brief addresses the likely impact of ISAs on how campus financial aid offices will award student aid and the implications of ISAs for campus reporting on student aid, drawing on expertise from financial aid officers and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
If you want to know which school is the right choice for launching your future, college rankings lists aren’t much help. In USA Today, AIR’s Mark Schneider advises students and families looking for a good return to ignore these myths about choosing a college.
Practitioners and researchers agree that social and emotional learning (SEL) is essential to academic achievement and well-being in school, as well as success in college and career. Above and beyond the free supports that AIR’s federal technical assistance centers provide, SEL Solutions at AIR offers an approach to keep social and emotional learning at the center of students’ educational experiences.
Recent data shows that while students from low-income families began 9th grade with high aspirations of going to college, by junior year their expectations decline considerably. In this blog post, Sakiko Ikoma and Markus Broer argue that closing the enrollment gap between low-income students and their more affluent counterparts means education leaders and policymakers should not only continue to expand access to these leg-up courses, but also consider a range of additional supports for low-income students.
Roughly one in five women nationally is sexually assaulted while in college. This diverse collection of tools uses trauma-informed care as a foundation for helping university health centers deal with this crisis.
For the last several years, the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics have been exploring how the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Nation’s Report Card, can be used to assess the college and career readiness of America’s high school students. Researchers at AIR used existing administrative records from Virginia to examine the relationship between NAEP scores and a set of concrete measures of student success in college and in the labor market.
Headlines and political speeches about the student debt crisis are everywhere. In this blog post, Mark Schneider discusses a recent Brookings report in which, he argues, the most important finding relates to who enrolled in colleges after the 2007 recession. Prospective students, he says, need to know their chances of success before they enroll—and before they borrow.
In this blog post, AIR scholar Audrey Peek explores income-share agreements (ISAs), a private form of financial aid that offers cash for college now in return for a percentage of students’ future earnings over a set time. Peek contends ISAs are an innovative way to pay for college that might benefit some students, but which aren’t likely to reach their full potential without fundamentally rethinking who they could serve and how funders are repaid.
This first brief in a series about income share agreements looks at the potential of ISAs to serve low-income undergraduate students by examining the underwriting criteria used to select ISA recipients, estimating the size of the ISA market given its current structure and funding providers, and estimating the number of students who might plausibly be offered an ISA in an expanded market.
Policymakers, students, parents, and the media are taking a hard look at the value of higher education. Which college to choose? Associate's or Bachelor's degree? What major? The research featured here offers insight on how those choices affect students' success and future earnings.
The bachelor's degree has been seen as the doorway to the middle class for most Americans, but the recent rise of sub-baccalaureate credentials has been transforming higher education. In this video series, "Breakthroughs in Education and Social Mobility," expert Mark Schneider examines the value of such credentials.
Effective preparation of Career and Technical Education (CTE) educators has a direct relationship to improved CTE student outcomes. This brief shares findings from a national survey and outlines the most-identified priority training topics overall for CTE educators and by categories of administrators and teachers.
With careers for millennials stalling on the launch pad, does the push for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) really make sense? In this blog post, AIR Institute Fellow Mark Schneider explains that new data suggest that the nation may not need more bachelor’s graduates in the most popular science fields.
While a bachelor’s degree remains a good investment for most students, not all have the time, money, or inclination to complete the degree. Depending on subject studied and location, those with associate’s degrees or certificates often out-earn those holding a bachelor’s. Here are the fast facts.
The annual Indicators of School Crime and Safety report, co-produced by AIR, presents the most current data on crime and safety at schools and on college campuses from the perspectives of students, teachers, principals and postsecondary institutions. The 2015 report includes a new section on college hate crimes, many of them involving race or sexual orientation; this infographic breaks down those crimes by categories of bias.
