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How U.S. Fares Globally on Higher Ed Measures

The United States spends more money per student on higher education than any of the other developed countries in the Group of 20, while its performance on many attainment measures does not lead the pack, a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics shows.

The report compares the U.S. and the other G-20 countries on a wide variety of K-12 and postsecondary education indicators. Among the highlights:

  • The proportion of 25- to 64-year-olds who had completed a higher education degree was higher in the Russian Federation (53 percent), Canada (51 percent) and Japan (46 percent) than it was in the United States (42 percent) in 2011. Slightly more 25- to 34-year-olds (43 percent) than 25- to 64-year-olds in the U.S. had earned a postsecondary credential as of 2011.
  • The U.S. ranked fifth among reporting countries in the proportion of 20- to 29-year olds who were enrolled in formal education in 2011, at 27 percent. That was up from 23 percent in 2001.
  • The United States had the highest core expenditures per student on higher education in 2010, at about $19,700. Canada was next at $15,100. The United States also spent a higher percentage of its gross domestic product on education (5.9 percent) than any other G-20 country reporting data.
  • In higher education over all, the United States had the smallest percentage of international students (3 percent) in 2011 of the five G-20 countries with data, including Australia (20 percent), the United Kingdom (17 percent), Canada (7 percent) and Japan (4 percent). But the absolute number of international students in the United States was larger than in any of the other countries reporting data.

Groups band together to improve transfer pathways for community college students

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Improved transfer pathways from community colleges to four-year institutions may be the best answer to America's college completion woes, say three influential groups that will prod states and colleges on transfer.

Report Highlights Inequities in Education of Black Students

A report released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation examines inequities in education of African-American students across the country. While the report mainly focuses on kindergarten through 12th grade, it also examines racial differences in graduation rates and the rates of college readiness.

The report takes a state-by-state approach in its examination of graduation rates, ACT scores, Advanced Placement tests and college remediation rates. In partnership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the report found a mismatch between high school graduation rates and college readiness.

"Graduation rates for African-American students range from 84 percent in Texas to 57 percent in both Nevada and Oregon," according to the report. "But, according to the ACT, the percentage of African-American students who are college ready in all four tested subjects (English, math, reading and science) ranges from 17 percent in Massachusetts to only 3 percent in Mississippi."

The report acknowledges that the ACT isn't the perfect barometer for measuring the discrepancy between the numbers, because not every high school graduate is planning to attend college.

"But college preparedness rates that equal only one-tenth of the graduation rate seem extreme," the report states, adding that the information will better help states, school systems and colleges address educational shortcomings that disproportionately affect black students.

Education Department staff recommends sanctions for California community college accreditor

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Education Department staff recommends sanctions for the accreditor of the state’s two-year colleges.

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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