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.