Buyer Beware: First-Year Earnings and Debt for 37,000 College Majors at 4,400 Institutions — from cew.georgetown.edu

Summary:

Did you know that in the first year after graduation you can make more money with an associate’s degree in nursing from Santa Rosa Junior College in California than with a graduate degree from some programs at Harvard University? Data from the College Scorecard reveal many more surprising details of post-college outcomes for students and families about that all-important first year after graduation. Buyer Beware: First-Year Earnings and Debt for 37,000 College Majors at 4,400 Institutions finds that first-year earnings for the same degree in the same major can vary by $80,000 at different colleges and universities. It also reveals that workers with less education can often make more than workers with more education, and that higher levels of education do not always result in higher student loan payments.

Speaking of Georgetown, also see:

In the U.S. alone, more than 39 million students leave college without a degree. Black, Latino, and Native American students are overrepresented in this population.

SCS’s program is designed to help students of all backgrounds complete their degrees and unlock their earning potential. The degree’s most recent on-campus cohort is composed of 62% students of color and 40% military-connected learners. SCS is introducing this fully online degree to scale this program to learners worldwide.

 

Can a Group of MIT Professors Turn a White Paper Into a New Kind of College? — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt:

A group of professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology dropped a provocative white paper in September that proposed a new kind of college that would address some of the growing public skepticism of higher education. This week, they took the next step toward bringing their vision from idea to reality.

That next step was holding a virtual forum that brought together a who’s who of college innovation leaders, including presidents of experimental colleges, professors known for novel teaching practices and critical observers of the higher education space.

The MIT professors who authored the white paper tried to make clear that even though they’re from an elite university, they do not have all the answers. Their white paper takes pains to describe itself as a draft framework and to invite input from players across the education ecosystem so they can revise and improve the plan.

IDEAS FOR DESIGNING An Affordable New Educational Institution

IDEAS FOR DESIGNING An Affordable New Educational Institution

The goal of this document is simply to propose some principles and ideas that we hope will lay the groundwork for the future, for an education that will be both more affordable and more effective.

Promotions and titles will be much more closely tied to educational performance—quality, commitment, outcomes, and innovation—than to research outcomes. 

 

The Shrinking of Higher Ed — A Special Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education
A special report on the implications of the enrollment contraction.

Excerpt:

Nearly 1.3 million students have disappeared from American colleges since the Covid-19 pandemic began. That enrollment contraction comes at a precarious moment for the sector. Inflation is driving up costs and straining budgets, stock-market volatility is putting downward pressure on endowment returns, and federal stimulus funds are running out. Why is the enrollment crunch happening now? How are colleges responding? What might turn things around? Those are the questions fueling this special report.

A Public Regional on the Edge — from chronicle.com by Eric Kelderman
New Jersey City University’s plan to grow its way out of financial trouble backfired. What went wrong?

Excerpts:

NJCU’s story is a cautionary tale for similar institutions — small public regional colleges with ambitions to expand in a crowded higher-education market. While its real-estate dealings have drawn unfavorable scrutiny, the university was responding to challenges that face its peers, in northern New Jersey and around the country: increased competition for a declining number of high-school graduates.

Public regional universities, like NJCU, enroll about 40 percent of all college students nationally, and a far larger percentage of minority, low-income, and first-generation students than better-known flagships and top research universities do.

But a lack of state support, limited ability to attract students from outside the region, and sparse fund raising have made the university vulnerable to economic downturns and demographic shifts that have led to fewer high-school graduates, especially in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

Linked to in the above article was this article:

Declining enrollment has Western Michigan University on budgetary tightrope — from mlive.com by Julie Mack

Excerpts:

KALAMAZOO, MI — Western Michigan University has 17,835 students this fall, its lowest enrollment since the 1960s.

The number is down 6% from last fall. Down 27% from a decade ago, when the fall headcount was 24,598. Down 41% from 20 years ago, when WMU’s fall count peaked at 29,732.

And thanks to a declining birthrate and a shrinking percentage of new high school graduates enrolling in college, that downward enrollment trend is likely to continue indefinitely.

Rather, “what COVID did was force our hand after years of pressure created by declining enrollment and demographic trends that suggest declines will continue for the next decade,” she said. “So while COVID brought our financial situation into sharp relief, the budget cut was a measure taken to relieve pressure created over many, many years.”


