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Posts Tagged ‘postsecondary’

NCES Report Examines Gaps in Higher Education Access and Persistence

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

In 2008, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Education to produce a report examining the gaps in educational participation and attainment of White males versus Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander males, and the participation and attainment of their female counterparts. This month, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the report, and the findings indicate that gaps in persistence and access continue. The findings include:

Read the full report: Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

 

By Kara in Research
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Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Proposes Cutting Education Spending

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Last week Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his Plan for a Stronger Middle Class, which lays out his plan for increasing jobs and wages. In it, he proposes giving people greater access to affordable and effective higher education options, and focusing job training programs on skills that align with employment opportunities.

However, Governor Romney’s plan also indicates that as President he would immediately reduce non-defense discretionary spending by five percent. A five percent cut to the Department of Education’s discretionary spending would result in a reduction of $3.4 billion (based on FY12 discretionary appropriations).

The plan also calls for capping federal spending below 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Currently, total federal spending in FY12 is 23.4 percent of GDP. To reduce federal spending to 20 percent of GDP would require an aggregate cut of nine percent per year for the next decade. But since Governor Romney opposes cutting defense spending, as well as cutting Social Security for those 55 and over, that would actually result in cuts of between 29 and 40 percent for remaining programs over the next 10 years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And remember, these potential cuts to non-defense discretionary programs (like education) would be in addition to the cuts and spending caps currently required by the Budget Control Act.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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New Search Tool for Postsecondary Education Research

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

A new online database from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and the Lumina Foundation connects users, particularly policy makers and postsecondary education decision makers, with the latest in research on postsecondary education and college success.

The resources available on PolicyDirect have been vetted by expert fellows from IHEP and Lumina. The Web site prompts users to enter a question or topic related to postsecondary education into a search field. By entering “career technical education” with the quantitative metric, for example, users have immediate access to nearly 100 reports on the topic.

Each result includes a brief summary of a report and a link to the full article or publication. Users can also sort results by key metrics – qualitative, quantitative, cost effective, scalable, insightful, and enduring- to refine their query and access the most relevant results.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research
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Department Issues Guidance in Response to Court’s Gainful Employment Ruling

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

As we reported last week, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has vacated part of the U.S. Department of Education’s gainful employment regulations. The Court instructed the Department to review the regulations for further action. The Department is now evaluating next steps, but in the interim has released the following guidance for postsecondary institutions.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Court Strikes Down Portion of Gainful Employment Regulations

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has vacated part of the U.S. Department of Education’s gainful employment regulations related to the debt-repayment measure. Under the regulations, career training programs that receive federal financial aid must show that they “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.” One measure schools were asked to use to show this was that 35 percent of their graduates are repaying their loans. The court ruled that 35 percent is “arbitrary and capricious,” and not based on any expert study or industry standard. While the court ruled that the Department had the authority to issue gainful employment regulations, they will now have to reexamine their benchmarks for loan repayment rates.

The court also struck down other provisions of the regulations, including one that requires institutions to get approval from the U.S. Education Department before offering new career training programs. Meanwhile, the court upheld reporting requirements related to program costs, on-time graduation rates, placement rates, and median loan debt.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Sequestration, Student Loan Rates

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Congress Asks OMB for Detailed Impact of Sequestration

While there has been much talk about the devastating impact of sequestration on federally-funded programs, there have not been a lot of details to help states and districts prepare. To help increase transparency around this issue, Senators Patty Murray (WA) and John McCain (AZ) recently introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Farm Bill that would require the Office of Management of Budget to submit to Congress a detailed analysis of the impact of sequestration cuts on both defense and non-defense discretionary programs, including education programs like Perkins. Specifically, it would require OMB to provide figures for the number of educator job lost, the number of students no longer able to access education programs, and education resources lost by states and districts. This report would have to be completed within 60 days of the Farm Bill’s passage. If the bill does not pass, the Senators intend to attach the amendment to any future bills that the Senate takes up.

In the House, the Budget Committee unanimously reported H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012. Like the Murray-McCain amendment, this bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to detail how defense and non-defense programs would be affected by the automatic cuts.

Deal Reached on Student Loan Interest Rates

Democrats and Republicans in Congress have reached a deal to prevent the interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1, 2012. The deal will extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans for one year. The extension will be paid for through two offsets. First, changes would be made to pension plans. The second, smaller offset would affect students: limiting how long new borrowers could receive in-school interest subsidies to 150 percent of the average time it takes to complete a degree. Currently there are no limits.

The House and Senate are scheduled to vote today on the bill to which this provision is attached. We will keep you updated on any developments.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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More Transparency Needed on Postsecondary Performance and Outcomes, Report Finds

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released last week the latest in its Leaders and Laggards series that examines the performance and policy of public postsecondary institutions.

The report grades state performance and policy on six areas:

1)      Student Access and Success
2)     Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness
3)     Meeting Labor Market Demand
4)     Transparency and Accountability
5)     Policy Environment
6)     Innovation

The ICW Web site features a state-by-state report card showing how states measure up in each of the six areas. Findings from the report show that:

Four-Year Completion Rates: In most states, only half of students at four-year public colleges complete a degree; in 17 states, less than half of all first-time bachelors-seeking students complete a degree within six years.

