• AACRAO Eye on Research November 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | Nov 30, 2017

    AACRAO’S First Research Grant Award Winner

    Rebecca Mathern is the inaugural year recipient of the AACRAO Research Grant.  The grant consists of a $2,000 stipend to be used towards the completion of an advanced degree.

    Rebecca serves as University Registrar at Oregon State University and is a Ph.D. student in the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. Her research is focused on shared governance and the role that upper-level, non-executive managers play in this process. For her dissertation, she is focusing on curriculum management and logistics and the role of the registrar. She will present her research at the 2018 annual conference.

    The 2018-2019 research grant application process will start in May of 2018.  Details about the application and selection process are available at the website linked above.  We were fortunate to have a couple of excellent applications this inaugural year.  Our research advisory board evaluated the applications based on the criteria set forth on the web page.  We hope that the 2018-2019 grant application cycle will draw even more interest from our members.

     

    AACRAO Research Updates

    The November 60-Second Survey on data use, quality and access revealed the following key points. 
    • Two-thirds of the institutions with more than one person completing the survey submitted responses that differed from each other – that is, the respondents have different opinions and experiences with their institution’s data quality and use. 
    • Opinions about data use and quality varied by position title. 
    • In the aggregate, benchmarking data, external student outcome data and student engagement data are used by more than half. 
    • Respondents representing different position types have different opinions about the type of data used by the institution. These differences could be a reflection on how the question was worded.  We asked about data use in the business unit and separate units in the institution may use discrete sets of data. 
    • Almost two-thirds rate their data as “Excellent” or “Good”
    • Less than one quarter indicate that data is “Difficult to access” or “Very difficult to access”
    • Most are of the opinion that data created in one unit are available to other units and vice-versa.
    • Data use is reported as “Widespread” or “Very widespread” for one-third, yet nearly nine-in-ten see the need for data use to be “Very widespread” or “Widespread” at their institution.
    • Most senior executives are viewed as either “Supportive” or “Very supportive” of the use of data to inform decision making.
    • Data use for informed decision making is viewed as effective by most.
    • The following response choices were selected by more than half of respondents as ways to improve the effective use of data in the future:
      • Ensure that data are timely, accurate, relevant, and accessible.
      • Provide education, training and resources to support the widespread use of data.
      • Connect data from different functions (e.g., student, personnel, financial, and facilities records).

    We are working in conjunction with AICE on developing the January 60-Second Survey. The topic is the accreditation/recognition of international education. 

    The issue of loss-of-credit at transfer was raised again with the August GAO report entitled “Students Need More Information to Help Reduce Challenges in Transferring College Credits.”  We are working on developing a research project aimed at shedding light on the root cause(s) of loss-of-credit based on institutional data and data from transfer students.  We also hope to compare the loss-of-credit among transfer students to excess credit at graduation for direct entry students.  This project is in its earliest stages.  Please email me (wendyk@aacrao.org) if you have any thoughts about this proposed project.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics


    SHEEO Report: Aligning Tuition Policies with Strategies for Affordability

    Inside Higher Education writer Rick Seltzer summarized SHEEO’s new report with his article on November 9th.  In his article he notes that two-thirds of higher education institutions surveyed have no unified affordability strategy.  The report itself examines the methods states use to set tuition, fees and student aid.  Among other topics, the SHEEO survey asked about the components of state policy setting, factors influencing tuition setting and affordability reforms.

    McGraw Hill Education: 2017 Digital Study Trends Survey

    A thousand current college students participated in an online survey about digital learning technology (DLT) behaviors and preferences sponsored by McGraw Hill Education.  The report  based on this data drew the following conclusions:
    • “Online students are the most receptive to digital learning technology (DLT), being more likely to prefer and choose classes that utilize it.
    • Laptops are the most essential electronic devices used in student academic life.
    • Smartphones are not perceived as important studying tools. 
    • In general, students believe that DLT has helped improve their grades.
    • Student satisfaction with the college experience remains high and consistent with previous survey waves.
    • Students have clear communication preferences for interacting with professors and peers.
    • Although DLT succeeds in most areas, it struggles to facilitate increased engagement between students.
    • Media consumption through social media platforms varies significantly by age and gender.
    • YouTube and Netflix are the most popular media consumption platforms.”

    Device Ownership and Usage

    Source: McGraw Hill Education

    Recommendations for Remaining in Compliance with Privacy Laws While Using Texts

    Mongoose, a SMS management platform, recently posted guidance on how to remain compliance with both FERPA and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Although non-profit organizations are not legally required to get explicit consent to text, Mongoose recommends obtaining some form of opt-in at the inquiry stage, whether an opt-in box on the application or an inquiry form. They also provided best text use guidance based on six million texts sent by institutions who use their solution.  They found that students want deadline reminders, and updates from admissions and advisors.  They don’t want promotions, social media posts and links to websites

    Predictors of Positive STEM-related Postsecondary Outcomes for Hispanic Students in Texas

    The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) in conjunction with the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance completed a large-scale evaluation of the predictors of post-secondary STEM success for Hispanic students in Texas.  The authors concluded, among other findings, that:
    • Math and science courses in high school were strongly correlated with postsecondary STEM success.
    • High school attendance rate was also strongly associated with postsecondary success.
    • Predictors were not unique to Hispanic students.

    Blockchain Technology in Education

    The European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) released a comprehensive study on the possible uses and benefits of blockchain technology in the management of educational credentials and intellectual property.   I had to read up on what blockchain technology is in order to understand this report and I ran across this quote which helped me get my head around the technology. “The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” (Source: Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016)).

    The JRC study concluded that there is room for this technology to transform education and that the use of this technology is in its very early stages of adoption.  The authors further conclude that blockchain technology -
    • Could accelerate the end of paper based education certificates
    • Removes need for institutions to validate credentials
    • May reduce institution’s data management costs
    • Could revolutionize the management of intellectual property
    • Significantly improves efficiency, effectiveness and security of data

  • AACRAO Eye on Research October 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | Oct 26, 2017

    Commentary

    A good portion of this month has been spent finalizing the college completion initiative report and the just-released chief enrollment management officer profile report. Both topics will be presented at SEM.  The presentation for the chief enrollment profile report is entitled “So you want to be a chief enrollment management officer? Let’s talk” and is aimed at providing participants with an idea for how to gain the skills and experience to assume one of the many anticipated vacancies in the next few years.  The figure below is a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the number of CEMO positions that will become vacant in the next four years; the number highlights the need for succession planning, formal education opportunities and skills development.

    Approximate anticipated number of CEMO positions available in the next four years.

    AACRAO Research Updates

    November 60-Second Survey 

    November’s 60-Second survey is a partnership between the American Council on Education (ACE) and AACRAO.  Colleges and universities have invested in the use of data analytics to improve student outcomes, close attainment gaps, and improve organizational performance. As environmental conditions continue to evolve, the pressure to do so in more cohesive and sophisticated ways will grow. To facilitate the modernization of campus data infrastructures, institutional leaders need a more holistic understanding of the opportunities and challenges in doing so. The survey will be distributed on November 6th.

    AACRAO Completion Initiative Study Sneak Peak

    Attending the 2017 SEM Conference in Phoenix? If so, join us on Monday October 30th at 1:30 as we share the results of AACRAO’s latest study and report: The State of College Completion Initiatives at U.S. Community Colleges. The study included two primary surveys – one of U.S. community colleges and another of current community college students – as well as qualitative interviews with 11 senior community college administrators working on completion initiatives. The report will be released via email to all AACRAO members on the same day as the presentation.  The figure below highlights the retention/completion activities students are required to use at institutions who have more than one active completion initiative.

    Required student success activities of institutions with more than one completion initiative.


    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    IPEDS to Publish Completion Data for Part-Time and Non-First-Time Students

    In a move a decade in the making, Inside Higher Ed reports that the U.S. Department of Education has begun publishing data on completion rates for part-time and non-first-time college attendees for all two- and four-year degree- and certificate-granting institutions. These data, among others, are part of a revision of the IPEDS database. The change is welcome, particularly among community college leaders whose institutional completion rates failed to accurately capture segments of their student population. 

    Court Filings Allege Academic Websites Violate ADA for Visually Impaired Students

    Eight lawsuits have been filed in Federal Court in New York in the past weeks against Hofstra University. The lawsuits claim that the university website, which is inaccessible to students with visual impairments and blindness, is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The cases represent a growing push for increased accessibility to virtual spaces for students with disabilities. The New York Times reports that since 2015, at least seven lawsuits regarding academic websites have been filed, with the current round of lawsuits doubling the number of cases involving universities. 

    Federal Reserve Data Point to Large Gap in Net Worth Among HS and College Degree Holders

    In October, the U.S. Federal Reserve published triennial data showing that people with college degrees have a median net worth more than four times that of Americans without a degree. In the three-year data collection period, those with only a high school degree saw a 25% increase in their net worth. According to the report, families throughout the income distribution experienced gains in average real incomes between 2013 and 2016, reversing the trend from 2010 to 2013, when real incomes fell or remained stagnant for all but the top of the income distribution. Households at the top of the income distribution saw larger increases in income between 2013 and 2016 than others, consistent with widening income inequality.

    50-State Comparison of State Financial Aid Policies for Adult Students

    The Education Commission of the States (ECS) completed a new analysis of the state of financial aid programs for adult students. Among other practices and policies, they found:
    • “Most of the largest state financial aid programs don’t account for the unique circumstances adult students bring, which could indirectly shut them out of postsecondary opportunities.”
    • Out of 100 state financial aid programs
      • Almost half are merit-based
      • Nearly a third require full-time enrollment
      • Just shy of fifth exclude two-year institution
      • A quarter tie eligibility to a high school graduation date

    ECS recommends the following criteria in aid programs to help students over the age of 25.
    • “Base awards on financial need.
    • Allow students to enroll part-time
    • Do not link eligibility to the date a student graduates from high school
    • Publish an application deadline statewide after Aug. 1
    • Include two-year public community colleges and technical schools.”

    Data from Several Reports Questions the Value of Certificates 

    An article from the Hechinger Report highlights data from several recent research studies and reports on the value of a certificate as a means to improve income above what is expected for someone with a high school diploma.  The author found that the return on investment for a student pursuing a certificate varies based on the content of the certificate among other factors.  While some data indicates that “certificate holders earn 20 percent more, on average” than those with a high school diploma others points out that the evidence supporting their value “is thin and quality assurance is weak.”  Another report by Third Way reviewed in the article found that at one in five institutions “most former students earned less than the average high school graduate, even six years after enrollment.”

    A CCRC Community College Review Article on Effective Transfer Partnerships

    Authors John Fink and Davis Jenkins completed in depth interviews with 2- and 4-year institutions identified as having strong partnerships.  From these interviews they concluded that the following are characteristics of effective transfer partnerships:

    • Transfer is a priority for both institutions
    • These partnerships create clear pathways for students and align instruction
    • The institutions provide tailored transfer advising


    Brookings Report on the Use of Criminal Records in College Admissions

    The author examined the policy landscape on the use of a question related to prior criminal history in college admissions. Among her conclusions are the following:

    • There is widespread use of questions about criminal history in the admissions process
    • Often more broad than on job applications
    • Disproportionately affects men of color.
    • “The few studies to examine the effects of BTB (ban the box) on college enrollment suggest large negative impacts on those with convictions; however, “application attrition” appears quantitatively more important than explicit rejection.”
    • Few studies on how this practice reduces crimes on campus
    • Considerable research on access to education and a reduction in criminal behavior.
     
  • AACRAO Eye on Research September 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | Sep 28, 2017

    Commentary

    In our July 60-Second Survey report we shared data on how and/or if institutions monitor the social media of applicants and/or current students. The topic stemmed from the story about Harvard rescinding offers of admission to several students for their social media posts.  Almost nine in 10 of institutions who responded to a question about monitoring social media for current students reported doing so either formally or when advised of a possible issue.
    Pomona College now faces a situation similar to Harvard’s but on a much larger scale and related to current students. Nearly 20% of the current student population were found to be part of a Facebook group that supported “images and comments so vile that they would be right at home in the comments section of The Daily Stormer” (a neo-Nazi website).  Several questions pop into my mind about this story.  Your thoughts would be welcomed.  How does an institution address potential student code of conduct violations for nearly 20% of their student population?  How prevalent are these types of groups at other institutions, and are institutions now going to have to actively engage in monitoring these activities?  Does overtly monitoring for these activities just push the activities to the dark web or other hidden locations? 

    AACRAO Research Updates

    The Use, or not, of Electronic Transcripts – September 60-Second Survey

    More than 1,000 institutions responded to the e-transcript practice survey.  Some of the key findings are shared here.
    • PDF transcript use is now the most reported format for receiving and sending postsecondary transcripts, a change from 2014
    • Among the small percentage of institutions who report still using paper-only processes for the receipt or sending of transcripts, a “lack of technological resources” is frequently noted as the reason for not using an electronic transcript process.
    • Although the percentage of institutions reporting the use of paper for the receipt of high school transcripts has decreased, paper (90%) is still the most reported format, closely followed by PDF (84%), compared to 98% paper and 58% PDF in 2014.
    • PDF adoption has greatly outpaced the adoption of EDI or XML.
    • Although an increase over 2014 (11%), only 38% of institutions now report using electronic transcript data in any automated processes such as transfer articulation, workflow kick off, admissions assessment and imaging.
    • Institutions are still not taking full advantage of the automated processes that can be implemented with electronic transcripts.


    Chief Enrollment Management Officer Career Profile – Sneak Peek

    The chief enrollment management officer (CEMO) career profile report will be available in a few weeks. Included here are some of the highlights.

    • Of the 943 institutions responding to a supplemental question in the 60-Second survey about the CEMO position, 45% indicated their institution does not have a single position that fits the CEMO definition as provided in the survey.
    • From the CEMO survey data, we have concluded that a CEMO likely
      • is at least 45 years old
      • holds a master’s degree
      • has been in higher education his/her entire career to date
      • has been in their current CEMO position less than five years
      • reports to the chief executive
      • came to their current CEMO position from another position in the same institution
      • leads or participates in nearly every student enrollment related function at their institution
      • has a position title that includes “vice president”

    U.S. Community College Completion Initiatives – Sneak Peek

    The data from the soon-to-be-released AACRAO report A Multi-Perspective Examination of College Completion Initiatives at U.S. Community Colleges highlights the complex nature of completion initiatives as well as the fact that students are generally satisfied with their experience at community college. Some of the key findings are included here.

    Key Points – Institutional Data

    • The data alludes to the existence of at least one college completion initiative at more than half of community colleges in the United States.
    • Most institutions are engaged in more than one initiative simultaneously.
    • Most expect attention to completion initiatives to increase over the next year.
    • Nearly 9 out of 10 multi-initiative institutions rate their initiatives as “extremely effective,” “very effective,” or “moderately effective” compared to about 8 of 10 of single-initiative institutions.


    Key Points – Student Data

    • All of the students agreed their institution has programs and/or services in place to help them reach their educational goal.
    • Most believe their institution has recently increased efforts to improve student success.
    • Advising and guidance counseling top the list of services students report as helping them meet their educational goal.


    Key Points – Stories from the Field

    • The ability to trust the accuracy of institutional data is paramount to buy-in for completion efforts.
    • An institution-wide culture of completion is key to success.
    • Service redesign is a common component of completion initiatives.

    Calls for Assistance

    Volunteers Needed for Graduate Student Research – Last Call
    We are a group of forensic psychology master's students working in the Sex Offender Research Lab (SORL) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. We are looking for higher education administrators to participate in our research investigating institutional policies and attitudes regarding applicants or students who have been previously convicted of sexual offenses. The survey takes three to four minutes to complete and can be accessed through the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZTT8JZ5. Please note that your participation in this study is voluntary and confidential.

    If you have any questions about the study, please contact: Anna Austenfeld (anna.austenfeld@jjay.cuny.edu), Lauren Rubenstein (lauren.rubenstein@jjay.cuny.edu), or Olivia Tabaczyk (omt2107@tc.columbia.edu). The Principal Investigator of this study is Dr. Elizabeth Jeglic from John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY (ejeglic@jjay.cuny.edu).

    Institute of International Education Fall International Enrollment Hot Topics Survey Now Open

    About the survey:

    The partner organizations are: American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), American Council on Education (ACE), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), College Board, Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), Institute of International Education (IIE), National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The purpose of this survey is to obtain feedback on current events and trends in the field that may impact your international student enrollments for this academic year (starting in Fall 2017). By sharing this information with the international education community and the media, we hope to develop a wider understanding among the press, the general public, and policy makers at state and national levels, about how higher education institutions continue to be affected by the various factors that impact international enrollments. Please note that for the purpose of this survey, an international student is defined as anyone studying in the United States on a non-immigrant, temporary visa that allows for academic coursework.


    Instructions:

    Please answer the questions in the Fall 2017 International Enrollment Hot Topics Survey to the best of your ability. All institutional-level responses will be anonymous, and only aggregated information will be shared. We ask for your contact information only to ensure that no more than one reply is received per institution, and to facilitate follow up if there are any questions.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics 

    Texas Adopts Guided Pathways for Community College System
    On August 31, 2017, the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) announced a partnership to launch a five-year effort to implement guided pathways in each of Texas’ 50 community colleges. According to a press release published by Inside Higher Ed, the Texas Pathways initiative is built on three design principles:

    • Colleges’ program redesigns must pay attention to the entire student experience, rather than to just one segment of it.
    • A guided pathways redesign is a framework that helps unify a variety of reform elements around the central goal of helping students choose, enter, and complete a program of study aligned with their goals for employment and further education.
    • The redesign process starts with student end goals for careers and further education in mind and “backward maps” programs and supports to ensure that students are prepared for employment and education at the next level.

