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CRS — Unlawfully Present Aliens, Higher Education, In-State Tuition, and Financial Aid: Legal Analysis

July 25, 2014 Comments off

Unlawfully Present Aliens, Higher Education, In-State Tuition, and Financial Aid: Legal Analysis (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The existence of a sizable population of “DREAMers” in the United States has prompted questions about unlawfully present aliens’ eligibility for admission to public institutions of higher education, in-state tuition, and financial aid. The term DREAMer is widely used to describe aliens who were brought to the United States as children and raised here but lack legal immigration status. As children, DREAMers are entitled to public elementary and secondary education as a result of the Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe. There, the Court struck down a Texas statute that prohibited the use of state funds to provide elementary and secondary education to children who were not “legally admitted” to the United States because the state distinguished between these children and other children without a “substantial” goal, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Once DREAMers complete high school, however, they may have less access to public higher education. Plyler’s holding was limited to elementary and secondary education, and the Court’s focus on the young age of those whom Texas denied a “basic education” has generally been taken to mean that measures denying unlawfully present aliens access to higher education may be subject to less scrutiny than the Texas statute was. Thus, several states have adopted laws or practices barring the enrollment of unlawfully present aliens at public institutions of higher education. In addition, Congress has enacted two statutes that restrict unlawfully present aliens’ eligibility for “public benefits,” a term which has generally been construed to encompass in-state tuition and financial aid. The first of these statutes, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA, P.L. 104-193) bars the provision of “state and local public benefits” to unlawfully present aliens unless the state enacts legislation that “affirmatively provides” for their eligibility. The second, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA, P.L. 104-208) bars states from providing “postsecondary education benefits” to unlawfully present aliens based on their residence in the state unless all U.S. citizens or nationals are eligible for such benefits, regardless of their state of residence.

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At What Cost? How Community Colleges that Do Not Offer Federal Loans Put Students at Risk

July 16, 2014 Comments off

At What Cost? How Community Colleges that Do Not Offer Federal Loans Put Students at Risk
Source: Institute for College Access and Success

In 2013-14, nearly one million community college students across the nation were denied access to federal student loans, the safest and most affordable way to borrow for college. Our issue brief includes national and state-by-state analyses of loan access by race/ethnicity and urbanicity, and takes an in-depth look at North Carolina, California, and Georgia.

CRS — Low-Income Assistance Programs: Trends in Federal Spending

July 16, 2014 Comments off

Low-Income Assistance Programs: Trends in Federal Spending (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)

This report examines the spending trends of 10 major need-tested benefit programs or groups of programs: (1) health care from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); (2) the refundable portion of the health insurance tax credit enacted in the 2010 health care reform law; (3) the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); (4) assisted housing; (5) financial assistance for post-secondary students (Pell Grants); (6) compensatory education grants to school districts; (7) the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); (8) the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC); (9) Supplemental Security Income (SSI); and (10) Family Support Payments. The common feature of need-tested programs is that they provide benefits, services, or funding based on a measure of limited financial resources (income and sometimes assets). However, other than that common feature, the programs differ considerably in their target populations, services, and focus.

McCaskill: Campus Sexual Assault Survey Results a ‘wakeup call’ for Schools

July 11, 2014 Comments off

McCaskill: Campus Sexual Assault Survey Results a ‘wakeup call’ for Schools
Source: Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

U.S. Senator and former sex crimes prosecutor Claire McCaskill today released the results of a first-of-its-kind national survey on campus sexual assaults—results McCaskill said must serve as a “wakeup call” to the nation’s institutions of higher learning.

The massive survey of schools demonstrates a disturbing failure by many institutions to comply with the law and with best practices in how they handle sexual violence against students—failures which affect nearly every stage of the institutions’ responses to sexual violence.

