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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.

Trends in State Financial Aid: Actions from the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Trends in State Financial Aid: Actions from the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Key takeaways from this report

  • Trends in enacted policy include changes to need- and merit-based programs, linking financial aid and workforce outcomes, and focusing aid on transfer student pathways.
  • States are playing an increasing role in loan repayment assistance or forgiveness policies, with at least four states enacting programs.
  • A growing number of states — with at least 10 joining in the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions — are using financial aid programs as a means to incentivize workforce outcomes.
  • Five states passed legislation appointing commissions to extensively research college affordability issues, with reports due through spring 2015.
  • At least 10 states created or made changes to existing need-based programs.
  • Maryland and Virginia both enacted financial aid programs geared to students transferring from two- to four-year institutions.

States and the (not so) new standards — where are they now?

November 20, 2014 Comments off

States and the (not so) new standards — where are they now? (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

There has been a flurry of activity around the Common Core State Standards, and while it seems the landscape is changing all the time, there has been very limited change in state standards. This report captures a snapshot of where states currently stand in regard to those standards.

Open-source textbooks can help drive down the overall cost of college

November 19, 2014 Comments off

Open-source textbooks can help drive down the overall cost of college (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

There is growing national and international interest in Open Educational Resources as a way to help financially distressed states reduce costs and save students millions of dollars.

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