Talent Dividend News

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More young adults hold degrees

The educational attainment of Americans has increased in the past 20 years, according to a recently-released report from the U.S. Department of Education. The report also shows that those who are more educated are more likely to be employed and earn more money on average.

Reports The Chronicle:

The report holds few surprises for close observers of American education, but rather offers a comprehensive overview of enrollment and attainment from early education through graduate school, as well as information on how students pay for higher education and how they fare later in the job market.
More Americans go directly from high school to college than did in the past. In 1975, just over half of high-school graduates went right on to college; in 2011, 68 percent did. But college-going patterns are linked to family income: 82 percent of students from families whose incomes are in the top 20 percent move directly into higher education, while only 52 percent of those with family incomes in the bottom 20 percent do.
Other takeaways: While women have outpaced men in terms of educational attainment, men are still more likely to earn more overall. And despite higher educational attainment in the aggregate, attainment gaps still persist by race. 

Read the full story here.

The consequences of racial, economic inequality at community colleges

A pair of new reports, coupled with a policy brief from the Century Foundation, demonstrates the challenges facing community colleges across the nation -- and illuminates some paths to success.

Just 12 percent of students who start coursework at community colleges go on to earn a degree or transfer their credits to a four-year institution. 

Could that alarming percentage be related to the staggering racial inequality that persists at community colleges? Only a quarter of community colleges could be considered racially integrated, according to one of the two reports. The second report examines what this segregation means for college success and completion.  

Reports Paul Fain for Inside Higher Ed:

The study found that colleges serving larger portions of black, Latino and Native American students generally scored worse on measures of student success, like transfer rates to four-year institutions or the numbers of degrees and certificates students earned.

For example, California community colleges with the smallest percentage of students from those minority groups – ranging from 12 to 22 percent of total enrollments – had six-year completion and transfer rates of 57 percent. But those "success" rates were 45 percent at colleges with the largest shares of underrepresented students (49 to 91 percent).

What will it take to reverse this alarming trend? College with student bodies comprised largely of minorities tend to be under-resourced, but the solution is more complex than simply increasing the resources available to these schools. Instead, the Century Foundation recommends a revision of federal funding criteria that creates more accountability. 
Read the full story here.

High school educators think students are more prepared than they are

High school teachers are far more likely to consider their students college-ready than the educators who greet those students in college, according to the ACT National Curriculum Survey for 2012.

Eighty-nine percent of high school educators reported that their students were "well" or "very well" prepared for college-level work in 2012, compared to just 26 percent of college educators. 

Reports The Washington Post:

Especially at the high school level, where there are differing degrees of familiarity with the improved standards, state and local efforts to implement the standards have not yet achieved their goals. This suggests that not enough teachers are yet ready for the necessary changes in curriculum that are likely to accompany the switch into a classroom environment driven by college- and career-ready standards.
Nevertheless, K–12 teachers tend to be generally optimistic about the value and potential effectiveness of college- and career-ready standards. This suggests that most of these teachers support the effort to improve standards and will work to help make it a success in the classroom. 
Read the full story here.

Increasing Latino student success in Memphis

Memphis is one of 13 communities across the nation that is receiving support from the Lumina Foundation and Excelencia in Education to improve college completion rates among Latino students.

Why Memphis? Why Latino students?

"Your prosperity depends in large part on the prosperity of your Latino population," says Margarita Benitez of the Lumina Foundation in this video from WREG Memphis. Check it out here and learn more about Lumina and Excelencia's Latino success initiatives here.

You're invited to learn more about Philadelphia's Graduation Coach Campaign

Members of the Talent Dividend Network are invited to learn more about the Philadelphia's high-impact Graduation Coach Campaign.
The Graduation Coach Campaign equips and empowers adults to help the young people in their lives earn a high school diploma and succeed in college and careers, and creates opportunities for individuals and community organizations to become more directly involved in helping students on the path to educational success.

The GCC targets adults who have pre-existing relationships with young people and provides training, information, and support regarding effective means to engage youth, expose youth to options and develop goals, and provide access to resources. A key initiative of the City's Council for College and Career Success and a signature initiative of Mayor Michael Nutter, the Campaign operates in close working partnership with a growing network of community-based organizations including 16 Anchor Agencies.
The two-hour introductory session on May 31 runs from 9:30 – 11:30am EDT.  You can attend in person or via videoconference. Interested cities may follow up by attending a two-day conference this summer, focused on spreading the effective practices of the campaign.
For more information and to register, contact Sarah Reyes at [email protected] or 215.686.2176.