    NCES Report: 80% of 2009 HS Freshman Applied or Registered for College Four Years
    Later
    A new NCES report titled College Applications by 2009 High School Freshmen: Differences by Race/Ethnicity was released August 31st. The report uses data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) 2013 Updated, which gathered information on postsecondary applications by high school freshmen four years later. Some key findings include:
    • 91% of Asian/Pacific Islander students were the largest group of applicants/registrants
    • Only 63% of American Indian/Alaska Native students applied/registered, the lowest among racial/ethnic groups studied.
    • Percentages of students reporting two, three, four, or five or more applications were, in general, substantially lower than the percentage reporting only one application. This was true across most of the racial/ethnic groups; Asian/Pacific Islanders were the exception with 38% reporting five or more postsecondary applications.


    New Survey Results: 2017 Survey of College and University Admissions Directors
     
    Insider Higher Ed, in conjunction with Gallup, released its 2017 report of College and University Admissions Directors. Findings show that only 34% of responding colleges met their enrollment targets by May 1, 2017. Last year, 37% reported hitting their target while 42% did so two years ago. The number was even lower for less selective public institutions: only 22% of public bachelor's/master's institutions met their targets by May 1st, while 27% of community colleges reported hitting their target. Among private colleges and universities, 36% met admissions goals. For full results, you can download the full report.

    Results from the 2016 National Household Education Survey
    NCES has released a First Look report titled Adult Training and Education: Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016, which looks at adults’ training and education in the United States. The survey collected results from respondents 16-65 years of age with a focus on the prevalence of non-degree credentials including:

    • Adults with an occupational certification or license, the type of work these credentials are for, adults’ perceptions of the usefulness of these credentials in the labor market, and the role of postsecondary education programs in preparing adults for these credentials.
    • Adults with postsecondary educational certificates, including the subject field of the certificates, adults’ perceptions of the usefulness of certificates in the labor market, and the role of certificate programs in preparing adults for work credentials.

    Select findings include:
    • Healthcare is the most common field in which adults were certified or licensed.
    • 21% of adults reported having an active certification or license.
    • Licenses were more prevalent than certifications: 18% of adults reported having a license, while just 6% reported a certification.


    Rise in the Number of Institutions of Higher Education, Led by For-Profits According to a new NCES report, Change in Number and Types of Postsecondary Institutions: 2000 to 2014, there has been an increase in the number of institutions of higher education from 2000 to 2014, particularly among those that offer subbaccalaureate occupational education. Other findings include:

    • Total institutions increased from 2,445 to 3,360, a 37% increase over 14 years.
    • The number of public and private nonprofit institutions declined from 2,084 to 1,964 and from 1,950 to 1,827, respectively
    • The percentage of all institutions that were for-profit institutions increased from 38% to 47%.

    Three Reports from the Community College Research Center (CCRC)
     

    Additive and Integrative Approaches to Developmental Reading and Writing Courses

    A working paper by Bickerstaff and Raufman that looks at the experiences and perceptions of faculty members working to integrate developmental reading and writing courses in Virginia and North Carolina with ongoing statewide reform efforts. Using data from focus groups as well as three case studies, the study found two main approaches: additive, which combines assignments and activities from existing standalone classes; and integrative, which kept few aspects of standalone courses in place. To read the paper, From “Additive” to “Integrative”: Experiences of Faculty Teaching Development Integrated Reading and Writing Courses, visit the CCRC website.

    Creating Guided Pathways in Ohio’s Community Colleges

    A new report looks at how Ohio’s 23 community colleges are approaching reform to implement guided pathways. Participants in the study describe their college’s progress in four key areas of guided pathways:

    • Mapping pathways to student end goals
    • Helping students choose and enter a pathway
    • Keeping students on track
    • Ensuring students are learning

    Read the report, Building Blocks: Laying the Groundwork for Guided Pathways Reform in Ohio. High School-College Dual Enrollment CCRC partnered with the National Student Clearinghouse to follow over 200,000 high school students enrolled in dual enrollment starting in fall 2010. The data showed that nearly 9 in 10 of these students continued in college after graduating. The details of college enrollment varied greatly by state and the authors found that there were large disparities in college completion rate by lower and higher income students. AACRAO completed a report from the institutional perspective in 2016.

    Urban Institute Makes Policy Recommendations to Improve Federal Financial Aid The Urban Institute convened a bipartisan group of scholars and policy advisers to write a series of memos regarding critical issues in higher education and make policy recommendations to the new administration. In a series of 10 memos, the Institute’s recommendations for reforming federal student aid includes but is not limited to:
    • Simplifying the eligibility and application process
    • Removing incentives that slow progress toward completion
    • Leveraging low-cost guidance services to help students maximize their awards

    All 10 memos can be access and read on the Urban Institute website.

    Institutional Challenges and Opportunities with Technology and Developmental Education
    The Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness released a paper that looks at how technology is used in developmental education programs, what technology-related challenges institutions have encountered, and what considerations institutional leaders take into account when deciding whether and how to integrate technology in developmental education courses. The authors find that a variety of instructional, course management, and student support technologies have been implemented for developmental education. Institutions have encountered a number of challenges, particularly with regard to end-user difficulties with technology.

    The researchers used semi-structured interviews with key personnel from 31 open-access, two-year public colleges, 11 broad-access, four-year public colleges, and 41 state-level organizations overseeing such institutions.

    EVENT: 2017 Managerial Analysis and Decision Support

    On November 9-10, NACUBO will host a two-day program to support college and university decision makers. According to the event page, college and university experts will present core concepts and techniques needed to tackle resource allocation, financial management, costing, analysis, communication and collaboration. Topics such as revenue forecasting, ratios, costing methodologies, budgeting, performance measurement, capital planning, the operating environment and management reporting are addressed. For more information, visit the NACUBO event page
  • AACRAO Eye on Research August 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | Aug 30, 2017

    Commentary

    This month, I collected the data for the Chief Enrollment Management Officer career profile report.  This is the second report of its kind; the first was completed in 2014.  One of our main challenges in disseminating this survey is the lack of a clear primary title for this position.  Unlike other executive-level positions (e.g., Chief Development Officer, Chief Academic Officer, Chief Financial/Business Officer, Chief Information Technology Officer, Chief Facilities/Physical Plan Officer, etc.), the higher education directory does not have a manpower code for Chief Enrollment Management Officer.  The best matching descriptor is the “Director of Enrollment Management” who “Plans, develops, and implements strategies to sustain enrollment.  Supervises administration of all admissions and financial aid operations.”  The higher education directory extract included members with wide-ranging titles such as, Coordinator for Enrollment Services, Vice President for Enrollment, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services, Dean of Enrollment Management, and Assistant Director of Enrollment Services.  

    For the purposes of this survey, our own SEM Advisory Board defined the position as follows:

    The Chief Enrollment Management position is the position responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive strategic enrollment management efforts focused on retention, recruitment, and admissions.  The position often has direct managerial responsibility and oversight for key enrollment units and enrollment services of the institution and is responsible for strategies that focus on retention and completion, recruitment and student success.

    I asked our primary contacts to help identify the appropriate person at their institution based on this definition.  Interestingly, what we learned anecdotally from this email call for assistance is that unlike the Registrar and Chief Admissions Officer position, a fair percentage of institutions do not have a single position that fits the role as defined.  The lack of a single position with these responsibilities does not appear to be limited to institutions of a particular size, type or control.  In order to more accurately understand the prevalence of this position, I have added a supplemental question to the September 60-Second Survey asking whether or not the institution has this position, and I will add that data to the report.  

    AACRAO Research Updates

    The September 60-Second Survey will update our 2014 data on the use of electronic transcript services.  The data from the Chief Enrollment Management Career Profile and the U.S. Community College Completion Initiatives project will be presented at the AACRAO SEM conference in Phoenix this fall.  The grades and grading practices data has been collected, and the draft narrative for the book is under development.  There is a lot of data to compare current practices with the previous surveys. 

    Call for Assistance

    Reminder: Predictive Modelling for Student Retention Survey closes Sept 8.

    The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, Canada (HEQCO) is conducting a survey on the experiences of postsecondary institutions with predictive modelling for student retention. HEQCO is looking to gather information on what types of institutions have implemented predictive modelling for student retention, what groups of students they are targeting, what interventions have been designed and used with predictive modellng, and what effects those interventions have had on student retention. The survey will take respondents approximately 20-25 minutes to complete, depending on answer length, and will be open until Friday, September 8, 2017. The survey can be accessed at https://pm-mp.questionpro.ca.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Statewide Longitudinal Systems

    The Education Commission of the States released its policy snapshot on statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS) and relevant 2016 and 2017 legislation:

    • “37 states plus the District of Columbia (D.C.) connect data between at least two educational systems and only 6 states plus D.C. have a full P20W system.”
    • Several use their systems to measure student success and have introduced legislation based on the data.
    • Although five states proposed legislation related to SLDS in 2016, only one bill was enacted in California.
    • In 2017, 16 states considered SLDS legislation and six have been enacted in Nevada, Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina.

    Four Common Governance Structures

    The Education Commission of the States also released a report providing an overview of the governance structures found during a recent 50-state review.  Four common governance structures were identified:

    • Appointed Board with an Appointed Chief
    • Governor Appointed Board with Board Appointed Chief
    • Appointed Board with Elected Chief
    • Elected Board with Board Appointed Chief

    Twelve states operate under modified versions of the four identified models.

    Recent Paper Provides an Overview and Analysis of the Credentialing Landscape 

    A report commissioned by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, with support from the Carnegie Corporation, examined credentials that serve as an alternative to degrees and those that serve as alternate pathways to degrees.  Common themes included:
    • There has been a proliferation of alternative credentials/pathways over the past 15 years.
    • Credentials and alternate pathways are shorter, more flexible and more employer-focused than traditional degrees
    • Evidence of quality and effectiveness of credentials/pathways is lacking.
    • There appears to be an emerging trend in which institutions of higher education would “take a substantial role in validating varied learning experiences and linking them with academic coursework and degree pathways.”

    Policy recommendations in the paper included:
    • Ensure quality assurance, enforce quality standards, and accelerate integration of quality credentials/pathways into the federal financial aid system.
    • Invest in longitudinal data systems to monitor student experiences and outcomes.
    • Perform further research on the effectiveness and return on investment for alternative credentials/pathways.

    Two Studies Highlight Student Concerns about College Preparedness and College Completion

    A recent article in Education Dive indicates that a pair of recent studies suggest that about half of U.S. high school students (across 21 states) do not feel prepared for college, and about half of the students entering college are concerned that they may not graduate.  Student self-perceptions of preparedness for college varied with race/ethnicity, with Asian, black or African-American and Hispanic or Latino students feeling better prepared than white or multiracial students.  Students indicated the top three reasons that would cause them to leave school: family emergencies (69%), stress (66%) and mental health issues (66%).

    Highlights from a Soon-to-be-Released Report on Protecting Data Privacy and Security

    Education Week reported that the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking recently released highlights from its forthcoming final report.  The commission was tasked to examine ways that data and research could be shared across federal agencies while addressing privacy and security concerns.   While not directly aimed at education, the author suggests that the recommendations are likely to “shape reauthorization of critical and long-overdue education laws governing research data.” Five key principles were identified as being required to govern the future of data use:
    • Access and privacy must be a paramount concern.
    • Questions should be answered with the appropriate level of rigor.
    • “Agencies should avoid overgeneralizing findings and instead focus on building and promoting a broader ‘portfolio of evidence.’”
    • Expertise is required for these data protections and analyses.

    Notifying Students about Learning Analytics

    Blackboard recently released a research brief entitled Student Interest & Patterns in Learning Analytics Notification that discusses student preferences for notifications.  Students opened notifications 37% of the time.  Further, those notifications that compared students to their peers were preferred over notifications regarding trends in the students’ scores over time.  Further, a cluster analysis was performed, and open rates were found to be consistent across all student types.

    Article Suggests Change of Focus in Admissions from Achievement to Overcoming Barriers

    A new article in Inside Higher Ed suggests selective colleges should re-focus their admissions selection process.  It asserts that the traditional measures of achievement (grades, tests scores, extracurricular activities, etc.) do more to measure the resources available to an applicant, rather than the applicant's talent or motivation. The article's author asserts that a "distance travelled" model would be a more useful tool for selective admissions. This model could use an "adversity index" to look at the traditional achievement measures, but be weighted by other factors such as poverty, discrimination, and other challenges faced by the applicant.

    Expanding Access for High-Achieving Low-Income Students

    The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation released a report identifying practices to assist high-achieving, low-income students into selective colleges.  Among the 14 practices enumerated are the following:
    • Clearly identify the true cost of attendance 
    • Reduce application costs
    • Remove practices that disadvantage these students such as requiring the SAT or ACT and preference for children of alumni
    • Expand community college transfer student access
    • Facilitate campus visits
    • Customize messaging to encourage these students to apply 

    Article Provides Resources for Addressing Charlottesville Incidents 

    An article posted on NPR Ed provides some guidance to educators on how to use the incidents of bigotry and racism as a teachable moment. Resources included in the article include: ideas for introducing themes of diversity and tolerance; ways to incorporate historical curriculum that touches on racism today; and curriculum that addresses current events directly.
  • AACRAO Eye on Research July 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | Jul 27, 2017

    Commentary

    Freelancing as a “surrogate” student

    While reading an online article completely unrelated to work I fell down the web-click rabbit hole and stumbled across something that surprised me.  I landed on one of the many freelance-for-hire websites, fiverr, and found people openly advertising to serve as a “surrogate” student in their online class.  More specifically to take online quizzes and tests and to provide discussion posts.  Some set minimum grade guarantee limits and one was even offering to do this for nursing courses!   I was further astounded by the number of reviewers who openly acknowledge purchasing these services and then rate the service online.  I was vaguely aware that this type of activity occurred on Craigslist but never thought I would run across it on a more formally organized freelance-for-hire site.  It made me wonder how prevalent this service and the cheating is for online courses and how in the world would institutions monitor for this type of activity?  One would need to run all of the discussion posts through some discussion post aggregating site similar to what turnitin does for course papers. I realize there are some technology checks and balances for online test taking to help ensure that measures are in place to minimize this activity but the application of said technology is far from universally applied.  One would hope that the ingenuity and time spent by students seeking out these resources would instead be spent on learning the content for themselves.  The nursing posting in particular disturbed me because of the possible negative consequences for patients if the licensing exam does not have a means to identify the particular gaps in patient care knowledge that likely exist now for the nursing students who are choosing to cheat.

    I’m curious, has anyone else noticed these types of service postings and has it been an item of discussion on your campus?  If you have something you’d like to share on the topic, please email me directly (wendyk@aacrao.org) and I will amend the blog with any comments I receive.  On that note, we hope to have the ability for direct online comments in the next iteration of the AACRAO website.

    Parents Completing College Applications for Many

    Ruffalo Noel-Levitz partnered with NRCCUA, CollegeWeekLive and OmniUpdate to surveyed “thousands of students and parents” through the MyCollegeOptions program about electronic communication/digital marketing preferences and usage.  They posted an infographic with early insight into the data.  The full eExpectations report was released at the National Conference for Student Recruitment, Marketing and Retention on July 27th.  Among the findings - almost two-thirds of parents of seniors indicated they completed the application for admission on behalf of their student!  

    Reading this made my eyebrows go up and for me to think, “How in the world do colleges that rely even partially on student essays for the admissions process deal with this?”  How would you even know if the essay was written by the parent?  This is not some small reported percentage, it’s more than half in this sample.  Again, I’d enjoy hearing back from our experts in the field (aka our members) if and how this is anything you have considered to be an issue and if so how you are trying to address it.

     

    Invitation to Participate 


     
     

    The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (Canada) is conducting a survey on the experiences of postsecondary institutions with predictive modelling for student retention. We are looking to gather information on what types of institutions have implemented predictive modelling for student retention, what groups of students they are targeting, what interventions have been designed and used with predictive modelling, and what effects those interventions have had on student retention. Plaid Consulting has been contracted to administer this survey.

    The survey should be completed by persons who are able to comment on your postsecondary institution’s experience with predictive modelling for student retention. If this is not you, we ask that you please forward this invitation to that person. The survey is open until September 8, 2017 and can be completed here. The survey should take approximately 20-25 minutes of your time to complete, depending on the length of your answers.

    Your participation is voluntary. Neither you nor your institution will be identified in the report and all of the information that you share will remain anonymous for the final report. This means that only researchers at Plaid Consulting and HEQCO will have access to identifying information in connection with survey findings, but that identifying information will be aggregated or anonymized prior to publication. More information on the privacy policy can be found at http://plaid.is/privacy.html. Any feedback that you provide will remain confidential in accordance with Canada’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

    If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Pat Lougheed, Partner & Co-Founder, Plaid Consulting, info@plaid.is or +1-416-212-3881. If you have any questions about the project, please contact Kaitlyn Blair, Researcher at HEQCO, at kblair@heqco.ca or +1-416-212-3881. 

    Thank you in advance for your participation.

