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.

 

What the Faltering OPM Market Means for Colleges — from chronicle.com by Phil Hill
Even institutions not involved with the companies should take heed.

Excerpts:

It turns out that the OPM business is a difficult one. And colleges with online programs — whether or not they use OPMs — can take a handful of important lessons away from the recent developments.

Long-term contracts might not be viable. What happens to an online program if the OPM company helping manage the program with complicated contractual terms gets bought or starts operating at a reduced level? That is no longer a theoretical question. Colleges need to become much more sophisticated when they enter into contracts, coming up with real contingency plans and terms that can end partnerships without harming the underlying academic programs.

 

Transfer enrollment declined 13.5% since the pandemic started — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that transfer enrollment had declined twice as much as nontransfer enrollment.

Excerpt:

Transfer enrollment at colleges and universities has declined 13.5% since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, representing a loss of nearly 300,000 students.

That’s according to the latest figures from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which based the findings on a fixed panel of institutions that collectively enroll more than 13 million undergraduate students.

Also relevant/see:

 

From DSC:
I signed up to receive some items from Outlier.org. Here’s one of the emails that I recently received. It seems to me that this type of thing is going to be hard to compete against:

  • Professionally-done content
  • Created by teams of specialists, including game designers
  • Hand-picked professors/SME’s — from all over the world
  • Evidence-based learning tools

Outlier dot org could be tough to compete against -- professional-executed content creation and delivery

 

8 big questions as colleges start fall 2022 — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
Will higher ed’s financial picture clear? Can campuses innovate? Is a new generation of presidents ready to rise to the moment?

Excerpt:

Can colleges innovate?
Observers wonder whether the higher education sector is ready to make the changes necessary to meet the moment, like becoming more flexible, serving a wider range of students and containing costs. Higher ed leaders have been discussing certain priorities for years amid projections of diversifying student bodies, financial crunches and public policy changes.

From DSC:
I excerpted an item re: innovation because I think institutions of traditional higher education will have to make some significant changes to turn (the negative tide of) the public’s perception of the value of a college degree. No more playing around at the edges — significant value/ROI must be delivered and proved.

A quick way to accomplish this would be to lift up the place of adjunct faculty members at one’s institution:

  • Give them more say, voice, and control — especially in the area of which topics/courses should be offered in the curricula out there
  • Give them more input into faculty governance types of issues 
  • Pay them much more appropriately while granting them healthcare and retirement kinds of benefits

I say this because adjunct faculty members are often out there in the real world, actually doing the kinds of things in their daily jobs that they’re teaching about. They’re able to regularly pulse-check their industries and they can better see what’s needed in the marketplace. They could help traditional institutions of higher education be much more responsive.

But because higher education has been treating its adjunct faculty members so poorly (at least in recent years), I’m not as hopeful in this regard as I’d like to be.

Another option would be to have faculty members spend much more time in the workplace — to experience which topics, content, and skills are required. But that’s tough to do when their job plates are often already so full that they’re overflowing.

Bottom line: It’s time for change. It’s time to become much more responsive — course-offering-wise.

 

No one in higher ed is fixing this overlooked crisis for instructors — from highereddive.com by Nina Huntemann
Adjunct faculty members are struggling. It’s time to treat them like the valuable contributors they are, writes Chegg’s chief academic officer.

Excerpt:

In higher ed, it is a much-discussed but little addressed fact that many higher-education faculty in the U.S. are paid below the poverty line. Approximately one-fourth of the instructors teaching at U.S. colleges and universities are earning less than $25,000 per year, though the median household income in our country is approximately $67,000, according to 2020 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Those outside the higher ed space often assume most faculty members in the U.S. are tenured or on a tenure track, with “jobs for life” and a comfortable income; however, this is far from reality. The fact is that contingent faculty, those who hold non-tenure-track positions and often work on annual or semester-by-semester contracts, comprise 75% of all faculty positions, according to the American Federation of Teachers.

