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A Few Bad Apples: Diploma Mills and Fraudulent Academic Credentials MS Word PDF - Although diploma mills claim to be institutions of higher education, they exist for profit only and grant fraudulent degrees, diplomas or other academic credentials without requiring degree recipients to obtain proper qualifications. Both students and employers need to have some protection. Protections for consumers and protections for employers are highlighted in this ECS State Note. (Mallory Dose, Education Commission of the States, June 2009)...

Bringing the Institution into Focus: Annual Results 2014 - How the average student experiences a campus can vary considerably from one institution to the next, even among institutions that are similar with regard to enrollment and admissions selectivity. Featuring answers from more than 355,000 students attending 622 U.S. colleges and universities, this annual survey found institutions with lower selectivity can offer student-faculty interactions at least comparable to those at more selective institutions. (National Survey of Student Engagement, November 2014)...

Beyond Borders: Understanding the Development and Mobility of Human Capital in an Age of Data-Driven Accountability - A pilot project looked at whether and how states might share data from their longitudinal systems to learn more about higher education and employment outcomes without compromising confidentiality. Known as the Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange (MLDE), the pilot used data from Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and proved the MLDE is feasible, data sharing provided more comprehensive information than individual state systems could yield, and offered the possibility of better workforce planning. (Brian T. Prescott, WICHE, July 2014)...

Renewing the Promise: State Policies to Improve Higher Education Performance - Researchers studied five states - Georgia, Maryland, Texas, Washington and Illinois - to explain how public policy explains the performance of higher education institutions. They conclude many states aren't helping more people get postsecondary certificates and degrees because they lack a plan for improvement. Among recommendations: make equity a top priority, work on all areas of performance simultaneously, match institutions with regional education needs and build incentives into the state budget to institutional productivity. (Joni E. Finney, Laura W. Perna and Patrick M. Callan, University of Pennsylvania Institute for Research on Higher Education, February 2014)...

Improving Gainful Employment: Suggestions for Better Accountability - Recommendations are laid out for strengthening the Obama administration's proposal to ensure that career training programs are providing students with high-quality options. For example, tests which measure minimum withdrawal rates, student loan repayment rates, and minimum income rates should be among the performance tests as well as graduating students with too much debt compared to their annual income. Failing or struggling programs would be given opportunities to improve. (Ben Miller, New America Foundation, November 2013)...

A Better Higher Education Data and Information Framework for Informing Policy: The Voluntary Institutional Metrics Project - For two years, a coalition of 18 institutions of higher education worked on a "dashboard" of five critical issues to inform policymaker decisions about how colleges and universities compared and could be improved. The issues are: repayment and default rates on student loans (revealing whether students who've graduated can get a job that allows them to repay student loans, student progression and completion which would include critical momentum points, cost per degree (the cost for an institution to produce a degree), employment outcomes for graduates, and student learning outcomes. They consider the results a breakthrough framework. ...

In Debt and In the Dark: It's Time for Better Information on Student Loan Defaults - With college loan default rates soaring, this brief indicates the federal government could do a better of job of gathering, measuring and reporting default data. As a result, students and their families are often left in the dark and some institutions of higher education are allowed to avoid accountability. The report examines default rates at American colleges and demonstrates how using input-adjusted rates can indicate if schools are doing better—or worse—than expected in preparing their students for success. (Education Sector, June 2013)...

Debt to Degree: A New Way of Measuring College Success - Education Sector has created a new, comprehensive measure, the "borrowing-to-credential ratio." For each college, authors Kevin Carey and Erin Dillon have taken newly available U.S. Department of Education data showing the total amount of money borrowed by undergraduates and divided that sum by the total number of degrees awarded. The results are revealing. (Education Sector, August 2011)...

Who Wins? Who Pays? The Economic Returns and Costs of a Bachelor's Degree - This study examined starting and estimated career-long salaries for bachelor's degree recipients from a range of institutions, including proprietary, public and private nonprofit colleges and universities at varying levels of admissions selectivity. The authors then calculated the net cost or net financial gain to students and to taxpayers. (American Institutes for Research, May 2011)...

Performance Incentives to Improve Community College Completion: Learning from Washington State's Student Achievement Initiative: A State Policy Brief - This brief calls particular attention to a number of policy choices that the Washington community and technical college system faced as it designed and began to implement the student achievement initiative across its 34 colleges. (Community College Research Center and Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy, March 2011)...

The Degree Qualifications Profile - The "Degree Qualifications Profile" is a tool that can help transform U.S. higher education. A degree profile--or qualifications framework--illustrates clearly what a student should be expected to know and be able to do once they earn their degrees, at any level. The tool proposes specific learning outcomes that benchmark the associate, bachelor's and master's degrees regardless of a student's field of specialization. (Lumina Foundation for Education, January 2011)...

Grading Higher Education: Giving Consumers the Information They Need - Attending college is a costly and uncertain endeavor which also requires one to make a complicated set of decisions that must be done in the appropriate order and at the right times. These decisions include whether and how to prepare, where to apply, which institution to choose and how to finance the costs. There are numerous resources to help students understand and improve their preparation for college, but there are far fewer tools or aids to help families navigate the college selection process. (The Hamilton Project, Center for American Progress, December 2010)...

False Fronts? Behind Higher Education's Voluntary Accountability Systems - Two major voluntary efforts to measure and report colleges' cost and academic effectiveness are considered by some to be inadequate and lacking in their ability to provide parents and students with the information to make informed decisions. Higher education will have to be more accountable and more open to consumers about the actual cost of attending a college in order to succeed as the nation's economic engine, according to the authors of this report. (Andrew Kelly and Chad Aldeman, Education Sector/American Enterprise Institute, March 2010)...

Squeeze Play 2010: Continued Public Anxiety on Cost, Harsher Judgments on How Colleges Are Run - Highlights from a series of national surveys tracking public attitudes on higher education, conducted by Public Agenda for the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Among the findings: Six out of ten Americans now say that colleges today operate more like a business, focused more on the bottom line than on the educational experience of students. The number feeling that way increased by five percentage points in the last year alone and is up by eight percentage points since 2007. (John Immerwahr, Jean Johnson, Amber Ott and Jonathan Rochkind, The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, February 2010)...

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