Students, their families, and taxpayers invest in higher education for a variety of reasons. One of the most-cited by students is that postsecondary education is an investment that leads to better jobs and higher wages. In this article from Issues in Science and Technology, AIR Vice President and Institute Fellow Mark Schneider asks two critical questions: Do bachelor’s graduates earn enough to justify the time and money spent getting the degree? Are there more efficient ways to earn a postsecondary credential associated with middle-class earnings?
Attaining some kind of college degree is the surest way to improve one’s earnings in the United States. But many college students earn credentials with little labor market value or don’t attain any credential at all. Many—especially in our community colleges—could get into better colleges than they end up attending. In this commentary, AIR Institute Fellow Harry Holzer offers suggestions for a widening the range of pathways into the labor market and boosting performance and completion rates for students.
On the traditional school path, Step 1 is graduating from high school, Step 2 is going to college, and Step 3 is earning a credential or degree; but overall, only about 59 percent of high school graduates who make it to Step 2 finish Step 3, earning a degree or credential within six years. In this blog post, AIR senior researcher Clarisse Haxton describes the Early College model, which allows students to combine Steps 1 and 2 and enroll in college courses and earn college credits while still in high school.
Competency-based programs could reduce the barriers many face to getting a college degree, whether adult learners who struggle to balance an academic calendar with work and family, or workers who want to get the credentials verifying skills they’ve acquired on the job. AIR hosted a briefing on competency-based education, a flexible model of instruction that focuses on what students know and can do—rather than how much time they spend in the classroom.
College completion rates vary by a number of factors. This infographic demonstrates the difference in completion rates between students, in Florida, from poor families, and those from non-poor families.
Research has shown a gap in college enrollment and degree attainment between students in rural and nonrural high schools. In Indiana, where 31 percent of high school students attend rural schools, increasing postsecondary educational attainment requires under standing and addressing the needs and challenges of rural students. This descriptive study supports the state’s efforts to improve college readiness by offering a better understanding of the processes that advance the educational success of rural students and by providing a foundation for future research on these processes and potential interventions.
Many young Americans enroll in college - but completion rates are not high. In this AIR Index, Harry J. Holzer examines the research to highlight completion rates by race, gender, quartile and income for students enrolling in 2- and 4-year programs.
A 2015 report showed that in Colorado, higher education pays off for those who earn postsecondary credentials. Graduates with postsecondary degrees working in Colorado after graduation can average as much as $20,000 more than high school graduates. However, ten years out, the pay gap between those with different types of postsecondary degrees narrows considerably, as these two infographics show.
Postsecondary education delivers many benefits to students who attend America’s colleges and universities and to society in general. But students should explore all of their options, including shorter and less expensive pathways (e.g., subbaccalaureate credentials) to good jobs. Among other findings, this report reveals that many subbaccalaureate credentials can lead to middle-class earnings—sometimes exceeding the earnings of graduates with bachelor’s degrees.
In this blog post, Zeyu Xu discusses findings from his study in Kentucky, the first state to implement the Common Core State Standards, from the encouraging findings about student achievement during the transition from the old standards to caveats about whether the achievement gains were caused by the new ones.
As of October 2014, 43 states have adopted the new Common Core State Standards, which grew out of concerns that existing state standards are not adequately preparing students with the knowledge and skills needed to compete globally, necessitating a clearer set of learning expectations that are consistent from state to state. This study provides a first look at how student college- and career-readiness have progressed in the early years of Common Core implementation.
On January 8, 2015, President Obama initiated a nationwide conversation about community colleges and the education of the “middle class” by proposing a tuition-free community college plan. Although it has received far less attention, the President’s plan also called for effective support services that can help students stay in college long enough to advance their career goals by completing degrees or certificates and/or transferring to four-year institutions. Rather than free tuition, which already exists for most students who need it, this study maintains instead that proven student support services are what need to be funded.
College success and career readiness have become major goals of education reform. Toward this end, Indiana policymakers have undertaken multiple efforts to prepare students for college. This study supports those efforts by describing the early college success of Indiana students, identifying measures in the state longitudinal data system that predict early college success, and examining the usefulness of those predictors.
