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March 2018


Spotlight on Higher Education

In the News

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Together, Colleges Can Improve Sexual Assault Prevention

Colleges and universities have an opportunity to improve their response to sexual assaults, beginning with the creation of a system for tracking the prevalence of these crimes on campuses nationwide.

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Featured Research

Rethinking Developmental Education

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Evidence indicates that traditional approaches to developmental education were not working for many students. In response, states are experimenting with new models that accelerate students directly into college-level coursework through “corequisites.” Emerging evidence from Texas community colleges can help to inform states and colleges about different types of corequisite models and their effectiveness, common challenges faced in policy and practice, and lessons learned for overcoming challenges.

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Competency-Based Education: An Innovative Approach to Higher Education

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Competency-based education, which reorients programs to focus on mastery of competencies rather than time in the classroom, has risen as one potential solution to concerns about the effectiveness and cost of higher education. These programs have the potential to benefit certain students, but still face challenges.

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Postsecondary Education and STEM Employment in the United States

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Women who graduate high school and earn further degrees confront disparities in finding and working in occupations in the burgeoning and well-paying areas of STEM fields. Members of some underrepresented minority groups, even with additional educational credentials, also face some of these hurdles.

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A National Database Could Help Students Pick a College—and an Income

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A secure national database with information about attendees’ college journeys and earnings after graduation could help college-bound students make more informed decisions and allow policymakers to better target investments to help students.

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Connecting College Students to Alternative Sources of Support

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Aaron Hawkins/CC BY-ND 2.0

The Single Stop program provides a “one stop shop” that connects individuals to public benefits and other institutional and community resources to address nonacademic barriers to college completion. Community college students who used Single Stop were likely to experience improved postsecondary success, suggesting that public benefit programs might act as an important source of financial support for college students.

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The Expansion of Community College Baccalaureate Programs

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Community college baccalaureate program expansion is being explored in states like Texas as a way to meet workforce needs and increase potential for student access and degree attainment. However, potential drawbacks include mission creep and counterproductive competition between community colleges and universities. Research suggests that these programs might be best suited for certain occupations and fields, such as management in manufacturing and applied technical industries.

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Jayme Fuglesten
Director, Office of Congressional Relations

Grace Evans
Education Legislative Analyst

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