    AACRAO Research Updates

    This month’s 60-Second Survey examines the institutional practice of monitoring the social media posts of prospects, and/or applicants and/or admitted students for inappropriate remarks.  This topic came about because of the recent incident at Harvard University the institution revoked the offer of admission for several students who were found to have posted topics that were deemed inappropriate.  Key findings include: 
    • Collectively, almost three-quarters either monitor social media as part of the admissions decision making or will review social media brought to their attention.
    • In the aggregate of those who monitor social media at all, nearly one-quarter monitor both the institution-sponsored social media and the personal social media of applicants. Facebook is the most monitored.
    • Among those who monitor social media, eleven percent (11%) have denied admission based on social media content; seven percent (7%) have rescinded an offer of admission; and half monitor the social media of admitted students.
    • About one-in-ten who monitor social media have a formal policy on how to do so.
    The full report can be accessed here.
    We will distribute the Chief Enrollment Management Career Profile survey in the next couple of weeks.  We identified recipients through an extract from the higher education directory and from our membership based on position titles.  The first of this series was produced in 2014.  If you would like to ensure that your name is on this distribution list, please let me know as soon as possible by emailing me at wendyk@aacrao.org.
     

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Attitudes and Perceptions of University Applicants may not match reality

    The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Unite Students conducted a survey of over 2,000 university applicants in the United Kingdom. Among others, the key findings included: 
    • “60% of university applicants expect to spend more time in lectures than they do in school lessons, yet only 19% of students find this happens.”
    • “Only 37% of applicants with a mental health condition have declared, or intend to declare it, with their prospective university.”
    • “While most applicants (62%) believe they have a good grip on money matters, only 43% are confident about paying a bill and only 41% feel they understand student finances, with many under-estimating essential expenses.”
    • “Almost half (47%) of all applicants feel unprepared for living with people they have never met before, with gay, lesbian, bisexual and other sexuality applicants less confident about making friends (58%) than heterosexual applicants (74%).”
    • The report also discusses pre-arrival communication strategies and other improvements that higher education could use to address these issues.

    Free Digital Financial Literacy Game created for young adults

    The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Ad Council have released a game entitled “Yesterday’s Tomorrow” to help young adults to understand the long-term impact of financial decisions on their future finances. The game is part of the “Feed the Pig” campaign, designed to “educate and support young adults ages 25-34 to help them develop better money habits.” 

    Recent Survey Data Outlines Shift in the “Typical” College Student

    An article in eCampus News highlights several recent surveys identifying the changes in the nature of “typical” college students. Data points to changes like an older college population, increases in first generation students, and fewer graduating within six years. The article’s key conclusions are:
    • “The ‘Traditional’ 4-Year Experience is Rare for Most” due to changes in student demographics and level of preparation.
    • “Common Challenges Occur Due to Too Much of Everything” including the rapid pace of technology change, time demands, and information overload.
    • “Online Learning Influences Most Learning” through the growth in its popularity, and new ways educational technology is being used including app-based learning, gamification of learning, and virtual/augmented reality tools.


    New Project to help address “Too Much Data” in decision-making


    A recent article in Campus Technology describes a project at Indiana University (IU) intended to help academic decision makers use data more effectively in decision-making. IU’s Chief Data Architect notes in the article” "If you ask how many people work at the university, well, depending on who you ask and how you ask the question and what time of year you ask the question, you may get different results…” The project addresses this problem by standardizing data, and putting it into visual forms for users. The article also describes how IU adapted business processes to make this project successful.

    New Report on Three-Year study of Consumer Information in Higher Education

    A new report from the Urban Institute examines the effects of enhanced consumer information on student decision-making. The results generally concluded that “simply publishing and marketing earnings data on a website is unlikely to change the behavior of prospective college students.” 

    Language a barrier in marketing free tuition program

    An article in Inside Higher Ed outlines how a two-year public engagement program intended to increase the diversity of the students in a program has found discrepancies in awareness of the program. The Long Beach College Promise program offers a year of free tuition and is intended to help increase access to higher education. Surveys found that while most Long Beach school district parents were aware of the program, that percentage dropped significantly in some minority households. Additionally, the location within the community had a strong effect on awareness of the program.

    Multiple methods of student engagement lead to greater student response

    The 2017 results from the Harvard Enrollment Study have been released and they “reiterate the importance of repetition and variety in successful student search campaigns.” The article’s key conclusions are that the most effective student campaigns do the following:

    • Use multiple channels to enhance campaigns
    • Use multiple list sources
    • Contact students across multiple class years
    • Search for students multiple times a year

    New Georgetown University Report Calls for Greater Transparency around College and Careers

    A new report suggests that the value of a higher education should be made more transparent by connecting college to careers. The report suggests that the increasing complexity of both higher education and the job market call for increase information about the value of degrees in the workforce. The lead author of the report states: “Learners and workers need a modern guidance system with clear and comprehensive consumer information that will help them make good college and career decisions.” The report also highlights some state efforts to provide better information.

    New Study Examines effects of Mandatory and Free College Entrance exams 

    An article in Education Finance and Policy “examines the effects of requiring and paying for all public high school students to take a college entrance exam”. The article’s key findings include:
    • Without this kind of policy “for every ten poor students who score college-ready on the ACT or SAT, there are an additional five poor students who would score college-ready but who take neither exam.”
    • This policy generated small increases in enrollment at four-year institutions. “The effects are concentrated among students less likely to take a college entrance exam in the absence of the policy and students in the poorest high schools.”
    • “The students induced by the policy to enroll persist through college at approximately the same rate as their inframarginal peers.”
    • “The policy is more cost-effective than traditional student aid at boosting postsecondary attainment.”

    Article Compares High School Exit Exams in Top Educational Systems


    An article from the National Center On Education and the Economy calls for greater rigor in high-school exit examinations, so they measure real-world skills. The article looks at six high-school exit examinations. Four from top-performing international jurisdictions, and two top-performing U.S. states. Each exam was examined for percentage of questions in Long-form, short answer, and multiple choice categories.

    New Report on U.S. Students Challenges due to Race and Ethnicity

    A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics examines 28 indicators of educational progress and challenges for minority students. In addition to describing the growing diversity in public schools, some of the key findings include:
    • “In 2014, the percentage of children under age 18 living in poverty based on the official poverty measure was highest for Black children (37 percent), followed by Hispanic children (31 percent), and White and Asian children (12 percent each)”
    • “In 2014, about 4.7 million public school students participated in English language learner (ELL) programs. Hispanic students made up the majority of this group (78 percent), with around 3.6 million participating in ELL programs”
    • “From 1990 to 2015, the high school status completion rate for 18- to 24-year-olds increased from 59 percent to 88 percent for Hispanic students, from 83 percent to 92 percent for Black students; and from 90 percent to 95 percent for White students. Despite this progress, the completion rates for Hispanic and Black 18- to 24-year-olds remained lower than the White rate in 2015”
    • “The number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanic students more than doubled between 2003–04 and 2013–14. During the same period, the number of degrees awarded also increased for Black (by 46 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (by 43 percent), and White (by 19 percent) students; and Asian (7 percent) adults.”

    Latest Postsecondary Institutional Data Now Available

    The National Center for Education Statistics has released its “First Look” report on 2016-2017 cost of attendance, degrees and awards, and 12-month enrollment. The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) collects institution-level data from postsecondary institutions in the United States and
    other U.S. jurisdictions. “First Look” presents findings from the preliminary data of the IPEDS fall 2016 data collection.

    Survey of How to Engage College Bound Students and Their Parents

    Ruffalo Noel-Levitz partnered with NRCCUA, CollegWeekLive and OmniUpdate to survey high school students and their parents through the MyCollegeOptions program about electronic communication/digital marketing preferences and usage.  They posted an infographic early insight into the data which will be released in full in the Fall through their eExpectations report.  The early findings include:
    • Most parents and students are open to text messaging.
    • Students prefer to learn about college through Facebook and use the college’s website to find the social media connection.
    • Almost two-thirds of parents of seniors indicated they completed the application for admission on behalf of their student.

  • AACRAO Eye on Research June 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | Jun 29, 2017

    Commentary – How to get students to eat their vegetables

    In my search for interesting higher education research articles to share with you, I occasionally run across results that are surprising and interesting in ways that I was not expecting.  The just-released Stanford University associated study in the online version of the Journal of the American Medical Association for Internal Medicine is one of those studies.  The article is titled the “Association Between Indulgent Descriptions and Vegetable Consumption: Twisted Carrots and Dynamite Beets.” Although the concept of in loco parentis has for the most part disappeared from higher education, institutions continue to be concerned with the general health and well-being of their students, and this includes providing a healthy variety of food options through campus food services.  This research was not tied only to campus food service but the larger issue of promoting healthier food choices.  However, the subjects of the study were primarily Stanford University undergraduate and graduate students. The researchers found that using indulgent food labels for vegetables resulted in a 23% increase in the mass of vegetables consumed compared to those labeled with more basic terms (e.g., “corn”), “healthy restrictive” (“reduced-sodium corn”), or “healthy positive (“vitamin-rich corn”) labels. In each instance, the vegetables were prepared the same.  Indulgent labels included “dynamite chili and tangy lime-seasoned beets,” “sweet sizzlin’ green beans and crispy shallots,” and “twisted citrus-glazed carrots.”  The results of this research point to a low-cost intervention that may help students make more healthy eating choices and may even have implications for campus dining marketing efforts

    Upcoming and Ongoing AACRAO Research

    The July 60-Second survey will focus on the practice of monitoring social media and its impact on the admissions process. This topic became the focus of the survey as a result of the June 5th Washington Post article “Harvard withdraws 10 acceptances for ‘offensive’ memes in private group chat.” We hope your institution will participate in this survey, we and want to remind everyone that the results are reported in the aggregate only. No information about specific institutions will be reported.

    The grades and grading practices surveys have closed, and we had a good response – 661 undergraduate and 306 graduate and/or professional institutions responded to the surveys.  The results will be analyzed, compared to past survey results, and released in book format.  This summer’s chief enrollment management career profile survey and subsequent report will expand on the 2014 version in that it will include “words of wisdom” for upcoming professionals as well as interviews with professionals currently employed in this position. In addition, the college completion initiative interviews are almost complete, and the report writing is well underway.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Early FAFSA/ISIR Activity 

    Royall & Company Research released the results of a 171-institution survey about institutional changes in practice in response to the early FAFSA.  Among others, the key findings included: 
    • “Forty-one percent of participants indicated they had significant early FAFSA activity, 43% indicated they had moderate activity, 8% reported minimal activity, and 7% indicated they had no activity.”

    • “Schools with significant FAFSA activity were up in ISIRs an average of 55% year over year (compared with February 1, 2016).”

    • “When looking at point-in-time comparisons related to the FAFSA application release date, 26% of schools are releasing their need-based financial aid offers 4- 8 weeks earlier than last year, 31% are releasing offers 2-3 weeks earlier than last year, 20% are releasing their offers around the same time as last year, and the remaining 24% are releasing their offers later than last year.”

    AACRAO conducted a similar survey in July 2016, before the early FAFSA was released, seeking feedback on anticipated practice changes.

    CUNY Start Program

    An op-ed story in The New York Times titled “Ending the Curse of Remedial Math” highlights the effectiveness of a CUNY program for students who do not test into college-level courses in math, reading and writing.  This program has proven effective for more than half of its students who are college ready within just one semester.  Students are enrolled in the CUNY Start program full-time and attend classes for 25 hours per week.  

    Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses

    The American Council on Education (ACE) Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE) recently completed an assessment of the current state of internationalization at American colleges.  The mapping is completed every five years, and the degree of internationalization is measured across six parameters: “articulated commitment; administrative structures and staffing; curriculum, co-curriculum, and learning outcomes; faculty policies and practices; student mobility; and collaboration and partnerships.” Among other conclusions, this year’s data finds that “institutions are optimistic about their internationalization progress” and it is an increasingly “administrative-intensive” undertaking.

    Student Centered Financial Aid

    AACRAO, NACAC and NASFAA partnered with Tyton Partners on a Bill & Melinda Gates-funded project to identify the “challenges and emerging solutions related to technology in the U.S. financial aid system.”  Tyton Partners used a combination of interviews, market analysis and survey data for the project.  The researchers found three future trend drivers for financial aid technology: 
    • “Schools become more student centered, focusing on the student’s experience from inquiry to matriculation to graduation;

    • SIS platforms remain the main solution for core financial aid processing but enable greater integration with other systems; and

    • ‘point solutions’ that are targeted at distinct problems in the financial aid system show increased development and traction.”

    Equity in Education: Key questions to consider

    The Education Commission of the States completed a special report, the results of which are designed to encourage an increase in the intentionality of policy assessment and development throughout the P-20 spectrum.  There are a series of “equity minded” questions to ask about state-level policy on teaching and leading; learning and transitioning; measuring and improving; and financing.

    Validity of Consumer Ratings for Higher Education

    Jonathan T. Rothwell, of the George Washington University Institution of Public Policy, developed an individual consumer ratings index and completed two validity tests.  His results, which were published on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), indicate that institutions with higher consumer ratings predict higher income and well-being and correspond to objective quality measures from administrative sources.  As such, the author concludes that consumer ratings can provide both valid and reliable institutional quality comparisons.

    The Future of Online Education

    The Chronicle of Higher Education conducted a survey of 1,287 higher education administrators connected to online education.  Highlights from the data include:
    • Nearly all institutions offer online education

    • Part of strategic plan for two-thirds

    • Faculty perceptions of online education growing more positive

    • More than half agree that online education made their overall education stronger or much stronger

    • Institutions are using third party providers for course quality certification

    • 98% of public institutions offer fully-online courses compared to 89% of private institution

    Policy Snapshot - Competency Based Education

    The Education Commission of the States completed a summary of the 2016 and 2017 state level legislative activities related to competency based education (CBE).  In 2016, three states considered CBE legislation, and one bill was enacted in Florida.  In 2017, seven bills were introduced, of which two were enacted (Utah and Virginia), and four remain pending in Texas and Oregon as of the release of this report.

  • AACRAO Eye on Research May 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | May 26, 2017

    Announcing AACRAO Research Grants

    Starting this year, AACRAO intends to award up to three AACRAO members a $2,000 research stipend to be used toward the completion of an advanced degree and the development of a draft academic research article.  The application form is currently open, and we will accept applications through September 1st. 

    Purpose
    The purpose of the grants is to encourage applied research on enrollment management issues and to foster the next generation of higher education leaders. The research grant program intends to support the pursuit of advanced degrees among AACRAO members and to stimulate thought, discussion and research on emerging topics in higher education enrollment management.
     
    Research Topics
    The applicant selects the topic to be researched with supervision by a faculty member at his or her institution. Appropriate topics may be drawn from a wide range of subjects of interest to the AACRAO community. Applicants are not restricted to the suggested topics listed below as long as their proposals address the stated purpose of the Graduate Research Grant Program.   Major research topic areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Enrollment management
    • Recruitment and marketing
    • Admissions
    • Transfer and articulation
    • International admissions
    • Diversity, equity and access
    • Administrative information technology
    • Student services
    • Financial aid
    • Enrollment Services
    • Retention
    • Student Success
    • Federal and state policy

    Eligibility
    Applicants and awardees must meet the following eligibility requirements:

    1. Be an active AACRAO member; and
    2. Be enrolled at an accredited institution of higher learning for the academic year in a graduate program leading to a master’s or doctoral degree; or
    3. Be enrolled in a series of graduate certificates in enrollment management at an accredited institution of higher learning. 

    Schedule for 2016-17

    The objective of the current research program is to initiate awards by the start of the fall 2017 semester.
    • May 2017 – Application submission opens.
    • September 1, 2017 – Electronic submission of complete application is due.
    • September 30, 2017 – Stipend awarded to recipient(s).
    • February 1, 2018 – Draft conference presentation due.
    • May 14, 2018 – Draft SEMQ article due.
    For additional information and for the application form, please click here.

    Upcoming and Ongoing AACRAO Research

    May 60-Second Survey - Results

    The Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit is being rewritten by AACRAO, the College Board, WICHE and CAEL.  Institutional membership on this committee includes: Montgomery College (Maryland), York College of Pennsylvania, Capella University, CUNY LaGuardia, the University of California System, Florida International University, Cleveland State University and Everett Community College (WA). The goal of the statement rewrite is to identify transfer credit best practices and to provide guiding principles for working with transfer credit and transfer students. The May 2017 60-Second Survey was designed to help the advisory committee learn more about our member institutions’ current transfer policy and practices. We also collected several samples of transfer policy for the soon-to-be-implemented policy repository. Key findings are included below. 

    Key Findings 

    • Just ten of the responding institutions do not accept any transfer credit.
      • Institutions with fewer than 1,000 students are less likely to accept transfer credit than others. 
      • Among the eight in this particular sample, four are undergraduate, graduate and/or professional institutions; two are graduate and/or professional; and one each undergraduate, other.
    • A quarter of graduate and/or professional institutions report accepting undergraduate transfer credits.  It is unclear from this data what purpose that transfer credit serves.
    • Not all institutions post their transfer policy in a location available to the public.
      • The majority in that sample are U.S. institutions and either public or private, not-for-profit schools. This data is of note because of the requirements for institutions participating in Title IV to post the “policies of the institution related to transfer of credit from other institutions” on the College Navigator website and the institution’s website “in an easily accessible manner.”   However, it is unknown whether the institutions in this group participate in Title IV programs.  If they do not, they are not required to post the policy.  
    • The items addressed in the transfer policies vary widely by institutional size, type and control as well as the academic level of the policy. 
    • Several states and provinces maintain a website on transfer practices and policies.
    • The most sought after guidance includes accreditation regulations, international transfer credit, high school credit/dual enrollment, and length of time credits are valid.


    Chief Enrollment Officer Career Profile Survey

    It’s been three years since we completed the first Chief Enrollment Officers Career Profile Report.  The survey associated with the report will be distributed this summer.  The first report can be found at: http://www.aacrao.org/resources/resources-detail-view/chief-enrollment-management-officer-career-profile-report.  The original survey begins on page 24.  If you have any suggestions for changes, please let me know by the second week of June (wendyk@aacrao.org).