Among the findings in McCaskill’s survey:

  • Investigations: Federal law requires every institution that knows or reasonably should have known about an alleged sexual assault to conduct an investigation. But 41 percent of schools surveyed have not conducted a single investigation in the past five years. More than 21 percent of the nation’s largest private institutions conducted fewer investigations than the number of incidents they reported to the Department of Education, with some institutions reporting as many as seven times more incidents of sexual violence than they have investigated.
  • Training: 21 percent of institutions surveyed provide no sexual assault response training at all for members of their faculty and staff. 31 percent of schools do not provide any sexual assault training for students.
  • Title IX coordinator: Colleges and universities are required to assign a staff or faculty member as a Title IX coordinator, with responsibility for coordinating the institution’s compliance efforts, including investigations of sexual harassment and sexual violence, but more than 10 percent of institutions surveyed do not have a Title IX coordinator.
  • Adjudication: Federal law requires institutions that receive claims of sexual assault to conduct an adjudication process to determine whether an assault occurred and, if it did, to reach a determination. But:
  • 33 percent of schools failed to provide basic training to the people adjudicating claims.
  • 43 percent of the nation’s largest public schools let students help adjudicate cases.
  • 22 percent of institutions give athletic departments oversight of cases involving athletes.
  • Climate surveys: Confidential climate surveys of students are one of the best ways to get an accurate portrait of assaults on a campus, but only 16 percent of schools conduct climate surveys.
  • Coordination with law enforcement: Law enforcement officials at 30 percent of institutions receive no training on how to respond to reports of sexual violence, and 73 percent of institutions have no protocols on how the institution & law enforcement work together to respond to such violence.

Higher Education, Library Principles to Preserve Network Neutrality

July 10, 2014 Comments off

Higher Education, Library Principles to Preserve Network Neutrality
Source: EDUCAUSE

On July 10, 2014, EDUCAUSE joined other leading higher education and library associations (listed below) in proposing a set of network neutrality principles for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use in developing new regulations to preserve the “open Internet.” These groups urged the FCC to adopt these principles in light of a recent court decision vacating two of the key network neutrality rules previously in place, which they believe creates an opportunity for Internet providers to block or degrade (e.g., arbitrarily slow) certain Internet traffic, or prioritize certain services, while relegating the online content and services of colleges, universities, and libraries to the “slow lane.” The groups argue that new network neutrality rules based on these principles will ensure that the Internet remains a vital, vibrant platform for teaching, learning, research, and community support and engagement.

The organizations endorsing the principles are:

American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
American Council on Education (ACE)
American Library Association (ALA)
Association of American Universities (AAU)
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
EDUCAUSE
Modern Language Association (MLA)
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)

Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in 2013-14; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2012-13; and 12-Month Enrollment: 2012-13: First Look (Preliminary Data)

July 10, 2014 Comments off

Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in 2013-14; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2012-13; and 12-Month Enrollment: 2012-13: First Look (Preliminary Data)
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This First Look presents preliminary data findings from the IPEDS fall 2013 collection, which included three survey components: Institutional Characteristics for the 2013-14 academic year, Completions covering the period July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, and data on 12-Month Enrollment for the 2012-13 academic year.

Baccalaureate and Beyond: A First Look at the Employment Experiences and Lives of College Graduates, 4 Years On

July 9, 2014 Comments off

Baccalaureate and Beyond: A First Look at the Employment Experiences and Lives of College Graduates, 4 Years On
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This report presents initial findings about the employment outcomes of bachelor’s degree recipients approximately 4 years after they completed their 2007–08 degrees. These findings are based on data from the second follow-up of the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:08/12), a nationally representative longitudinal sample survey of students who completed the requirements for a bachelor’s degree during the 2007–08 academic year. The study addresses questions related to bachelor’s degree recipients’ education and employment experiences and includes two follow-ups. The first follow-up, which was conducted 1 year after graduation, explored both undergraduate education experiences and early postbaccalaureate employment and enrollment. This second follow-up, conducted in 2012, examines bachelor’s degree recipients’ labor market experiences and enrollment in additional postsecondary degree programs through the 4th year after graduation.

Academia — Technology — 2014 Third Annual ACUTA/NACUBO/ACUHO-I State of ResNet Report

July 9, 2014 Comments off

2014 Third Annual ACUTA/NACUBO/ACUHO-I State of ResNet Report (PDF)
Source: Association for College & University Technology Advancement, National Association of College and University Chief Business Officers, University Housing
Officers-International

The ACUTA/NACUBO/ACUHO-I Study reveals that schools are making strides in providing better coverage and bandwidth, but are grappling with a laundry list of needs—holistic planning, better communication between departments, tighter security, etc.—while processes like resource allocation and diagnostics haven’t kept pace. Administrators are trying to build better and bigger networks with yesterday’s tools. It’s our hope this study will provide a knowledgebase of practices and priorities to help administrators anticipate, plan ahead, and to address the challenges as they scale infrastructure to meet demand.