 

Teens Have Changed Their Higher Ed Plans — Survey Shows They May Never Go Back — from the74million.org by John Kristof & Colyn Ritter
Kristof & Ritter: COVID-19 forced HS students to re-evaluate their learning plans. If colleges want enrollment to recover, they must adapt

Excerpt:

Each of the nearly 4 million students who graduated high school this spring faces major decisions this summer. Do they want to pursue further education? If so, what do they want to study and where? How will they afford it? Will they begin working immediately? If so, are they moving out of their family home? Are they prepared for the hassles of adulthood?

According to a recent survey we at EdChoice conducted in conjunction with Morning Consult, teenagers are embracing their agency in an increasingly broad array of choices. What they told us might worry institutions of higher education — because the next generation appears less interested in the traditional college pipeline.

 

Teaching Broke My Heart. That’s Why I Resigned. — from edsurge.com by Natalie Parmenter
After 10 mostly-good years in the classroom, the 2021-22 school year was enough to push Natalie Parmenter out.

Excerpts:

This is how the last year of teaching went for me. As I sized up each day, hardly anything on my to-do list involved nurturing and guiding my kindergarteners. I was always completing tasks for other people—school leadership, district leadership, state officials—at the expense of the students in my care.

School boards have kicked things into overdrive to make up for lost time. Teachers have been accosted with endless professional development training, increased testing, and frequent surveys. There’s always been a degree of this in education as the pendulum swings back and forth, but last year, it reached a boiling point.

They say teaching is “a work of the heart,” and indeed, it is. But it became increasingly difficult to love that work as my heart hardened last year, and as all the bits of joy I once felt from my job were chipped away.

PROOF POINTS: Researchers say cries of teacher shortages are overblown — from hechingerreport.org by Jill Barshay
Schools are going on pandemic hiring sprees and overstaffing may be the new problem

Excerpt:

The stories are scary. The teaching profession, according to CNN in early 2022, was “in crisis.” The Wall Street Journal reported in February 2022 that burned out teachers were exiting for jobs in the private sector. House lawmakers in Washington devoted an entire hearing to “Tackling Teacher Shortages” in May 2022. And on Aug. 3, 2022, the Washington Post printed this headline: “‘Never seen it this bad’: America faces catastrophic teacher shortage.”

But education researchers who study the teaching profession say the threat is exaggerated.

“Attrition is definitely up, but it’s not a mass exodus of teachers,” said Dan Goldhaber, a labor economist at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), a nonprofit research organization.

Are teachers leaving the classroom en masse? — from vox.com by
The chaotic debate over this year’s teacher shortages, explained.

Excerpts:

In Texas, teachers are deserting the classroom at high rates, with Houston alone reporting nearly 1,000 vacancies in early August. In Maryland, more than 5,500 teachers reportedly left the profession in 2022, leaving Baltimore with an estimated 600 to 700 vacancies going into the fall.

Department of Education officials in Pennsylvania are calling that state’s shortage a “crisis,” and experts there say the state will need “thousands” of new teachers by 2025.

Kansas is facing what has been called the most severe teacher shortage it has ever had: about 1,400 teaching jobs are unfilled. In Florida, there are about 8,000 teacher vacancies, up from 5,000 at the start of school last year. The shortage is reportedly also dire in other states, including Nevada, California, Illinois, Arizona, and Missouri. Some experts say that even school districts that don’t usually face shortages are struggling with vacancies, and it’s hard to hire teachers even for subjects that are typically easy to fill.

But is it actually happening? The US does not collect timely, detailed national data about teacher employment, so it’s difficult to definitively conclude whether there is a national teacher shortage going into the 2022-23 school year. That has led to practitioners, education policy experts, and union leaders talking past one another.