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    CUPA-HR Releases the 2017 Salary Data

    AACRAO has taken the position of not soliciting salary data from our members because CUPA-HR collects and reports on this data annually.  We have extracted some key position salary data by institutional characteristics from the administrators and professionals reports.  This has been provided for informational purposes.  For the complete data set, see the CUPA-HR site.


    Wealth Gap Fueling Education Gap and Upward Mobility

    The Urban Institute used data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) from the Institute of Social Research at the University of Michigan. They used this data to “estimate the relationship between educational achievement (at age 25) and family wealth (at 18).”  They found the following:
    • “Young people from high-wealth families (wealth above roughly $223,500) are more than one and a half times as likely to complete at least two or four years of college by age 25 as those in low-wealth families (wealth below $2,000)” and
    • “Among families in which parents did not graduate from college, young people from high-wealth families are roughly twice as likely to be upwardly mobile as those from low-wealth families.”

    Social Media and College Choice among Underrepresented Students


    Royall & Company surveyed over 5,500 college-bound students about their media use and preferences.  They found the following:
    • Students use a mix of institutional and personal resources to learn about college choices.
    • Underrepresented students use social media to learn about and interact with colleges more?? than their counterparts.
    • More than three-quarters still like paper mailings as a source of information.
    For additional findings, please see the full report available through the link above.
     

  • AACRAO Eye on Research April 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | Apr 27, 2017

    Commentary

    By Melanie Gottlieb

    AACRAO research received extensive media coverage in March and April due to the release of the final report “International Applicants for Fall 2017 – Institutional & Applicant Perceptions” (see summary below) on April 4th.  The survey clearly tapped into the anxiety felt by higher education institutions and the media since the change in administration (see figure 1 below). The early release of results on March 13th focused on the drop in application numbers, specifically in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.  This was covered by the media as an example of the “Trump effect,” with some media outlets sharing the data in a somewhat misleading context, despite AACRAO’s accompanying text that characterized the intent as merely a snapshot.  For the full release on April 4th, AACRAO attempted to shift the conversation away from the drop in applications, instead focusing on the specific nature of concerns from the various regions and the institutional tactics to assuage those concerns.

    Figure 1: Media coverage of AACRAO survey














    New Research Advisory Board Member

    By Wendy Kilgore

    Dr. William (Bill) DeWolf, Registrar at Emerson College, is our newest member of the research advisory board. Bill has been working in leadership positions in higher education administration and student administrative services for more years than he cares to admit. He has experience at four-year public and four-year private institutions in the Northeast and Mid-West. Bill was also the University Registrar at the former Medical College of Pennsylvania – Hahnemann University with experience merging two distinct medical schools into the largest medical school in the United States.  He is passionate about registrar business processes, student administrative services (one-stop environments), international programs (ACE Internationalization & Globalization at Emerson College), legal issues in higher education (particularly FERPA), competency-based programs, strategic vision as it relates to and in the registrar’s office and public policy. 

    Bill is currently an active member of AACRAO, NEACRAO and NEBUG, and has been associated with MSACROA and MACRAO. He has served in various roles, on committees such as Professional Development (AACRAO, NEACRAO and MACRAO) and Nominations & Elections (NEACRAO). He has made numerous presentations at AACRAO’s Annual Meetings and NEACRAO and MSACROA conferences, on topics ranging from advice for new or transitioning registrars, one-stop environments, online submission of grades and public policy. In 2010, AACRAO inaugurated the Public Policy Advisory Committee and asked Bill to become the chair. He served in that capacity until 2015. In 2014, AACRAO awarded the Thomas A. Bilger Citation for Service Award to Bill at AACRAO’s Annual Meeting in Denver, CO.

    Bill holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University College at Buffalo and a Ph.D. from The Florida State University. Dr. DeWolf is filling the vacancy left by Tysa Egleton who served since 2015 as an inaugural member of the advisory board. 

    Upcoming and Ongoing AACRAO Research

    Community College Completion Initiatives

    This project is well underway with the student data collection phase completed, the literature review drafted, and the institutional survey set to close by the end of April.  We have made a slight change in our plans for this project in that instead of very brief institutional overviews based on interviews, we hope to take a deeper dive into a few institutions representing differences in size, type and location.  

    May 60-Second Survey

    AACRAO, in conjunction with other higher education associations, is writing a new version of the Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit. This original statement was written in 2001 and, while forward thinking, needs to be updated to address current and future higher education trends. The goal of this rewrite is to identify transfer credit best practices and to provide guiding principles for working with transfer credit and transfer students. The May 2017 60-Second survey is designed to capture a snapshot of current policy and to seek input from the membership about what guidance AACRAO can provide on the topic of transfer policy.  

    Policy Repository Update

    We collected the first set of policies through the undergraduate grading survey.  The May 60-Second survey will include a request for transfer policy examples.  The graduate grading policies will be collected in May as well.  We hope to have an initial beta-release of the repository later this year.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Three Studies All Point to the Current U.S. Political Climate Having the Potential to Negatively Impact International Student Enrollment. 

    AACRAO - Perceptions of immigration policy changes cause concerns for international students and their families about study in the U.S.

    AACRAO, in partnership with the Institute of International Education (IIE), the International Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association for College Admission Counseling and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, released the final report of the “International Applicants for Fall 2017 – Institutional & Applicant Perceptions.” It revealed concerns ranging from perception of a rise in student visa denials at U.S. embassies to concerns that benefits and restrictions around visas could change. 

    Last month the group issued an early release of key findings from their February 2017 member survey due to the increased and continued focus on immigration issues. The inter-associational survey was conducted in response to expressed concern from international educators that the political discourse leading up to the November 2016 U.S. presidential election could be damaging to institutional recruitment efforts. Approximately 300 institutions responded to the survey. 

    The survey tapped into the anxiety felt by higher education institutions and the media since the change in administration, resulting in extensive media coverage (see figure 1 below). The early release of results on March 13th focused on the drop in application numbers, specifically in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.  For the full release on April 4th,  AACRAO attempted to shift the conversation away from the drop in applications, instead focusing on the specific nature of concerns from the various regions and the institutional tactics to assuage those concerns. 

    This snapshot data could be an early indicator of a potential slowdown or decrease in international student enrollments for the Fall 2017 enrollment period, a decline that would have major negative economic impacts for institutions and potentially could result in an increase in tuition for U.S. students. Other key survey findings include: 
    • 77% of institutions expressed concerns regarding application yield, with data that aligns closely to the countries of concern.
    • 38% of responding institutions reported a decline in international applications; 35% reported an increase; and 27% reported no change in applicant numbers.
    The group plans a follow-up survey next month to obtain a first look at institutional yield.  While the final enrollment numbers for Fall 2017 will not be known by institutions until their international students arrive at the start of the Fall 2017 semester in mid-August, a comparison of accepted offers and deposits from last year to this year will be a useful tool to help gauge the impact of shifts in immigration policies on institutional enrollment.  

    AACRAO and its partner associations will continue to monitor this issue in order to provide tools for institutions to manage their enrollments. 

    Academic Impressions - The Trump Effect on International Students: Early Indications and Insights

    Similar to the intra-organizational survey completed by AACRAO, Academic Impressions completed a survey of “over 100 enrollment managers and international education professionals” on the subject of negative consequences on international student enrollment in the United States based on the current political climate. Their findings were similar to AACRAO’s, and a select few have been included here.

    “What impact on international enrollment do you anticipate from the current White House administration’s policies?
    • 44% expect HIGH impact, not only on enrollment from Muslim-majority nations, but from other key international markets (China, South Korea, India, etc.) as well
    • 12% expect HIGH impact, but only on enrollment from Muslim-majority nations
    • 22% don’t know
    • ONLY 4% of respondents expect no impact.”

    Royall & Company - 2017 International Student Enrollment Survey: Travel ban implications on higher education

    More than 2,000 students from 150 countries were surveyed by Royall & Company about their interest in studying in the United States.  One in three respondents indicated their interest in studying in the United States has decreased due to the political climate, with those from the Middle East representing the highest percentage with decreased interest. 

    NSC Research Center – Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates by Race and Ethnicity, Fall 2010 Cohort

    This Lumina Foundation supported student level report examined the 6-year degree and certificate completion rates for the fall 2010 cohort.  NSC working with the University of Chicago to create a representative sample of schools and the completion rate “includes students who completed a degree or certificate at a different institutions from where they started.”  Data was disaggregated by race and ethnicity data.  Among the key findings the authors found that black students had the lowest six-year completion rate (45.9%) compared to white (67.2%) and Asian (71.7%) students.  They also found that “the completion gap between racial groups tend to shrink as students grow older.”

    NSC Research Center Snapshot Report: Contribution of Two-Year Public Institutions to Bachelor’s Completions at Four-year Institutions

    NSC studied the enrollment patterns for a ten-year period for those who completed a bachelor’s degree in 2015-16.  Key findings include:
    • 49% of all bachelor’s degree earners enrolled at a two-year public institution at some point in that ten-year period
    • 22% were only enrolled at a two-year institution for one term
    • More than half of the 2015-16 graduating cohort had previous enrollment in a two-year public institution in 20 states.

      Source: https://nscresearchcenter.org/snapshotreport-twoyearcontributionfouryearcompletions26/
     

    CAPSEE Infographic: The Value of Associate Degrees and Certificates

    The figures below were created by CAPSEE from their report The Labor Market Returns to Sub-Baccalaureate College: A Review. Researchers found that, in general, women receive a larger boost from earning an associate degree compared to men ($7,160 vs. $4.640 more per year).


    Source: http://capseecenter.org/research/by-the-numbers/earnings/

     
    Source: http://capseecenter.org/research/by-the-numbers/earnings/


    CAPSEE Working Paper - Labor Market Trajectories for Community College Graduates: New Evidence Spanning the Great Recession

    This study followed students who earned either a certificate or associate’s degree from an Ohio community college for up to 11 years after they initially entered. The authors found their data supported “prior findings regarding the positive early returns to associate degrees and long-term certificates.”  They also found that while the returns of an associate degree grow after graduation, the returns of the certificate do not. 

    NCES Guide to Descriptive Analysis Education

    This new guide from NCES provides guidance on how to more effectively approach quantitative descriptive analysis.  This type of analysis is defined in the guide: “Descriptive analysis characterizes the world or a phenomenon— identifying patterns in the data to answer questions about who, what, where, when, and to what extent.”  The target audience of this guide are researchers who conduct descriptive and cause studies using large-scale data.

    CCRC Early Insights Report on AACC Guide Pathways Colleges

    CCRC interviewed staff from all 30 institutions who are currently participating in the AACC Guided Pathways project.  Researchers also visited six colleges.  The report based on this work highlights the progress towards implementing the guided pathways.  A few of the key findings from the report are included here:
    • “The colleges are redesigning their websites to show how program maps connect to career and transfer opportunities.
    • The colleges are trying to find a balance between providing too much and too little choice.
    • The colleges are ensuring that students get a taste of a field of interest in their first semester.
    • Some of the colleges are beginning to build pathways down into high schools, often starting with dual enrollment students.
    • The colleges in the AACC Pathways are redefining advising roles—and in some cases hiring new advisors—to support a more proactive model of advising, with check-ins at key decision points along students’ paths.
    • Most of the colleges are trying to create more predictable schedules and taking other steps to enable students to complete their programs more quickly.”

  • AACRAO Eye on Research March 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | Mar 27, 2017

    Commentary – A Call for 60-Second Survey Ideas

    Our next 60-Second survey is scheduled for May, and I’d love to hear about what topics are of interest to you.  Please email me directly at wendyk@aacrao.org with your ideas.  These ideas can include updating the 60-Second survey topics from late 2014 and early 2015.

    AACRAO Research Insights

    We just completed the March 60-Second survey on managerial coaching practices and interest in being and AACRAO mentee or mentor. Key findings are included below.

    Key Findings 

    • More than half reported holding a master’s degree, and this value does not vary much by institutional control or position level.
    • The mean years employed at the current institution is 11.81.
    • The mean years working for the current supervisor is 3.59.
    • Almost half reported interest in being matched with an AACRAO mentor; nearly the same percentage reported interest in serving as an AACRAO mentor.
    • Encouragingly, more than half report that their supervisors model the following coaching behaviors –
      • “Encourages me to broaden my perspectives by helping me see the big picture”
      • “Provides me with constructive feedback”
      • “Provides me with resources so I can perform my job more effectively”
      • “To help me think through issues, my supervisor asks questions, rather than provides solutions.”

    As mentioned in February’s blog, AACRAO partnered with four higher education associations--the Institute of International Education (IIE), the International Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators--in February 2017 to launch an inter-associational member survey. Due to the increased and continued focus on immigration issues, an early release of key findings is available today to help institutions forecast and prepare for what might lie ahead. “International Applicants for Fall 2017 – Institutional & Applicant Perceptions” is intended to be a snapshot of international student and family perceptions, as well as institutional activities. 

    Key Findings

    • 39% of responding institutions reported a decline in international applications; 35% reported an increase; and 26% reported no change in applicant numbers.
    • 39% of institutions have reported declines in undergraduate applications for Fall 2017 from the Middle East
    • Institutions reported that applications from India and China have also been impacted. Open Doors 2016 indicates that these two countries currently make up 47% of our international student enrollment, with almost half a million students studying in the United States.

    "The survey results suggest a rising level of concern on the part of institutions that fall enrollments in the United States may be impacted by perceptions that the U.S. is becoming less welcoming of international students,” said Michael Reilly, Executive Director, AACRAO. “Institutions are struggling to reassure students that their studies or travels will not be disrupted by future policy changes during this period of tremendous uncertainty."

    Upcoming AACRAO Research

    The student survey for the community college completion initiatives research project examining the impact on the institution and on student success has deployed, and we met our goal of 1,000 student responses.  The institutional survey was shared with almost 700 community college leaders on March 20th.  We have asked institutional respondents to volunteer for in-depth interviews on the topic.  Jacob, our research intern, is busy working on the comprehensive literature review to support this report.  Based on the feedback on the draft institutional survey, there appears to be considerable interest in examining the college completion initiatives in this manner. 

    The undergraduate grading survey closed on March 24th with more than 550 U.S. institutions completing the survey.  The graduate grading practices survey will be deployed in late April or early May. The data gathered from the closed and open-ended questions in these surveys will be used to update the 2004 AACRAO publication on the same topic.  

    This summer we will roll out an updated survey on the career paths of Chief Enrollment Management Officers.  We last completed a survey on this topic in 2014 and it is our intent to update the career profile surveys once every three years.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    NCES First Look Report on Graduation Rates, Outcome Measures, Student Financial Aid, and Admissions in Postsecondary Institutions for Selected Cohorts 

    A just released “First Look Report” covering a wide-range of topics highlights the following findings, among others:

    • Graduation rates
      • Approximately 59% of first-time, full-time (FTFT) students at four-year institutions who started in 2009 had earned a bachelor’s degree or equivalent within six years at the institution where they started.
    • Student financial aid
      • For FTFT students attending college in 2014-2015, the net price of attendance was as follows:
        • Public 4-year: $12,400
        • Nonprofit 4-year: $21,900
        • For-profit 4-year: $22,100
    • Admissions
      • Approximately 1.6 million students enrolled in Title IV non-open-admissions institutions for fall 2015 yielded from approximately 10 million applications.

    National Student Clearinghouse – Yearly Success and Progress Rates

    The National Student Clearinghouse report on the yearly success and progression of FTFT across all institutional sectors shows a slightly higher six-year graduation rate (61.1%) for the 2010-2012 cohort than the NCES first look report on the 2009-2012 four-year institutional cohort. The six-year graduation rate for first-time, part-time is not as rosy at 38.3%.  The report further disaggregates this data by institutional sector.

    American Council on Education: Instructional Quality, Student Outcomes, and Institutional Finances

    The American Council on Education released a white paper entitled Instructional Quality, Student Outcomes and Institutional Finances.  This white paper explores the relationship between instructional quality and institutional net revenue.  Profiles (case studies) of four institutions were included.  These profiles focus on the systematic efforts of these institutions to increase net institutional revenue through improvements in instructional quality.  Descriptive evidence is provided.

    Three Waves of International Student Mobility (1999-2020)

    A recent article in Studies in Higher Education examines international student mobility through the lens of “three waves,” each defined by key events: Wave 1 by the events of September 11, 2001; Wave 2 by the global recession; and Wave 3 by the downturn in the Chinese economy, Brexit and the American Presidential election.  Based on his consideration of enrollment trends, the author notes that “underlying drivers and characteristics of the three waves suggest that institutions are under increasing financial and competitive pressure to attract and retain international students” and that they must innovate to remain competitive. 

    Alternative Credentials: Prior Learning 2.0

    The Online Learning Consortium Research Center for Digital Learning & Leadership released the results of their study.  This study aimed to “provide a better understanding of how adult learning institutions address students who possess alternative credentials and seek to apply these experiences to a degree.”  Six U.S. higher education institutions participated in the case studies, which provide a foundation of knowledge on the topic. 

    The Maturation of Mobile and Social: The 2017 Social Admissions Report

    Chegg and TargetX released a report highlighting their findings including:

    • 93% of respondents use at least one college search or review site
    • 4 in 5 use those sites to research scholarship information and 2 in 3 to research financial aid
    • Almost three-quarters use the same site to review general admissions information
    • Prospective students report using several social media platforms in their college search process


     Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/maturation-mobile-social-admissions-marketing-gil-rogers 
     
    Three New Publications from CAPSEE 

    Does the Federal Work-Study Program Really Word and for Whom?

    This brief discusses recent research on the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program. The authors examine the program’s impact at public and private institutions, and disparities in how those institutions are funded. They further examine how FWS and funding disparities may influence student success. They also offer potential policy solutions to address some areas of concern they identify.

