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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.

Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002): A First Look at the Postsecondary Transcripts of 2002 High School Sophomores

May 11, 2015 Comments off

Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002): A First Look at the Postsecondary Transcripts of 2002 High School Sophomores
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) tracks the educational and developmental experiences of a nationally representative sample of United States high school students who were sophomores in the spring of 2002. This First Look report provides a descriptive portrait of their postsecondary education experiences through the end of the 2012-13 academic year by using information obtained during the postsecondary transcript data collection conducted in 2013–14.

Top-Paying College Majors Earn $3.4 Million More Than Lowest-Paying Majors Over A Lifetime, According To A New Georgetown University Report

May 7, 2015 Comments off

Top-Paying College Majors Earn $3.4 Million More Than Lowest-Paying Majors Over A Lifetime, According To A New Georgetown University Report (PDF)
Source: Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown University)

When it comes to earnings, majors matter more than degrees. Over a career, the report finds, college graduates earn $1 million more than high school graduates on average. But averages are misleading: college graduates with the highest-paying majors earn $3.4 million more than the lowest-paying majors.

Using Census data, The Economic Value of College Majors analyzes wages for 137 college majors, including the wages of graduates who go on to earn advanced degrees. It also details the most popular majors, the majors most likely to lead to an advanced degree, and the economic benefit of earning an advanced degree by undergraduate major.

The report’s major findings are:
• Eighty percent of college students study a major linked to careers, while 20 percent major in humanities, liberal arts, social sciences, and arts.
• STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), health, and business majors are the highest paying, leading to average annual wages of $37,000 or more at the entry level and an average of $65,000 or more annually over the course of a recipient’s career.
• Of the 25 highest-paid majors, economics and business economics are the only two that are not in a STEM field.
• The 10 majors with the lowest median earnings are: early childhood education ($39,000); human services and community organization ($41,000); studio arts, social work, teacher education, and visual and performing arts ($42,000); theology and religious vocations, and elementary education ($43,000); drama and theater arts and family and community service ($45,000).
• Business and STEM majors — two of the highest paying — are also the most common, accounting for 46 percent of college graduates.

The report also finds that graduate degrees lead to higher earnings, especially for Bachelor’s degree holders who majored in health and medical preparatory programs, zoology, and biology.

Redesigning State Financial Aid: Principles to guide state aid policymaking

May 6, 2015 Comments off

Redesigning State Financial Aid: Principles to guide state aid policymaking (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

P aying for college is difficult for many individuals and families. College prices continue on an upward trend, wages and earnings for many families have been flat or only have shown marginal growth over the past several decades, and concerns about student indebtedness are on the rise. Taken together, these factors create a challenging environment for individuals seeking financial support to complete a postsecondary degree program.

In recognition of the challenges of paying for higher education, decision-makers at the federal and state levels support college-going with public policy. Through direct institutional allocations, need and merit-based financial aid programs, and the provision of student loans, government policy has provided access to funds to reduce the price of participating in postsecondary education for many individuals. This is particularly true at the state level.

A function of their design and history, state financial aid programs tend to primarily serve students following what is often labeled a “traditional” postsecondary pathway: matriculating directly into a two- or four-year degree program in the fall following high school graduation. These students are more likely than their peers to attend credit-hour based postsecondary programs, pursue their education on a full-time enrollment basis and complete their program on time. Education Commission of the States research indicates that many of the largest aid programs in the states are explicitly designed to serve students following this traditional pathway.

TIGTA — Billions of Dollars in Potentially Erroneous Education Credits Continue to Be Claimed for Ineligible Students and Institutions

May 5, 2015 Comments off

Billions of Dollars in Potentially Erroneous Education Credits Continue to Be Claimed for Ineligible Students and Institutions
Source: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

An estimated 3.6 million taxpayers received more than $5.6 billion in potentially erroneous education credits on their 2012 tax returns, according to a report released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 created two permanent education tax credits, the Hope Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 temporarily replaced the Hope Credit with a refundable tax credit known as the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). The AOTC was initially set to expire at the end of Calendar Year 2010 but has since been extended through Calendar Year 2017. These credits help taxpayers offset the costs of higher education.

Prior TIGTA audits have reported that taxpayers have claimed billions of dollars of erroneous education credits. TIGTA has made a number of recommendations to the IRS to help reduce the number of erroneous claims. This audit was initiated to assess the IRS’s efforts to improve the detection and prevention of questionable education credit claims.

“The IRS still does not have effective processes to identify erroneous claims for education credits,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “Although the IRS has taken steps to address some of our recommendations, many of the deficiencies TIGTA previously identified still exist. As a result, taxpayers continue to receive billions of dollars in potentially erroneous education credits.”

Great Expectations: Students and Video in Higher Education

May 4, 2015 Comments off

Great Expectations: Students and Video in Higher Education
Source: SAGE

There is little doubt that students are accustomed to multiple methods for consuming information, ranging from journal articles, books, and textbooks to lectures, newspapers, blog posts, and videos. They participate in courses that take place live in a classroom on a college campus; they join hybrid classrooms; and they learn via courses that occur asynchronously, with instructors whom they will never meet in person. Their classroom experiences are varied. Students bring their own life experiences with them into the classroom, and they are an opinionated group, regardless of their age or geographic location. Combining previous research on video in higher education, surveys of 1,673 students, and a collection of in-depth interviews, this white paper examines student expectations for use of video within the classroom, how and why students use educational video outside the classroom, how likely students are to watch videos produced by libraries, and what tips students have for libraries about how to reach them.

Key findings from this research are as follows:
• Students are accustomed to watching videos for their classes and coursework in colleges and universities; 68% of students report that they watch videos in their classes.
• In addition to watching videos because they are assigned or shown during class, 79% of students voluntarily watch videos to enhance their understanding of a topic, to better understand material introduced in class, to learn the steps necessary to do something successfully, to understand the practical application of a theoretical concept, and to find a video that they can use during their own presentations.
• Students are largely unaware of resources that their libraries are providing access to and instead find videos either because their instructors pointed them out or they searched YouTube and Google. Only 32% of students report searching for videos in the library or on the library’s website.

What Happened to the Class of 2010? Empirical Evidence of Structural Change in the Legal Profession

May 1, 2015 Comments off

What Happened to the Class of 2010? Empirical Evidence of Structural Change in the Legal Profession
Source: Social Science Research Network

Poor employment outcomes have plagued law school graduates for several years. Legal scholars have debated whether these outcomes stem from macroeconomic cycles or from fundamental changes in the market for legal services. This Article examines that question empirically, using a database of employment outcomes for more than 1,200 lawyers who received their JDs in 2010. The analysis offers strong evidence of structural shifts in the legal market. Job outcomes have improved only marginally for the Class of 2010, those outcomes contrast sharply with results for earlier classes, and law firm jobs have dropped markedly. In addition to discussing these results, the Article examines correlations between job outcomes and gender, law school prestige, and geography. In a concluding section, it offers four predictions about the future of the legal market and the economics of legal education.

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