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We’ve previously mentioned the new book Why Does College Cost So Much? by two economists from the College of William and Mary, Robert Archibald and David Feldman. The authors have made a compelling argument that increasing higher education costs are not the result of institutional dysfunction, but of broader economic forces.
Read our summary of this book, and let us know what you think about their evidence, their conclusions, and their policy recommendations.
We are pretty excited by opportunities to view and present large sets of complex data via interactive maps. The New York Times has developed one such map that allows you to explore the recently released US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey results by zip code, city or census tract. Mapping America: Every City, Every Block is an amazing new tool that not only makes exploring such a large dataset much simpler and more enjoyable, but allows the user to more effectively marshal data to answer specific questions from multiple levels of analysis.
Speaking of the wonder of interactive maps, hopefully you’ve had a chance to check out the new UW in Your Community Map recently launched by the UW Office of State Relations. This interactive map allows you to see a selection of the many activities the UW is involved in across the state. The map will continue to evolve and grow, and is a fantastic way to learn about many amazing UW projects and initiatives, as well as all of the ways in which the University contributes to our state and local economies.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has also been increasing their development and publication of interactive maps, including this mapping of state cuts to higher education that they developed last year using data collected by our Office of Planning and Budgeting.
The National Center For Education Statistics (NCES) is a part of the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Every US University governed by Title IV of the Higher Education Act (federal student aid programs) is required to submit annual data to NCES via nine surveys that cover topics such as pricing, admissions, enrollment, employment, financial aid, graduation/completion, institutional finance and more.
Institutions reported employing (not including medical schools or hospitals) 3.8 million employees– 2.4 million full-time and 1.4 million part-time.
Of the 2.4 million full-time employees, 1.4 million were classified as professional (see report for definition), 46% of whom had faculty status: 21% with tenure, 9% on the tenure-track, and 17% not on the tenure-track or at an institution without tenure.
Of full-time faculty with tenure, 65% were men while 35% were women.
Of full-time faculty with tenure, 81% were White, 8% were Asian, 5% were African American, and 4% were Hispanic.
At this month’s meeting, the Board of Regents was given a presentation detailing student enrollment to provide a sense of the size and scope of the UW’s instructional enterprise. Highlights from this presentation are below.
In Fall 2010, 49,940 students were enrolled; this represents a 21 percent increase over the Fall 2000 enrollment of 41,200.
Of the 49,940 students, 42,935 (86%) are considered “state-reported students.”
Of the 7,005 non-state-reported enrollments, 1,020 represent students allowed to take up to six credits on a space available basis (senior citizens and state and university employees). Those remaining are students in fee-based programs.
State-reported undergraduate enrollments
In Fall 2010, 32,500 state-reported undergraduates are enrolled, up 16 percent from the Fall 2000 level of 28,000.
Of these 32,500 undergraduates, 16 percent are nonresidents.
Looking forward, a new report from the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 2010: State of College Admission, puts college enrollment figures in a national context by discussing trends in the college-age population and projections for post-secondary participation in the coming years. They find that while the number of high school graduates has peaked after a decade of growth (expected to rebound by 2018-19), college enrollment continues at an all-time high even though minorities and low-income students remain underrepresented.
The recently announced National Governor’s Association initiative ‘Complete to Compete’ outlines a promising plan to create a national set of performance metrics to enhance accountability and shape funding strategies. The NGA, under the leadership of incoming Chair West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III, convened a Work Group on Common College Completion Metrics to make recommendations on the common higher education measures that states should collect and report publicly. The goal is to improve college completion rates and overall productivity in a new era of fiscal constraints coupled with unprecedented demand for higher education. Reliable, comparable data within the sector will be key to achieving these goals as NGA and others attempt to identify which policies and practices are tied to successful outcomes.
The initiative has gained supporters across the country, including among the Higher Education Funding Task Force created by Governor Gregoire in Washington this past summer. Below is a summary of the proposed Complete to Compete metrics.
They use the following definitions:
Completion rate: The percentage of individuals who complete a certificate or degree (e.g., associate and bachelor’s).
Attainment rate: The percentage of a population that has obtained a certificate or degree.
Productivity: Awarding more higher education certificates and degrees within the same resources, while maintaining quality.
They recommend the following metrics:
Degrees awarded: annual number and percentage of certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees awarded;
Graduation rates: number and percentage of certificate- or degree-seeking students who graduate within normal program time (two years for associate’s degrees; four years for bachelor’s degrees) or extended time (three years for associate’s degrees; six years for bachelor’s degrees);
Transfer rates: annual number and percentage of students who transfer from a two-year to four-year institution; and
Time and credits to degree: average length of time in years and average number of credits that graduating students took to earn a certificate, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree.
Enrollment in remedial education: number and percentage of entering first-time undergraduate students who place into and enroll in remedial math, English, or both;
Success beyond remedial education: number and percentage of first-time undergraduate students who complete a remedial education course in math, English or both and complete a college-level course in the same subject;
Success in first-year college courses: annual number and percentage of entering first-time undergraduate students who complete entry college-level math and English courses within the first two consecutive academic years; and
Credit accumulation: number and percentage of first-time undergraduate students completing 24 credit hours (for full-time students) or 12 credit hours (for part-time students) within their first academic year;
Retention rates: number and percentage of entering undergraduate students who enroll consecutively from fall-to-spring and fall-to-fall at an institution of higher education;
Course completion: percentage of credit hours completed out of those attempted during an academic year.
In order to track whether access to higher education is sacrificed in the name of completion, NGA also recommends the following ‘context’ metrics:
Enrollment: total first-time undergraduate students enrolled in an institution of higher education;
Completion ratio: annual ratio of certificates and degrees awarded per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate students; and
Market penetration: annual ratio of certificates and degrees awarded relative to the state’s population with a high school diploma.
The UW has worked with the State for years in efforts to create a robust performance agreement. As those efforts continue, the influence of a national initiative such as Complete to Compete will be interesting to note.