In this blog post, Matthew Soldner argues that, as Congress works on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the need for far better research and access to federal student aid data should be high on its agenda.
Where can a math or English or history teacher go to discover ways to integrate and assess college and career readiness standards and skills in their classes? In this blog post, AIR's Catherine Jacques suggests working with career and technical education teachers, who have used this kind of instruction for decades to bring real-world learning into their classrooms.
How did higher education get so expensive? Who should be counseling prospective college students? Do bachelor's degree holders have relevant job skills? AIR Vice President and Institute Fellow Mark Schneider recently answered these and other questions during an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit.
Governors are called upon to lead and improve their states' education systems, addressing a number of diverse and changing issues. In this open letter, AIR's Angela Minnici, director of the Education Policy Center and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, sets out seven action steps for 2015 to help governors address the needs of students from early childhood through workforce.
The Obama administration took a step toward the President’s planned college ratings system on December 19, releasing a 24-page “Framework” for college ratings. In this blog post, Tom Weko asks, "Are the Department of Education's college ratings likely to become an enduring feature of the nation’s higher education landscape?"
Getting a job is about more than academic performance. In this blog post, Kimberly Kendziora discusses the growing body of research on the importance of social and emotional skills, such as self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills.
Career and technical education (CTE) is a critical strategy for preparing youth and adults for careers and addressing the skills gap – a disparity between the skills job-seekers offer and the skills that employers need.
According to new AIR analysis of an international survey, a surprisingly large number of adults in the United States cannot apply reading or math skills to solve simple real life problems. In this blog post, Dan Sherman discusses the PIACC results he says educators, researchers, and policymakers need to explore to help improve adults' chances in a demanding job market.
Algebra I is a critical gateway course for high school graduation and enrollment in college. These briefs summarize research on five strategies being implemented by U.S. Department of Education’s High School Graduation Initiative grantees to help struggling students succeed in Algebra I.
Of all the talks that parents should have with their children, a frank conversation about college costs and debt should be the least uncomfortable. In this blog post, Donna Desrochers discusses the importance of talking with teenagers about real college costs and the real life consequences of one of the biggest decisions of their lives.
Parents, teachers, schools, districts, states, and especially students all want schools that prepare graduates to thrive in the 21st century. In this blog post, Anne Mishkind asks what it means to be "college and career ready."
How much graduates earn when they enter the labor market has become a hot-button issue as student debt mounts and fewer new graduates get jobs with the wages needed to pay off their loans. As this status report and these independent research findings show, the need now is for more long-term earnings data; fuller disclosure; and simpler, more accessible data presentation, so students and parents can make better decisions.
Some colleges are trying to walk the walk of an economically diverse student body, but some are not. In this blog post, Peter Cookson argues that colleges and universities require leadership that keeps its eye on the prize, investing in human capital with “no distinction save industry, good conduct and intellect.”
Many students who don’t have the money, time or inclination to pursue a bachelor’s degree are looking at the associate’s degree as a way into the labor market. And, according to Mark Schneider in this blog post, if they make good choices about where to go and what to study, their decision may prove wise.
The extreme levels of debt accrued by students pursuing postsecondary degrees has been identified as one of the nation’s most worrisome educational issues. About 90 percent of STEM Ph.D. recipients funded their graduate education through primarily institutional sources. In contrast, 65 percent of those with a doctorate in the social, behavioral and economic sciences did.
The participation of diverse groups of individuals in STEM academic and workforce communities is severely lacking, particularly in the context of the nation’s shifting demographic landscape. This brief examines black STEM Ph.D. recipients’ institutional pathways to the doctorate and provides insight into who among black students are earning STEM doctoral degrees, whether black students are earning these degrees at historically black colleges and universities or other types of institutions, and the extent to which they being supported financially in their degree pursuits.
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten is on record saying that teaching is “harder now than ever before, with less and less respect.” The view that teaching’s curb appeal isn’t what it used to be is widely shared, but is it right?
