Programs for Minority-Serving Institutions Under the Higher Education Act

Programs for Minority-Serving Institutions Under the Higher Education Act. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Alexandra Hegji. September 12, 2017

Minority-serving institutions (MSIs) are institutions of higher education that serve high concentrations of minority students who, historically, have been underrepresented in higher education. Many MSIs have faced challenges in securing adequate financial support, thus affecting their ability to develop and enhance their academic offerings and ultimately serve their students. Federal higher education policy recognizes the importance of such institutions and targets financial resources to them. Funding for MSIs is channeled through numerous federal agencies, and several of these funding sources are available to MSIs through grant programs authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA; P.L. 89-329). Over the years, HEA programs that support MSIs have expanded and now include programs for institutions serving a wide variety of student populations. In FY2016, MSI programs under the HEA were appropriated approximately $817 million, which helped fund more than 929 grants to institutions.

[PDF format, 52 pages, 954.26 KB].

Digital Currency and the Future of Transacting

Digital Currency and the Future of Transacting. RAND Corporation. Katherine Stewart, Salil Gunashekar, Catriona Manville. August 30, 2017.

As digital technology creates new and different ways to transact we have witnessed the emergence of new forms of currency and transaction platforms to support different methods and types of value exchange. New methods of transaction could have wider economic and social implications with regard to the extent of government control over the economy; the structure of traditional models of tax, social security and pensions; and the role of individuals and communities in the wider financial system. Because the landscape of innovations in this sphere is broad and fast moving, thought should be given to the potential impact of these changes on wider society, and how they could be harnessed by government, communities and individuals for societal good. This perspective explores how digital platforms are changing the ways we transact and exchange value and the associated societal impact. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 12 pages, 171.86 KB].

Later School Start Times in the U.S.: An Economic Analysis

Later School Start Times in the U.S.: An Economic Analysis. RAND Corporation. Marco Hafner, Martin Stepanek, Wendy M. Troxel. August 30, 2017.

Numerous studies have shown that later school start times are associated with positive student outcomes, including improvements in academic performance, mental and physical health, and public safety. While the benefits are well-documented in the literature, there is opposition against delaying school times across the U.S. A major argument is the claim that delaying school start times will result in significant additional costs due to changes in transportation, such as rescheduling bus routes. This study investigates the economic implications of later school start times by examining a policy experiment and its subsequent state-wide economic effects of a state-wide universal shift in school start times to 8:30 a.m.

Using a novel macroeconomic modelling approach, the study estimates changes in the economic performance of 47 U.S. states following a delayed school start time, which includes the benefits of higher academic performance of students and reduced car crash rates. The benefit-cost projections of this study suggest that delaying school start times is a cost-effective, population-level strategy which could have a significant impact on public health and the U.S. economy. From a policy perspective, the study’s findings demonstrate the significant economic gains resulting from the delay in school start times over a relatively short period of time following the adoption of the policy change. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 57 pages, 1.07 MB].

A New Era in U.S.-Russian Strategic Stability: How Changing Geopolitics and Emerging Technologies are Reshaping Pathways to Crisis and Conflict

A New Era in U.S.-Russian Strategic Stability: How Changing Geopolitics and Emerging Technologies are Reshaping Pathways to Crisis and Conflict. Center for a New American Security. James N. Miller, Jr. and Richard Fontaine. September 19, 2017.

The parallel changes in U.S.-Russian political relations and the military-technological landscape are fundamentally reshaping the ways in which a U.S.-Russian crisis and conflict likely would unfold. Neither side has yet internalized these overlapping geopolitical and technological changes. When they do, it is likely that each will take different and potentially conflicting lessons from them. As a result, risks could significantly increase the potential of a dispute leading to crisis, of a crisis leading to war, and of a war escalating rapidly.

This report addresses each of the various types of pathways, laying out the key aspects of each. Within each section, the authors first offer an assessment of the current situation, then consider relevant geopolitical and technological trends, and finally outline alternative scenarios along each pathway that can help guide the development and evaluation of policy options. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 48 pages, 1.26 MB].

Dual Credit Education in Texas: Interim Report

Dual Credit Education in Texas: Interim Report. RAND Corporation. Trey Miller et al. August 28, 2017.

Dual credit (DC) education programs — delivered through partnerships between high schools and colleges and universities — offer high school students the option to take college-level courses that simultaneously award them college and high school credit. In Texas, policymakers, K–12 and college and university administrators, and the public have sought to better understand the extent to which DC education programs boost higher education access and completion. Specifically, these groups are looking for ways to identify whether reforms are needed to maximize the benefits of DC programs and minimize the concerns around them.