APLU creates new MVP National Degree Completion Award

The Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) has established the Most Visible Progress (MVP) National Degree Completion Awards to recognize an APLU member university that has made significant progress in successfully retaining and graduating students. The awards are to assist in Project Degree Completion, the commitment statement signed by almost 500 public universities and colleges to boost college completion to 3.8 million bachelor's degrees by 2025. The awards will provide program models and strategies that will be disseminated through an interactive web database and a printed publication.
There will be two MVP Degree Completion Awards, to be presented at the APLU Annual Meeting in November 2013:
The MVP Trailblazer Award is a $20,000 award that will be used to further advance the institution's degree completion initiatives. The MVP Trailblazer Award will be given to one APLU university that has made exceptional progress in increasing retention toward or completion of a bachelor's degree during the last three years.
The MVP Opportunity Award is a $20,000 award that will be used to further advance the institutions degree completion initiatives. The MVP Opportunity Award will be given to one APLU university that has made exceptional progress in increasing retention toward or successful completion of a bachelor's degree for historically underrepresented and underserved students during the last three years.
The deadline to apply for the award is May 15, 2013. For more information including award eligibility, criteria and submission guidelines, visit here.

What motivates student success?

What makes some students more likely to succeed than others? It may have something to do with what motivates them, according to a new study from education researchers at the University of Rochester.

Reports Insider Higher Ed:

The study found that students motivated by a desire for autonomy and competence tended to earn higher grades and show a greater likelihood of persistence than did other students. (The findings were controlled for academic background and various other factors, and were based on surveys of 2,500 students at a community college and a liberal arts college that were not identified.)
Motivation tends to vary between socioeconomic groups, the study reports. Low-income students tend to be more motivated by the financial rewards of a college education, whereas wealthier students are likelier to be motivated by the pursuit of their interests. 

Read the full story here.

Ohio programs retain young, entrepreneurial talent

Retaining college graduates is part of the Talent Dividend equation, and lots of cities across the Talent Dividend are trying to tackle it. 

In Ohio, a number of programs are connecting entrepreneurial talent to opportunities, ensuring that they stay in the state to live and work. Reports hiVelocity:

Suprasanna Mishra and Steve Gacka might still be in college, but their entrepreneurial careers are well underway with jaw-dropping results. And it's all happening inside Ohio's borders courtesy of a welcoming business community and an array of in-state resources that cater to their professional and personal needs.
Mishra and fellow OSU undergrad Dustin Studer founded CapStory, a new social networking platform that puts privacy first, allowing users to create unique groups called "capsules" they access with any cell phone with text capacity. A capsule can share content, but keep it just between members.
"Ask anyone that's around my age," says Mishra, "and they will tell you they're getting sick of Facebook, simply because the privacy isn't there."
They pitched the idea to CincyTech, which funded CapStory to the tune of $100,000 last year. The boon was no fluke, but a deliberate daisy chain that goes all the way back to Mishra's high school days when he interned for Metro Innovation, which has ties to Cincinnati Innovates. Mishra followed that yellow brick road and ended up with winning $10,000 to develop StageShark, a concert connection platform.

Read the full story here.

Project Win-Win boosts degree completion

A national program has helped working adults with some college but no degree get back to school and complete associates and bachelor's degrees. Project Win-Win, backed by the Lumina Foundation and implemented with oversight from the Institute for Higher Education Policy, tracked students who were close to completion or in some cases had qualified for a degree without knowing it.

At central Missouri's Columbia College, the hunt for students on the verge of graduating worked so well that the school plans to broaden its efforts to find bachelor's degree candidates who are just one class shy of donning the cap and gown. The private liberal arts college has already awarded nearly 300 retroactive degrees, including one given posthumously to the mother of a deceased former student. Another two dozen students returned to campus to finish up after hearing from the school.
"If this was being done nationwide, it could make a difference," said Tery Donelson, Columbia College's assistant vice president for enrollment management.
Read the full story here.

How the government could fund public higher ed for all

Could the federal government afford to pay tuition for every public college student in America? 

What if we told you that the federal government already spends enough on student aid to foot that bill?

Writes Jordan Weissmann for The Atlantic:

Here's a little known fact: With what the federal government spent on its various and sundry student aid initiatives last year, it could have covered the tuition bill of every student at every public college in the country. Doing so might have required cutting off financial aid at Yale, Amherst, the University of Phoenix, and every other private university. But at this point, that might be a trade worth considering. 
Read the full story here.