Given persistent failure rates and mounting student debt, how prepared students are to enter and succeed in college is suddenly everyone’s business. According to Mark Schneider, in this blog post, ACT data shows many students ready to leave for college are not ready academically in at least one area.
The Program for International Student Assessment, an international assessment of math, recently began assessing financial literacy. Having experience helps, according to this blog post by Teresa Kroeger and Lydia Malley: Among U.S. 15-year-olds, regardless of socioeconomic status, teenagers who had a bank account and a pre-paid debit card had higher financial literacy scores than those who had neither.
The Program for International Student Assessment, an international assessment of math, is now including a financial literacy component. As Mark Schneider explains in this blog post, the first series of results are not good: In the United States, 18 percent of 15-year-old students scored below the baseline of proficiency.
As the academic year begins, students, parents, instructors, and administrators face difficult choices with long-term consequences. What should I study to make the most of my investment? How will I pay for it? For colleges, how can we manage growing costs and shifting attitudes? Recent work sheds light on some of these questions.
As prospective college students and their parents pore over the Department of Education’s College Navigator and College Scorecard, Andrew Gillen suggests in this blog that they pay close attention to the financial implications of their choice. Ensuring that college is affordable should be high on the list of policy priorities, particularly in states that have high net prices and low median incomes.
College students now expect tuition bills 4 to 6 percent higher than they paid the year before. That often means students in four-year public universities pay several hundred dollars more annually while students at private universities shell out upwards of a thousand dollars more each year. What is all this extra money buying?
This Trends in College Spending update presents national-level estimates for the Delta Cost Project data metrics during the period 2001–11. The updated analysis finds that subsidies for public higher education institutions have hit a 10-year low, while students for the first time pay on average half or more of their education’s cost. Additionally, community colleges are posting the lowest level of spending per student in a decade.
Young adults in the United States today face the challenges of achieving financial and social independence—while forming their own households—at a time of economic uncertainty. The Special Issue on America's Young Adults offers policymakers and the public a better understanding of these young adults in order to support them more effectively.
The Department of Education’s latest Condition of Education report adds to the growing evidence that there is an earnings premium associated with higher levels of education. As expected, Jijun Zhang points out in this blog post that the data show an earnings premium associated with completing a bachelor’s degree.
One in six who earns a Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) pursues a career outside the field, with women and blacks most likely to do so. As these infographics demonstrate, men are more likely than women across all racial/ethnic groups to report research and development as a primary work activity.
STEM degree production in the U.S. is not keeping pace with the demand for STEM talent. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities are underrepresented in the STEM disciplines—the largest untapped STEM talent pools in the United States.
STEM degree production in the U.S. is not keeping pace with the demand for STEM talent. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities are underrepresented in the STEM disciplines—the largest untapped STEM talent pools in the United States.
Calculating how much recent graduates earn after completing their degree is one way for policymakers to assess the return on state and federal investments in higher education. It’s also an important consideration for students and families, who want assurance that the burden of student loan debt will be offset by higher earnings. This report uses data from seven states to describe lessons about the labor market success of their graduates.
Adults with “some college, no degree” may be more educated than that designation implies. In this blog post, Matthew Soldner explains that many who place themselves in that category actually have a certification or certificate that increases their earnings.
In this blog post, Mark Schneider addresses the dilemma prospective college students face when the school of their choice does not offer a tuition guarantee, and gives advice about where to find the necessary data.
We have no common metric to compare the learning outcomes of colleges and universities and no data to show if students graduating from college can read better than when they finished high school. We also have no data on whether going to an Ivy League school results in higher levels of learning than going to a state-supported school.
In this blog post, Mark Schneider uses data to show that despite the recent push for expanded opportunities for apprenticeships, we need to remember that not all apprenticeships lead to equal outcomes.
Last week, the Investing in Student Success Act was introduced to encourage the development of Income Share Agreements (ISAs). In this blog post, Tom Weko lists four ways ISAs could benefit the nation's college students.