    The Impact of Pell Grant Eligibility on Community College Student’s Financial Aid Packages, Labor Supply, and Academic Outcomes

    This paper examines various effects of Pell grant eligibility on community college students. Through deep statistical analysis, the authors look at how Pell grant awards affect other student aid, including student borrowing and other forms of state aid. The paper also investigates how Pell affects student enrollment decisions and employment while in school. Much of the paper focusses on the differences between institutions that offer loans and those that do not.

    What We Know about Technology-Mediated Advising Reform

    This document summarizes CRCC research on how community colleges and open-access 4-year institutions are technology-mediated advising reform. 

    New Study: Improving Admission of Low-SES Students at Selective Colleges

    In the new issue of Educational Researcher, Drs. Bastedo and Hillman conducted an experimental simulation to determine if increased information on high school context increases the likelihood that admissions officers would recommend low-SES applicants for admission. The sample included 311 admissions officers at institutions in the top three tiers of Barron’s (2013) ratings on selectivity. Findings show that admissions officers in the detailed-information condition were 26%–28% more likely to recommend admitting low-SES applicants than those in the limited-information control group, which still received detailed information on student SES and high school context.


  • AACRAO Eye on Research February 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | Feb 28, 2017

    A Welcome

    I’d like to introduce our new research intern, Jacob Wilson.  Jacob I. Wilson is a Ph.D. student at The University of Arizona's Center for the Study of Higher Education. Jacob teaches in the Leadership Studies program and works in Greek life at UA. His research interests include institutional efforts to promote and enhance democratic learning and engagement, community colleges and policy. He completed the “Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics” section in this month’s blog.  He and I will collaborate over the course of the next several months to complete the comprehensive project on the impact and effectiveness of the college completion agenda on community colleges. 

    AACRAO Research Insights

    We have two surveys in the field right now.  The first is a survey of undergraduate grading practices that we will use to update the 2004 AACRAO publication on the same topic.  Several hundred institutions have responded to date, and the survey will remain open through late March.  A very preliminary look at the data so far highlights the variety in grading practices at the undergraduate level. A similar survey on graduate grading practices will be distributed later this spring. 

    The second survey is an inter-organizational project between AACRAO, IIE, IACAC, NACAC, NAFSA and the College Board seeking institutional feedback on the state of international student recruitment and yield for fall 2017.  The survey asks if the institution is hearing any concerns from international students and/or their families.  The results of this survey will be available next month.

    Upcoming AACRAO Research

    We have just kicked-off the comprehensive college completion project.  We expect to start collecting data and conducting interviews by late March and early April. Next month’s 60-Second survey will be open to responses from all members and will invite insights into coaching and mentorship and interest in either serving as a mentor or being matched with one.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    The Results are In: Inside Higher Ed’s 2017 Chief Academic Officers Survey

    The results for the 2017 Inside Higher Ed survey of Chief Academic Officers (CAOs) show a mix of optimism and skepticism among the 654 Provosts and CAOs who participated. While the vast majority (86%) of respondents believe the academic health of their institutions is excellent or good, there are concerns over faculty diversity, with 62% of respondents either agreeing or strongly agreeing that their institution will need to make hiring decisions differently in order to increase the number of minority faculty members. The survey was conducted by Gallup and includes 12 additional topic areas, and their findings, including:

    • Liberal Arts Education
    • Competency-Based Education
    • Assessment Programs
    • Diversity in Curriculum
    • Trigger Warnings
    • Scholarship and Leadership

    Early Momentum Metrics: Why They Matter for College Improvement

    In this Community College Research Center research brief, David Jenkins and Thomas Bailey propose three metrics of “early momentum” that institutions can use to measure whether reforms are enhancing student outcomes. The authors propose Credit Momentum, Gateway Momentum and Program Momentum as near-term metrics that, research is beginning to show, can predict long-term success.

    “Let Parents Be Parents” – An Appeal to Simplify Parent Involvement in Administrative Bureaucracy

    In his commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Eric Johnson appeals to college administrators to ease the burden placed on parents of first-generation and low-income students. Johnson challenges campuses to consider simplifying the systems in place, from purchasing parking permits and selecting meal plans to paying tuition bills and registering for classes. Johnson writes, “First-generation parents don’t need more instruction on the college process. Colleges need to require less of it.” After all, he says, colleges build fundraising websites that do not require multi-part tutorials before accepting a donation by credit card.

    2017 CAPSEE Conference April 6-7 in Washington, DC

    “Making the Right Investments in College” is the theme of this year’s Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) conference. CAPSEE is a consortium of scholars from seven universities housed and led by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

    Each year more than $500 billion is spent on higher education. The conference will focus on:
    • Are students making investments that will improve their economic futures?
    • Is public funding of college efficient?
    • Are colleges organized so that these investments yield the highest returns?

    Visit the CAPSEE Center for more about the conference and how to register.

    The To & Through Project – Busting Myths about High School & College Success

    The University of Chicago’s To & Through Project has developed a resource that aims to challenge and bust myths related to student success with data and research. Here are a few myths – check out the resource guide to get the facts. Some myths addressed include:

    MYTH: ACT and SAT scores are the most important indicator of success in college
    MYTH: As long as a student’s grades are strong enough to graduate high school, GPAs don’t really matter
    MYTH: Starting at a 2-year college provides the same opportunity to a 4-year degree as starting at a 4-year college

    Department of ED Releases a First Look of New Report

    The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) released a First Look report with provisional 2015-16 IPEDS data. The report is titled Enrollment and Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2015; and Financial Statistics and Academic Libraries, Fiscal Year 2015: First Look. Select findings include:
    • Characteristics of Enrolled Students
    • Revenues and Expenses of Title IV Entities
    • Employees in Postsecondary Institutions
    • Academic Library Collections

    Unpacking Relationships – Instruction and Student Outcomes

    What role do instructors and instruction play in student learning and outcomes? According to a new paper published by ACE, what faculty members do and how instruction occurs matter a great deal. This paper explores five intersecting areas between student outcomes and instruction including transparency, pedagogical approaches, assessment, self-regulation and alignment. The author recommends support for instructors to create more active and student-centered learning methods.

    Call for Volunteers

    EAB’s Enrollment Management Forum, in partnership with The New School, is studying the effects of transcript request denials on students and their degree aspirations. Do transcript denials accomplish the intended effect of triggering bill payment? To what degree do they also lead to the unintended consequence of preventing a student in financial distress from pursuing education closer to home or at a more affordable institution?
    To complete this study we need you. Will your institution participate by sending data on transcript request denials? All data will be kept confidential and anonymous. Participating institutions will receive a customized institution-specific analysis in addition to the final, blinded, aggregate report.
    Below are the data requested, for each student that submitted but was denied a transcript due to a financial hold. Partial datasets are welcome.
    • Was the balance was paid following transcript denial (yes/no)
    • The size of the unpaid balance
    • Annual net price to student
    • Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)
    • G.P.A.
    • Credit hours earned
    • Is this a first-generation college student?
    • For students who do not pay, do NSC data indicate they enrolled elsewhere (yes/no)?

    Any data provided should be stripped of personally identifying information, including student ID numbers, names, and addresses. Please contact EAB at dstrait@eab.com with data, questions, or concerns.


  • AACRAO Eye on Research January 2017

    by Wendy Kilgore | Jan 30, 2017

    Commentary

    A Perspective on Student Records Management

    Teresita Flores, J.D., is providing this month’s commentary on student records management practices.  I would like to encourage others to provide guest commentaries on AACRAO research or other higher education related research of interest to the community. Please contact me if you are interested in contributing.

    From my perspective, and in my experience, it is unnecessary to retain documents any longer than required by the governing law or regulation that applies to that document. In higher education institutions, there should be records retention schedules that are separated by the part of the business that is in question. One body of law applies to employment records retention; another governs financial records. Education records, as that term is meant in a FERPA context, present an entirely separate body of concerns. What unifies these documents is the importance of an existing body of established business practices for documents retention. I find it notable that your research revealed almost half (46%) do not purge any student records or only purge some records in accordance with the student records retention policy and/or schedule. This is a significant issue.

    Unnecessary documents retention comes with a number of costs and risks. In a legal context, the problem with excessive documents retention is the risk of liability. Liability can show up in a variety of ways, further complicating matters. If an institution retains documents longer than required by the governing law or internal policy, then it becomes responsible for that decision. For example, if there is a public records request, the institution has an obligation to respond in a timely fashion. Excessive documents retention could hinder the institution’s ability to do that. Documents subject to subpoena must be produced, but only if they exist. If the institution has retained every document, including report or investigation drafts as well as completed final documents, all the documents that exist are required for production. If document destruction had occurred as allowed or as prescribed by law or policy, the document would not be available to produce as a matter of regular business practice. Responses to subpoenas must also be timely, and the institution runs into the same problem as under the request for public records. Absent ongoing litigation, if a document no longer serves a business or public purpose and the institution retains it past the time dictated by law and policy, the institution has literally decided to increase its costs and the risks associated with discovery of documents. The best practice is simple: Follow the law or regulation applicable to the type of business document in question, and definitely follow your own policies. To do otherwise invites significant risk of liability that could have been appropriately and lawfully avoided.

    Teresita M. Flores, JD, SPHR
    Dr. Flores is currently a consultant working with leaders and CEOs on compliance, training, investigations and HR. Formerly she was a higher education administrator responsible for legal affairs, human resources, EEO/AA/ADA, public records and copyright, and grants/contracts compliance.

    AACRAO Research Insights

    More than 1,000 institutions responded to the 60-Second Survey on Student Records Management Practices.  The results are highlighted below and the full report is here.

    • Nearly all (94%) of the responding institutions have a student records management schedule and/or policy.
    • Nearly all (97%) identify the transcript as a permanent document.
    • Almost three quarters (73%) of institutions with a policy and/or schedule use AACRAO guidelines as a student records management practice resource.
    • More than half (59%) have a single records management document that covers both policy and the retention schedule.
    • Document retention periods vary considerably among institutions.
    • The institution’s SIS/ERP is identified as the official source of student records for fewer than half (46%) of respondents. Fifteen percent (15%) still identify paper as the official copy, and 19% identify the scanned paper copy as the official record..
    • More than 8 in 10 (84%) retain more than one copy of a student record for all or at least some current student records..
    • Almost half (46%) do not purge any student records or only purge some records in accordance with the student records management policy and/or schedule. .
    • For most (71%) the office who “owns the record” is responsible for purging the records.

    Upcoming AACRAO Research

    The AACRAO research agenda for the next few months includes the following:

    • A comprehensive undergraduate grading practices survey to update the data collected for the 2004 AACRAO book on the same subject
    • A 60-Second survey on the availability of mentorship in the workplace and related topics
    • Impact of the college completion agenda at community colleges

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Encouraging a Sense of Belonging Improves Outcomes in MOOCS for Certain At-Risk Learners

    In the October 2016 Eye on Research, I mentioned the lay-theory intervention that helped incoming freshmen overcome doubt that they have the means to succeed in college.  Dr. Geoffrey L. Cohen, one of the authors of that study, has collaborated with others on a similar set of field experiments to improve success in MOOCS.  Similar to the original study, the authors randomly assigned students from less-developed countries (LDCs) and more-developed countries (MDCs) enrolled in MOOCS in one of three conditions: “the value relevance affirmation, the social belonging intervention, or the control condition . . .”  The interventions had a positive effect on persistence for students from LDCs but a negative effect on students from MDCs.  The author’s look to prior research as an explanation for this difference.

    CAPSEE White Paper - Estimating Returns to College Attainment: Comparing Survey and State Administrative Data-Based Estimates

    Using recent data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997) the authors of this CAPSEE white paper developed a new estimates of returns to college attainment and how college degree attainment relates to interstate mobility.  They also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using survey data versus state administrative data for estimating returns to college.  Findings include:

    • “relative to high school credentials only, there are substantial returns to bachelor’s and associate degree, as well as to enrollment in four-year colleges without obtaining a degree”
    • There are “positive effects on other labor market outcomes including likelihood of employment, full-time, full-year employment, and earning an annual ‘living wage’”
    • “four-year college enrollees and graduates are significantly more likely to work outside of their home state after college”

    CAPSEE White Paper - How and Why Do Adjunct Instructors Affect Student’s Academic Outcomes? Evidence from Two-Year and Four-Year Colleges

    The authors of this white paper used two statistical models to estimate the impact on student outcomes based on the type of instructor a student had at their initial exposure to a topic. The results suggest that introductory courses taught by adjuncts have a positive impact on introductory course grades.  However, the opposite was found to be true for subsequent course enrollment and performance.  Instructor demographics such as highest degree attainment, full-time employment and previous non-teaching working experience, can largely explain the estimated differences.

    Coursera Maps Learning Regions Based on Online Course Topics

    The image below was produced by Coursera.  They used the relative popularity of their online courses to create topical interest regions.

    Source: https://about.coursera.org/united-states-of-knowledge


  • AACRAO Eye on Research December 2016

    by Wendy Kilgore | Dec 21, 2016

    Commentary

    As I have noted before, we regularly receive questions from our members about how their policy and/or practices compare to other institutions.  While these questions influence the content of the 60-Second surveys, we believe it would be useful to our members and ongoing research to have an AACRAO policy library.  With your help, we will start building the library in 2017.  The content will be provided by and available to AACRAO members.  Beginning in early 2017, we will begin to ask the primary contacts at your institution to respond to a series of brief surveys that include a document upload feature.  Once collected the policy documents will be categorized and tagged to enable them to be searched by keywords in the library.  We will also establish procedures to support the ability for institutions to update their policies as applicable.   Please let me know if you have any questions about this project (wendyk@aacrao.org).

    I received an email announcement for the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE) at the Ohio State University Affiliates and Fellows Program, and thought I would share the opportunity.  This program is designed to connect researchers conducting social science research on student success.  The deadline for applying is February 1, 2017.  Benefits of the program include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • “Eligibility to apply for seed grants to support student success research
    • A $500 annual stipend for research purposes
    • Opportunities to collaborate on mutually beneficial research projects and grants, scholarly publications, and outreach programs
    • Opportunity to request special access to CHEE data for scholarly purposes
    • Professional biographical statement and photo included on CHEE’s website and promotional material”

    Eligibility requirements include the following:
    • “Tenured/Tenure-track faculty members
    • Administrators at research universities or in research-related positions
    • Earned doctorate degree from an accredited college/university”

    AACRAO Research Insights

    The just-released AACRAO report on the career profile of U.S. Chief Admissions Officers provided the following insights among others.  A chief admissions officer in the United States likely has these characteristics:

    • is between 35 and 49 years old
    • has been in the position fewer than five years
    • spent most of her career in higher education
    • has a master’s degree
    • has more than 20 years of experience in higher education
    • reports to the Vice President of Enrollment Management
    • has five or more direct reports
    • is generally satisfied in the position
    • has worked at more than one institution
    • views skill in communication and enrollment management as most important for the position
    • spends the most time on enrollment management
    • finding time to get things done is the most challenging aspect of the position

    The January 2017 60-Second Survey topic is records management.  This particular survey will provide data for an annual conference session by Sue Hamilton and Nora McLaughlin tied to the book AACRAO’s Student Records Management: Retention, Disposal and Archive of Student Records.  In February, we will be seeking input via a survey on grading practices to help update the AACRAO book on the same topic.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    College Attainment Rates

    A new report from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center examines the pathways to completion for students who started in fall 2010 and fall 2008.  Authors found that college completion rates are on the increase reversing an earlier trend.

    Using Multiple Measures to Improve Placement Accuracy in Community Colleges

    In November this year, a postdoctoral research associate at the Community College Research Center (CCRC) presented on the early results of a Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR) project.  This project involves creating a multiple measures course placement algorithm for seven community colleges.  The presentation highlights the results of placement levels for the study groups so far.  Additional work will incorporate the course outcomes, persistence, and credits earned.

    One-Third of Community College Students Struggle to Meet Basic Needs

    The Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) released a report “Struggling to survive: Striving to Succeed: Food and housing insecurities in the community college.” Among other findings, the study found that twelve percent of community college students face the “threat of hunger”, and one-third “experience the threat of homelessness and housing instability.”  In addition, students in remedial education, especially math, account for the majority of students faced with either or both issues. 

    Strategies for Postsecondary Students in Developmental Education

    The What Works Clearinghouse (IES-WWC) created a comprehensive evidenced-based practice guide to help underprepared students.  It includes six primary recommendations (below), and each contains an implementation checklist.

    1. “Use multiple measure to assess postsecondary readiness and place students.
    2. Require or incentivize regular participation in enhanced advising activities.
    3. Offer students performance-based monetary incentives.
    4. Compress or mainstream developmental education with course redesign.
    5. Teach students how to become self-regulated learners.
    6. Implement comprehensive, integrated, and long lasting support programs.”

  • AACRAO Eye on Research November 2016

    by Wendy Kilgore | Nov 21, 2016

    Commentary

    Dr. Ben Castleman was the SEM plenary speaker on the opening night of AACRAO’s SEM Conference.  His session highlighted First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Up Next” initiative aimed at providing both high school seniors and current college students key college enrollment and success action item messages through texts.  While this program is not the first in higher education to embrace the use of texts to move students to action, the scale of the Up Next program is unprecedented and likely to reach millions of prospective and current students.  His presentation slide deck is available to AACRAO members through a login here.  As I understood it, there is still time for institutions to become involved in this program and his contact information is available at the end of the slide deck.

