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The paperwork pile-up: Measuring the burden of charter school applications

May 28, 2015 Comments off

The paperwork pile-up: Measuring the burden of charter school applications
Source: American Enterprise Institute

Key Points

  • Charter schools were created with a clear bargain in mind: charter authorizers would give operators autonomy to run schools as they saw fit as long as those schools met defined performance metrics.
  • Currently, the balance between accountability and autonomy is heavily tilted toward accountability, with charter authorizers requiring unnecessarily extensive, time-consuming applications.
  • Excising unnecessary or inappropriate requirements could shorten the average charter application by one-third, saving applicants more than 700 hours of work and avoiding wasting money that could be better spent educating students.

Scholarly Savings: Strategic Purchasing for Universities

May 28, 2015 Comments off

Scholarly Savings: Strategic Purchasing for Universities
Source: IBISWorld

Governors are making serious cuts this year to balance state budgets – and one of the biggest items on the chopping block is higher education. So far, proposed budgets for states such as Illinois and Wisconsin have suggested reductions in university funding of up to 31.5%. As such, these universities will need to find ways to patch their fiscal wounds.

Before cutting courses or activities, though, universities should attempt to realize as much cost savings as possible through smart procurement processes. Last year, Cornell University saved $30.1 million by making better-informed purchasing decisions. Likewise, from 2013 to 2014, the University of California system saved $120.0 million by implementing a new procurement plan. Other schools can follow in the footsteps of these forward-thinking institutions to reduce the costs of their purchases and maximize the efficiency of their buying processes. To achieve this goal, universities can pursue a number of strategies, including tracking prices, timing purchases, bundling orders and capitalizing on favorable market characteristics such as low product specialization. The specific strategy a school should use depends on the purchasing environment for each product or service they need to acquire. IBISWorld has identified specific products and services in the key areas of construction, campus services and furnishings and equipment, where expenses can be reduced without limiting funding for a university’s core activities.

Selection of Statistical Software for Solving Big Data Problems

May 27, 2015 Comments off

Selection of Statistical Software for Solving Big Data Problems
Source: Sage Open

The need for analysts with expertise in big data software is becoming more apparent in today’s society. Unfortunately, the demand for these analysts far exceeds the number available. A potential way to combat this shortage is to identify the software taught in colleges or universities. This article will examine four data analysis software—Excel add-ins, SPSS, SAS, and R—and we will outline the cost, training, and statistical methods/tests/uses for each of these software. It will further explain implications for universities and future students.

The Effect of Shocks to College Revenues on For-Profit Enrollment: Spillover from the Public Sector

May 25, 2015 Comments off

The Effect of Shocks to College Revenues on For-Profit Enrollment: Spillover from the Public Sector (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Board

This paper investigates whether declines in public funding for post-secondary institutions have increased for-profit enrollment. The two primary channels through which funding might operate to reallocate students across sectors are price (measured by tuition) and quality (measured by resource constraints). We estimate, on average, that a 10 percent cut in appropriations raises tuition about 1 to 2 percent and decreases faculty resources by 1/2 to 1 percent, creating substantial bottlenecks for prospective students on both price and quality. These cuts, in turn, generate a nearly one percentage point increase in the for-profit market share of “elastic” enrollment (i.e. attendees of community colleges plus for-profit institutions), owing entirely to students who, in a better funding environment, would have attended a public institution. We estimate an elasticity of for-profit enrollment with respect to state and local appropriations of 0.2. Finally, we extend our analys is to show that for every 1 percent increase in flagship tuition generated by funding shortfalls, for-profit attendance increases by 1-1/2 percent.

Overdraft U: Student Bank Accounts Often Loaded With High Overdraft Fees

May 22, 2015 Comments off

Overdraft U: Student Bank Accounts Often Loaded With High Overdraft Fees
Source: Center for Responsible Lending

Some colleges and banks enter into exclusive agreements to offer students checking accounts – usually these accounts come furnished with a debit card that prominently displays the school logo and can sometimes be used as student ID.

For banks, these exclusive agreements mean a captive audience for their bank products (checking accounts, credit card accounts) and usually a customer for life. Studies suggest that banks are a “sticky” product – once a consumer chooses one, they’re unlikely to change.

For colleges, these exclusive agreements mean increased revenue. These partnerships may include revenue sharing (based on the number of accounts opened by their students) and/or in-kind benefits (like the bank offering to manage the school’s financial aid disbursement).

The benefits to students are unclear at best. Some schools negotiate for some reductions in up-front costs (like waiving monthly maintenance fees), but – as this report shows – many of these accounts do not have better terms than what a student could find on their own.

Learning for Life: The Opportunity for Technology to Transform Adult Education

May 18, 2015 Comments off

Learning for Life: The Opportunity for Technology to Transform Adult Education
Source: Tyton Partners

The number of US adults lacking basic skills in the areas of literacy, numeracy, and digital literacy is substantial – nearly one in six US adults maintains low literacy skills, while nearly one in three possesses low numeracy skills – and the consequences are debilitating. Not only is education fundamental to individual welfare and lifelong opportunity, but the effect of a large low-skilled adult population on the US economy is considerable.

Over the past decade, innovations in educational technology have impacted nearly all preK–12, postsecondary, and corporate and professional learning environments, while largely bypassing the adult education market; this is a missed opportunity to apply the education sector’s entrepreneurial efforts to a community of 36 million low-skilled adults in need. In fall 2014, Tyton Partners, with support from the Joyce Foundation and the Commission on Adult Basic Education, conducted comprehensive research on the role of and potential for instructional technologies in the US adult education field. Tyton Partners conducted a national survey of more than 1,000 adult education program administrators and practitioners to determine their interest in, aptitude for, and current use of technology-based instructional resources.

This publication series, Learning for Life: The Opportunity for Technology to Transform Adult Education, explores technology readiness, access, and use within various adult education delivery channels, as well as market opportunities, program decision-making processes, and the supplier ecosystem for instructional resources. The research and analysis featured in these publications will assist suppliers, investors, policy professionals, and institutions as they explore opportunities in the adult education market.

The Labor Market Returns to Math Courses in Community College (A CAPSEE Working Paper)

May 17, 2015 Comments off

The Labor Market Returns to Math Courses in Community College
Source: Community College Research Center, Columbia University

This paper examines the returns to math courses relative to courses in other subjects for students in community college. Using matched college transcript and earnings data on over 80,000 students entering community college during the 2000s, this paper finds that college-level math coursework has an indirect positive effect on award completion that is stronger than that of coursework in other subjects. There is mixed evidence on the direct effect of enhanced math skills on earnings over other college-level skills.

Overall, the combined direct and indirect effect appears to be adverse: compared with other courses or college pathways, more math coursework in community college is modestly associated with relatively lower earnings in later adulthood. However, this association is sensitive to modeling, and the authors do find heterogeneous results by gender, race/ethnicity, and initial college ability, as well as by math field and level.

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