One size does not fit all when it comes to Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher evaluation. In this blog post, Jane Coggshall discusses the difficulty of evaluating CTE teachers based on student progress, the subject of recent research at AIR.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers are uniquely positioned to improve college and career readiness for all students, and yet major federal and state education reforms, such as the Common Core State Standards, teacher evaluation and ESEA flexibility have paid insufficient attention to d
More than 7 million high school and middle school students in Career and Technical Education programs—and their 140,000 teachers—are celebrating Career Technology Education Month in February. In this blog, Catherine Jacques describes the importance of these teachers, based on her recent research.
The Department of Education held a technical symposium last week to discuss what kind of data and analysis the federal government should use for President Obama’s accessibility, affordability, and outcomes rating for U.S. colleges. In this blog post, Andrew Gillen discusses the takeaways.
President Obama announced in August that the Department of Education would be creating the Postsecondary Institution Rating System (PIRS), a new rating system for colleges. The Department of Education issued a request for ideas on how to design and implement the PIRS. This series of blogs posts is adapted from the comment we plan to submit. Last week, we presented our recommendations for the new federal college rating system; this post details how we constructed our system.
Parents and students want to know: Who or what is to blame for the skyrocketing (up 50 percent in 10 years) cost of a college education? In this blog post, Donna Desrochers delves into a new analysis from AIR’s Delta Cost Project that breaks down staffing and compensation changes in higher education and sheds new light on the role of administrative bloat.
Skyrocketing college tuitions and trillion-dollar student loan debt have put college and university spending in the spotlight. "Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive? Changing Staffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education," a report by the Delta Cost Project at AIR, finds that colleges and universities increasingly rely on part-time faculty to meet instructional demands and rein in costs, but rising benefit costs and increased hiring for other types of positions have undercut those savings.
Since 2008, AIR has been a pro bono investment partner with Say Yes to Education, a national nonprofit organization committed to dramatically increasing high school and college graduation rates for our nation’s inner-city youth. AIR has produced three papers that look at districtwide education reform in Syracuse.
Throughout the State of the Union address last night, there was a renewed emphasis on the link between career success and education—from Pre-K through college. This blog post highlights AIR's work in many of the areas highlighted by the President.
Over 40% of full time four-year college students fail to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years, and many never complete their education. Among other findings, this CALDER Center paper asserts that starting at a community college before transferring to a four-year institution could increase the probability of students completing their bachelor’s degrees.
The findings in this report, which extend the Early College, Early Success study’s original results by including an additional year of data, affirm the core findings: Early College students had a greater opportunity than their peers to enroll in and graduate from college.
A decade ago, the U.S. Department of Education began reporting “Student Right To Know” graduation rates for America’s colleges and universities. While this federally mandated measure is flawed, it still captures the completion statistics of one of the nation’s largest groups of students. As this blog post shows, the news isn’t good; since accreditation is one of American higher education’s key gate-keeping mechanisms, maybe we should be more concerned about whether students graduate and rethink accrediting these failure factories.
A major theme addressed by President Obama is improving low-income students’ access to the nation’s most prestigious campuses. This goal is wrapped in “undermatching”—the idea that low-income students are not applying to the more selective colleges they could attend. But, as this blog post explains, perhaps the more important goal is improving the success of graduates from broad-access institutions.
Although a wealth of research has shown that financial aid reduces hurdles to college enrollment, relatively little is known about how aid affects students after they are enrolled, much less how they react to the common occurrence of losing aid midway through their college careers. A CALDER working paper co-authored by AIR finds that losing financial aid weakens students’ engagement with college.
The Pathways to College Online Library is an online database of studies, articles, tools and other resources where researchers, practitioners and policymakers can access resources on preparing students for success in college and beyond. The Library contains more than 3,500 entries from a variety of sources, including peer-reviewed journals, professional associations, research centers, policy organizations, universities, the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies, state and local agencies, and others.