    The use, “care, and feeding” of data was a one of the key SEM conference themes across the plenary speakers, in the sessions and at roundtables.  Discussions were had around trying to balance the need for external and internal reporting, identifying a person or persons for internal reporting needs, mining and using student success indicators, and other related topics.  Given this hot topic, I thought it could be useful to remind readers about the great open resources on data management available from EDUCAUSE available here.

    AACRAO Research Insights

    Dual Enrollment in the Context of SEM

    AACRAO and Hobsons released the Dual Enrollment in the Context of Strategic Enrollment Management report at the beginning of the SEM conference.  Below is an infographic highlighting some of the results.  The full report is available here.


    November 60-Second Survey: Miscellany
    Over 900 institutions responded to the November 60-Second Survey: Miscellany which consisted of a collection of mostly unrelated but important practice and/or policy questions assembled from member inquiries and other sources over the course over the last several months.  Some of the key findings are included below. Click here for the full report.
    • More than half withhold official transcripts when a current or former student owes less than $25.
    • A third do not drop a student from a course (or courses) for non-payment.
    • Less than 20% of undergraduate financial aid recipients are required to take a financial literacy class and less than 10% of graduate students have the same requirement.
    • Almost three-quarters of undergraduate students are required to meet with an academic advisor at least once a year as compared to less than half of graduate students. 
    • Almost one in five institutions report that an undergraduate student must submit a request for his or her submitted transcript to be evaluated for course equivalencies and a third of graduate students face the same requirement.
    • Less than half (40%) automatically revaluate an undergraduate student’s transfer credit when he/she changes major and less than a third do the same for graduate students.
    • Just 13% of institutions serving undergraduates post degrees automatically and 11% do the same for graduate students. 
    • In the aggregate, just one in five ask a student if he or she intends to re-enroll for the following term.  When a student indicates he or she does not intend to re-enroll, 81% ask the student why he or she does not intend to re-enroll.
    • Almost 40% report the drop/add period for full-term courses is “through the end of the first full week of full-term courses”

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Study Finds Personality Traits are Key to College Success

    Vibeffect study of more than 5,000 high achieving students found that “low-income students in traditional four year colleges have equal probabilities of thriving {in college}; they are proportionally represented in the highest-thriving group.”  This study examined nearly 260 variables including traits, demographics and campus ecosystems and outlines the key self-reported traits tied to high-thriving students.

    Changes in Developmental and College-Level Course Enrollment and Passing in Florida 

    The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) completed a study of course enrollment and passing rate data before and after Florida’s 2014 removal of the requirement for students who placed at a pre-college level to enroll in college developmental courses. The study found the following:

    • “A smaller percentage of students enrolled in developmental education courses than in previous years. 
    • Passing rates in developmental education courses in math, reading, and writing increased an average of 2 percentage points compared with fall 2013. 
    • More students enrolled in gateway (entry-level college credit–bearing) courses, but passing rates in these courses declined compared with previous years, with the largest decline occurring in intermediate algebra. 
    • The proportion of all students entering college for the first time who passed English and math gateway courses increased compared with previous years.” 

    Education Advisory Board (EAB): “How relatively small grants retain students.”

    A study of over 40,000 students with GPAs above 3.0 found students to be slightly more likely to drop out of college if they lost between $1,000 and $1,500 in grant funding.  The percentage of those who drop out increases relative to a lost funding amount. 

    Cast Study “Delivering Exceptional Service Across the Student Lifecyle”

    Ovum conducted a case study of the use of the TargetX CRM platform at Pepperdine University to support communication across the entire student lifecycle.  Ovum draws the following institutional recommendations from the case study.
    • “Start small, but move quickly to an institution-wide CRM deployment. 
    • Identify an executive-level champion for the project early. 
    • Work closely with your CRM provider to understand the capabilities of the solution in a higher education context.”

    NCES Data Point Report: Examination of Credential Level and Occupational Credentials 

    An analysis of two employment data points associated with the 2003-04 Beginning Postseconday Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) found that employment rates were higher for completers than noncompleters at both the degree and certificate level.  Those who had completed a certificate had the lowest employment rate (77%) compared to those who earned associate’s or bachelor’s degreees.  However, the authors caution that “One cannot conclude from these data that employment outcomes are caused by differences in the level or type of credential earned.”

    Upward Bound at 50

    The Institute for Educational Sciences (IES) releases a new report that describes the “approaches that Upward Bound project use to provide core program services – advising, tutoring, academic coursework, college exposure, college entrance exam preparation, college application assistance, and financial aid application assistance.”

    NACUBO Guidance on Bursar Office Policy Manuals

    This month NACUBO released it comprehensive guidance on establishing student account policy manuals.

  • AACRAO Eye on Research October 2016

    by Wendy Kilgore | Oct 21, 2016

    Commentary

    A month or so ago Dr. Tom Green and I were chatting while driving back from Madison to Chicago, and he mentioned reading something in a New York Times op-ed about the results of three lay theory experiments, which piqued my interest because of the simplicity and apparent success of the intervention.  These experiments were designed to measure the effectiveness of lay theory pre-matriculation interventions in helping freshmen overcome feelings of doubt that they have the means to succeed in college and therefore improve success (see figure below).  One of the pre-matriculation interventions involved sharing upperclassmen’s “accounts of how they navigated the shoals of university life.”  I set about trying to find the original research and it took several weeks for me to track it down in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences. 

    The results of the experiments are very interesting and seem to have identified a fairly low-cost and highly effective intervention to help disadvantaged students close the achievement gap.  The authors summarize their results thusly, “The lay theory interventions raised first-year full-time college enrollment among students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds exiting a high-performing charter high school network or entering a public flagship university (experiments 1 and 2) and, at a selective private university, raised disadvantaged  student cumulative first-year grade point average (experiment 3).  These gained correspond to 31-40% reductions of the raw (unadjusted) institutional achievement gaps between students from disadvantages and non-disadvantages background and those institutions.”

     

    AACRAO Research Insights  

    To round out the AACRAO career profile report series, we just deployed the chief admissions officer survey. This survey closes on November 4th, and the report should be available by early December.  The November 60-Second survey (being deployed Oct. 31st through Nov. 4th) is a collection of practice questions we have received from our members over the last several months—each of which are interesting and/or timely but on their own did not make a complete 60-Second survey.  Topics include how institutions capture last-day-of-attendance for financial aid, drop/add period lengths, automatic awarding of degrees without the need to apply for graduation, use of shadow-terms for freshmen, use of a computer literacy assessment for incoming students, and others.  

    These two surveys are being deployed on our new survey platform Qualtrics.  We have also built the AACRAO Core Professional Competencies as two self-assessments. These will be beta tested with SEM attendees.  The intent is to tie the various competencies and proficiencies with conference sessions.  Future enhancements aim to tie the assessments to the professional development resources available from AACRAO.

    Invitation to Share your Institution’s Practices

    DOL Overtime Rule and Your Campus 

    Congress recently proposed several new measures to delay the implementation of the Department of Labor's overtime rule, but failed to approve formally the legislation before breaking for recess. We expect a return to this issue after lawmakers return to Washington following the elections. We also expect President Obama to veto any delay if such a bill were to pass. 

    With the new requirements currently slated to take effect on December 1, we know many campuses have questions about implementation strategies and what other institutions are doing to comply with the new requirements. Has your institution developed a plan? Would you be willing to share how your institution intends to deal with different positions in its offices? If so, please email Quintina Barnett Gallion, AACRAO’s Assistant Director of Communication and Legislative Affairs.
     

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Indicates a Continuing Tendency in Undergraduate Enrollment towards Nontraditional Students

    Data from 2011-2012 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) revealed that “about 74%” of all undergraduates applying for financial aid had at least one characteristic typically attributed to nontraditional students and almost a third had 2-3 characteristics.  This data has not change much since 1995-1996. “Is it time to rethink the term nontraditional student?” 

    Pearson Finds that Many Adult Students Return to College to Keep Pace with Technology and Advancements in their Field

    Pearson conducted its first Adult Learners Survey of over 1,500 US adults either already enrolled in college or planning to enroll. The results of Pearson’s study revealed that most are not concerned with being replaced by younger workers or concerned about their job being outsourced to another country.  However, most (72%) noted that advancements in their field have led them to seek additional education to keep up. In addition, more than two-thirds (69%) believe that their job will change significantly in the next five years due to technological advancement.

    Returns to Vocational Credentials: Evidence from Ohio’s Community and Technical Colleges

    The CAPSEE authors found the following:
    • associate degrees generate positive earnings effects for both men and women, and the effects are strongest in health
    • certificates also generate positive returns with some gender differences

    Performance Standards in Need-Based Student Aid

     
    The National Bureau of Economic Research recently released a report (available for a small fee for non-member institutions) examining the consequences of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) failure.  The data supported theoretical predictions that in the short term there are “negative impacts on persistence but positive impacts on grades for students who remain enrolled.”  In the longer term, the negative effects of the policy/practice overshadow the positive.  The authors also found that SAP “appears to exacerbate inequality in higher education by pushing out low-performing low-income students faster than their equally low-performing, but higher income peers.”

    College Students Want More Learning Technology

    McGrawHill Education surveyed more than 3,000 students about the role of technology in their learning.   Among other discoveries, the report authors found that:  
    • "84% of students report that the use of technology improves their education
    • 81% report that digital learning technology helps save them time and be more efficient
    • 81% claim that digital learning technology is helping them boost their grades
    • 89% agreed that learning tech ‘should respond and adapt to my unique way of learning’
    • 61% prefer classes that use digital learning technology”

    Brookings Institution Race Disparity in Student Load Debt After Graduation
     

    Report authors Judith Scott-Clayton and Jin Li found that there is a $7,400 average greater debt load between black and white college graduates immediately after graduation.  This gap more than trebles in the next several years.  Taking into account interest accruals and graduate school borrowing, black students have almost twice as much debt four years after graduation at almost $53,000.  The authors “provide new evidence that racial gaps in total debt are far larger than even recent reports have recognized . . .” and identify policy implications.

     
    Two New Reports on Competency-Based Education (CBE)

    Competency-Based Education: A Study of Four New Models and Their Implications for Bending the Higher Education Cost Curve
    The rpkGroup completed a Lumina Foundation-funded first look report on four business models for CBE. The study findings suggest that CBE can lower the cost of instructional delivery and may offer a faster pathway to “demonstrate content mastery.”  However, it will likely take several years for an institution to see revenue numbers that match operating expenses and their significant up-front costs.
     
    One Path to Success: Early Evidence about the Efficacy of Postsecondary Competency-Based Education (CBE) Programs
    The American Institutes for Research collaborated with CBE leaders at six institutions to help answer the following questions about CBE: 1) Who is enrolling in CBE programs?;  2)  What outcomes did those students achieve, and how did they compare with students in traditional programs?; and 3) What data are being used, when gaps existed, and what else would be needed to better address these questions?  An infographic from the paper summarizes their early findings.

     


  • AACRAO Eye on Research September 2016

    by Wendy Kilgore | Sep 26, 2016

    Commentary

    Degree Revocation

    This month we had a question come in from a member regarding how best to address the issue of revoking a degree due to plagiarism found after the degree had been awarded.  A brief search on the subject revealed that several institutions have documented policies on the topic either as a stand-alone policy and/or included in the student code of conduct.  In addition, several AACRAO members were consulted on the issue, and their responses are paraphrased here.  At one member institution, the adjudicating body that deals with academic misconduct would recommend the sanction of degree revocation to the decision-maker (initially the dean). The president has final authority at the appeal stage. Since the faculty at this institution votes on the graduates, the president might elect to take it to the faculty for a vote but could on his own approve such a sanction. The student has the option to appeal (at two stages), with the president being the ultimate decider. If approved (through the final appeal stage), the degree would be revoked.  It was further suggested that an institution must address whether or not the student would be allowed to attempt to complete the degree by re-enrolling at some future date, be that immediately after the sanction or at some future date.

    Others had not run across the situation at their own institution and so consulted others who said this situation occurs rarely (i.e., “once in the last 10 years”).  Some of our members who responded had institutional policies themselves, while others had never run across the issue or applied a one-off practice to address the occurrence.  If you’d like to comment on this issue, please email me, and I will add your comments to the website.

    AACRAO Research and Occasional Partners

    Occasionally AACRAO will endorse a partner in their survey initiative.  Partners may include other associations or organizations engaged in research of interest to our membership and the higher education audience in general.  Although we receive several requests for partnerships, we are highly selective about those we choose to engage.  When we do partner, we may send the survey on behalf of the organization like we did for the American Council on Education with the 60-Second survey on the GED.  On other occasions, we will provide a subset of our membership contact list to our partner and allow them to indicate that AACRAO is a research partner.  For example, we, along with NACAC and NASFAA, have an opportunity to support Tyron Partners in their current research initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Their study into the technology used to support internal and student-facing U.S. financial aid practices will be emailed to AACRAO’s primary contacts from a Tyron Partners email address in October. If you have any questions about this partnership or AACRAO research partnerships in general, please email Wendy Kilgore, AACRAO’s Director of Research.

    Recent Inside Higher Ed Blog on the Importance of Market Segmentation in Higher Education

    I found Clarkson University Associate Vice President of Marketing Tim Jones’ commentary on the importance of understanding marketing segmentation in his Inside Higher Ed blog interesting, as are the findings in the Parthenon Group study of more than  3,000 Americans enrolled in or considering enrolling in college to which he refers.  Parthenon identifies six “distinct and defined segments based on their motivations and mindsets rather than just demographics” (Figure 1). Jones concludes his thoughts by stating that “Applying and refining the concept of motivation and mindset for other broad segments — alumni, donors, peers, funding agencies, parents — will spark new ideas for sophisticated marketing strategies. Considering what audiences want and why they want it can also help galvanize brand identity and open up opportunities for differentiation. Segmentation provides perspective on what it is that makes an institution unique that the market cares about.”

    Figure 1: Six Major Student Segments
     
    Source: The Parthenon Group http://cdn.ey.com/parthenon/pdf/perspectives/4.4.2-The-Differentiated-University-Part-I-1-disclaimer.pdf

    AACRAO Research Insights

    The September 2016 AACRAO 60-Second Survey focused on undergraduate and graduate class scheduling practices. Topics included: staffing level; primary responsibility for data entry; importance of various factors in the scheduling process; process timeline, availability of year-long registration; enrollment thresholds; the use of technology for class scheduling and student schedule planning; and the expected return on investment associated with the technology. 

    Key Findings for Undergraduate and Graduate Class Scheduling Practices

    • More than half of all respondents reported that the registrar’s office has primary responsibility for entering the class data into the student information system regardless of student level.
    • At the undergraduate level, nine in ten regard faculty availability as an “important” or “very important” factor in the undergraduate class scheduling process, followed by time block popularity and the class schedule from the previous year.
    • At the graduate and/or professional level, nine in ten also regard faculty availability as an “important” or “very important” factor in the class-scheduling process, followed by student request/need and faculty preferences.
    • While 40% report scheduling classes an academic term in advance, about a fifth schedule a full academic year in advance, and a further fifth report scheduling “less than one academic term in advance.”
    • Just 6% of institutions in this sample let students register for a full academic year at once. An additional 18% allow students to view the full academic year schedule but not register. 
    • Half do not own a classroom/class scheduling solution.
    • Almost two-thirds of institutions set a minimum class size threshold for a course to “run” compared to 8% who guarantee all courses will run regardless of enrollment. 

    Key Findings for Student Scheduling/Planning Technology

    • There appears to be confusion in the field about the difference in technology used by a student to plan which courses he will take in future terms, compared to a degree audit system, and further differentiated from a student scheduling/planning solution. The latter was defined in this survey as the following: “Schedule planning solutions are used by students to create optimal class schedules by identifying preferred classes and blocking off unavailable time. The software instantly informs the student of all possible conflict-free schedule combinations available for immediate registration.”
    • Twenty-eight percent of respondents reported their institution offers an online schedule planning tool for their students.
    • About one-third of those who do not have a solution indicated that they seek to acquire one in the next 12 months.
    • When asked about the expected return on investment for current owners, 90% of respondents hoped the schedule planning tool would improve the student experience, followed by improving timely student registration (68%) and improved time to degree (62%). 
    • While one-third of solution owners do not know the percentage of students using the product, almost one-quarter report a very high usage rate (80% or above).

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Remedial Coursetaking at U.S. Public Two- and Four-Year Institutions

    The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released a report on remedial coursetaking and its impact on postsecondary outcomes. NCES found that among those students who started in a postsecondary institution in 2003-04, 68% of those at two-year institutions and 40% of those at four-year institutions took at least one remedial course over a six-year timeframe.  Not unexpectedly, students enrolled at two-year institutions were more likely to enroll in two or more remedial courses than those who enrolled at four-year institutions. They also found that remedial course completers “did as well if not better than students who did not take any remedial courses” in terms of transferring to a four-year institution, earning college-level English credit, and persisting through college. In addition, they found that “Not all remedial completers experienced favorable outcomes once various demographic, academic, enrollment, and contextual characteristics were controlled for in the multivariate analysis.”

    Dual Credit – The Superintendent’s Perspective

    Hobsons recently released a report on dual enrollment based on a survey in conjunction with the American Association of School Administrators.  This executive summary report provides an insight into dual enrollment from the K-12 perspective.  Insights from this report will be compared to similar questions in the AACRAO/Hobsons joint dual enrollment project.  

    A guide to developing and evaluating a college readiness screener

    Two scholars from Florida State University developed a guide released by IES to help institutions identify college-ready students. The guide report then takes the reader through a step-by-step process that may be used to screen prospective students for college readiness. 