This report shares findings from Phase I of a two-year study that examines DC programs in Texas. It provides an initial perspective on the accessibility, diversity, quality, and efficiency of DC education programs in Texas. It also proposes areas of DC education to investigate in the second phase of the study. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 122 pages, 888.99 KB].

Trade and Fiscal Deficits, Tax Reform, and the Dollar: General Equilibrium Impact Estimates

Trade and Fiscal Deficits, Tax Reform, and the Dollar: General Equilibrium Impact Estimates. Peterson Institute for International Economics. Working Paper, 17-9. William R. Cline. August 2017

Advocates of using a border tax adjustment (BTA) to shift the corporate profits tax to a “destination” basis argue that such an arrangement would not be protectionist, because the import tax and export subsidy would be fully offset by an induced appreciation of the dollar. To examine this claim, this study applies an updated and extended general equilibrium model from the author’s 2005 book, The United States as a Debtor Nation. Cline finds that across various scenarios, the dollar appreciation typically would be less than half the amount needed to offset fully the BTA. Advocates of the BTA implicitly assume a strong, prompt expectational boost to the dollar upon announcement of the shift. Instead, market practitioners and mainstream macroeconomic models see the interest rate as the main driver of the exchange rate. Although an incipient rise in the trade balance would indeed put upward pressure on the interest rate and thus the exchange rate, it would also result in reduced investment. With the trade deficit equal to investment minus saving (I–S = M–X), reduced investment would tend to set the new equilibrium at a lower trade deficit before the interest rate would rise sufficiently to boost the dollar to a level that would completely offset the BTA. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 31 pages, 424.32 KB].

What Are the Trends in Armed Conflicts, and What Do They Mean for U.S. Defense Policy?

What Are the Trends in Armed Conflicts, and What Do They Mean for U.S. Defense Policy? RAND Corporation. Thomas S. Szayna et al. September 12, 2017.

This report assesses trends in armed conflict, the incidence of which has declined in recent decades. Key political, economic, and strategic factors, including the deterrent effect of the U.S. military, suggest this decline is likely to continue. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 11 pages, 331.93 KB].

Measuring the Health of the Liberal International Order

Measuring the Health of the Liberal International Order. RAND Corporation. Michael J. Mazarr et al. September 5, 2017.

As part of a larger study on the future of the post-World War II liberal international order, RAND researchers analyze the health of the existing order and offer implications for future U.S. policy. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 229 pages, 1.41 MB].

Care and Connections: Bridging Relational Gaps for Foster Youths

Care and Connections: Bridging Relational Gaps for Foster Youths. Brookings Institution. Ramona Denby-Brinson, Efren Gomez, and Richard V. Reeves. September 14, 2017

In the United States, more than 20,000 youths “age out” of foster care each year. But leaving foster care presents its own challenges. Only 55 percent of former foster youths report having a high school diploma or GED by the time they’re 19, compared with 87 percent of their peers in the population sample.

Significant efforts are made by policymakers at all levels to improve educational, social and economic outcomes for this at-risk group, with mixed results.

One way to help improve the outcomes of foster youths may be to focus on relationship-building skills. Research suggests that healthy and supportive relationships improve life chances for foster youth. But so far there have been relatively few attempts to build insights into these programs and practice.

In “Care and connections: Bridging relational gaps for foster youths” (PDF), Ramona Denby-Brinson, Efren Gomez, and Richard V. Reeves explore the steep challenges of implementing and evaluating relationship-based interventions in child welfare. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 23 pages, 741.48 KB].

Trends in European Terrorism: 1970-2016

Trends in European Terrorism: 1970-2016. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Anthony Cordesman. August 18, 2017

This report provides summary statistical data on the trends in Western and Eastern Europe. It focuses on START and IHS Jane’s data, but also includes data from other sources – including the one useful current official source on terrorism in the world that presents declassified official data. This is the annual report on terrorism which is issued by Europol and the EU.

If one looks at the START data on the total for Western and Eastern Europe, which includes Russia, the impact of terrorism peaks in the 1970s. It rises again in 1991, driven by terrorist attacks in the Balkans, Palestinian violence, and terrorism in the FSU and Russia. It then peaks for a third time in 2014-2015, driven by both violent Islamist extremism and terrorist activity in the Ukraine. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 57 pages, 2.66 MB].