Three Ways to Prepare for and Successfully Land a Student Internship — from emergingedtech.com by Amy DiBello

Excerpt:

So how does one overcome those feelings in order to get the position and prepare for their future?  By taking the knowledge they’ve gained in their coursework along with a strong work ethic, great attitude and finally, displaying a very intentional desire to serve in order to be an asset to the organization. Interns who display these traits and show their commitment to carrying out an organization’s overall mission will no doubt prove to be an invaluable asset and find success in their first internship role. Following are three practical steps that will ensure you are fully prepared to find, secure and succeed in your first internship.

Burned-out employees are ‘quiet quitting’ their jobs: What to know about the trend — from goodmorningamerica.com

Excerpt:

With the pandemic blurring the lines between work and home, people like West are using quiet quitting as a way to set more boundaries between their professional and personal lives.

The new form of “quitting” sees people keeping their jobs, but mentally stepping back from the burdens of work — for example, working the bare minimum number of hours and not making their jobs an important center of their lives.

From DSC:
While I’m not advocating “quiet quitting” at all, it does relay an element of what’s happening in the workplace, at least in the United States.

Teacher shortage? Here’s one way around it — from edcircuit.com by EdCircuit Staff

Excerpt:

After seeing the teacher shortage first hand in China, Jessie Sullivan and Isla Iago launched an innovative new start-up that teaches children how to read and write through YouTube – without the need for adult expertise or attention. Since the release in July, the start-up called See Say Write is already being used by schools, homes, and children’s charities in seven different countries.


Addendum on 8/22/22:

Workforce: Evolve or Become Extinct — from educause.edu

Workforce: Evolve or Become Extinct -- from educause.edu

Addendums on 8/23/22:

Lacking Bus Drivers, Schools Make Tough Calls on Transportation — from edweek.org by Evie Blad

Excerpt:

Eighty-six percent of respondents to a nationally representative survey of school and district administrators conducted by the EdWeek Research Center in July said they don’t have enough candidates to fill open bus driver positions.

Teacher Pay Penalty Reaches Record High. What’s at Stake? — from edsurge.com by Emily Tate Sullivan

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

For decades—indeed, almost every year since the EPI first began documenting the teacher pay penalty in 1996—the pay of teachers has slipped further behind that of their non-teacher counterparts, adjusted for education, experience and demographics.

Teachers in the U.S. earn about 76.5 cents on the dollar compared to similar professionals who have bachelor’s degrees, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.


 

Fluid students flowing in and out of education are higher ed’s future. Here’s how colleges must adapt. — from highereddive.com by Anne Khademian
The Universities at Shady Grove’s executive director adapts the fluid fan idea reshaping the business of sports, shedding light on higher ed’s future.

We need less tweaking and more rethinking of how to deliver greater access, affordability and equity in higher education, and we must do it at scale. We need a new paradigm for the majority of students in higher education today that commits to meaningful employment and sustainable-wage careers upon completion of a degree or credential.

The challenge is the same for the business of higher education in serving future, more fluid students — and today’s nontraditional students. Many need to flow in and out of jobs and education, rather than pursue a degree in two or four years. Increasingly, they will seek to direct their educational experience toward personalized career opportunities, while stacking and banking credentials and experience into degrees.

From DSC:
Coming in and going out of “higher education” throughout one’s career and beyond…constant changes…morphing…hmm…sounds like a lifelong learning ecosystem to me.

#learningecosystems #learningfromthelivingclassroom
#highereducation #change #lifelonglearning

75% of master’s programs with high debt and low earnings are at private nonprofits — from highereddive.com by Lilah Burke
Urban Institute report undermines narrative that programs with poor student outcomes are all at for-profit colleges and in the humanities.

Although private nonprofit institutions accounted for 44% of all master’s programs in the data, they made up 75% of programs with high debt and low earnings.

Tuition increases, lower capital spending likely in store for higher ed as inflation persists, Fitch says — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer

The next inflation-driven worry: Rising college tuition — from washingtonpost.com by Nick Anderson and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel
Families are concerned about affordability of higher education

Spiraling rents are wreaking havoc on college students seeking housing for the fall — from by Jon Marcus
Big hikes are forcing students deeper into debt, risk pushing more out of school altogether

From DSC:
From someone who is paying for rent for a college student — along with tuition, books, fees, etc. —  this has direct application to our household. If there isn’t a perfect storm developing in higher ed, then I don’t know what that phrase means.

