Analysis Adds to Data Showing the Economic Benefits of a College Degree

A new report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers offers further evidence of the value of a college degree in terms of future earnings potential. The report, “The Economic Benefit of Postsecondary Degrees: A State and National Level Analysis,” concludes that, despite substantial variations across states and disciplines, “postsecondary-degree attainment clearly results in higher earnings for the vast majority of individuals in all 50 states.” It also found that “almost without exception, each successive level of higher-educational attainment yields additional economic benefits.”

Based on an analysis of census and education statistics, the report says Americans who complete a bachelor’s degree have a median income of $50,360, compared with a median of $29,423 for people with only a high-school diploma. Those with an associate degree earn some $9,000 more than those with only a high-school diploma. Those with a graduate degree have a median income of $68,064, about one-third more than those with a bachelor’s degree.

The report also provides national and state-level data on the wage premiums associated with degree attainment across seven broad discipline categories: arts and humanities; business and communications; education; social and behavioral sciences; the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics); health; and trades.

Its findings mirror those of recent studies by the U.S. Treasury Department  and the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as a series of reports from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce on topics including the relationship between college major and earnings, college major and unemployment, and occupation and earnings.

Via The Ticker – The Chronicle of Higher Ed.

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Posted in Data/Research, Postsecondary (13-18). Comments Off on Analysis Adds to Data Showing the Economic Benefits of a College Degree

Freshman Survey: This Year, Even More Focused on Jobs

Today’s freshmen are focused on the future. They are certain they’ll finish their degrees in four years, despite evidence to the contrary; they want to land good jobs after graduation; and they increasingly aspire to be well-off.

Those are among the many findings of the 2012 Freshman Survey, published on Thursday by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, part of the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. The annual survey delves into nearly every aspect of first-year students’ lives: study habits, religious beliefs, family income, career goals, even exercise habits. This year’s survey was administered last fall to 192,912 first-time, full-time students at 283 four-year colleges and universities.

At a time of public debate over the value of college, the findings reveal heightened expectations that a degree will provide economic security. In 1976 about two-thirds of freshmen said the ability to get a better job was a very important reason to go to college; in 2012, an all-time high of 88 percent said so.

Students also want to earn a good living: This year nearly three in four—the highest proportion on record—said the ability to make more money was a very important reason to go to college.

The tight economy appears to have affected students’ values as well as their choice of college, says John H. Pryor, director of the research program. As in the past, a majority of students still said they went to college to get an education and gain an appreciation of ideas. It’s just that now, more of them put an even greater value on job-related reasons. (Read more.)

Via Libby Sander, The Chronicle of Higher Ed.

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National High School Graduation Rate Climbs

The national high school graduation rate has improved notably, with 78.2 percent of public school students receiving a diploma in 2009-10, up from 75.5 percent the year before, according to the newest figures released from the National Center for Education Statistics Tuesday.

In 2005-06, the rate was 73.4 percent, and in 2000-01, it was 71.7 percent.

The new NCES report reflects the best performance in decades by high school students. It is the highest graduation rate since 1969-70, when the figure was 78.7 percent. Since 1972, when the dropout rate was 14.6 percent, it has steadily improved, falling to 11 percent in 1992 and 3.4 percent for the class of 2010.

There were 38 states with an increase of one percentage point or more, in the most recent analysis. Overall, 3.1 million students received a diploma in 2009-10, the report, “Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2009-10” finds.

Student success varied widely, with an “averaged freshman graduation rate” of 57.8 percent in Nevada and 91.4 percent in Vermont. AFGR looks at on-time graduation rates for freshmen over four years.

The NCES analysis shows about 514,000 or 3.4 percent of public school students in grades 9-12 dropped out of the Class of 2010. That is a decline from the previous year, when a 4.1 percent dropout rate was reported. The states struggling the most with dropout rates were Mississippi (7.4 percent) and Arizona (7.8 percent), while New Hampshire has just 1.2 percent of students quitting and Idaho 1.4 percent. (Read more.)

Via Caralee Adam, Education Week.

Posted in Data/Research, Secondary (9-12). Tags: . Comments Off on National High School Graduation Rate Climbs

StudentsFirst Puts Out State Policy Report Card

Many factors contribute to the strength of our public education system, but without a doubt, state policies provide the strong foundation on which great school systems are built. State policies must empower parents to make the best choices for their children, and they must enable schools to recognize, reward, and retain the best educators. States must provide school and district leaders with opportunities to truly lead, innovate, and reform schools so they work well for all the kids they serve. StudentsFirst created the State Policy Report Card to evaluate each state’s education laws and policies and determine what states are doing to create a better education system — one that meets the needs of all children and puts them on a path toward success. The report card does not assess student achievement, school quality, or teacher performance, but rather the policy environments that affect those outcomes. StudentsFirst believes — based on experience, research, and evidence — that education reform at the state level can have the most powerful impact on schools and students. Therefore, StudentsFirst advocates that state leaders do away with antiquated policies that obstruct progress and fail to help children learn. States must then adopt new principles and policies focused on ensuring student needs come before any other special interests. These new policies should emphasize high standards, robust educational options for families, transparency, and accountability. It is through this lens that the report card assesses each state and whether it is fulfilling its essential role in improving schools by putting student centered laws and policies in place. (Via StudentsFirst.)

Click here to see the California Report Card. For other states, click on the map.

Click here to see the Executive of the National Report Card.

Click here to download the full Report.

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Including Nontraditional Pathways Increases Completion Rates

A report by the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center highlights the need to change the way completion rates are calculated.

By ignoring students’ increasingly diverse paths to graduation, the report, many completion studies “don’t fit reality” and thus significantly underreport completion rates, according to Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates. It adds that taking nontraditional pathways into account dramatically drives up the U.S. college completion rate, from 42 percent to 54 percent.

Not a straight path

Among all students who started at a public two-year institution, 36 percent received a degree or certificate within six years, with 12 percent earning a degree at a different institution, the report says.

According to NSC, today’s students are much more likely to follow a diverse educational pathway, with many transferring schools before they graduate, enrolling part time or switching between part-time and full-time status. As a result, it’s no longer useful for completion studies to focus only on first-time, full-time students who graduate from the same institution where they started.

“Capturing students’ completions beyond their starting institution will sizably increase total completion rates observed nationally,” the report states. (Read more and find out key areas of the report.)

Via Times Staff, Community College Staff.

Posted in Community College (13-14), Data/Research. Tags: . Comments Off on Including Nontraditional Pathways Increases Completion Rates