Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 3:00am

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released a new study today that shows more than 60 percent of students who earned an associate degree when they were 20 years old or younger went on to earn a bachelor's within six years. For all students who earned an associate degree, 41 percent finished a bachelor's degree within six years.

The research backs claims that a degree from a two-year institution will help pave a path toward a bachelor's degree. The study also found that it took on average 2.8 years for students with an associate degree to earn a bachelor's.

"Measuring the extent to which certificates and associates degrees serve as stepping-stones to higher educational awards is critical to understanding today's educational pathways," said Doug Shapiro, executive research director of the center, in a news release. "These first credentials are increasingly the entry points of choice for disadvantaged and first-generation college students, making them important to questions of equity in postsecondary degree attainment."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 4:21am

Legislative leaders in New York State have agreed on a deal to require public and private colleges to have “affirmative consent” policies, The New York Times reported. Under such policies, both students must explicitly consent to a sexual act. California has such a law, and a number of New York's public and private colleges and universities have such policies, but the legislation will require all campuses in the state to adopt a core definition for consent and specific language for amnesty and other policies. The legislation has been a major goal of Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, although the version that was enacted differs from what the governor proposed. (Note: This item has been updated from an earlier version.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 3:00am

Massachusetts' nine public universities will have some of their state support tied to a funding formula based on the number of students they graduate. The state board of higher education on Tuesday voted to approve the formula and will apply $5.6 million to it in the coming fiscal year.

The board described its approach to performance funding in a news release: "It is based on a complex formula of metrics and weights developed by NCHEMS, the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. An institution’s share of the funding will be determined in part by its five-year graduation rates, annual head count, full-time enrollment, year-over-year increases in degrees awarded, the numbers of students who reach 30 and 60 credit hours each year (with additional points awarded for low-income students who qualify for federal Pell Grants), as well as numbers and types of degrees awarded (with additional points awarded for degrees in 'priority fields' such as STEM, health, business and education). Campuses are also awarded points for 'degree productivity,' the cost of producing a degree per $100,000 in total revenue."

Community colleges in Massachusetts have received some performance funding since 2013. While the formulas are different, the board said both seek to close achievement gaps and to improve the graduation rates of underrepresented minority and low-income students.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 3:00am

Excelencia in Education today released a report that lists the 25 colleges that graduate the most Latino students in science, technology, engineering and math. Using data from 2013, the nonprofit group found that 2 percent of all U.S. institutions graduate one-third of Latinos who earn STEM credentials. While the number of Latinos earning these credentials has increased, they still account for just 9 percent of STEM credentials earned. Latinos working in STEM also are concentrated in lower-paying jobs, with a higher representation in service fields than in professional occupations.

“The report shines a light on what many of us know to be true: that diversification within STEM postsecondary education, particularly among Hispanics/Latinos over the last decade, has been largely in the area of certificate/associate levels and diminishes at each successive level,” Gabriel Montaño, a research scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and president of the Society for Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, said in a written statement. “The result is an increasing discrepancy in positions of leadership within the STEM workforce.”

The lists of top colleges for the production of Latino STEM graduates follows:

Certificates Awarded to Latinos in STEM Fields

  1. Instituto de Banca y Comercio Inc., Puerto Rico
  2. South Texas College
  3. Miami Dade College
  4. Wyotech-Long Beach, Calif.
  5. United Education Institute-Huntington Park, Calif.

Associate Degrees Awarded to Latinos in STEM Fields

  1. South Texas College
  2. San Jacinto Community College, Texas
  3. University of Phoenix-Online
  4. El Paso Community College, Texas
  5. Instituto Tecnologico de Puerto Rico-Recinto de Guayama

Bachelor Degrees Awarded to Latinos in STEM Fields

  1. University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
  2. Florida International University
  3. The University of Texas at El Paso
  4. Texas A&M University at College Station
  5. University of Texas-Pan American

Master's Degrees Awarded to Latinos in STEM Fields

  1. Universidad Politecnica de Puerto Rico
  2. Florida International University
  3. University of Texas at El Paso
  4. University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
  5. University of Southern California

Doctoral Degrees Awarded to Latinos in STEM Fields

  1. Stanford University
  2. University of California at Berkeley
  3. University of Texas at El Paso
  4. University of California at Davis
  5. University of California at Irvine
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 3:00am

Bloomberg Philanthropies, the philanthropic arm of Michael Bloomberg's business interests, is giving $100 million to Cornell University for its new technology campus in New York City. While mayor of New York City, Bloomberg championed a competition won by Cornell to build a new campus on Roosevelt Island. The first academic building on the new campus will be called Bloomberg Center.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Lisa Chasan-Taber, professor of epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, discusses her research on gestational diabetes and how it manifests itself later in life. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 4:22am

Marian Court College, a small Roman Catholic college outside of Boston, will shut down later this month, The Daily Item reported. Denise Hammon, the president, said that “as a highly tuition-dependent education institution, Marian Court can no longer maintain our operations given declining enrollment numbers.” She said that Salem State University has agreed to enroll Marian Court's students. Marian Court was founded as a two-year institution, but just last month awarded its first bachelor's degrees. The Education Department lists enrollment as 266.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 3:00am

Eastern Washington University has removed the biography of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who represented herself as a black woman in leading her local NAACP chapter and teaching African-American studies at the institution. She had been listed here, with her biography, until Monday. The university told KREM2 News that Dolezal had been an adjunct and that her contract expired on Friday, the day she became a national news story. The university said that she has no contract to teach at the university in the upcoming academic year.

Another development in the story: Dolezal once sued Howard University for discrimination against her as a white woman, The Smoking Gun reported. The Smoking Gun's articles are based on documents, and in this case the website obtained decisions that rejected Dolezal's suit. Dolezal earned an M.F.A. from Howard in 2002 and sued for discrimination, charging that she was denied a teaching assistant position and experienced various other forms of discrimination because she is white. Courts rejected those claims.

A Howard spokeswoman said that the university considered the matter "closed" and would not have any further comment.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 4:27am

Donations to education institutions hit $54.62 billion in 2014, a 4.9 percent increase over 2013, according to the annual "Giving USA" report. When adjusted for inflation, the increase is 3.2 percent. In total, Americans gave $358.38 billion to charity in 2014, a 7.1 percent gain.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 3:00am

An Education Department report urges the panel that advises the education secretary on accreditation issues to terminate federal recognition of the agency that accredits nursing programs and schools, known as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. The staff report to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity is the latest salvo in a long-running dispute between the commission and the National League for Nursing, the membership association for nursing educators, from which the accreditation commission separated in 1997 at the urging of the Education Department.

Then and now, the Education Department doubted whether the accrediting function operated with sufficient independence from the membership group. The two organizations have been unable to reach agreement over changes in the accreditor's bylaws that would allow it to operate independently.

In the report, released in advance of the advisory committee's June 1 meeting, Education Department staff members express concern "that ACEN could be subjected to interference in its operations by NLN or any other organization or individual other than its own Board of Commissioners," which "would severely affect the agency's compliance with the department's conflict of interest and separate and independent requirements."


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