#costofhighereducation #inflation

HBCUs see a historic jump in enrollments — from npr.org with Michel Martin; with thanks to Marcela Rodrigues-Sherley and Julia Piper from The Chronicle for the resource

Also from that same newsletter:

What would Harvard University’s ranking be if the only criteria considered was economic mobility? According to The Washington Post, it would be 847th out of 1,320. First place would go to California State University at Los Angeles.

A New Vision for the Future of Higher Education: Prioritizing Engagement and Alignment — from moderncampus.com with Amrit Ahluwalia and Brian Kibby

Excerpt:

Change is a constant in higher ed, just as it is in the labor market. Staying up to date and flexible is more important than ever for colleges and universities, and through the pandemic, many relied on their continuing and workforce education divisions to support their agility. In fact, 56% of higher ed leaders said the role of their CE units expanded through the pandemic. 

The pandemic led to some of the biggest innovations in continuing ed in recent memory.  

Students Lobby Lawmakers to Improve College Experience for Neurodiverse Learners — from edsurge.com by Daniel Lempres

Excerpt:

Lobbying for more support for students with learning disabilities in higher education, the students called for increased funding for the National Center for Special Education Research and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA Act) — legislation which requires that children with disabilities be given a free and appropriate public education, and makes it possible for states and local educational agencies to provide federal funds to make sure that happens. They also encouraged lawmakers to pass the RISE Act, a bill designed to better support neurodiverse students in higher education.

What a Homework Help Site’s Move to Host Open Educational Resources Could Mean — from edsurge.com by Daniel Mollenkamp

How can leaders bridge the gap between higher ed and employers? — from highereddive.com by Lilah Burke

Dive Brief:

  • Partnerships between higher education institutions and employers can be difficult to create, often because of misalignment between the cultures, structures and values of the two groups, according to a July report from California Competes, a nonprofit policy organization focused on higher education.
  • Higher ed leaders could improve employer relations by making industry engagement an expected responsibility of both faculty and staff, said the report, which drew from 28 interviews with people at colleges and employers.
  • Robust employer engagement can strengthen enrollment and job outcomes for students, the authors argued, while also benefiting state and local economies.

Price-fixing lawsuit against 568 Group of top-ranked universities can continue, judge rules — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer

Termination of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools as an ED Recognized Accrediting Agency — from blog.ed.gov

 

What a New Strategy at 2U Means for the Future of Online Higher Education — from edsurge.com by Phil Hill

Excerpt:

The acceleration is that 2U is going all in on the education platform strategy that started with the company’s acquisition of edX last year. The idea at the time was to rely on a flywheel effect, where edX can upsell to its tens of millions of registered learners taking free or low-cost online courses known as MOOCs, thus driving down the marketing costs required for the OPM business, while offering a spectrum of options—from free MOOCs to stackable certificates, to bootcamps and short courses, all the way to full degrees. The flywheel aspect is that the more the strategy succeeds, the more revenue is made by institutional partners and by the company, leading to more free courses and registered learners. It’s a self-reinforcing strategy that is the same one followed by Coursera.
.

 

3 in 5 higher education employees feel unheard at work, survey says — from highereddive.com by Laura Spitalniak

Excerpt from Dive Brief:

  • More than half of higher education employees, 59%, reported feeling unheard at work, according to a new survey from consultant Grant Thornton. Only 17% of respondents said they are actively looking for a new job, but 49% would consider a switch if a new opportunity presented itself.
  • Faculty and staff also expressed discontent about their pay and compensation. Just 37% said their pay allows them to live the lifestyle they choose. That’s compared to 46% of respondents from Grant Thornton’s cross-sector State of Work in America survey.
 

