Research to Ensure Access and Success in Higher Education

By | News

A push to improve student success by providing access to high-quality online, blended, and competency-based education (CBE) led to establishment of the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) in October 2014. The United States Department of Education (USDoE) had received funding from the U.S. Congress in order to provide higher education the attention and resources to better understand the impact of distance education, and these resources supported the launch of a much-needed effort to identify and document key factors that impact student access and success — DETA.

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Debunking myths about college tuition

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The report aims to debunk four “myths” about tuition increases, and at the top is “Faculty are to blame for rising tuition.” To counter this, the report compares the five-year change in “average net price tuition” — cost of attendance less financial aid — to faculty pay increases.

Nationally, the report says, net price tuition rose about 6.5 percent. By comparison full-time faculty salaries declined 0.12 percent. The report doesn’t offer five-year data for individual institutions, but does give average salaries for the 2012-13 school year — the latest available federal data — and percent change from the previous year for most local colleges and universities.

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Lumina report addresses college achievement gap, calls for reform

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Although more students are earning college degrees, there is still a nationwide achievement gap that leaves the United States’ workforce demands unmet, a Thursday report by the Lumina Foundation found.

The percentage of jobs requiring a college degree will rise from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2020, the report stated. To address this demand, the report suggests encouraging people to finish their degrees and recognizing diverse forms of learning and credentials.

“For America to truly prosper, for the nation to attain not just individual opportunity and economic security, but social justice and cohesion, an increased sense of urgency is needed to expand college success dramatically, and in all directions,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, in a Thursday press release.

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College preparedness over the years, according to NAEP

By | News

For almost a decade, the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, studied whether and how NAEP could “plausibly estimate” the percentage of U.S. students who “possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities in reading and mathematics that would make them academically prepared for college.”

After much analysis and deliberation, the board settled on cut scores on NAEP’s twelfth-grade assessments that indicated that students were truly prepared—163 for math (on a three-hundred-point scale) and 302 for reading (on a five-hundred-point point scale). The math cut scores fell between NAEP’s basic (141) and proficient (176) achievement levels; for reading, NAGB set the preparedness bar right at proficient (302).

When the 2013 test results came out last year, NAGB reported the results against these benchmarks for the first time, finding that 39 percent of students in the twelfth-grade assessment sample met the preparedness standard for math and 38 percent did so for reading.

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Online courses might offer a path to more degrees – and to reducing the carbon footprint

By | News

lder students who don’t want the full on-campus experience – and the costs associated with it – might be served effectively through high-quality online college degree programs, according to a new report.

And that might reduce the carbon footprint, too, saving money for both college and student.

The typical student pursuing an online degree through Arizona State University is a 31-year-old woman with a job who started college elsewhere and is seeking a place to complete it, according to a report the university released this week at the annual ASU+GSV Summit, a conference for people interested in education innovation.

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College Attainment Progress Won’t Meet 2025 Goal

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Despite several years of state and national efforts, the United States is producing nowhere near enough adults with a postsecondary education to meet its college attainment goal to meet workforce needs in the next 10 years, according to a new report from the Lumina Foundation.

Although incremental progress has been made, if current trends continue, the U.S. will still fall short by 19.8 million college credentials in 2025. The percentage of American adults between the ages of 25 and 64 with at least an associate degree increased from 37.9 percent in 2008 to 40 percent in 2013 – the most recent data available – for a total of 2.8 million additional credentials.

Previous research from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce has shown roughly two-thirds of jobs will require some sort of postsecondary education by 2020.

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The Urgency of Increasing Higher Education Attainment in America

By | News

As postsecondary skills have become essential to success for millions of Americans, few would argue that our nation has all of the talent it needs to prosper. New data reveal that our country risks falling behind in a global race — the competition for innovation and, above all else, talent — unless actions are taken now to significantly increase postsecondary attainment.

Projections by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce show that more than 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by the end of this decade. And yet, according to Lumina Foundation‘s just-released annual Stronger Nation report on postsecondary attainment rates across America, only 40 percent of working-age adults (ages 25-64) now hold at least a two-year degree.

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WSJ: Education Does Reduce Inequality

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In recent months some of the leading economic minds in the country have declared that when it comes to explaining rising inequality, education doesn’t matter. Larry Summers, former Treasury secretary and former president of Harvard, said at the National Press Club in February that it’s an “evasion” to suggest education and training as a solution to inequality.

“The core problem is that there aren’t enough jobs,” Mr. Summers said. “If you help some people, you could help them get the jobs, but then someone else won’t get…

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Tax Credits Don’t Necessarily Boost College Attendance, Research Finds

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The federal government spent $23 billion last year on tax credits to families paying for college. Despite the generous payout, the funds likely didn’t do much to boost college attendance, according to a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Higher-education tax credits, which have been around since 1997 and then were expanded significantly in 2009, don’t affect whether or where students enroll, or what other financial aid they receive, according to economists George B. Bulman ofUniversity of California, Santa Cruz, and Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford University.

One big reason the money doesn’t make much difference in whether someone decides to go to college, or what school they attend, is the timing of the credit. Tuition bills arrive an average of nine or 10 months before a family would receive any tax credit, so the upfront costs remain an obstacle to many families.

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FutureMakers Coalition Launches

By | Press Releases
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Goal to increase region’s higher education completion to 40 percent by 2025


FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 18, 2015) – More than 80 business, government, education, workforce and economic development leaders recently joined together to launch a regional cohort, FutureMakers Coalition.

The goal of the FutureMakers Coalition is to increase the number of people in Southwest Florida with high-quality degrees, certificates, and other credentials to 40 percent by the year 2025.

“Currently 27 percent of the workforce in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry counties has some sort of post-secondary degree,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Coalition’s backbone organization. “With targeted funding, legislation and uniting groups around the same goal, we expect to be able to meet this milestone by 2025.”

The FutureMakers Coalition was born out of a regional initiative last year, which was supported by a team of more than a dozen stakeholders focusing on strengthening Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry counties. FutureMakers took an active role in aiding high-school seniors through one-on-one and group mentoring, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) workshops and support, and career coaching.

After one year, the work of FutureMakers was recognized by Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation will serve as the coordinator for regional participation, and the FutureMakers Coalition will benefit from Lumina’s collaborative approach that connects Southwest Florida to renowned national thought-leadership organizations and provides technical and planning assistance, data tools and flexible funding as attainment plans are customized. Lumina has a network of 75 cities that make up Lumina’s Community Partnership for Attainment network. The network includes Southwest Florida and is now closed.

“It’s not just degrees that we will focus on but ‘industry-recognized certifications’ that can help people land better jobs and are key to economic and workforce development,” Owen added. “Higher education can lead to better jobs and a higher quality of life.”

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $80 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $60 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, the Foundation granted more than $2.8 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. The Foundation granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $400,000 in regional community impact grants and additional $450,000 in scholarship grants.


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