Policy & Research
Completion colleges may present an affordable, alternative option for adults who’d like to attain a degree and who may otherwise turn to a private for-profit institution. Like many private for-profits, completion colleges are designed to serve adults who have been delayed in completing their degrees by offering more flexibility than many traditional colleges and universities.
Completion colleges do this by aggregating credits earned at other institutions with “prior learning.” Faculty members at completion colleges assess prior learning—college-level skills and knowledge often learned outside the classroom—to ensure that students don’t have to take and pay for courses on content they have already mastered. This “prior learning assessment” (PLA) may come in forms such as student portfolios that demonstrate mastery of course content, a subject assessment offered by the completion college, industry licensure or military experience. Once prior learning credits are applied toward a degree, most of the remaining courses necessary to complete a degree can be taken online.
For the last 15 years, dual enrollment programs have been a high priority policy to tackle college readiness, affordability, and time to degree, with programs in all six New England states. However, opaque or confusing guidelines can disadvantage students looking to apply their credits to degrees or even leave some groups of students behind.
This NEBHE Policy Spotlight presents a regional overview of dual enrollment policies and programs. In addition, state-by-state program summaries illuminate policy gaps and areas ripe for improvement in New England.
This brief reports on the effectiveness of using Khan Academy in developmental math coursework, career and technical courses and Accuplacer math boot camps. The three-year Developmental Math Demonstration Project was funded by Lumina Foundation and piloted in 12 community colleges across New England. The brief reports on student and instructor perceptions of using Khan Academy as well as project outcomes and challenges encountered by faculty.
Higher education institutions are huge drivers of the New England economy. At a time when the goalposts are moving for the workforce, especially in terms of earning postsecondary degrees and credentials, understanding and supporting higher education’s contribution to the economy is crucial to maintaining regional competitiveness. The first in a new series from NEBHE, Higher Education’s Impact on the New England Economy: Investing in People explores how higher education fuels the regional economy through attracting, developing and retaining its most critical resource: its people.
New England states, historically known as bastions of local control over public education, provide an especially interesting setting for examining the nexus of state policy and local practice. This Policy Spotlight delves into the implementation of a competency-based education system in districts across New Hampshire as a case study to illustrate important challenges to, and strategies for, statewide educational transformation.
College readiness, due to little agreement on a definition and metrics, is difficult to measure. Yet, it’s important because it influences postsecondary enrollment, the time it takes to obtain a degree, and overall college completion. Further, the number of jobs that require higher education continues to grow: the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workplace estimates that 65% of all jobs will require at least some postsecondary education by 2020. College readiness directly impacts the development of a productive workforce. This Fast Facts in New England examines the college readiness of the region’s high school students using the most recent available measures and data.
As proficiency-based education models become more common across the country and the region, high school students and parents have raised questions and concerns regarding how proficiency-based transcripts will be viewed in the college admissions process—especially at highly selective US colleges and universities. Of greatest concern is whether proficiency-based learning and grading will disadvantage students in the college application and evaluation process. To help answer these questions, the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) and the New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC) convened a meeting of admissions leaders from highly selective New England colleges and universities and facilitated a robust discussion on the topic. This Policy Spotlight on New England offers insights from that meeting.
As postsecondary education becomes increasingly vital to the livelihood of New England residents and the region as a whole, policymakers are taking a more critical look at the price of college. As the lowest-price institutions, whose primary mission is to serve state residents, public colleges' tuition and fees are especially of interest to state policymakers. Published tuition and fee rates are a major part of the equation of what students and families must pay for college. This Fast Facts in New England examines average tuition and required fees for state residents at public institutions in each New England state and in the region as a whole.
In an effort to support college affordability in the region, NEBHE initiated the Redesigning Student Aid in New England project (Redesigning Aid) in 2014. Funded by Lumina Foundation, Redesigning Aid combined custom state financial aid research with expertise of national experts and regional practitioners to support states committed to analyzing and redesigning state financial aid programs and policies. Drawn from discussions of the project's Regional Advisory Council, this report shares key insights from Redesigning Aid and recommendations for how higher education leaders can strengthen state investment in college affordability.
Higher education in New England stands apart from the rest of the nation in a number of ways, such as its history as a pioneer of U.S. postsecondary education, its large private nonprofit sector, and its ability to attract students from outside the region. Thus, conversations about higher education in the region—especially those around federal and state policy—must be prefaced with an understanding of New England’s unique context. This New England Fast Facts sets the stage for those conversations by describing some of the unique elements of the region’s higher education landscape.
This Policy Spotlight on New England communicates lessons learned about dual admissions policies and programs that serve transfer students across the region. It summarizes the discussion, findings, and feedback of enrollment management, academic affairs, and transfer professionals who participated in a convening on transfer and articulation policies hosted by NEBHE and Education Commission of the States in June 2015.
This New England Fast Facts uses National Student Clearinghouse data to shed light on recent student transfer patterns in New England to help policymakers and practitioners who serve transfer students envision and implement plans to better serve them in the future.
Preliminary findings of NEBHE's study of the State of Maine Grant program were released as part of Redesigning Student Aid in New England project (Redesigning Aid). Funded by Lumina Foundation, Redesigning Aid is a two-year initiative focused on exploring how states might redesign and align their student financial aid policies, priorities and programs with state needs to increase postsecondary attainment. These findings identify who the grant serves and how grant recipients persist through college and complete a postsecondary credential. The report aims to inform Maine grant administrators and state policymakers as they consider areas for project-supported further study.
Preliminary findings of NEBHE's study of the Rhode Island State Grant program were released as part of Redesigning Student Aid in New England project (Redesigning Aid). Funded by Lumina Foundation, Redesigning Aid is a two-year initiative focused on exploring how states might redesign and align their student financial aid policies, priorities and programs with state needs to increase postsecondary attainment. These findings identify some of the ways the state grant affects student access, persistence, and completion. It aims to inform project-supported next steps for Rhode Island grant administrators and state policymakers as they consider program or policy changes.
As a data-rich companion to The New England Journal of Higher Education's On Affordability: Public Higher Education in New England, this data supplement provides a portfolio of figures that track and examine tuition and fees for both the region overall and each New England state.
College students today are more mobile than they have ever been before. Nationwide, one in every three college students will transfer at least once during their academic careers. Unfortunately, many students find navigating the transfer process problematic and end up losing a portion of their credits in the transition. This landscape analysis details state- and system-level transfer policies, programs and online resources available to help students navigate the transfer process in each of the New England states.
New England’s public colleges and universities are historically more expensive than institutions in other parts of the country. When the 2007 recession hit and family incomes plunged, these higher-than-average tuition and fees made a college education even less affordable for many families. Seven years later, the rate of increase has slowed, but rising tuition and fees at public 2- and 4-year postsecondary institutions in New England continue to outpace modest growth in median household income. This report outlines these trends in tuition and fees and reviews state strategies to make college more affordable for New England students and families.
New England public postsecondary tuition and fees are traditionally higher than national averages. This report outlines trends in published tuition and fee rates at public two- and four-year institutions over the past five years and demonstrates the growth in published tuition and fee rates relative to median household income. With 2011 median household income in the region still below 2008 pre-recession levels, many students are spending a greater share of their household income on listed tuition and mandatory fee rates than in previous years.
Student Grant Aid in New England, December 2012
Assessing and Increasing College Readiness in New England, September 2012
2011 Tuition & Fees Report, September 2011
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