    Child Care for Parents in College: A State-by-State Assessment

    The Institute for Women’s Policy Research released a briefing paper that examined the share of public institutions with campus childcare centers (Figure 2). The authors found that from 2005-2015, campus childcare declined in 36 states at both two- and four-year institutions. Among those states with 33 or more public institutions of higher education, four states were found to have campus childcare at 75 percent or more of their public institutions. While 39 states and the District of Columbia do not have work requirements for parents enrolled in education and/or training to qualify for the child subsidy, three states require at least 20 hours of work a week, and eight require less than 20 hours a week.

    Figure 2: The Shares of Public Two- and Four-Year Institutions with Campus Child Care by State, 2015

    Source: IWPR analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS). 2015 Institutional Characteristics Component (2015 Preliminary Release).

    Student Diversity at More Than 4,600 Institutions

    The Chronicle of Higher Education released a dataset of more than 4,600 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools and their student enrollment. The tables provide information about each institution’s demographics and their minority populations.

    New National Student Clearinghouse Report on Time to Degree

    The just-released report highlights the time to degree completion for a cohort of students who earned their associate’s or bachelor’s degree between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.  “Overall, the average time enrolled for associate and bachelor’s degree earners was 3.3 years and 5.1 years, respectively. However, as the report shows, the time required for successful degree attainment could be influenced by the pathway the student followed as well as by factors, such as stop outs and less than full-time enrollment status.”

  • AACRAO Eye on Research August 2016

    by Wendy Kilgore | Aug 29, 2016

    Commentary

    Michelle Mott, Associate Director of Government Relations and Communications, posed a question through the AACRAO Advocacy list serve asking members if their institution has any concerns about the way the VA is about to start reporting graduation rates for military connected students.  The feedback she received indicated that many institutions are concerned about the methodology.  Michelle notes, “The data that the VA will begin to report in September is based only on the completion rates they have in their system for students that graduate before benefits run out.  If students graduate after they have exhausted their eligible benefits, use any part of their GI Bill benefits at another school (including transferring or graduating from another institution), or pass remaining benefits along to a dependent, they are not included in the completion rate data. This obviously leads to grossly inadequate and incomplete information being reported for all institutions.”

    We intend to contact the department on behalf of the membership to express the concerns raised and will keep you informed of any updates.  Please email Michelle directly should you have any further comments or questions.  

    AACRAO Research Initiatives


    Upcoming Topics for the 60-Second Survey

    A look ahead to the 60-Second Survey topics includes class-scheduling practices in September, a hodgepodge catch-all of single questions submitted by members in November and, in January of 2017, a records management practice focus to support two of our members’ AACRAO annual conference session.  If you have questions you would like considered for the hodgepodge edition, please let me know soon.  Current topics on the list for that survey are as follows:
    • Acceptance of three-year degrees
    • Threshold for holding transcripts
    • Where are transcripts going – employers, students, institutions
    • Course placement practice
    • Recording last day of attendance
    • Drop for non-payment and the threshold for doing so
    • Separate-level transcripts
    • Use of a ‘shadow term’ where the grades earned are not calculated in the GPA and how is SAP related to this
    Chief Admissions Officer Career Profile

    The third focus area in our career profile series is the chief admissions officer position.  We will distribute this survey in October to members and non-members who are responsible for the admission of undergraduate and/or graduate students. Survey participants may also be responsible for recruitment and for scholarship administration or similar functions.

    Dual Enrollment in the Context of SEM

    The report underwritten by Hobsons and based on the institutional-level surveys and interviews is well under way and will be emailed to the AACRAO membership at the start of the SEM conference.  There will also be a session at the SEM conference. If you are attending, I’d like to invite you to this session and to perhaps share your institution’s experiences with dual enrollment in the context of SEM. Here is a sneak peek at some of the key findings:
    • Dual enrollment is widely available and accepted. During the 2015-16 academic year, most (78%) institutions in this sample offered dual enrollment options;
    • Eighty-six percent accept dual enrollment credit in transfer;
    • Lower division only, and/or large and/or public institutions are more likely to offer dual enrollment programs and courses than institutions with other characteristics;
    • Fifty-nine percent have incorported dual enrollment as a strategic enrollment initiative;
    • One-quarter of participating institutions awarded at least one associate’s degree to high school students during the 2015-16 academic year;
    • Fifty-eight percent discounted tuition for dual enrollment, and two-thirds of those do so by more than 50%;
    •  Among those institutions that do not offer dual enrollment, institutional culture is the most cited reason for not doing so; and
    •  Nearly all (93%)accept AP and/or IB credits.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Two-year Enrollment After Bachelor’s Degree

    The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center recently released a snapshot report highlighting the trend in the percentage of bachelor’s degree holders re-enrolling at a two-year institution.  During the recession (2008-2009) 7.6% re-enrolled.  That percentage dropped to 5.8% for 2013-2014. 

    Nudging for Success: Breaking Behavior Barriers to Higher Education

    ideas42, with support from both the Lumina Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spent the last two years working on dozens of projects with several institutions in the United States, with the goal of using behavioral science-based interventions to help remove some of the “hidden challenges” of obtaining a college degree from pre-admission to loan repayment.  Several institutions saw positive results.  Arizona State University, for example, saw a 72% increase in the percentage of returning student FAFSA filers applying by the priority deadline, further resulting in an increase of $263-643 in scholarships or grants per student.  This was accomplished simply by using targeted and repeated emails to both the students and, in one group, the parents as well.

    Out of Reach: How a Shared Definition of College Affordability Exposes a Crisis for Low-Income Students

    Demos, a public policy organization focused on social, economic and political equity, released a report in July 2016 pertaining to our understanding of college affordability for low-income students. The report defines college affordability as whether “a student can meet the total net price through 10 hours of work per week and 10 percent of a family’s discretionary income over 10 years”— otherwise defined by a group of experts convened by the Lumina Foundation, as the Rule of 10.  Results found that no state can argue, with confidence, that their institutions are “affordable” under the Rule of 10. 

    The Evolving Role of Faculty in Student Success

    The Education Advisory Board released a white paper based on interviews with 120 higher education leaders on faculty engagement and student success.  Their analysis of these interviews suggests among other findings that “most top-down student success initiatives” will not work without faculty engagement.  Further, more than three-quarters of institutions in the United States have an early warning system, but they are underutilized.

    Where Does Your Freshman Class Come From?

    The Chronicle of Higher Education released an interactive map highlighting state-level data on where college freshman choose to enroll.  This map is based on IPEDS data and some institutionally corrected data.

    Undergraduates Who Do Not Apply for Financial Aid

    The National Center for Education Statistics recently released a report based on 2011-12 data, which detailed that one in five students do not apply for financial aid. The study also filtered for institution type and found that students attending public, two-year institutions were most likely to not apply for any type of aid (30%), followed by public, four-year (18 percent), private, non-profit, four-year (11%), and private, for-profit (5%) (Figure 1). The study found that the most frequently cited reasons for not applying were “they could afford college without aid” and they “thought they were ineligible”. Ten percent of undergraduates who did not apply for federal aid either applied for and/or were awarded non-federal student aid.

    Figure 1: Financial Aid Application: Percentage distribution of undergraduates’ financial aid application status, by type of institutions: 2011-2012
     


    Source: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2016/2016406.pdf

  • AACRAO Eye on Research July 2016

    by Wendy Kilgore | Jul 27, 2016

    Commentary

    Late June and early July was a busy time for the release of higher education related research reports from the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), and others.  Topics include student persistence, emergency financial support, cost of attendance, a research review process, alternative credentials and the impact of laptops and/or tablets on final exam grades.  I hope you find these reports as interesting as I did.

    AACRAO Research Initiatives

    60-Second Survey Changes

    Our 60-Second surveys have helped us gain a renewed and expanded foundation of understanding about enrollment practices.  It is now time to reduce the frequency of these quick snapshot surveys to be able to take a more in-depth look at select practices and issues.  As such, starting in July 2016 we are moving to a once-every-other-month model for the 60-Second surveys.  I want to thank you again for your participation in these snapshots; I couldn’t have done it without you.  I hope you will continue to participate and share your topic ideas with me. 

    Change in Survey Platform

    Our survey platform, Fluid Surveys, has been acquired by Survey Monkey and will no longer be supported after this December.  We found that Survey Monkey does not provide the features we currently use and need in the existing platform.  As such, we will be moving to Qualtrics, a platform I am sure many of you are familiar with.  We have also acquired Tableau.  Qualtrics also recently acquired StatWing a data analysis platform that I have been using as a stand-alone product.  This transition should help AACRAO continue to provide the same type of survey and research insight you have become familiar with. 

    AACRAO Research Insights

    Beginning on Oct. 1, 2016, students will be able to fill out the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) for the 2017–2018 school year. In the past, students had to wait until January 1 to do so. In addition, applicants will no longer need to estimate income and tax information and will be able to retrieve their data directly from the IRS, right from the first day the FAFSA is available.  The purpose of this survey was to gather a snapshot of perceptions about this change and if/how this change will impact admissions processes and calendars.

    Although there are some international institutions who participate in the Federal Student Loan programs[1], most institutions that participate in the various Federal Student Aid programs, including loans, are in the United States.  As such we opted to send this survey only to AACRAO member institutions in the United States; 480 institutions responded.  

    AACRAO is offering a free webinar, Practical Implications for the 2017-2018 FAFSA on Admission and Enrollment Management Office,” on Thursday August 25, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET.  If you are interested in this webinar, click here to register.

    Key Findings

    •Most (91%) who responded were aware of the change, and most (94%) also view the change as “good for students”.

    •Nearly seven out of ten (69%) indicate that the change will not impact the undergraduate admissions calendar.•Almost all (94%) say that the change will not impact the graduate admissions calendar.

    •For those who will make a change to their admissions calendar, most will move student outreach activities to an earlier date.
    •Among those who had concerns about implementation, about three out of four were concerned about there being a lack of definitive Federal and/or State funding information available at the earlier date.
    •Just slightly less than three out of four were concerned about their ability to package aid earlier and notify students earlier.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Two Data Point Reports from IES

    Persistence and Attainment Among Postsecondary Student Seeking a Certificate or Associate’s Degree

    This Data Point report is based on data in the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) examining the 6-year persistence and credential attainment rate of students pursuing a certificate or associate’s degree.  Just 39% of students who sought a subbaccalaureate credential earned one within 6 years compared to those pursuing a bachelor’s degree (67%).  The study also found that the persistence and attainment rate for those pursuing an occupational field of study were not measurably different from those in other areas.
    Total of all students: 65% persisted Baccalaureate:79% Subbaccalaureate: 56%

    Source: Persistence and Attainment Among Postsecondary Subbaccalaureate Students – Figure 1

    Career and Technical Education Coursetaking and Postsecondary Enrollment and Attainment: High School Classes of 1992 and 2004

    The second Data Point report compares the postsecondary enrollment rate of public high school graduates 8 years after graduation for two cohorts (1992 and 2004).  Although the 2004 cohort enrollment rate was 5% higher than the 1992 cohort (89% vs. 83%), the postsecondary attainment rate was lower (57% vs. 61%).  The study further examined the enrollment and attainment differences between students who earned career and technical education credits (CTE) while in high school and those who did not earn any.

    What Works Clearinghouse Releases a New Topic Area and Two Reports

    The What Works Clearinghouse is a program within IES.  It just launched the Supporting Postsecondary Success topic area and two related intervention reports:  Summer Bridge Programs and First Year Experience Courses.

    Cost of Attendance, Degrees and Awards Conferred and 12-Month Enrollment

    Another just-released IES First Look report is based on preliminary data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).  This report examines data from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.

    Evolving the IRB: Building Robust Review for Industry Research

    A recent article in the Washington and Lee Law Review Online describes Facebook’s research review process.  The author’s hope that “. . . general principles can be extracted from Facebook’s process that will inform other companies as they develop frameworks for research review that serve their needs”, and this includes academia.  This article was part of the resources provided to attendees at the recent convening at Stanford University, Asilomar II: Student Data and Records in the Digital Era.  This convening assembled a small group of academic leaders to “consider how data describing adult students might be managed in ways that enable the improvement of educational experiences, the progress of science, and the integrity of information describing human beings.”

    Landscape Analysis of Emergency Aid Programs

    NASPA just released the results of a study that examined the current landscape of emergency aid programs. The study finds that institutions are delivering multiple types of emergency aid to students such as: campus vouchers, emergency loans, food pantries, and completion scholarships, among others. Of the 523 institutions who offer emergency aid programs, 82 percent have offered at least one program for 3 or more years.

    Two in Five Associate Degrees Led to Bachelor’s within Six Years

    A June 27, 2016 report by the NSC Research Center examined associate’s degree earners and the rate in which they enroll in a four-year institution and whether they earned a bachelor’s degree. Researchers found that more than 64 percent of these students enrolled in a four-year institution, and 41 percent earned a bachelor’s degree. The report notes, “the associate-to-bachelor pathway was most frequently completed by students age 20 or under, with nearly 61 percent earning a bachelor’s degree within six years.”

    Study Reveals Profiled Colleges and Universities Embrace Alternative Credentials

    A study by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), Penn State and Pearson looked at the role alternative credentialing in higher education.  For the purpose of this study, alternative credentials were defined as “Competencies, skills, and learning outcomes derived from assessment-based, non-degree activities and align to specific, timely needs in the workforce.”  Almost all of the institutions who participated in the study (94%)(n=190) offered some form of alternative credential and 20% offer digital badges.  Of the respondents, 64 percent either strongly or somewhat agreed that their institution “sees alternative credentialing as an important strategy for the future.”

    The Impact of Computer Usage on Academic Performance: Evaluation from a Randomized Trial at the United States Military Academy at West Point

    A working study by the United States Military Academy at West Point examined the effects of technology use in the classroom on exam scores. Three randomized groups were compiled: a control group that prohibited the use of laptops/tablets, one treatment group where students were permitted to use laptops/tablets without restrictions, and one treatment group that was only permitted to use tablets that remain flat on the table. Results show that:

    Final exam grades for those allowed to use laptops or tablets in the classroom were 18 percent of a standard deviation lower than those who were not permitted to use laptops or tablets. 
    Comparatively the “effect is as large as the average difference in exam scores for two students whose cumulative GPAs at the start of the semester differ by one-third of a standard deviation.”

    Motivation of Adult Learners for Completing a College Degree

    A 2016 study by Ruffalo Noel Levitz delved into the motivational barriers that first-year students age 25 and older may face while pursuing a college degree. A sample of more than 5,000 first-year adult learners at 50 institutions led the researchers to identify common themes. Researchers found that a vast majority (98 percent) are “determined to complete a college degree” when they first enter their respective institution. Despite such strong motivations from many, approximately 20 percent of respondents are expressed some apprehension as to whether the courses they are taking are worth all of the time, money and effort.  Researchers finally propose that administrators utilize the strong motivations many first-year adult learners have and develop academic plans that keep them on track.


  • AACRAO Eye on Research June 2016

    by Wendy Kilgore | Jun 08, 2016

    Commentary

    Separation of Official Transcripts by Level 

    We often receive best-practice level inquiries from our members and sometimes college students.  Recently we were asked by a recent graduate if it is okay for an institution to allow a student to request separate transcripts if she completed both an undergraduate and a graduate degree at the institution.  She needed her transcript for a potential employer, and as we understood it, her employer was only interested in seeing her graduate-level work.  Her institution did not support this option. 

    The AACRAO 2016 Academic Record and Transcript guide contains the following recommendation, “For those students who have attended both undergraduate and graduate or professional divisions within the same institution, it is recommended that the entire academic transcript record appear on a single transcript.  However, institutions may wish to consider the request of a student to send a transcript with only a specific degree and supporting coursework.  In these cases, it is recommended that some heading or other identifying language indicates this is the academic record for only that particular career or division.” (pg. 43)

    I am familiar with institutions that support separate transcripts by level or professional division and with others that do not.  However at this point in time, we do not have a snapshot of the prevalence of either practice.  We will either add it to the next version of the transcript practices survey or perhaps add it to an appropriate 60-Second survey.  

    I spoke with a couple of institutions that do not allow the practice and was told it was simply due to policy and/or it was considered to be a form of academic dishonesty not to include the entire transcript.  From my perspective, it makes sense to allow this option because the different degree levels have separate admissions processes, different academic standards for progress and completion, and represent different academic levels of work (undergraduate vs. graduate).  It does make sense as well that the transcript should be annotated to reflect that it is a partial transcript and how it has been abbreviated.  On the other hand, while separating coursework and degrees by level on a transcript is typically an option within the configuration of modern student information systems, printing a transcript of only the coursework that applies to one degree when more than one has been earned at the same academic level within an institution is likely to require more than just a change in a configuration of the transcript settings.

    AACRAO Research Initiatives

    Dual Enrollment Programs and Courses in the Context of Strategic Enrollment Management


    In February of 2013, the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) released a "First Look" report on dual enrollment programs and courses at postsecondary institutions in the United States based on 2010-11 data.  We learned that there are currently no plans to repeat the study. We chose to build on the IES survey with our study because we want to gain an understanding of how and if the programs and courses available to high school students to earn postsecondary credit are actively used by postsecondary institutions as a method for increasing student diversity and student success and/or to help reach other enrollment goals.

    This is a joint research project between AACRAO and Hobsons.  Hobsons is providing financial support and is the sponsor of the survey incentive. AACRAO is providing the survey platform, will identify the survey recipients, and conduct the data analysis and the interviews.  AACRAO is also responsible for writing the report.  

    This project consists of two parts:
    1. Conducting and publishing the survey results, and
    2. One-on-one conversations with enrollment management leaders to understand how these programs and courses are used, if at all, to support student success and help reach enrollment goals. 

    This survey will be released to a select population of AACRAO members on June 27.  If you would like to make sure your institution is part this project, please email the contact information of the person who should receive the survey (wendyk@aacrao.org). The results of this project will be presented at the SEM conference in San Antonio this fall.

