The Price of Graduate and Professional School: How Much Students Pay

The Price of Graduate and Professional School: How Much Students Pay. Urban Institute. Sandy Baum, Patricia Steele. June 20, 2017

Graduate and professional school tuition prices vary not only by sector and degree type, but also by subject area. Subject and level of program, time to complete, and funding available to graduate students all influence the prices students pay. In addition, institutional aid covers much of the tuition for many research doctoral student. This brief examines how graduate degree prices have changed overtime and provides detailed information on published and net prices for graduate and professional degree students. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 20 pages, 1.98 MB].

How Progressive Is School Funding in the United States?

How Progressive Is School Funding in the United States? Brookings Institution. Matthew M. Chingos. June 15, 2017

Policymakers, advocates, and the public have long been concerned with inequities in funding levels between schools attended by students from low-income families and their more affluent peers. School funding has received increased attention in recent years as multiple high-quality studies have found that school funding reforms initiated by courts and state legislatures improved the outcomes of disadvantaged students, both in terms of academic achievement (test scores) and attainment (high school graduation and college enrollment). [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Education: Digital Digital Technology’s Role in Enabling Skills Development for a Connected World

Education: Digital Digital Technology’s Role in Enabling Skills Development for a Connected World. RAND Corporation. Axelle Devaux et al. July 3, 2017.

This Perspective explores the ways in which the growth of digital technology is impacting education and skills. The authors state that technology is not only more prevalent in people’s lives, but its growing use will affect schools’ curriculum, new digital skills in jobs, and the changing use of services. However, they point out that education establishments are not keeping up with the technology growth, that new skills will have to be learnt outside of only digital skills, and that digital technology could lead to increased social exclusion for different sections of our society. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 8 pages, 106.91 KB].

Ladders, Labs, or Laggards? Which Public Universities Contribute Most

Ladders, Labs, or Laggards? Which Public Universities Contribute Most. Brookings Institution. Dimitrios Halikias and Richard V. Reeves. July 11, 2017

Why are taxpayers asked to subsidize postsecondary education? After all, college graduates continue to earn much more on average than those who do not gain a postsecondary degree. One answer is that higher education provides public benefits in addition to high private returns on postsecondary investments.

In particular, universities act as ladders for social mobility, which makes for a more dynamic and fairer society. They are also laboratories for research, expanding our knowledge in directions that can improve the welfare of the broader population. A good case can be made for public support for institutions that act in one or both of these ways: as what we label either ladders or labs. But there are some institutions that cannot claim to be either mobility-boosters or knowledge-creators: these are the laggards. These institutions have a weaker claim on the public purse.

In this paper, the authors evaluate the nation’s selective public four-year universities—using newly-available tax data from the Equality of Opportunity Project at Stanford to gauge mobility and an independent ranking from the Carnegie Foundation to assess research activity—to determine which universities are ladders or labs, and which universities are laggards less deserving of public funding. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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The Federal-State Higher Education Partnership: Lessons from Other Federal-State Partnerships

The Federal-State Higher Education Partnership: Lessons from Other Federal-State Partnerships. Urban Institute. Kristin D. Conklin, Sandy Baum. May 16, 2017

Lessons from federal-state partnerships in other public policy areas might inform efforts to strengthen the partnership in higher education. This paper looks to the forms of cooperation between these levels of government in transportation, housing, and elementary through secondary education as examples. The federal role should have clearly defined goals, including strengthening the social norm of equitable access to high quality postsecondary education. Preserving flexibility for the states is a critical component of effective federal policy. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 25 pages, 292.37 KB].

Putting Your Major to Work: Career Paths after College

Putting Your Major to Work: Career Paths after College. Brookings Institution. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Ryan Nunn, and Greg Nantz. May 11, 2017

For most people, a college degree is helpful for flourishing in the labor market. College graduates earn more than workers with less education—on average, about $600,000 more over their lifetimes than workers with only a high school education. College graduates also have much lower levels of unemployment, enjoy better health, and have lower mortality rates.

However, not all college experiences have the same benefits. A previous Hamilton Project economic analysis documented important variation in earnings across college majors: for the median degree holder, cumulative lifetime earnings ranged from about $800,000 to roughly $2 million. At the high end of the earnings distribution are graduates who majored in fields emphasizing quantitative skills, such as engineering, computer science, economics, and finance. At the low end are graduates who majored in fields that emphasize working with children or providing counseling services, including early childhood education, elementary education, social work, and fine arts. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 8 pages, 1.26 MB].

The Importance of High Quality General Education for Students in Special Education

The Importance of High Quality General Education for Students in Special Education. Brookings Institution. Elizabeth Setren and Nora Gordon. April 20, 2017

Last month’s Supreme Court decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District sets a higher bar for the “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) guaranteed to students with disabilities by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In the unanimous opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives. This standard is more demanding than the ‘merely more than de minimis’ test applied by the Tenth Circuit.” While the new standard may be vague, it has rejuvenated public discussion around special education policy and practice.

As policymakers and practitioners think about what changes may be required to meet the new standard, they should not overlook the role of general education. New evidence suggests that it’s possible for special education students to make large achievement gains without their traditional services in schools with high quality general education programs. This points to the importance of the quality of general education for students schools might place in special education. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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