Blog Post by: Halley Potter, on May 9, 2013
If you’re poor, it’s already pretty hard to get into a good college. But now it seems that a lot of colleges are actually loading the dice even more in favor of the wealthiest students. For example:
But for advocates of increasing college access and equity, an even more troubling trend is colleges’ continued reliance on early admissions to boost their “yield,” or the percentage of admitted students who ultimately enroll.
As my colleague Richard D. Kahlenberg has noted, early admissions programs consistently disadvantage low-income students, who are less likely to have access to the advising and information needed to find out about the programs and apply in time.
Blog Post by: Halley Potter, on May 6, 2013
How does poverty affect education? This month, Educational Leadership magazine tackles this question, examining the many “Faces of Poverty” in our nation’s schools. My contribution to the issue (“Boosting Achievement by Pursuing Diversity”) outlines the case for socioeconomic integration as an effective strategy to reduce the achievement gap. I argue that:
Although few policymakers and wonks are talking about it, a small but growing number of schools are attempting to boost the achievement of low-income students by shifting enrollment to place more low-income students in mixed-income schools. Socioeconomic integration is an effective way to tap into the academic benefits of having high-achieving peers, an engaged community of parents, and high-quality teachers.
Blog Post by: Benjamin Landy, on May 1, 2013
Over at Quartz, Matt Phillips has a good post summarizing "everything you need to know" about the student loan story (in 17 charts, of course). All the usual data points are there—the massive upswing in total student debt as more students clamber for an ever-more expensive degree; the recent surge in delinquencies as millions of underemployed twenty-somethings fail to make their payments on time; the growth of the federal student lending market in response to the financial crisis.
But what is missing in Phillips' post, as in too many articles about student borrowing, is any acknowledgement of two critical facts. First, three out of four undergraduates in the United States attend a public college or university—only about 15 percent attend the costlier private schools that get so much attention in the press. And second, state funding for those public colleges and universities has collapsed over the last two decades, forcing students and their families to pay the difference.
Blog Post by: Richard D. Kahlenberg, on April 21, 2013
On Thursday, April 18, 2013, the Fiscal Times ran a slanted story that was critical of the growing effort of school districts to give more low-income students a chance to attend high-quality middle-class schools. The programs are an important effort to breathe new life into Brown v. Board of Education, so several misleading elements in the article deserve a response.
Blog Post by: Benjamin Landy, on April 18, 2013
For policymakers worried about the effect of America's trillion-dollar student debt on the economy, one of the biggest concerns is that borrowers are taking out such large loans—over $26,000 on average—that it may be years or even decades before today's indebted youth can afford to buy a new car or put a down payment on a house. That could spell serious trouble for the housing market—a major driver of growth that relies on a constant stream of new homeowners to bid up property values and generate wealth—and the U.S. economy at large.
Blog Post by: Benjamin Landy, on March 21, 2013
When tax revenue dried up in the wake of the Great Recession, states across the country decided to slash funding for public higher education, thereby passing a massive "tax" on to the students themselves. The results, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, have been severe: Five years after the recession, every state except for North Dakota and Wyoming is spending less per student on higher education than they did before.
Tuition increases have made up only part of the revenue loss resulting from state funding cuts. Public colleges and universities also have cut faculty positions, eliminated course offerings, closed campuses, shut down computer labs, and reduced library services, among other cuts.
Some states have cut deeper than others. Between 2008 and 2013, thirty-six states cut funding for public higher education by more than 20 percent, eleven cut funding by more than a third, and two states—Arizona and New Hampshire—cut their spending per college student in half.
Click READ MORE to view the full graph for all fifty states.
Blog Post by: The Century Foundation, on March 20, 2013
Top low-income students often don't even apply to elite universities, according to a new analysis. Century Foundation fellow Richard Kahlenberg told HuffPost Live that schools should put greater emphasis on recruiting good students from the bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum. Kahlenberg was joined by Audrey Smith (Associate Vice President of Enrollment at Smith College), Camille Charles (Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania), Caroline Hoxby (Professor of Economics at Stanford University), and moderator Marc Lamont Hill. You can watch the full program below.
Blog Post by: Benjamin Landy, on March 14, 2013
This article is cross-posted from National Memo.
By nearly every measure, American households have made significant progress repairing their balance sheets in the four years since the Great Recession. Total credit card debt has fallen $187 billion, stabilizing at late-2006 levels, and mortgage debt is still dropping, down over $1.2 trillion since 2008. Consumers are getting better at paying their bills on time, too: the number of delinquent borrowers behind on their payments by 90 or more days has fallen substantially in almost every credit category.
Student loans remain the glaring exception, soaring to $966 billion last quarter as college costs—and applications—continued to rise unabated. That’s nearly triple the debt that students held in 2004, thanks to a 70 percent increase in the number of borrowers and an average loan balance among indebted graduates that passed $26,600 in 2011.
Student debt would not be such a problem if borrowers were finding jobs and paying their bills. But the number of former students behind on their payments has increased substantially in the past year, even as other consumers have been finding their economic footing. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the share of student loan balances 90 or more days delinquent surged to 11.7 percent in the last two quarters—three percentage points higher than the same time last year—elevating student loans, for the first time, to the ignominious distinction of having a worse repayment rate than credit cards.
Blog Post by: Jeanne L. Reid, on February 19, 2013
In a recent post, Brookings Fellow Grover “Russ” Whitehurst offered an argument against public funding for universal pre-K. With President Obama calling for the federal government to work with states to “make high-quality preschool available to every child in America,” we can expect the policy conversation regarding the value of universal pre-K to rise from a simmer to a boil. This makes it important to understand what the research shows, and how it can inform sound public policy.
Whitehurst calls for an evidence-based approach to policy, and selects several studies to support his argument that universal pre-k would not be a good public investment. He turns first to the research on Head Start, which has been disappointing to its own supporters and red meat to its opponents. Yet using the Head Start research in a discussion of universal pre-K is an odd choice. Most prominently, as a program that serves children living in poverty, Head Start is not a universal pre-K program. The Head Start model is quite different from the pre-K model in other ways as well, notably its emphasis on health and social services for families, engagement of families in their children’s learning, and serving children with special needs. Head Start and state pre-K programs are plainly different. Nevertheless, Whitehurst asks, “If a year of Head Start does not improve achievement in elementary school, should we assume that a year of state pre-K does?” The research suggests that the answer is, “yes,” with several studies finding gains from pre-K programs that are two or more times greater than those from Head Start.
Blog Post by: Corey Bunje Bower, on February 19, 2013
Last night's episode of How I Met Your Mother featured some soul-searching by Lily. The show's conclusion speaks volumes about the current state of America's educational system, and about our say one thing, do another attitude toward our nation's teachers..
Sign up for our mailing list and stay up to date on the latest happenings at The Century Foundation