A relevant addendum here:

Avoiding the Trap of Too Little Too Late — from tytonpartners.com by Trace Urdan; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource

Excerpt:

The challenges facing higher education are well understood: a demographic cliff of traditional-aged applicants, a declining proportion of full-pay families, and a growing skepticism of the value of (ever-more) expensive post-secondary degrees with resulting student consumerism. Add to this rapidly rising technological complexity, deferred maintenance on deteriorating physical assets, escalating administrative costs associated with student services and supports, and a burgeoning array of college substitutes, and the challenges are clear. The combination of lower tuition revenue and higher costs points toward an inevitable sector consolidation. And while many college administrators will readily acknowledge this point in the abstract, few will consider that it might apply to them.

 

A student debt study unravels the American Dream ideal that college will propel you to the middle class — from fortune.com by Bytrey Williams with thanks to Ray Schroeder for this resource out on LinkedIn


Excerpts:

Looking at a cohort of borrowers from 2009, the report highlights that 50% of undergraduate debtors hadn’t repaid their loans. Across different types of loans, borrowers owed between 50% to 110% of their original loan 10 years after repayment began.

A college degree is undoing the American Dream
Getting a college degree has long been heralded as a staple to the American Dream, viewed as the path to wealth that will eventually buy a house in suburbs with a white picket fence. But the Jain Institute report shows that’s no longer the case.

 

2023 Higher Education Trend Watch — from educause.edu

Excerpt:

This report focuses on the workforce, cultural, and technological shifts for ten macro trends emerging in higher education in 2023. Across these three areas of shift, we report the major impacts and steps that institutions are taking in response to each trend. Some trends overlap with the 2022 Higher Education Trend Watch report. However, while some topics and issues remain consistent, significant shifts have occurred across many of the trends for 2023.

 

From DSC:
Will this become a trend within higher education (i.e., more transparent, accurate pricing)?


Why so many colleges have been resetting their tuition — from highereddive.com by Lilah Burke
Colby-Sawyer College is reducing its prices by 60% so tuition more accurately reflects what students pay. Other institutions are doing the same.

Excerpt:

Starting next academic year, Colby-Sawyer College will be decreasing tuition, but it’s not just shaving a few hundred dollars off its sticker price. The college is cutting its price from $46,364 to $17,500, a drop of more than 60%.

The move, said President Susan Stuebner, is intended to make more students consider attending the private New Hampshire college.

“We really recognize the need for transparency in pricing and we’re trying to align the published price more closely with what students currently pay,” she said.

But for Stuebner at Colby-Sawyer, the choice was clear. 

“The pattern of higher education being on this trajectory of high-price, high-discount has just gotten so confusing for families. We’re really doing a disservice to them,” she said. “And they’re starting to push back.”

 

Coursera is Evolving into a Third-Wave EdTech Company — from eliterate.us by Michael Feldstein

Excerpts:

This is the vision of Coursera’s three-sided platform at scale, connecting learners, educators and institutions in a global learning ecosystem designed to keep pace with our rapidly changing world.

Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda

Coursera's diversified model with 3 segments -- consumer, enterprise, and degrees

The point of this slide is to show the diversification of Coursera’s business. Degree programs may be down, but enterprise licenses and direct-to-consumer certificates are up. But it also indicates Coursera’s ability to diversify revenue streams for its university content providers. The enterprise business provides a distribution channel between universities and employers. From what I can tell, it’s a Guild competitor, even though the two companies look very different on the surface. The consumer segment started as the MOOC business and has expanded into the “tweener” space between courses and degrees: certificates, microdegrees, whatever.

 

How to Stanch Enrollment Loss — from chronicle.com by Jeff Selingo
It’s time to stop pretending the problem will fix itself.

Excerpt:

The latest enrollment numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, for the fall of 2022, paint an ominous picture for higher education coming out of the pandemic. Even in what many college leaders have called a “normal” fall on campuses, enrollment was down 1.1 percent across all sectors. And while the drop was smaller than the past two Covid-stricken fall semesters, colleges across every sector still have lost more than a million students since the fall of 2019.

At some point, colleges need to stop blaming the students who sat out the pandemic or the economic factors and social forces buffeting higher education for enrollment losses. Instead, institutions should look at whether the student experience they’re offering and the outcomes they’re promising provide students with a sense of belonging in the classroom and on campus and ultimately a purpose for their education.


The Key Podcast | Ep.91: The Pros and Cons of HyFlex Instruction — from insidehighered.com with Doug Lederman, Enilda Romero-Hall and Alanna Gillis

Excerpt:

During the pandemic, many colleges and universities embraced a form of blended learning called HyFlex, to mixed reviews. Is it likely to be part of colleges’ instructional strategy going forward?

