Texas wants to boost four-year graduation rate by 20 points

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U. of Texas committee unveils plan to graduate 70 percent of next year's freshmen in four years -- up from 50 percent today.

Education Department raises hackles over clock hour definition

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The Education Department's take on the definition of "clock hour" programs is too broad and could unfairly cut into federal aid, say a Texas state agency and for-profits.

Obama higher education plan signals policy shift

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President Obama lays out details for his plan to hold colleges accountable for rising prices, with ramifications beyond the election this fall.

Improving Graduation Rates Is Job One at City Colleges of Chicago

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City Colleges of Chicago have a 7 percent graduation rate. If that number doesn't go up, the system's chancellor, presidents and trustees could lose their jobs.

Early glimpse at student achievement at College for America, a competency-based degree provider

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Southern New Hampshire U's College for America releases a promising early snapshot of the general-education learning and skills of students who are enrolled in a new form of competency-based education.

California Community Colleges Seek New Accreditor

The Board of Governors of California's community college system voted Monday to replace the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges as the accreditor for the system's colleges, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The current accreditor has frustrated many faculty groups and administrators, who say it has been unfair to colleges, and in particular to the City College of San Francisco. Any move to a new accreditor will take time, however. Steve Kinsella, chairman of the accrediting commission being ousted, tried to convince the board to hold off, arguing that the accreditor has improved and that the board was “looking at old information.” He added, “If you think you’re getting away from regulatory compliance, I think you’re mistaken.”

Study finds extent of key practices adopted at colleges and universities

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Association of American Colleges & Universities analyzes extent to which colleges are embracing policies and programs associated with student learning and completion.

Accreditation No Longer at Risk for Oldest Private HBCU

A year after being put on notice by its accrediting agency, Wilberforce University, a private historically black college in Ohio, is in the clear.

In December 2014, the Higher Learning Commission determined the college was out of compliance with key requirements -- such as having an effectively functioning board and sufficient financial resources -- and at risk of losing its accreditation.

Now things are looking much better for the college, and the HLC is praising college administrators for developing "working plans to achieve the goals of the institution" and creating "realistic financial projections which will help the university and its future plans." The accrediting agency has placed Wilberforce under a "standard path" of accreditation, and lifted the order that put the college on notice.

Senate investigative panel opens inquiry about college accreditors

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Lawmakers are looking at how accreditors judge the quality and financial stability of colleges.

New Lumina Papers on Performance-Based Funding

The Lumina Foundation this week released the first four of 13 papers it plans to roll out in coming months on performance-based funding in higher education. At least 35 states are either developing or using funding formulas that link support for public colleges to student completion rates, degree production numbers or other metrics. The Lumina papers look at how those policies are working, with particular interest in their impact on the completion rates of underserved student populations.

"Numerous independent research studies have found evidence that funding models with financial incentives for colleges and universities to help students complete their programs of study result in better pathways and supports for students," the foundation said in a written statement. "The need for finance systems oriented around improving student outcomes is urgent, especially for ensuring more equitable outcomes for students from all racial and ethnic backgrounds."

The first four papers give an overview of outcomes-based funding. Future papers will focus on state policy metrics, the relationship of student incentives to performance funding and institutional responses to the formulas.


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