Given the high cost of earning a degree—and, frequently, the debt burden that goes with it—students, parents, policymakers, and the media are questioning higher education's value. Holders of associate's degrees earn more income and are less likely to be unemployed than high school students, making it a sound investment for many people.
Prospective college students need sound information about where their educational choices are likely to lead. This report indicates that some graduates with associate's degrees outearn those with bachelor's degrees in their first year, and finds what a person studies can produce higher earnings than where he or she studies.
Making college more affordable for students has become a top priority in the United States. But students typically pay far less than what it costs colleges and universities to educate students. These four briefs delve into the costs for higher education institutions and the financial costs for students in obtaining science degrees.
Early College programs provide underserved students with exposure to, and support in, college while they are in high school. This study finds that Early College students were significantly more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in—and graduate from—college than their peers who did not take part in the program.
The earnings of recent bachelor's and master's recipients in Texas vary not only by degree but by specific program and institution, according to a recent study prepared by College Measures, a joint venture of AIR and the Matrix Knowledge Group.
AIR offers a complete set of services including the design of Early Warning Systems to help states and districts identify students more at risk for dropping out of high school and create conditions for students to succeed. Free resources and tools are available for download.
If educators and policymakers are to make good on the national commitment to graduate more students from high school prepared to face postsecondary challenges, schools must continue to improve career technical education (CTE), ensuring that students have access to high-quality pathways to success. This brief provides an overview of the evolution of CTE in the U.S., reviews what it looks like in practice, and highlights issues CTE faces in the field.
This report show that in Colorado, higher education pays off for those who earn postsecondary credentials. Graduates with postsecondary degrees working in Colorado after graduation can average as much as $20,000 more than high school graduates.
Case studies of work in Massachusetts and the U.S. Virgin Islands show how AIR provides educators with the research to understand how data can be used appropriately to predict student failure and success.
AIR led a strategic planning process that engaged more than 100 community members in St. Louis to create actionable steps to build a college-going culture in all of the region’s high schools, to expand and coordinate the delivery of services, and to improve college persistence.
AIR has developed Promoting College and Career Readiness: A Pocket Guide for State and District Leaders, aresearch-based reference tool that identifies strategies to ensure that all students, regardless of special needs or language fluency, are prepared for postsecondary education and careers.
A new brief, First-Year Undergraduate Remedial Coursetaking: 1999–2000, 2003–04, and 2007–08, adds to the evidence on remediation, uses data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study to measure changes in the frequency of remedial coursetaking in U.S. postsecondary institutions.
This brief highlights recent trends in athletic and academic spending at public Division I colleges and universities, which show that athletic departments spend far more per athlete than institutions spend to educate the average student—typically three to six times as much.
The athletic departments of most public colleges and universities competing in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I sports typically spend three to six times as much per athlete as their institutions spend to educate each of their students, as shown in this infographic based on AIR research.
A data brief from the Delta Cost Project at AIR focuses on financial struggles of colleges and universities two years after the onset of the Great Recession. Among other findings, the data show that among nonprofit colleges and universities, community colleges suffered the greatest financial hardships of the decade.
The authors of this report, the result of a partnership between the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia and College Measures, explore the variation in first-year earnings for graduates from individual degree programs at individual colleges. The results show that the degrees students earn, and where they earn them, matter.
Making use of newly available data, this report compares the average first-year earnings of recent graduates from two-year and four-year institutions across Tennessee. It discovers that the school you attend and the major you select can make a big difference in what you earn. In some cases, an associate's degree pays more than a four-year diploma.
In this video, Dr. Mark Schneider, a vice president at AIR, discusses his work on the earning power of first-year graduates from colleges and universities. In general, the findings show that a student’s school and major can make a big difference in what they earn.
Rita Kirshstein, director of the Delta Cost Project, discusses college tuition hikes and affordability concerns over the past several decades. Kirshstein explains that today’s affordability crisis affects many more students and families than earlier ones.