This week’s episode of The Key explores HyFlex, in which students in a classroom learn synchronously alongside a cohort of peers studying remotely. HyFlex moved from a fringe phenomenon to the mainstream during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the experience was imperfect at best, for professors and students alike.

This conversation about the teaching modality features two professors who have both taught in the HyFlex format and done research on its impact.

From DSC:
When I worked for a law school, we had a Weekend Blended Learning Program.  Student evaluations of these courses constantly mentioned that these WBLP-based courses saved many students hundreds of dollars for each particular class that we offered online (i.e., cost savings in flights, hotels, meals, rental cars, parking fees, etc.).

Another thought/idea:

  • What if traditional institutions of higher education were to offer tiered pricing? That is, perhaps students participating remotely could listen in and even audit classes, but pay less.

Colleges should use K-12 performance assessments for course placement, report says — from highereddive.com by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf

Dive Brief:

  • Colleges should use K-12 performance assessments like capstone papers or portfolios for student course placements and advising, according to a recent report.
  • Typical methods of determining students’ placement in early college classes — like standardized tests — don’t fully illustrate their interests and academic potential, according to the report, which was published by postsecondary education access group Complete College America. Conversely, K-12 performance assessments ask students to demonstrate real-world skills, often in a way that ends with a tangible product.
  • The organizations recommend colleges and K-12 schools mesh their processes, such as by mutually developing a high school graduation requirement around performance assessments. This would help strengthen the K-12 school-college relationship and ease students’ transition from high school to college, the report states.

From DSC:
I post this particular item because I like the tighter integration that’s being recommended between K12 and higher education. It seems like better overall learning ecosystems design, design thinking, and on-ramping.

Along these lines, also see:

How Higher Ed Can Help Remedy K-12 Learning Losses — from insidehighered.com by Johanna Alonso
Low national scores have spurred discussion of how K-12 schools can improve student performance. Experts think institutions of higher education can help.

Excerpt:

Now educators at all levels are talking about ways to reverse the declines. Higher education leaders have already added supports for college students who suffered pandemic-related learning losses; many now aim to expand their efforts to help K-12 students who will eventually arrive on their campuses potentially with even more ground to make up.

It’s hard to tell yet what these supports will look like, but some anticipate they will involve strengthening the developmental education infrastructure that already exists for underprepared students. Others believe universities must play a role in the interventions currently ongoing at the K-12 level.


Also see:

CIN EdTech Student Survey | October 2022 — from wgulabs.org

Excerpt:

Our report shares three key takeaways:

  1. Students’ experiences with technology-enabled learning have improved since 2021.
  2. Students want online learning but institutions must overcome perceptions of lower learning quality.
  3. Students feel generally positive about an online-enabled future for higher education, but less so for themselves..

5 things colleges can do to help save the planet from climate change — from highereddive.com by Anthony Knerr
A strategy consultant explores ways colleges can improve sustainability.

Overwhelming demand for online classes is reshaping California’s community colleges — from latimes.com by Debbie Truongs; with thanks to Ray Schroeder out on LinkedIn for this resource

Excerpt:

Gallegos is among the thousands of California community college students who have changed the way they are pursuing higher education by opting for online classes in eye-popping numbers. The demand for virtual classes represents a dramatic shift in how instruction is delivered in one of the nation’s largest systems of public higher education and stands as an unexpected legacy of the pandemic.

Labster Hits Milestone of 300 Virtual Science Lab Simulations — from businesswire.com
Award-winning edtech pioneer adds new STEM titles and extensive product enhancements for interactive courseware for universities, colleges, and high schools

Excerpt:

Labster provides educators with the ability to digitally explore and enhance their science offerings and supplement their in-classroom activities. Labster virtual simulations in fields such as biology, biochemistry, genetics, biotechnology, chemistry, and physics are especially useful for pre- and post-lab assignments, so science department leads can fully optimize the time students spend on-site in high-demand physical laboratories.

AAA partners with universities to develop tech talent — from ciodive.com by Lindsey Wilkinson
Through tech internships and for-credit opportunities, the auto club established a talent pipeline that has led to new feature development.

5 enrollment trends to keep an eye on for fall 2022 — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
Although undergraduate and graduate enrollment are both down, some types of institutions saw notable increases, including HBCUs and online colleges.