Online College Labor Market: Where the Jobs Are

July 7, 2014 Comments off

Online College Labor Market: Where the Jobs Are
Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
From press release (PDF):

More than 80 percent of job openings for workers with a bachelor’s degree or better are posted online, compared to less than 50 percent of job openings for workers with less education*, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

The report analyzes the demand for college talent in the job market by examining online job advertisements for college degree-­‐holders by education requirement, occupation, industry, and state.

Sixty-­‐one percent of online job openings for college graduates are in white-­‐collar professional occupations (33%) and STEM occupations (28%), which together account for over 1.1 million job openings posted online of the 1.9 million total online job openings for college graduates…

EU — Student support crucial for offsetting impact of university tuition fees, says report

July 7, 2014 Comments off

Student support crucial for offsetting impact of university tuition fees, says report
Source: European Commission

When balanced with student support, increased tuition fees do not have an overall negative impact on enrolments in higher education, even among students from lower socio-economic groups, unless the magnitude of change is exceptional. However increases in fees can result in falling enrolments among older students, according to an international study released by the European Commission today. The report underlines that grants and/or loans are crucial for offsetting negative consequences of fees or fee rises on university enrolments, particularly from vulnerable groups.

The Commission-funded study, carried out by independent researchers, analysed the impact of changes in student fees in nine countries with different models of funding over the past 15 years (Austria, Canada, UK-England, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and South Korea).

Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents in 2013

July 3, 2014 Comments off

Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents in 2013 (PDF)
Source: National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) today announced the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents in 2013. The list, based on data obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, recognizes the important role patents play in university research.

The NAI and IPO compile the list each year by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which list a university as the first assignee on the printed patent.

MOOC Research Initiative Reports

July 2, 2014 Comments off

MOOC Research Initiative Reports
Source: MOOC Research Initiative
From Chronicle of Higher Education blog post:

In December 2013 a group of academics gathered during a Texas snowstorm and began the second phase of a discussion about massive open online courses. They were not terribly impressed by the hype the courses had received in the popular media, and they had set out to create a better body of literature about MOOCs—albeit a less sensational one.

The MOOC Research Initiative, backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, had given many of those academics research grants to study what was going on in the online courses. Now the organization has posted preliminary findings from some of those research projects.

The findings have not yet been peer-reviewed and should not be generalized, but they do represent some of the most rigorous analysis to date on MOOCs. Following is a synopsis of the more interesting findings.

1. If you are isolated, poor, and enamored of the prestigious university offering the MOOC you’re taking, you are less likely to complete it.

2. Coaching students to have a healthier mindset about learning may not help in a MOOC.

3. Paired with the right incentives, MOOCs can help prepare at-risk students for college-level work.

4. Discussion forums in MOOCs are healthy places for the few students who use them.

5. We still do not know if doing well in MOOCs will help underprivileged learners become upwardly mobile.

At a Tipping Point: Education, Learning and Libraries

June 27, 2014 Comments off

At a Tipping Point: Education, Learning and Libraries
Source: OCLC

OCLC Market Research teams have been studying the habits and perceptions of information consumers for a decade.

In this latest report to the OCLC membership, At a Tipping Point: Education, Learning and Libraries, OCLC explores the information consumer’s behaviors, beliefs and expectations for online learning.

Fueled by mobile devices, new learning platforms and economic incentives, learners are trying and achieving success with new learning models. The information consumer has become an online education consumer.

The study aims to provide librarians with important information about the trends and triggers that are reshaping education—and the opportunities and challenges this shift brings to libraries.

The report explores:

  • Habits and perceptions of online learners
  • Expectations for the future of online learning
  • Top-of-mind perceptions of a college education
  • Factors influencing the college choice
  • Library use by online learners—on campus and online
  • MOOCs—a massively interesting case study on the future of education
  • The library brand
  • Implications and opportunities for academic and public libraries

Ed Trust Calls for Linking Student Aid and Tax Benefits to College Access, Success, and Student Loan Repayment Rates

June 27, 2014 Comments off

Ed Trust Calls for Linking Student Aid and Tax Benefits to College Access, Success, and Student Loan Repayment Rates
Source: Education Trust

More than 600,000 undergraduates attend four-year “college dropout factories” with six-year graduation rates below 15 percent and “diploma mills” where nearly 3 out of 10 students who leave with debt are unable to repay their student loans, according to a new report released by The Education Trust. Approximately $15 billion is distributed annually to some 300 institutions that do not serve students well. These four-year schools are among the bottom 5 percent nationally in enrolling low-income students, graduating the students they serve, or graduating students with manageable debt and degrees that can support that investment without default.