College Rankings Are ‘a Joke,’ Education Secretary Says Brianna Hatch

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona called college rankings “a joke,” and took aim at selective colleges’ obsession with them, as he made a broader push on Thursday for closing stubborn equity gaps in the nation’s college-graduation rates.

“Many institutions spend enormous time and money chasing rankings they feel carry prestige, but in truth do little more than Xerox privilege,” Cardona said, attributing the phrase to the president of a historically Black college.

There’s a “whole science behind climbing up the rankings” that leads to misplaced priorities, Cardona said. The best-resourced colleges are playing a prestige game instead of centering “measures that truly count,” he said. “That system of ranking is a joke.”

Cardona called for a “culture change” in higher ed so that institutions would value inclusivity, use data to help students before they dropped out, and create more-accessible pathways for adult learners, rural students, and first-generation students.

“Let’s confer prestige on colleges’ breaking cycles of poverty. Let’s raise the profiles of institutions delivering real upward mobility, like all of you,” Cardona told attendees, echoing an essay he wrote for The Chronicle on Thursday. “Let’s turn the universities that walk the walk on equity into household names.”

From DSC:
The above item re: culture change caught my eye. Coming out of college, I didn’t think about the culture of an organization. It didn’t mean anything to me.

But as the years went by — and especially as I was working for Kraft Foods at the time when it got acquired by Philip Morris — I began understanding the power and influence of the culture of an organization. That power and influence could be positive and helpful or it could be negative and could stunt the growth of the organization.

I personally question whether many of the existing cultures within our colleges and universities have the ability to change. Time will tell. But the culture of places where I’ve worked had a (sometimes strong) distaste for the corporate world. They didn’t want to be called a “business.” I put that word business in quotes purposefully — as the term was spoken with disdain. The higher calling of higher education could not be considered a business…yeh right. Looking at things these last few years, one can certainly not claim that any longer.

The cultures of our traditional institutions of higher education may be the biggest challenge to their survival. Perhaps some tips in this article may help — though it has to go waaaaay beyond the IT Department.

 

How higher education lost its shine — from hechingerreport.org by Jon Marcus
Americans are rejecting college in record numbers, but the reasons may not be what you think

Excerpt:

“With the exception of wartime, the United States has never been through a period of declining educational attainment like this,” said Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University’s Miller College of Business.

There has been a significant and steady drop nationwide in the proportion of high school graduates enrolling in college in the fall after they finish high school — from a high of 70 percent in 2016 to 63 percent in 2020, the most recent year for which the figure is available, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Myriad focus groups and public opinion surveys point to other reasons for the dramatic downward trend. These include widespread and fast-growing skepticism about the value of a degree, impatience with the time it takes to get one and costs that have finally exceeded many people’s ability or willingness to pay.

 


From DSC:
This again reminds me of my concerns captured in this graphic I created with Mr. Yohan Na back in 2009:
.


 

A Best-Selling Textbook Is Now Free — from insidehighered.com by Liam Knox
A popular chemistry book’s jump from a publishing titan to an OER pioneer could be pivotal for the open access movement. For the author, it’s also a fitting tribute to his late son.

Excerpt:

John McMurry’s textbook Organic Chemistry has helped millions of students across the globe pass the infamous gauntlet of its namesake class — also known among stressed-out pre-med students as “orgo” — since the book was first printed in 1984.

For his bestseller’s 10th edition, McMurry has decided to part ways with his longtime publisher, the industry giant Cengage, which has published the book since the beginning. He recently sold the rights to OpenStax, a nonprofit based at Rice University that is dedicated to developing open education resources (OER), learning and research materials created and licensed to be free for the user.

From DSC:
From someone paying for a young adult to get through college, I hope this kind of thing happens more often! 🙂 But seriously, there are too many instances when students have been treated as cash cows, when we should have been bending over backward to help them get their educations.