 

How do colleges decide when to schedule courses? — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer

Dive Brief (excerpt):

  • Two-thirds of colleges are thinking about the courses students will need to complete their degrees on time when they build their schedules, according to a survey released Tuesday by Ad Astra, a scheduling software and analytics provider.
  • Meanwhile, 51% said they considered when they could offer courses to help students avoid conflicts in their schedules, and 30% looked at balancing in-person, online and hybrid courses.
  • Almost two-thirds of respondents, 65%, said they use retention rates and enrollment ratios to gauge the effectiveness of a course schedule.

From DSC:
This is a tough one, as faculty members and staff members have obligations outside of work as well. They may have families. They may need to transfer kids to/from school or drop them off at music lessons, sporting events, etc. So many people working within higher education like to keep to “normal business hours” as much as possible. Obviously, that’s not always true and I’m likely painting with too broad a paintbrush.

That said, online-based learning opens up a lot of possibilities for faculty members as well as for students. Schedules can often be opened up quite a bit. This level of flexibility is becoming increasingly important, given the prices of obtaining degrees out there. Students often need to work as well — and their places of employment don’t always provide the required flexibility.

 

Higher Education in Motion: The Digital and Cultural Transformations Ahead — from er.educause.edu by John O’Brien

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

In 2015 when Janet Napolitano, then president of the University of California, responded to what she saw as a steadily growing “chorus of doom” predicting the demise of higher education, she did so with a turn of phrase that captured my imagination and still does. She said that higher education is not in crisis. “Instead, it is in motion, and it always has been.”

A brief insert by DSC:
Yes. In other words, it’s a learning ecosystem — with constant morphing & changing going on.

“We insisted then, and we continue to insist now, that digital transformation amounts to deep and coordinated change that substantially reshapes the operations, strategic directions, and value propositions of colleges and universities and that this change is enabled by culture, workforce, and technology shifts.

The tidal movement to digital transformation is linked to a demonstrably broader recognition of the strategic role and value of technology professionals and leaders on campus, another area of long-standing EDUCAUSE advocacy. For longer than we have talked about digital transformation, we have insisted that technology must be understood as a strategic asset, not a utility, and that senior IT leaders must be part of the campus strategic decision-making. But the idea of a strategic role for technology had disappointing traction among senior campus leaders before 2020.

From DSC:
The Presidents, Provosts, CIO’s, board members, influential faculty members, and other members of institutions’ key leadership positions who didn’t move powerfully forward with online-based learning over the last two+ decades missed the biggest thing to hit societies’ ability to learn in 500+ years — the Internet. Not since the invention of the printing press has learning had such an incredible gust of wind put in its sails. The affordances have been staggering, with millions of people now being educated in much less expensive ways (MOOCs, YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, other). Those who didn’t move forward with online-based learning in the past are currently scrambling to even survive. We’ll see how many close their doors as the number of effective alternatives increases.

Instead of functioning as a one-time fix during the pandemic, technology has become ubiquitous and relied upon to an ever-increasing degree across campus and across the student experience.

Moving forward, best of luck to those organizations who don’t have their CIOs at the decision-making table and reporting directly to the Presidents — and hopefully those CIO’s are innovative and visionary to begin with. Best of luck to those institutions who refuse to look up and around to see that the world has significantly changed from the time they got their degrees.

The current mix of new realities creates an opportunity for an evolution and, ideally, a synchronized reimagination of higher education overall. This will be driven by technology innovation and technology professionals—and will be made even more enduring by a campus culture of care for students, faculty, and staff.

Time will tell if the current cultures within many traditional institutions of higher education will allow them to adapt/change…or not.


Along the lines of transformations in our learning ecosystems, also see:


OPINION: Let’s use the pandemic as a dress-rehearsal for much-needed digital transformation — from hechingerreport.org by Jean-Claude Brizard
Schools must get ready for the next disruption and make high-quality learning available to all

Excerpts:

We should use this moment to catalyze a digital transformation of education that will prepare schools for our uncertain future.

What should come next is an examination of how schools can more deeply and deliberately harness technology to make high-quality learning accessible to every learner, even in the wake of a crisis. That means a digital transformation, with three key levers for change: in the classroom, in schools and at the systems level.

Platforms like these help improve student outcomes by enhancing teachers’ ability to meet individual students’ needs. They also allow learners to master new skills at their own pace, in their own way.

As Digital Transformation in Schools Continues, the Need for Enterprising IT Leaders Grows — from edtechmagazine.com by Ryan Petersen

K-12 IT leaders move beyond silos to make a meaningful impact inside and outside their schools.According to Korn Ferry’s research on enterprise leadership, “Enterprise leaders envision and grow; scale and create. They go beyond by going across the enterprise, optimizing the whole organization and its entire ecosystem by leading outside what they can control. These are leaders who see their role as being a participant in diverse and dynamic communities.”

