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State approaches to funding dual enrollment

June 15, 2015 Comments off

State approaches to funding dual enrollment (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Research shows that students who dually enroll are more likely to finish high school and succeed in postsecondary education than their peers with a similar grade point average (GPA), test scores, demographics, etc. Yet in many states, students and parents are largely — if not entirely — responsible for covering dual enrollment course costs, placing these courses out of reach of students in greatest need.

This Education Commission of the States policy analysis explores approaches states are taking to minimize — or completely eliminate — tuition and other costs for dually enrolled students. For each state highlighted, this report describes the state’s mechanism for funding dual enrollment, the potential benefits and drawbacks of each approach, student access and program outcomes, and considerations on the politics or culture underlying these funding approaches.

A Look at Funding for Students with Disabilities

May 15, 2015 Comments off

A Look at Funding for Students with Disabilities (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

This year is the 40th anniversary of the passage of Public Law 94-142 — most commonly known as the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The law not only changed the way that students with disabilities are educated in this country, it also fundamentally changed the way that states fund their K-12 education programs. This ECS Progress of Education Reform outlines some of the facts — and myths — surrounding IDEA and how its passage has made state policymakers think differently about how they fund their public schools.

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.

In-state tuition policies under the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act

February 23, 2015 Comments off

In-state tuition policies under the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Ensuring access and affordability to a postsecondary education for veterans and their dependents has long been a focus of federal and state education policy. Developing policy to support educational attainment among these individuals has required state policymakers to address residency requirements for veterans to determine eligibility for in-state tuition benefits. Yet recent revisions to federal statute — changes that go into full effect in July 2015 — have shifted the policy landscape in a significant and meaningful way.

Beginning July 1, 2015, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (Choice Act) requires that all public postsecondary institutions offer in-state tuition rates to qualified veterans and their dependents, regardless of state residency status. This ECS Policy Analysis provides state and postsecondary leaders with a review of the Choice Act requirements, key information on deadlines, considerations for evaluating state policy for compliance and examples of policy actions.

Education — State standard-setting processes in brief

January 21, 2015 Comments off

State standard-setting processes in brief (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Concerns about academic standards, whether created by states from scratch or adopted by states under the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) banner, have drawn widespread media attention and are at the top of many state policymakers’ priority lists. Recently, a number of legislatures have required additional steps, such as waiting periods for public comment, that state education leaders must follow, and ECS anticipates that the 2015 sessions will see continued debate on this issue.

This brief describes state standard-setting processes and provides profiles of eight states’ standardsetting and review processes, as well as the measures used by those states to validate their standards. Don’t miss Appendix A. It provides historical context around standard setting and the evolution of state standards.

College Counseling in High Schools: Advising State Policy

January 12, 2015 Comments off

College Counseling in High Schools: Advising State Policy (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Key Takeaways

High schools sending more students to four-year postsecondary institutions have distinctly different practices and counselor attitudes than high schools sending fewer students to four-year institutions.

Research supports high-impact, low-cost approaches such as college coaching and texting initiatives that can especially help low-income and firstgeneration college-goers.

Emerging state policies and initiatives are aligned with these approaches.

How states are helping students move from high school to college: A 50-state policy analysis for postsecondary readiness

December 22, 2014 Comments off

How states are helping students move from high school to college: A 50-state policy analysis for postsecondary readiness (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Education leaders across the nation are working hard to improve their students’ success and transition from high school into postsecondary. With so many variables to consider, this is no small task.

To assist with the process, the Education Commission of the States has launched a Blueprint for College Readiness, which includes an online database to provide guidance and support. Released today, the Blueprint features a first-of-its-kind analysis of the top 10 critical K-12 and higher education policies promoting college readiness and success.

The analysis includes four high school policies, four postsecondary policies and two bridge policies that impact both high school and higher education. The state profiles, including all 50 states and the District of Columbia, allow education leaders to easily understand where strengths and opportunities exist. The Blueprint examines the following policy areas:

+ High School: College readiness standards, college readiness assessments, graduation requirements and accountability.
+ Higher Education: Statewide admissions standards, statewide remedial and placement policies, transfer and accountability.
+ Bridge: Statewide college and career readiness definition, and a data pipeline and process for reporting.

Additionally, this project includes a 50-state analysis exploring the extent to which states are pursuing these policies, along with accompanying resources, technical assistance and an online database — all designed to respond to the unique needs of the states.

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