Competency-based education is coming

It might be time to start planing a farewell party for the credit hour. A recent nudge from the federal government moves us closer to competency-based education and direct assessment of learned skills, or at least opens the door for more institutions to try it out.

Reports Paul Fain for Inside Higher Ed:

The support from Washington could lend a major boost to competency-based education, said Amy Laitinen, deputy director for higher education at the New America Foundation and a former department policy adviser.

"It's like a big neon sign saying 'use this,'" said Laitinen, who last year wrote a report that was critical of higher education's purported overreliance on the credit hour.

Federal lawmakers have increasingly clamored for colleges and regulators to experiment with creative delivery forms of higher education that have the potential to be affordable and take less time for students, particularly working adults, to get to graduation. Both President Obama and Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, in January seemed to open the door to competency-based education.
Read the full story here.

College completion efforts close the opportunity gap, create equality

Michigan is slightly ahead of the national figures for graduation rates; the state has also improved by a few percentage points in the last decade. But according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, we spend a lot for every certificate or degree: $75,879 versus $68,617 nationally.

Oakland University, in metro Detroit, recently hosted a conference designed to showcase some of the best practices among Michigan universities in getting students who start college to finish it. 

College completion can be a way to create those good citizens by closing the gap between rich and poor, says Syracuse professor Vincent Tinto, who gave the keynote speech at the conference. Much of Tinto's work has focused on ways to help low income students succeed in college, which is crucial to addressing the income inequalities that Tinto believes are harming America's productivity both nationally and on a global scale.
"Clearly, as we look toward the future, unless we are able to close that gap, we will never have reached the economic outcomes we want throughout the nation," Tinto explains. "Part of this is also a question about our international global competitiveness. I'm not only concerned about our ability to generate more students to help our economic development in the marketplace, but we're moving further behind individual nations and the world as a whole."

Read the full story here.

How to help veterans go back to school

About a million veterans will transition to civilan life over the next year, and community colleges across the country are helping some of them go back to school and finish their degrees. Now, the White House is throwing some weight behind programs that emphasize college completion. 

Veterans are an asset in the classroom, and community colleges provide an ideal setting for many vets. The challenge is how to encourage veterans to use resources provided by the VA, such as job training, and how to emphasize the importance of earning a degree or certificate.

Reports Community College Times: 

VA has other new programs that focus on helping veterans in college. The VetSuccess on Campus program places experienced vocational rehabilitation counselors on college campuses. They coordinate access to VA benefits while providing counseling to student veterans. The program started in 2011 on eight campuses and last year added 24 more colleges, including Salt Lake Community College (Utah), the Community College of Rhode Island, Kellogg Community College (Michigan), Washtenaw Community College (Michigan), Kalamazoo Valley Community College (Michigan), Tidewater Community College (Virginia) and Central New Mexico Community College. Another 32 colleges were recently invited to join.
Read the full story here.

How more collaboration could lead to better-prepared students

To make progress toward better-prepared college students, stop pointing fingers and start working together, writes Paul Fain for Inside Higher Ed.

Fain explores what's working at two community colleges -- Long Beach City College in Long Beach, CA and South Texas College in McAllen, TX -- that are collaborating with local school districts on strategies to lower remedial placement rates.

He writes:

Dual enrollment, an approach that President Obama lauded in his State of the Union earlier this week, is one of several ways South Texas has tried to boost the college preparedness of high school students, including pre-college counseling, academic camps, early college high schools and scholarship programs. But dual enrollment is the most extensive, and perhaps most appealing to students and their families, as the college waives tuition for participants.
Taken together, the high school partnerships have helped drive down remedial placement rates to 17 percent, an extremely low number for a college that serves a largely lower-income, first-generation college population. The remedial placement rate has dropped by 45 percent since 2004, and Shirley A. Reed, the college’s president, credits dual enrollment as being a big part of that improvement.
Read the full story here.

College attainment rates on the rise, reports Lumina Foundation

The college attainment rate rose from 37.9 percent in 2008 to 38.3 percent in 2010, while college attainment for young adults is over 39 percent. The gains, according to the Lumina Foundation, are small but promising. 

In response to this success, Lumina is adopting new tactics as part of a four-year strategic plan. Reports the Chronicle of Higher Education:

First, the foundation will seek to spur communities, employers, state and local lawmakers, and higher-education leaders to adopt specific goals and actions to increase the number of students who earn postsecondary credentials.
Second, Lumina will help colleges and states develop new business and finance models that will lead to higher levels of college attainment.
Read the full story here.
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