A report from AIR and Noel-Levitz investigates the relationship between levels of financial aid and student success in Louisiana community colleges, with a focus on Pell Grant recipients. Success is measured by whether a student earned a certificate or an associate’s degree within three years of enrolling as a first-time full-time student or transferred to a four-year Louisiana university within the same timeframe.
Community colleges are complex organizations and assessing their performance, though important, is difficult. The authors of this study focusing on North Carolina’s community colleges, measuring the success of each college along two dimensions: attainment of an applied diploma, or degree; or completion of the coursework required to transfer to a four-year college or university.
This paper investigates financial aid policies and approaches affecting public institutions in the state of Louisiana and suggests a research-based approach to leveraging declining state resources in order to enable the greatest possible number of students to complete their postsecondary education.
Our colleges and universities are now graduating only slightly more than half the students who walk through their doors. Much of the cost of dropping out is borne by individual students. This report shows the high costs of low college graduation rates in terms of lost income and in lower tax receipts for federal and state governments.
In 2009, the College Board selected AIR to conduct a longitudinal evaluation of College Readiness Systems. The evaluation examined the implementation and the impact of the program in both College Board and EXCELerator schools. This report focuses on the impact of the EXCELerator program from its inception in the 2006–07 school year through the 2009-10 school year.
Given the importance of a college education to entering and staying in the middle class and the high cost of obtaining a bachelor’s degree, Who Wins? and Who Pays? are questions being asked today at kitchen tables and in the halls of government throughout the nation. This study shows that the answers are different than what is commonly found in the media.
Nationally, only about 60 percent of students graduate from four-year colleges and universities within six years. According to an analysis by AIR vice president Mark Schneider, more than $9 billion was spent by state and federal governments to support students at four-year colleges and universities who left school before their sophomore year during a five-year period.
A new report on racial and ethnic group education trends from NCES, and co-authored by AIR experts, has found that in 2008, U.S. females earned more college degrees than males within each racial/ethnic group, and Black females received more than twice as many degrees as Black males.
This policy brief outlines the barriers to higher education for students and provides policymakers and practitioners with research-based policy options, examples of best practice, and resources that can help all students increase their access to higher education.
This report for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation examines how Early College Schools (ECS) can best prepare high school students for college success. The report presents findings from high school and college instructional data collected during site visits to ECS classrooms in the 2008–09 academic year, as part of the Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI).
Which practices foster college readiness for students, particularly English learners? This study interviewed students, teachers and administrators to determine what college readiness means to staff and how teachers help prepare students.
The College Board conducted a validation study to provide colleges and universities with information about the Writing Test that was added to the new SAT in March 2005. AIR supported this effort by administering an experimental version of the SAT I Writing Test to samples of incoming freshmen at 12 universities and colleges around the United States.
Millions of high school students—particularly those with disabilities, with limited proficiency in English, or from low-income backgrounds—need additional support in order to succeed. To address this challenge, the National High School Center promotes the use of research-supported approaches that help all students learn and become adequately prepared for college, work, and life.
The Texas Education Agency created the Texas Ninth Grade Transition and Intervention Program to ease the transition of at-risk students into high school and increase the likelihood that they graduate on time and are prepared for college and careers. The comprehensive evaluation conducted by AIR and its partner found that the program significantly increased the English and mathematics assessment scores of participating students compared to similar students who did not participate in the program.
This report examines both the educational progress of American Indian/Alaska Native children and adults and challenges in their education, and shows that over time more American Indian/Alaska Native students have gone on to college and that their attainment expectations have increased.
AIR is working with the Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity and Accountability to examine a rarely studied aspect of higher education finance: how colleges and universities spend money.
With the recent attention on accountability measures for elementary and secondary schools, accountability in institutions of higher education has been all but overlooked. The National Survey of America's College Students (NSACS) is a study that examines the literacy of U.S. college students, providing information on how prepared these students are to continue to learn and use the skills that they will need in the years to come.