For example, if I pay an invoice from our son’s university by credit card, I get a 3% charge — of the total invoice/$$ amount!!! — added to the bill. Are you kidding me? I have to pay several hundred dollars just for an electronic transaction?!

Can you imagine if the same thing happened to the rest of us at restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, etc. out there? Consumers would throw a fit! And I’d be right there with them.


Also related, see:

Millennials have money problems — from linkedin.com by Taylor Borden

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The average millennial is $117,000 in debt, but don’t blame avocado toast. According to new research, more than 70% of millennials have some form of non-mortgage debt, typically linked to student loans and credit cards.

Too Broke to Finish a Ph.D. Program? Tell Us About It — from the chronicle.com by Fernanda Zamudio-Suarez

Excerpt:

Doctoral programs can be long, trying, and expensive — even cost-prohibitive, depending on your circumstances.


 

Average Student Not on Track to Graduate in 5 Years — from insidehighered.com by Susan H. Greenberg

Excerpt:

The average full-time college student doesn’t even attempt to take enough credits to complete a bachelor’s degree within five years, according to a new Postsecondary Data Partnership Insights report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

The report evaluated the credit-completion ratio—the ratio of credits earned to those attempted—and the credit-accumulation rate of more than 900,000 first-time students at 342 postsecondary institutions during the 2019–20 school year.

College students average less than 22 credits in their first year, too few to graduate on time — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer

(Excerpt from Dive Brief)

  • Barely over half of a group of first-time, full-time students — 51% — earned 24 or more credits in their first year of college, meaning most aren’t on track to graduate in four or even five years, according to research released Tuesday by the National Student Clearinghouse.
  • The average full-time student took classes worth under 27 credit hours and earned fewer than 22. Just 28% of students earned 30 hours of credit or more in their first year, which is the annual pace typically required to graduate on time from four-year bachelor’s programs.

More High School Students Are Taking College Classes. But Not Everyone Gets the Chance. — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig
Can better pathways help schools, colleges and students avoid “random acts of dual enrollment”?

Excerpt:

Dual-enrollment programs help nearly 1.4 million high school students take college courses each year. It’s an opportunity that offers lots of proven benefits, like enabling more people to graduate from college, saving families money on higher education and helping community colleges attract more students during an era of falling enrollments. It’s even popular across the political spectrum.

But as dual enrollment grows across the country, access to the option is not distributed equally, according to a new report produced by nearly two dozen higher ed researchers and experts, with funding from the Joyce Foundation.

College is increasingly out of reach for many students. What went wrong? — from npr.org by Terry Gross; with thanks to EdSurge.com for this resource

Excerpt:

Journalist Will Bunch says instead of opening the door to a better life, college leaves many students deep in debt and unable to find well-paying jobs. His new book is After the Ivory Tower Falls.

What’s working in community college baccalaureate degree programs — from ccdaily.com by Tabitha Whissemore

Excerpt:

A growing number of community colleges are offering baccalaureate degree programs.

According to a national inventory published in 2021 by the Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCBA) and New America, there are nearly 570 community college baccalaureate (CCB) programs in the United States, operating at 148 community and technical colleges across 25 states. Most of the programs focus on healthcare or business, though newer programs also are being offered in computer and information sciences, and other STEM fields, as well as education.

It’s Time to End Higher Ed’s Gimmicky Sales Tactics — from chronicle.com by Barmak Nassirian
Teaming up with online program managers comes at a steep reputational cost.

Excerpt:

 Initially trumpeted as an innovative model to expand access and drive down costs, the programs have seen a spate of recent media stories that paints a far less favorable picture: College-OPM partnerships are Faustian bargains that drive up tuition costs and reduce educational quality.

How did it come to this?

From DSC:
Though much of what Barmak is saying may be true, the gimmicks were going on long before OPM’s came into play. We should stop blaming everything on OPMs, or on the pandemic, or on online learning, or on this or that technology. The causes of higher education’s current issues go back a long way — such as approving standard/annual cost increases over the last several decades.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian