AACRAO Eye on Research September 2017

by Wendy Kilgore | Sep 28, 2017


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.


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
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