May 2018 - The many degrees of institutional freedom

May 24, 2018
  • Research
  • dual enrollment
  • Student Success
  • Transcripts
  • Volunteerism


In the almost four years that AACRAO has used the 60-Second Survey concept, I am struck by one theme that runs throughout: there are many degrees of freedom associated with the practices and policies for which we try to gain a common understanding through these surveys. These differences exist not only between institutions but within institutions. Practice and policy may differ depending on student type or level, enrollment, academic department, program or major, number of credit hours earned or attempted, or almost any other variable one could attribute to differences between students.  Some of these distinctions in practice exist because of the culture of the institution, the institutional mission, or the current climate of enrollment.  The most fascinating reasons to me that members share as to why some practices are in place are those that are tied to a particular person’s whim or belief.  We share successful and leading-edge practices through our conference sessions and other resources as a means to help each other improve services, and one would think that would help with practice standardization. However, the reality is that institutions are complex systems, and as such, even if a practice has proven to be very effective at one institution, it is not likely to be plug-in-play at every other institution.  

AACRAO Research Update

The full report can be viewed here.

Call for Research Grant Applications

The 2018-2019 Research Grant application is available now

Seeking a New Member of Our Team - Research Advisory Board

We will have an opening on our research advisory board starting October 1st.  If you are interested in joining us to help support the AACRAO research agenda, please review the details of the level of expected service, and submit the information listed on the webpage above to me. 

Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

Impact of Underemployment on Recent College Graduates

The Strada Institute for the Future of Work and Burning Glass Technologies completed an analysis of four million resumes and federal data sets.   The CEO of Burning Glass stated that “This research shows that underemployment can’t be treated as just a passing phase in a young person’s career.”  Key finding include:
• 43% in the sample were underemployed in their first job and two-thirds remained so five years later.
o 47% of women were found to be initially underemployed compared to 37% of the men
• STEM majors are less likely to be underemployed
• Nearly all who are appropriately employed in their first job are more likely than not (87%) to be employed similarly five years later.

Assessment Professional Profile

NILOA completed a survey and subsequent report of U.S. assessment professionals.  The objectives and content of the survey and subsequent report mirror those of the AACRAO Career Profile surveys.

Free Tool to Analyze and Compare IPEDS Data

A collaboration among Datawheel, DeLoitte, and the MIT has resulted in a free tool to compare institutional profiles and key information for 7,300 U.S. institutions. Data includes tuition, demographics, acceptance rates, financial aid, and other variables pulled from IPEDS.

EAB White Paper on Part-time Student in Community Colleges

Using their own data and data from other publicly available resources, EAB has concluded the following about community college students and part-time students in particular:

  • 56% of applicants are lost during onboarding; and 
  • Low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minorities are more likely to enroll part-time, and this enrollment pattern negatively impacts completion rates.

To assist with these issues, they suggest colleges:

  • Make the process from application to enrollment easy and clear;
  • Create flexible academic planning tools; and
  • Offer services to students in the way in which they can best use them.

Promising Practices Report on Dual Enrollment

The Education Commission of the States examined dual enrollment policies for 11 states.  More specifically, they examine how these states have approached broadening access to dual enrollment within the constraints of state and local requirements.  For example, two high schools in Utah developed alternative eligibility requirements outlined in figure 1.  

Figure 1

The Latino Experience in Higher Education

UNIDOS partnered with the UNC Center for Community Capital to interview 30 Latino students about their experience with higher education.  Findings include:

  • Many learned about higher education alongside their parents.
  • They worked, took a full academic load, and felt “culture shock.”
  • The support of their family and the use of student loans were critical to most students’ ability to participate in higher education.
  • Most report a perceived upward mobility as a result of higher education.

Lumina Sponsored Research on Non-Degree Credential Attainment

Lumina sponsored a new report from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC) and the National Skills Coalition on how the states measure non-degree credential attainment.  As summarized by WICHE, the new report identified these key findings:

  • “States are working towards collecting data on non-degree credentials within state agencies. State agencies are most likely to have data about for-profit certificate programs, registered apprenticeship certificates, and licenses. 
  • States are also working to incorporate data on non-degree credentials into their SLDS. States are most likely to incorporate for-credit certificate data into their SLDS. 
  • 40 states can disaggregate non-degree credential attainment by race/ethnicity; 38 states by gender; 31 states by highest educational attainment level; and 27 states by veteran status. 
  • 30 states are working to develop lists of credentials of value. Many states are developing these lists by utilizing labor market information, employer input, and employment and wage outcomes of credential completers.”
Load more comments
New code