Adults Missing from State Financial Aid Programs

While the goal of many states is to increase postsecondary attainment, the structure of state financial aid programs may create barriers for students who do not go to college directly from high school.

Data from a survey commissioned by New America and conducted by Harris Poll found that the majority of students who are aware of state grants but don’t expect to receive one are over the age of 20.  So, why are so many returning adult students sure they will not receive state grant aid?

An examination of the five largest state financial aid programs (California, Florida, Georgia, New York and Texas) suggests that it is because adult students are either explicitly excluded or they face other barriers.  The data highlighted four major areas:

  • Students are eligible for a grant for a limited amount of time after graduation from high school
  • Income thresholds are low for independent students
  • A program requires reporting of information from high school, such as grades
  • A program has limited funding through a first come/first serve policy, additional competition, and/or increasing merit requirements.

Washington’s Four-Year College and Universities Forming Partnerships Across the World

In recent years, Washington’s public baccalaureates have forged valuable partnerships with colleges and universities around the world. These partnerships provide substantive opportunities for faculty to conduct valuable research, and for students to study abroad while increasing academic and experiential learning opportunities that increase their social capital in today’s globally oriented workforce.

You may have heard of the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) — the groundbreaking partnership between two of the world’s leading research universities, the University of Washington and Tsinghua University in China.  With $40 million in assistance from Microsoft, GIX will offer a 15-month Master of Science in Technology Innovation, with an initial cohort of 30-35 students starting in fall 2016.  According to a UW press release, “GIX will pioneer new models of global teaching and learning by directly connecting students and faculty through equal collaborations with research-led companies and non-profits in a holistic, project-based environment that will prepare students to help solve a range of global challenges, from the drive for sustainable development to the need for mobile health solutions.”  The number of associated universities, nonprofit organizations and businesses associated with GIX is expected to grow and help to serve an anticipated student population of 3,000 in ten years.

In addition, Central Washington University, which has official ties with 38 universities around the world, recently welcomed leaders from the University of Shimane Junior College in Shimane, Japan, with which CWU has enjoyed a 25-year partnership.  According to a CWU press release, “Over the years, both universities have provided student and faculty exchanges, short-term summer groups, and students from Shimane coming and studying for up to four quarters with the University English as a Second Language program. More than 600 Japanese students have taken part in the UESL program since it began.”

CWU is also one of just 12 colleges and universities across the nation recently chosen to participate in a U.S.-Cuban partnership program that could result in the establishment of a faculty and student exchange program between schools in both countries.

Finally, last fall EWU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas  in Ciudad Victoria, México that will allow for joint collaborations on research projects, grant opportunities, and academic programs.

New Report Suggests Emerging Outlook for College Graduates

In the most recent economic recovery, good jobs are growing and college graduates are the recipients.

As the title of a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce suggests, good jobs are back and college graduates are the first in line. Despite headlines that suggest low-wage jobs are the mainstay of the economic recovery, good jobs, defined as full-time jobs that pay $53,000 or more annually and provide health insurance and retirement plans, are making a comeback.

According to the report, 44% of jobs created were good jobs, the majority of which went to college graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher.  Middle and low-wage jobs are also recovering, but at a slower rate.

Getting to Know the Class of 2019

Born in 1997, the entering Class of 2019 has never licked a postage stamp and life has not existed without the presence of Google and email. Among those that have never been alive during their lifetime are Princess Diana, Mother Teresa and the Notorious B.I.G. Since they were born, hybrid cars have always been mass produced, and in a world of DNA testing the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington has never included a Vietnam War veteran “known only to God”.

The Beloit College Mindset List, released each year by Beloit College, offers a glimpse at the differences between generations and the cultural perspectives that shape the lives of students entering college.

In addition, this year’s list includes an addendum of terms for faculty to better understand how to effectively communicate with their students. Among the expressions are “TL DR” to mean too long didn’t read, and “Smartphone Shuffle” to mean the act of walking slowly or “shuffling” because you’re too preoccupied with tasks being done on your smartphone such as browsing the internet or texting.

“The Class of 2019 will enter college with high technology an increasing factor in how and even what they learn,” said Charles Westerberg, Director of the Liberal Arts in Practice Center and Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology at Beloit College. “They will encounter difficult discussions about privilege, race, and sexual assault on campus. They may think of the ‘last century’ as the twentieth, not the nineteenth, so they will need ever wider perspectives about the burgeoning mass of information that will be heading their way. And they will need a keen ability to decipher what is the same and what has changed with respect to many of these issues.”

Funding Child Care for College Students

Earlier this week presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton released a new plan focused on college access and affordability.  While much of the attention has centered on the proposals to reduce tuition and student debt, a smaller but potentially powerful portion of the plan has received less attention – provide more resources for child care.

Under Clinton’s plan, institutions could receive special grants if they increase investment in campus child care.

According to the Washington Post, more than one quarter of undergraduates in the United States are raising children, which equates to approximately 4.8 million degree-seekers.

U.S. Senate Education Committee Holds Hearing on Student Success

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held its eighth hearing on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The focus of this hearing was to find ways to improve student success.

The Chair of the Committee. Senator Alexander (R-TN) opened his remarks by observing that many students leave college with debt but no degree.

“Federal policy has emphasized access rather than completion, and we recognize that college students are adults who have the autonomy and responsibility for making decisions for themselves,” Alexander said. “So I think we need to find a way to encourage our over 6,000 institutions to prioritize and encourage student success without throwing a big, wet blanket of a federal mandate that smothers universities.”

Senator Murray, the minority leader on the committee, noted her commitment to college affordability, lowering student debt and the need to create clear pathways for students:

“To me, improving outcomes at colleges and universities is an important piece of our work to grow the economy from the middle out, not the top down. And the success of students today will help guarantee that our nation will be able to compete and lead the world in the years to come.”

The Committee heard from four witnesses, who gave remarks about how their institutions or organizations have found ways to improve outcomes for students. The witnesses included Stan Jones, president of Complete College America; R. Scott Ralls, president of the North Carolina Community College System; Timothy Renick, vice provost and vice president for enrollment management and student success at Georgia State University; and Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, director of young adults and postsecondary education at MDRC.

Higher Education in Congress: A Summary of Legislation

In recent weeks, Congress has seen the introduction of a slew of bills that could impact higher education. Discussions continue on a range of additional bills that may be introduced after the August recess.

Following is a recap of the bills which will likely be part of the conversation around the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act: