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September 2011
What's Happening

CSU Graduation Initiative project – IHELP is currently working on a project for CSU Academic Affairs as part of the CSU Graduation Initiative. IHELP is using student-level data from two CSU campuses to track student progress through various intermediate milestones to learn where student progress is stalling. Student enrollment behaviors, like earning summer credits, early enrollment in general education math, and early declaration of a major, are analyzed to see which best predict progress and graduation. The results of the analysis will be presented to CSU campus leaders to demonstrate the value of student-level data analysis to improve graduation rates.

Upcoming CTE reports – IHELP is continuing its research into career-technical education at the California Community Colleges under a grant awarded by the James Irvine Foundation. The first two reports - one on the organizational structure and funding of CTE and the other analyzing the inventory of CTE programs - will be released in the coming months. IHELP researchers will present an update on findings from this research at a PACE seminar in Sacramento on October 7th.

New Contracts - IHELP has been awarded contracts by: the National Governors Association, to assist with the Complete to Compete Policy Academy; UC ACCORD, to help develop indicators of critical conditions for student success at community colleges, as part of the Gates Foundation Pathways to Postsecondary Success project; the Campaign for College Opportunity, to analyze patterns of community college student progress by gender; and the Gates Foundation to produce a case study of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to inform other states about ways that state-level entities can help increase postsecondary student success.

WICHE Technical Review Panel - IHELP Faculty Associate Su Jin Jez was invited to serve on a technical review panel for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) on September 9 in Colorado. The panel examined the methodology used in WICHE’s publication, Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates by State and Race/Ethnicity.

Features This Month

Dollars and Sense: Analysis of Spending and Revenue Patterns to Inform Fiscal Planning for California Higher Education

IHELP’s newest report uses data from the Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability to analyze revenue and spending patterns across California higher education. The report compares patterns across California’s three public higher education systems (University of California, California State University and the California Community Colleges), documents changes over a seven-year period for which data are available (2002-2009), and compares California to the rest of the nation. The report documents several unique characteristics of California higher education including the largest disparity in the nation in educational expenditures per student between the research university sector and the community college sector and a very low share (one-tenth) of educational costs covered through community college tuition compared to the national average of one-third. Documented trends within California higher education include steep declines in state subsidies for UC and CSU and large tuition increases, such that students at those two segments are paying a much larger share of their educational costs, and incremental gains in degree productivity at all three segments that fall well short of state needs. Researchers conclude that policymakers’ traditional approach to fiscal planning is inadequate for today’s challenges and recommend greater transparency in spending and revenues and a more strategic and state-wide approach to financing higher education.

View the report

In case you missed it - Sense of Direction: The Importance of Helping Community College Students Select and Enter a Program of Study

This IHELP report examines the importance of declaring and entering an academic program of study for community college student success and completion. Researchers studied an entering cohort of more than 430,000 community college students and followed their progress over a six-year period through programs of study to completion of a certificate, associate degree or transfer to a university. The study used student course patterns to identify those who entered a program of study in 21 program areas across the liberal arts and sciences and career technical education. Researchers found that entering a program of study is an important milestone on the path to college completion that only half of entering community colleges students reach, and that students who enter a program of study in their first year are twice as likely to complete a certificate, degree, or transfer as those who enter a program of study in the second year or later.

View the report

Spotlight On

Credentials that Work Initiative – Jobs for the Future (JFF) recently launched a new initiative to help align occupational training programs with the needs of regional economies. The program uses new technologies to collect and analyze up-to-date labor market information from online job ads to provide more comprehensive information to community colleges and students, including hiring trends, employer demand and job skill requirements. Two colleges from California, Cabrillo College and Cerritos College, will begin using the new technology this month. For more information on this initiative, click here.

Sacramento State Institute For Higher Education Leadership & Policy

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