 

 

‘A tipping point for higher ed’: Google launches new, low-cost online programs for high-demand jobs — from fortune.com by Sydney Lake

Excerpt:

Higher education has benefits ranging from career development to skill building to network development—but it certainly can come at a high cost. The average cost of college in the U.S. is more than $35,000 per year, according to the Education Data Initiative. And these students average about $37,000 in student loan debt.

Lisa Gevelber, founder of Grow with Google, came to the tech giant with a proposition: Help people “realize their full economic potential” by offering low-cost educational programs focused on high-demand industries. In 2017, Gevelber saw her idea come to life when Google committed $1 billion toward this Grow with Google mission, and the following year the tech giant launched the Google Career Certificates.

[On 10/13/22], Grow with Google takes this program a step further by developing university-industry partnerships. Grow with Google tells Fortune exclusively of the launch of its partnerships with top universities to offer specialized career certificates. These specialized programs build on Grow with Google’s existing programs, but offer more industry-specific take on the material.

 

77% of adults think it would be hard to pay for college, according to survey — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer

Excerpt:

  • Women were more likely than men to call a college education unaffordable, 82% vs. 73%. The survey found 80% of Black respondents, 78% of Hispanic respondents, and 77% of White respondents said college would be difficult to afford.
  • Community colleges and two-year colleges were viewed as the most affordable option — 65% of respondents said they considered them affordable. That was ahead of vocational and professional certificate programs, which 57% of respondents viewed as affordable.
 

More Than 3 in 4 Americans Believe College Is Difficult to Afford — from morningconsult.com by Amanda Jacobson Snyder
And about half of U.S. adults say in-state public universities are “not affordable,” as shifting trends in enrollment may make flagship state schools seem financially out of reach

Excerpt:

  • A college education is widely perceived as unaffordable for most Americans, with 77% of U.S. adults saying a college degree would be difficult for someone like them to afford.
  • 82% of women said a college degree would be difficult to afford, compared with 73% of men.
  • Roughly 4 in 5 Black and Hispanic adults said college would be difficult to afford.
 

Why aren’t people going to college? — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
Many of those who didn’t enroll or complete degrees say college was too expensive — but they also cite stress and career uncertainty, new research finds.

Excerpts:

Researchers offered four main insights for higher education:

  • Who attends college isn’t just a demographic question
  • The education marketplace is fundamentally different today than it has been in the past
  • Higher education’s language is missing the mark, and so are educational pathways
  • Students are willing to pay for college if they know returns will follow

Also relevant/see:

Some High-School Grads Say No to College. Here’s Why — and What Might Change Their Minds. — from chronicle.com by Audrey Williams June

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The data also underscore how the education marketplace has shifted in recent years, said Adam Burns, chief operations officer and senior research analyst for Edge Research, during a media call. For instance, nearly 47 percent of the young adults surveyed said they had taken a class offered via YouTube or were currently doing so.

“As we all know,” Burns said, “there are more educational options at people’s disposal than ever before.”

MIT Professors Propose a New Kind of University for Post-COVID Era — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt:

Five professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have some answers.

They released a white paper yesterday called “Ideas For Designing An Affordable New Educational Institution,” where they lay out a framework for essentially a new class of university that would take advantage of various trends that have emerged in the past few years.

 

The Public’s Growing Doubts About College ‘Value’ — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman
Americans aren’t questioning the importance of higher education, but they’re concerned it is unaffordable and unavailable for too many people. Experts dig into the data.

Excerpt:

After decades of almost unquestioned public support as some of America’s most valued institutions, colleges and universities are facing growing questions—not about whether higher education remains important but whether it’s available, affordable and valuable enough.

An episode of Inside Higher Ed’s The Key podcast recently explored the public’s evolving attitudes toward higher education, part of a three-part series on the concept of “value” in higher education…

Thousands of Students Take Courses Through Unaccredited Private Companies. Here’s a Look Into One of Them. — from chronicle.com by  Taylor Swaak

Excerpts:

A growing number of students are taking courses offered by unaccredited private companies and completing them in a matter of days or weeks — often for less than $200 — and then transferring the credits to colleges.

That growth comes in response to a perfect storm of skyrocketing higher-education costs, more adult learners seeking flexibility, and drops in enrollment that have spurred colleges to beef up retention and re-engagement efforts with “stopped-out” students.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian