higher ed

Data indicates decreased funding for higher ed points to worsening outcomes for students

In addition to decreasing enrollment numbers at both two- and four-year institutions of higher education, detailed in an earlier SSTI Digest story, higher ed is facing other threats from looming state budget cuts. While enrollment numbers are still in flux, many universities are already making drastic budget reductions, and that pain will ultimately land on students, which could impact educational attainment and student debt for years.

Higher ed enrollment picture becomes clearer: first-time students drop dramatically, community colleges see steep enrollment decline

First-time beginning students looking to pursue post-secondary education tumbled this fall, showing a 16.1 percent decrease nationally when compared with last year’s figures, according to recently released data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. That decline was even worse at community colleges, down 22.7 percent compared to a 1.4 percent increase the previous year.

First- and second-generation immigrants making up larger portion of higher education enrollment

In 2018, 5.8 million students at colleges and universities within the United States were either the children of first-generation immigrants or were immigrants themselves, which accounted for 28 percent of the total student population and was a noticeable increase from the 2.9 million enrolled in 2000. This data serves as the foundation of a new report from the Migration Policy Institute, Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S.

$300 million gift to MO higher ed will support innovation and entrepreneurship

In the largest single gift in the history of Missouri higher education, $300 million has been donated to support Missouri S&T that will enable the university to establish a new school of innovation and entrepreneurship, among other things. The benefactors are St. Louis businessman Fred Kummer, a graduate of the school who credited the education he received there with his success, and his wife.

Pre-pandemic stress test already showed warning signs for more than 500 colleges and universities

More than 500 colleges and universities nationwide showed warning signs in a stress test that was conducted before the pandemic according to a new series of reports by the Hechinger Report and NBC News. Declining enrollment and decreased state government support had left dozens of universities under financial stress. With the added pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, “the fabric of American higher education as become even more strained,” the report says.

Higher ed playing outsize role in rural economies

The importance of higher education institutions in helping rural communities build innovation-based ecosystems has been detailed in a report released by the Center on Rural Innovation. Higher Ed’s Key Role In Rural Innovation Ecosystems profiles 10 colleges and universities that have been engaged in their area’s innovation environment and explores what techniques each institution has found most useful in building that ecosystem.

Experts examine challenges facing research universities

In an hours-long virtual workshop that could have covered days, the presidents of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and leaders from government, academia, and publishing explored key questions the research enterprise must address to build a more effective and resilient 21st century research university. Facing challenges that may have long been present but have been exacerbated and accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis, the leaders began exploring questions that could help research universities rebound to a better place than the pre-pandemic status quo.

Must read: The economic impact of access to higher ed

At a time when higher education is facing some of its greatest challenges, its value both for individuals and for states is reinforced through the findings of a recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. In “The Economic Impact of Access to Public Four-Year Colleges,” Jonathan Smith et al. show through an examination of the University System of Georgia that access to public higher education leads to “substantial economic benefits for the marginal student,” and that the state roughly breaks even on its initial investment after 10 years. Although other studies have provided descriptive evidence that identify colleges as catalysts for economic mobility, the authors looked for causal evidence of the linkage and employ a novel approach through credit bureau data.

Innovation impacts of nation’s colleges and universities examined

A new report released by the George W. Bush Institute has measured the impact that innovation research at U.S. universities and research institutions has had on the country’s economic development. The report, The Innovation Impact of U.S. Universities: Rankings and Policy Conclusions, examines and ranks institutions on four primary impact categories: commercialization, entrepreneurship, research, and teaching.

Useful Stats: Science and engineering degrees by state

The total number of science and engineering (S&E) degrees awarded grew from 520,474 in 2000 to 955,401 in 2018, an increase of 83 percent, according to National Science Foundation (NSF) data. The portion of S&E degrees awarded compared to all degrees has increased as well, from a 2000 average of 31 percent of all degrees awarded to an average of 34 percent in 2018. S&E degrees includes bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in areas such as life sciences, physical sciences and engineering.

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