March 2017 - A Call for 60-Second Survey Ideas

March 27, 2017
  • Research
  • AACRAO Research Insights
  • Research

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 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


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.

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