Two-Year Completion Rates: Only one state has a two-year college statewide graduation rate above 50 percent, while more than half of states have a two-year completion rate at or below 25 percent. In 13 states, less than 15 percent of students who started at a two-year college graduated within 150 percent of the normal time to degree.

Cost of Postsecondary Education: Thirty-three states spend over $50,000 in education and related expenses per two-year college credential, and 13 spend more than $65,000.

Linking Postsecondary Data to Labor Market: Only 22 states have systems in place to track the success of graduates once they enter the labor force and to make those data public. Only four states allow prospective students and taxpayers to compare labor market outcomes across institutions and programs.

Comparing Postsecondary Outcomes Across States: Just four states measure and make public student outcomes in a way that is comparable across states, making it difficult for states and individuals to see if their investments in postsecondary education are paying off.

Overall, most states have not yet developed ways to measure and make public the quality of their postsecondary institutions and programs. Though several states have made visible improvements, most still fall short of providing the comprehensive data and transparency needed to strengthen state policies and improve public postsecondary education.

The authors of the report make several broad recommendations for reform at the state level.

View the entire report: Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Public Postsecondary Education.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, SLDS Grants

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

House Labor-HHS-Education Mark Up Pushed to July

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education had intended to mark up its FY13 appropriations bill this week. However, the markup has been postponed until after the July 4th recess.  We will keep you posted on the new date. In the meantime, please see last week’s blog post about the importance of contacting your Representative about the critical need to maintain Perkins funding. There is still time!

Latest Round of SLDS Grant Winners Announced

The Institute for Education Sciences recently announced the list of 24 states that were awarded the latest round of State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grants. The grants were awarded in three priority areas:

  1. The design, development, and implementation of a statewide, longitudinal kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) data system;
  2. The development and linking of early childhood data with the State’s K-12 data system; or
  3. The development and linking of postsecondary and/or workforce data with the State’s K-12 data system.

Nine states received grants under Priority 1 (K-12); one state received a Priority 2 (early childhood) grant, and fourteen states were awarded Priority 3 (postsecondary/workforce) grants. The winners of the grants to link K-12 data with postsecondary and/or workforce data, which may be of most interest to you, are:

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Certificates Account for 22 Percent of All Postsecondary Awards, Report Says

Monday, June 18th, 2012

A new report from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce finds that, if certificates counted towards college completion metrics, the United States would leap forward in international rankings from 15th to 10th place for total postsecondary completions.

The number of certificates awarded in the United States now makes up 22 percent of all postsecondary awards. Certificate programs, which generally take around one year to complete, offer shorter term, occupation-focused programs. According to Georgetown’s study, certificate-holders spend less time in the classroom but often earn more than those with associate degrees, and, sometimes, even those with four-year degrees.

Further, more than one-third of certificate holders also hold an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree. Of these individuals, two-thirds earned their certificate first before completing further education.

Experts agree that many jobs in the future will require at least some postsecondary education and training, yet only half students who start college complete a degree. Certificates offer shorter term, occupation-focused programs, most of which take less than a year to complete and can open doors to promotions and new job opportunities for workers.

In 2010, over one million certificates were awarded, up from 300,000 certificates awarded in 1994.

Click here to view the report.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in News, Research, Resources
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Legislative Update: Appropriations

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Perkins Level Funded in Senate Spending Bill

This week the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education marked up their FY13 appropriation bill, which allocated approximately $158 billion to be divided up among its programs, including the Perkins Act. We are happy to report that Perkins was level funded. Given threats to non-defense discretionary programs from sequestration and other budget proposals, we think that level funding is a victory. Thank you to all of you who made outreach to your Senators! Hearing from constituents really can make a difference.

The full Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Labor-HHS-Education bill yesterday by a party-line vote of 16-14. The bill proposes to change the name of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education to the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. In order for this to happen the House would also have to propose such a change in their bill or agree to the change in conference.

During the mark up the full Committee approved an amendment to restore Pell grant eligibility for Ability to Benefit (ATB) students participating in career pathway programs. Pell eligibility for ATB students was eliminated in the FY12 appropriations bill.

Contact Your Representative Today to Maintain Perkins Act Funding!

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee Chairman Denny Rehberg (MT) previously stated that his subcommittee would not mark up their appropriations bill until after the Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act. We are now hearing that he plans to mark up their bill on June 20th.

If your Representative is a member of the Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee, we urge you contact them today and ask that they maintain Perkins Act funding. Because the House’s allocation for education and labor programs is lower than that of the Senate, it is even more important that House members hear from constituents about the importance of Perkins and CTE in helping to prepare students for jobs that remain unfilled, and in turning around the economy. There is a greater possibility that Perkins could be cut in this  House bill.

House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee members:

Call Your Member of Congress TODAY!

If you have any questions or to update NASDCTEc on your contact with Congress, please call Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager, at 301-588-9630 or email her at [email protected]

By Nancy in Legislation
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