The report, Tough Love: Bottom-Line Quality Standards for Colleges, lays out a comprehensive plan for the federal government to leverage existing resources, in the form of student aid and tax benefits, to protect students and taxpayer dollars from going to chronically underperforming schools. The plan also encourages elite colleges to open their gates to many more talented working class and low-income students.

Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?

June 25, 2014 Comments off

Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?
Source: Brookings Institution

College tuition and student debt levels have been increasing at a fast pace for at least two decades. These well-documented trends, coupled with an economy weakened by a major recession, have raised serious questions about whether the market for student debt is headed for a crisis, with many borrowers unable to repay their loans and taxpayers being forced to foot the bill.

In this report, Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos analyze more than two decades of data on the financial well-being of American households and find that in reality, the impact of student loans may not be as dire as many commentators fear.

The authors draw on data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) administered by the Federal Reserve Board to track how the education debt levels and incomes of young households evolved between 1989 and 2010. Their analysis produces three particularly noteworthy and new findings:

  • Roughly one-quarter of the increase in student debt since 1989 can be directly attributed to Americans obtaining more education, especially graduate degrees. The average debt levels of borrowers with a graduate degree more than quadrupled, from just under $10,000 to more than $40,000. By comparison, the debt loads of those with only a bachelor’s degree increased by a smaller margin, from $6,000 to $16,000.
  • Increases in the average lifetime incomes of college-educated Americans have more than kept pace with increases in debt loads. Between 1992 and 2010, the average household with student debt saw an increase of about $7,400 in annual income and $18,000 in total debt. In other words, the increase in earnings received over the course of 2.4 years would pay for the increase in debt incurred.
  • The monthly payment burden faced by student loan borrowers has stayed about the same or even lessened over the past two decades. The median borrower has consistently spent three to four percent of their monthly income on student loan payments since 1992, and the mean payment-to-income ratio has fallen significantly, from 15 to 7 percent. The average repayment term for student loans increased over this period, allowing borrowers to shoulder increased debt loads without larger monthly payments.

Cashier or Consultant? Entry Lab or Market Conditions, Field of Study, and Career Success

June 24, 2014 Comments off

Cashier or Consultant? Entry Lab or Market Conditions, Field of Study, and Career Success (PDF)
Source: Yale University

We analyze lab or market outcomes of U.S. college graduates from the classes of 1976 to 2011, as a function of the economic conditions they graduated into. We categorize college majors by average economic outcomes and skill level of the major, predominantly the average earnings premium, and measure a range of lab or market outcomes over the first 13 years after college graduation. We have three main findings. First, poor labor market conditions disrupt early careers. For the average major, a large recession at time of graduation reduces earnings and wages by roughly 11% and 3% (respectively) in the first year, and reduces the probability of full-time employment by 0.095. Effects on earnings and full-time employment fade out over the first 7 years of a career, while the wage effects persist. There is a small positive effect on the probability of obtaining an advanced degree. Second, for the period as a whole, these effects are differential across college majors. High-earning majors are somewhat sheltered when graduating into a recession relative to the average major, experiencing significantly smaller disadvantages in most lab or market outcomes measured. As a result, the initial earnings and wage gaps across college majors widen by 33% and 8%, respectively, for those graduating into a large recession. Most of these effects fade out over the first 7 years, but impacts on wages and a measure of occupational match quality persist. Higher paying majors are also slightly less likely to obtain an advanced degree when graduating into a recession. Our third set of results focuses on a recent period that includes the Great Recession. Early impacts on earnings are double what we would have expected given past patterns and the size of the recession, in part because of a large increase in the cyclical sensitivity of demand for college graduates. The effects are also dispersed much more evenly across college majors than those of prior recessions.

