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For-Profit Colleges – What Went Wrong?

Mention the phrase “for-profit college” and I can’t help but immediately picture a single parent working two jobs while attending college at night, after the kids are asleep, saddled with debt and no prospects for improving their employment conditions or earnings despite their best efforts. Vivid in my mind are the painful stories of young low-income mothers I interviewed during my graduate studies, whose economic, family, and personal decisions (and opportunities) were often dictated by their (relatively exorbitant) loan repayments for credentials, completed at for-profit institutions, with no value in the labor market. This knee-jerk reaction to the for-profit sector,…


Training for a Tough Job: The Community College Presidency Pipeline

To say that the community college presidency is in flux is no overstatement. Many existing community college presidents have been reaching retirement age at a time when both the traditional presidential pipeline and rigorous leadership training programs have narrowed. At the same time, there has been a wave of community college president resignations and terminations, leading to warranted concerns about a shortage of qualified candidates who can tackle the increasingly challenging role. Leadership matters. And high-quality sustained leadership is important for educational reforms to take hold and have long-term impacts. On the flip side, leadership shortfalls and transitions are harmful…


Large Advising Study Launches
Many Opportunities to Learn

After a busy planning year, Ithaka S+R and the 11 public universities that are a part of the University Innovation Alliance recently launched the Monitoring Advising Analytics to Promote Success (MAAPS) study. As my colleague Martin Kurzweil explained last fall when the project was just getting started, MAAPS consists of an intensive proactive and technology-enhanced advisement intervention for first-time low-income and/or first-generation freshmen. It is funded by a First in the World grant from the Department of Education, with Georgia State University as the lead institution and Ithaka S+R as evaluator (see figure 1 below for a visual summary of…


What Do Airbnb, Uber, and Some Higher Ed Innovations Really Have in Common?

“Airbnb for higher ed” and “Uber for higher ed” have become recurring buzz phrases in the higher education world. A piece on the topic that recently caught my attention describes ALEX, a platform developed by Harvard University students that connects employers and their individual employees with college classrooms that have unfilled seats. Employers can reduce their internal training costs, employees can improve their educational attainment and skills, and higher education institutions can generate additional tuition revenue. Its comparison with Airbnb seems to stem from the idea that unfilled classroom seats are made available to consumers the same way that unfilled…


The New Transcript and Predictive Analytics
Only a Matter of Time?

As interest in alignment between education and industry increases, higher education institutions are looking for new ways to signal their students’ industry-relevant skills and experiences to employers in ways that are meaningful and practical. A promising example is the “new transcript” that a number of US colleges are developing. The new transcript includes information that is more readily translated into job skills than traditional transcript data, such as specific course learning outcomes and hours spent on extracurricular activities and internships. Furthermore, the new transcripts are digital and easy to share with employers, whose interests are key to this process. And,…