    Summer Intern for AACRAO Research

    We are fortunate to have a summer intern, Alexander Taylor, a recent graduate of Elon University, join us this summer for a three-month research internship.  He will be working on a number of research projects as well as help us move forward with some technological initiatives.  These include assisting with the interviews for the dual enrollment project, conducting a literature review for the state transfer policy/practice project and adding keyword search functionality to the AACRAO research reports page.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    The Impact of Financial Education on Community College Student-Loan Debt

    Veronica Garcia, an AACRAO member and Vice President of Student Affairs at Paradise Valley Community College recently completed her dissertation at Oregon State University on the topic of student debt and financial education.  The U.S. student loan debt has surpassed 1.3 trillion dollars and had a higher default rate in 2014 than home mortgages . Institutions are increasingly offering and/or requiring financial-education programs for students as a means to positively influence student borrowing behavior.  Both surprisingly and concernedly, Dr. Garcia found at one community college that those who completed one or more financial-education courses tended to have higher student loan debt than those who did not complete at least one course.   She will present these results at the AACRAO SEM Conference in San Antonio this November.

    Developmental Education and College Readiness at the University of Alaska

    This May 2016 study of the readiness of first-time students who enrolled at the University of Alaska system found that among those who enrolled directly in college the high school GPA was a “stronger predictor of college-level English and math performance than were SAT, ACT, and ACCUPLACER scores.”

    Data Analytics Rising in Higher Education

    This University Business article highlights the evolution of staffing models to support data analytics and the use of predictive analytics on four campuses.

    nprED “How to Fix a Graduation Rate of 1 in 10? Ask the Dropouts

    San Jose State University received a grant to conduct exit interviews to learn why students were dropping out.  Among other factors, the institution learned that a sense of disengagement and real institutional barriers led to the decision for a student to drop out. The results of these interviews sparked real changes in practice on campus aimed to eliminate barriers and increase a sense of community. 

    Tuition and Fees in the West 2015-16

    The WICHE Policy and Analysis unit released a Policy Insights on published tuition and fees at all public institutions in the West.  For public four-year institutions Arizona has the highest cost for resident tuition and fees and Wyoming the lowest.  This summary also highlights the changes in state level funding in higher education over the last year and for the previous 5 years.  Thirteen of the 15 states in the summary received and increase in funding over the last year.   Arizona and Alaska received further cuts.  Funding in Arizona has decreased 27% from five years ago and a further steep cut of 14% over last year.  
  • AACRAO Eye on Research May 2016

    by Wendy Kilgore | May 23, 2016

    Commentary

    Members Using AACRAO Research Resources

    I enjoy hearing from members about how they are using the research reports.  Most often members report using the reports to help convince others to either leave a practice/policy the way it is or to make a change in that practice/policy.  Some remark on how their supervisor simply wants to know how other institutions similar to their own are conducting business around a particular topic.  Others use the staffing assessments to help justify position changes.  Occasionally I receive requests to further disaggregate the data to a specific set of peer institutions or more refined set of institutional characteristics than those displayed in the reports, and I am happy to do so. 

    I’d like to hear about how you use, or want to use, the AACRAO research reports and to share that with other blog readers.  I’d particularly like to know how the research helped you make a decision or a change you were hoping to make. We will be testing the comments functionality available to us in the near future, but for the time being, if you’d like to share with me and with others please email at wendyk@aacrao.org, and I will include your feedback in the next blog.

    AACRAO Research Insights

    New Student Registration and Orientation – April 2016 60-Second Survey

    One of the well-attended sessions at the recent annual conference in Phoenix was entitled All Aboard: Registration Models for First Semester Students (Session#4520, Tues. 8:00 a.m.). The session covered how two institutions register domestic, first-semester students before, or in place of, on-campus orientation either through self-registration, registration by the institution on behalf of the student, or a combination of the two.

    Key Findings Self-Registration

    •There is a wide variety in self-registration and orientation practices.
    •In the aggregate, slightly more than half let freshmen partially or completely self-register, and almost two-thirds allow new graduate students to do the same.
    •Lower-division-only institutions are more likely to allow freshmen to self-register than other types of institutions.
    •On the whole, almost 3 out of 4 require freshmen to meet with an advisor before registering. 
    •Slightly more than half require new graduate students to meet with an advisor before registering.
    •In-person orientation is still required for more than half of the self-registering freshmen.  This practice is slightly less common for lower-division-only institutions.

    Key Findings Registration on Behalf of the Student

    •On the whole, 12% of institutions saw an increase in yield by providing either complete or partial registration on behalf of the student practices instead of self-registration. The majority saw no change in yield (87%).
    •6 out of 10 either partially or completely register freshmen on behalf of the student.  This is much less common for the undergraduate transfer population and slightly less common for graduate students.
    •Almost three-quarters required in-person orientation for freshman who have been registered in-part or in-whole by the institution.
    •Registrar staff and advisors are more likely than other areas to be responsible for completing the registration on behalf of the student.

    AACRAO Research Initiatives

    We will take a break from the 60-Second surveys for the month of June.  Our aim is to complete 10 a year skipping both June and December.  Please let me know if you have any topics for the 60-Second surveys.

    We are in the early stages on three projects outside of the 60-Second surveys.  One on the use of dual enrollment programs to support student success and SEM initiatives.  The other will potentially involve a case-study type of report on a few states who support transfer students well in order to help explain the gap between recent student level data reports which indicate that transfer students lose credits and other reports which indicate that most states have comprehensive mechanisms in place to support transfer between their public institutions.  The third is a career profile study for Director of Admissions to round out our career profile series.  The first project is tentatively scheduled for a November release and the second is for next summer at the Tech and Transfer conference.  The career profile deliver date is to be determined in the next couple of months.

    I will travel to DC this month for an ACE convening to discuss the next phase of their Dream Undone project.  We were also part of the first phase.

    Finally, the May 2016 issue of C&U (Volume 91 Issue 2) released on May 4th includes an article summarizing the key findings of the AACRAO 2015 research year.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Projections of Education Statistics to 2023 in the United States

    The National Center for Education Statistics released the education projections for 2023 in April. 

    Postsecondary projected increases by 2023-24 compared to 2011-12 data include:

    •First-time freshman enrollment is projected to increase 14 percent
    •Total enrollment in postsecondary degree granting institutions is projected to increase 15%.
    •The number of associate’s degrees conferred is projected to increase 39%.
    •The number of bachelor’s degrees conferred is projected to increase 15%.

    Undergraduate Cost of Recruiting Report from Ruffalo Noel Levitz

    In 2016 survey based on 2015 enrollment numbers of 206 four- and two-year institutions, Ruffalo Noel Levitz found that four-year privates spend the most with median of $2,232 per student.  Further details can be found by downloading their report.

    The Returns to College Persistence for Marginal Students

    A recent working paper produced by the Cornell Higher Education Research Institution shared the results of a study of “low-performing students who are dismissed from public 4-year colleges in Ohio”.  The aim of this study was to estimate the earnings impact of college on low-performing students.  The authors concluded that “low-performing students (on the margin of college dismissal) derive substantial earnings benefits from college”, are “approximately 10 percentage points less likely to graduate college” and those who are dismissed “suffer substantial earning losses measured between 7-12 years after college enrollment.”  They also present four categories of explanation as to why these students drop out.

    Public Research Universities: Recommitting to Lincoln’s Vision – An Educational Compact for the 21st Century

    The Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher Education an initiative of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released its final publication by its members.  This report concludes their work on the causes and results of reduced state investment in public research universities and provides recommendations for bringing stability and renewed strength to these institutions.

    Postsecondary Student One-Year Mobility Rates

    The April 20, 2016 report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center noted that almost 10 percent of all postsecondary students in the United States attended more than one institution during the 2014-15 academic year.

    Analyzing the Cost of Using Technology – A resource

    Not new but interesting nonetheless, the WICHE Cooperative for Education Technologies (WCET) in conjunction with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) has a free set of analysis tools and step-by-step guides to “enable institutional leaders to analyze the costs of using technology in both on- and off-campus instruction.”  These tools are designed to help institutions make comparable cost estimates across multiple modes of instruction.

    NACUBO’s Looking Under the Hood Institutional Aid Metrics Benchmarking Tool – A resource

    I received a webinar announcement from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), which referenced an institutional aid benchmarking tool that allows NACUBO and Association for Governing Boards (AGB) members to compare their various institutional grant aid metrics with the national average and with self-selected peer institutions.  According to the AGB, this solution can help institutions answer questions like:

    •“Are institutional-aid policies consistent with the mission and values of our institution?
    •Is institutional aid being delivered to the types of students we most want to see on our campus?
    •Is aid ultimately going to students who succeed (i.e., do students who receive our grants graduate)?”

    If your institution is a member of either of these groups and is not currently using this tool, you may want to look into it.


  • AACRAO Eye on Research April 2016

    by Wendy Kilgore | Apr 13, 2016

    Commentary

    April 2016 represents the 20th 60-Second Survey for AACRAO, and over the course of these surveys a few trends in practice, policy and staffing have become apparent.  First and foremost, there is no “one size fits all” for any of the above.   Variety and variance (i.e., standard deviation) are the norm across and between institution, size, type, and control.  Since we send the 60-Second Surveys to all active members, it is not wholly unexpected that the raw data often contain instances where more than one person per institution responds to the same survey.  However, due to the topics in the 60-Second Surveys (basic practice, policy, etc.), I anticipated that I would be able to simply select one set of responses from all of an institution’s responses because I assumed that all would be the same.  Unfortunately, the majority of the time the responses are not the same or even close to the same.  This is often true even when the respondents are from the same department.  While some of the differences could be accounted for by different interpretations of the survey questions and/or separate colleges within a university functioning as separate units with similar responsibility but different practices, the occurrence rate is too pervasive across all topics to be wholly accounted for with these explanations.  What this data appears to illuminate is perhaps a need for additional training, practice documentation, policy clarification or improved inter- and intra- office communication.  However, this is only conjecture at this point based on anecdotal feedback from some institutions contacted for clarification.  Perhaps these differences just represent what William Louis Stern found in his experiments where a chain of people told and retold a story, and by the end of the chain the story was not the same as when the first person told it.  Policies and procedures are often shared in an informal way with new employees and with other departments, so perhaps the differences in understanding of the policies and procedures exist simply because of the context in which the persons responding to the survey learned about it in the first place.  At this point, who knows?

    AACRAO Research Insights

    Included below are the insights gained from the most recent 60-Second Survey, from the Lexmark sponsored research on Electronic Content Management system ownership and its impact on student records practices, as well as an AACRAO research co-authored SEM Quarterly article.  The full reports are posted to the research page and a link to the SEM Quarterly article is included below.

    Class Start Times and Lengths – March 2016


    In response to the recent
    Inside Higher Education article about one institution's decision not to offer 8:00 a.m. courses, we developed this survey to capture a snapshot of in-person class start times and lengths at the undergraduate and graduate level and by calendar system. We were curious about the predominance, or lack thereof, of early morning, late night and weekend courses and institutional reasons for not offering early morning courses. It turns out that both early morning and late night classes are still offered by most institutions.

     Key Findings Undergraduate

    • The vast majority (91%) still offer classes that start between 8:00 a.m. and 8:59 a.m.

    • Almost a quarter offer classes that start between 7:00 a.m. and 7:59 a.m., and 4% have classes that start before 7:00 a.m.

    • More than three-quarters have classes that start between 6:00 p.m. and 6:59 p.m., and 12% offer classes that start at 9:00 p.m. or later.

    • Some institutions offer the very early and very late classes on Saturdays and Sundays as well as weekdays.

    • Less than one-in-five (17%) offer six hour courses.

     

     Key Findings Graduate

    • Fewer than three-quarters (68%) offer classes that start between 8:00 a.m. and 8:59 a.m.

    • Just 12% offer classes that start between 7:00 a.m. and 7:59 a.m. and 2% before 7:00 a.m.

    • Three-quarters have classes that start between 6:00 p.m. and 6:59 p.m., and 8% offer classes that start at 9:00 p.m. or later.

    • At the graduate level, Saturday course offerings are more predominant than Sunday.

     

    Building a SEM Analytics Reporting Portfolio
    The April 2016 edition of SEM Quarterly includes an AACRAO co-authored article designed to help college and university enrollment professionals initiate a SEM analytics reporting portfolio that focuses on shifting the attention of reporting systems from transactional data gathering to shared performance understandings.  This article has been reproduced here.

    Abstract: Effective strategic enrollment management(SEM) efforts require vast amounts of internal and external data to ensure that meaningful reporting and analysis systems can assist managers in decision making. A wide range of information is integral for leading effective and efficient student recruitment and retention programs. This article is designed to help college and university enrollment professionals initiate a SEM analytics reporting portfolio that focuses on shifting the attention of reporting systems from transactional data gathering to shared performance understandings that can be leveraged throughout the enterprise on a timely basis. By employing a K–20 student pipeline planning approach, the authors discuss reporting fundamentals for enrollment management data analytics, the components of a comprehensive reporting portfolio, strategies for building SEM -focused research organizations, and data interpretation methods.

    Ownership Prevalence of Electronic Content Management (ECM) systems and their Impact on Student Records Management (SRM) Practices

    There are some things in SRM we do solely because of governmental regulation and others we do pursuant to best management practice, or to both.  The world of SRM is increasingly more complex and for most, ECMs help simplify SRM.  Student records management is an important, large-scale, multi-format, active and ongoing endeavor, the ineffective-management of which imparts an eDiscovery risk and possible significant financial risk.  Among other findings, we found that some institutions appear either not to understand the importance of managing the entire student record lifecycle from creation to final disposal or to accept the cost (about $300 per breached record) and security implications associated with keeping all records permanently.

    Key Findings

     

    AACRAO Research Advisory Board Meeting

    Date: March 20 2016
    Present: Wendy Kilgore, Sam Fugazzotto, Christopher Tremblay, Veronica Garcia, Jason Brown

    The group was able to meet briefly on March 20th before the start of the AACRAO annual conference.  Several ideas were shared regarding the direction of AACRAO research and, in particular, the topic of how the group might best support the awarding of graduate research stipends. 

    Upcoming AACRAO Research Initiatives

    The April 2016 60-Second Survey will examine new student orientation and registration practices. May will serve as a touch point for the AACRAO and NASPA Lumina Grant by asking our members about their competency-based education practices.  As stated in last month’s blog, other future research includes a focus on student success initiatives, a report on the career paths of directors of admissions mirroring the registrar and chief enrollment officer career path reports. 

    This summer AACRAO research will host an intern.  Among other initiatives, he will be tasked with applying key word search functionality to the research reports page.  This functionality was requested by the research advisory board and other members recently.

    Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

    Co-Requisite Remediation in Math, Writing and Reading

    The Tennessee Board of Regents found overall success in the system’s community colleges co-requisite remediation model. “This co-requisite model transformed their previous success rate of fewer than 10% of students completing a credit-bearing math class over several semesters to more than 70% completing a credit-bearing math class in a single semester.”

    What We Know About Transition Courses – Community College Research Center

    A recent WICHE policy alert email brought attention to a January 2016 report from the Community College Research Center.  This report summarizes ongoing efforts to create courses designed to help high school students succeed in postsecondary education and focused on a wide variety of issues.  The report concludes that “while more learning is needed to produce successful outcomes, current efforts to help students master college-level math and English provide an important foundation for states seeking to improve college and career opportunities.”

    Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey Results for 2015

    The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA distributed the results of the CIRP Freshman Survey.   This report captures “The American Freshman: National Norms of Fall 2015”.  Among other results, the survey found that among full–time, first-year freshmen, interest in political and civil engagement is the highest it has been “since the study began 50 years ago.”  It also included new questions about how students pay for higher education expenses and the findings suggest that Pell Grants “fall far short of the amount needed to pay for their first year of college.”

    America’s Skill Challenge: Millennials and the Future


    The Educational Testing Center for Research on Human Capital and Education released the first in a series of
    reports using data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).  The research found that “while they (millennials) may be on track to be our most educated generation ever, they consistently score below many of their international peers in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.”  The authors assert that there needs to be a greater focus on skills and not just educational attainment.

    Standardized Assessment of College Learning: Past and Future


    The Lumina Foundation sponsored a white paper
    report by New America and higher education think tank.  The author examines the evolution, effectiveness and future context of large-scale standardized assessment in higher education.

    Rising Tide II: Do Black Student Benefit as Grad Rates Increase?

    The Education Trust issued a companion paper to Rising Tide: Do College Grad Rate Gains Benefit All Students? The authors found “. . . that while a majority (almost 70 percent) of institutions we examined improved graduation rates for black students, those gains haven’t been large or fast enough to close gaps between black and white students. In fact, in many cases, these gaps have widened.”

    NMC Horizon Report 2016 Higher Education Edition


    The 13
    th edition of the higher education technology trends joint report by EDUCAUSE Learning Initiatives and NMC.  Both learning analytics/adaptive learning and the growing trend of students bringing their own device “(BYOD)” are “expected to be increasingly adopted by higher education institutions in one year’s time or less…” The report provides institutional examples of these technologies in practice.

    A Four-Letter Word – Using It to Avoid Bad Decisions


    Craig Stanford of Liaison International posted a
    LinkedIn Blog about the value of including an assessment of “risk” when higher education institutions are evaluating technology vendor proposals and other projects.  He makes a compelling argument that including an assessment of risk can change the results of the proposal evaluations.  His proposed evaluation formula is included here:


    (f - tco) / r = score
     (where f is Functionality, tco is Total Cost of Ownership and r is Risk)