Harnessing the Tax Code to Promote College Affordability: Options for Reform

June 17, 2014 Comments off

Harnessing the Tax Code to Promote College Affordability: Options for Reform
Source: Center for American Progress

The United States tax code is full of provisions designed to encourage or reward specific behaviors, such as owning a home or saving for retirement. Tax benefits for higher education are no exception: Contributions to some college savings accounts grow tax-free, college tuition is often tax deductible, and some student-loan borrowers are able to deduct the interest paid on their student loans just as they would the interest paid on their mortgage.

These higher education tax provisions have implications for access, affordability, and equity. Higher-income families benefit from tax-free savings toward future college costs through Section 529 college savings plans. The tax code, however, rewards middle-class families for savings less, because tax benefits are much smaller for those in lower tax brackets, and these families largely do not participate. While in school, parents and students face several competing tax incentives—such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, and tuition and fees deduction—and an estimated 1.7 million tax filers each year do not make the optimal choices. In addition, the tax benefits available on student-loan interest help some struggling borrowers, but not others, because some earn too little to truly benefit.

Given that the federal budget contains more than $1 trillion in annual tax expenditures—government spending delivered through tax breaks or exceptions—it is no surprise that these expenditures face increased scrutiny. As tuition costs and student-loan debt have both increased dramatically, tax provisions should change to ensure the best possible outcomes for parents, students, and graduates.

Changing Fertility Regimes and the Transition to Adulthood: Evidence from a Recent Cohort

June 17, 2014 Comments off

Changing Fertility Regimes and the Transition to Adulthood: Evidence from a Recent Cohort (PDF)
Source: 2014 Meetings of the Population Association of America

Recent demographic trends have produced a distinctive fertility regime among young women and men in their teenage years and their twenties — a period sometimes called early adulthood. Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 cohort, show that by the time the cohort had reached ages 26-31 in 2011, 81% of births reported by women and 87% of births reported by men had occurred to non-college graduates. In addition, 57% of births had occurred outside of marriage for both men and women. Moreover, 64% of women (and 63% of men) who reported a birth had at least one child outside of marriage, a figure that rose to 74% among women (and 70% among men) without 4-year college degrees. It is now unusual for noncollege- graduates who have children in their teens and twenties to have all of them within marriage. The implications of these developments are discussed in light of the differing transitions to adulthood of non-college-graduates versus college-graduates and the growing social class inequalities in family patterns.

See: Most millennial moms who skip college also skip marriage (EurekAlert!)

Science and Engineering State Profiles

June 16, 2014 Comments off

Science and Engineering State Profiles
Source: National Science Foundation

State Profiles is an interactive website providing access to state-level data on science and engineering personnel and finances and state rankings. State Profiles displays up to 10 state profiles of the user’s choice. Data are available from NSF-sponsored surveys on employed science, engineering, or health (SEH) doctorate holders; science and engineering (S&E) doctorates awarded, including by major S&E fields; SEH graduate students and postdoctorates; federal R&D obligations by agency and performer; total and industrial R&D expenditures; and academic R&D expenditures, including by major S&E fields. Data available from other sources include population, civilian labor force, per capita personal income, federal expenditures, patents, small business innovation research awards, and gross domestic product. All data are available for download. Data cover 2003 to present.

Higher Education in Asia: Expanding Out, Expanding Up

June 9, 2014 Comments off

Higher Education in Asia: Expanding Out, Expanding Up
Source: UNESCO

As demand for tertiary education continues to rise across Asia, countries are expanding their higher education systems outwards by constructing new universities, hiring more faculty and encouraging private provision. Many of these systems are also moving upwards by introducing new graduate programmes to ensure that there are enough qualified professors and researchers for the future.

Based on data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and a diverse range of national and international sources, this report provides a comprehensive view to evaluate different strategies to expand graduate education. Special focus is given to middle-income countries in the region which have recently experienced the most dramatic growth through an innovative mix of policies. For example, interventions aimed at improving university rankings may be controversial but are nonetheless reshaping university reforms. The report highlights the pros and cons by comparing the three most commonly-used university ranking systems.

Across the region, countries are not simply seeking to accommodate more students – they are striving to build top-quality universities that can produce the research and workforce needed for national economic development. So this report presents a range of data to better evaluate the economic benefits flowing from university research, as well as the spillover effects to the private sector. The authors also analyse the ways in which international collaboration can boost the productivity and quality of university-based research. Overall, this report provides the data and analysis to help countries weigh the balance of different policies to expand their higher education systems.

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