2017 March

Archive for March, 2017

Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Shares Fresh Approach to College Readiness at Dashboard Event

On March 16th, the Higher Education Compact hosted its 5th annual Dashboard Release Event at the Cleveland State University Student Center. The Dashboard report measures Cleveland’s progress towards reaching key attainment goals related to college readiness, access and completion.

Cleveland State University President Ron Berkman began the morning by welcoming more than 150 attendees. His remarks were followed by a panel discussion featuring College Now Greater Cleveland CEO Lee Friedman, Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon, Cuyahoga Community College President Alex Johnson and Kent State University President Beverly Warren.  The discussion addressed the reasons behind the downward enrollment trends, the role of college affordability in promoting enrollment and completion and the need for greater supports to students once enrolled in college.

Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of the University of Rutgers-Newark, served as the keynote speaker for the event. Chancellor Cantor sees current trends in postsecondary attainment as a major creator of inequality: high-income students are much more likely to obtain a postsecondary degree than their equally skilled low-income peers. Concurrently, fewer job opportunities remain for those without some post-high school degree or credential. According to Cantor, “we need to commit to educating more of our children, educating them together, and doing the education on our part together.”

At the University of Rutgers-Newark, Chancellor Cantor is working to shift mindsets around what it means to be college ready. Instead of “‘you come to us – and you better already look like what we want” it should be “we’ll come find you and show you that you can succeed with us and contribute to us.’” She also emphasized the importance of using an asset-based mindset that sees strength in experiences and talents of students. To belong to the Honors Living Learning Community – the school’s honors college – a student must demonstrate their leadership skills, grit and commitment to social justice; it’s no longer just about merit.  Nancy is quick to share that “these students are not the ones in your traditional honors colleges”.

Newark also utilizes a collective impact model that promotes collaborative cross-sector partnerships committed to increasing enrollment and attainment. Through these efforts, they are strengthening pre-college to college pathways and establishing tailored pathways from two year to four year postsecondary institutions.

The event concluded with remarks by Higher Education Compact Director Maggie McGrath thanking attendees and commenting on the need to keep moving forward, together.

  • Chancellor Cantor’s extended remarks and PowerPoint presentation can be found here.
  • The 2016 Dashboard Report to the Community can be found here.

2016 Higher Education Compact Dashboard Report to the Community

On March 16th, the Higher Education Compact released its 5th annual Dashboard report. The Dashboard tracks Cleveland’s progress towards reaching more than a dozen indicators related to student readiness for college, access to college and persistence at two year or four year postsecondary institutions.

Key attainment trends outlined in the report:

  • The Cleveland Metropolitan School District [CMSD] is graduating more students. The class of 2016 had a 69 percent graduation rate, a 13 percentage point increase over the last 5 years.
  • There are more students in our community graduating from two and four-year colleges and universities than there were when the Compact started. The three-year completion rate from two year institutions and the six-year rate from four year institutions have increased by four and five percentage points, respectively, in the last five years.
  • On-time graduation rates (completing a four-year degree in four years) has increased dramatically in the last five years, by 16 percentage points.

The report also details a notable decline in the percent of students who enrolled in a two-year or four-year degree program within a year of graduating from CMSD. Only 51% of the class of 2015 enrolled in college within a year of graduating compared to 56% of the class of 2014. The Dashboard goal is 66% postsecondary enrollment by 2017.  This downward trend is alarming as by 2025, 64% of jobs in Ohio will require some postsecondary degree or credential.

One reason for the decline in enrollment is the cost of postsecondary education. The perceived cost (the sticker price) can prevent students from applying to college while the actual cost (net price) can prevent students from enrolling at all or enrolling at their institution of choice. According to the Ohio College Affordability Diagnosis, Ohio ranks 45th out of 50 states on college affordability. Ohio falls behind the nation and its Midwestern peers on several key college affordability indicators including the state’s investment in postsecondary education, average net price of college, and the availability of need-based aid.

To address this barrier, the Higher Education Compact is working with a statewide consortium to advocate for more need-based aid and incentivize student completion.

Compact and Partners Brief Legislators on State of Affordability in Ohio

On February 9th, the Higher Education Compact, Philanthropy Ohio, Learn to Earn Dayton, and Summit Education Initiative released the following report: Investing in Ohio’s Future. Now. A Postsecondary Education Access and Affordability Agenda for Ohio.

As part of the release, Compact Director Maggie McGrath participated in a policy briefing at the Ohio Statehouse alongside leaders from Philanthropy Ohio, Learn to Earn Dayton, and Summit Education Initiative and national experts from Vanderbilt University and the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce. The briefing addressed the connection between college affordability, the state’s educational attainment goals and Ohio’s economic future.

To see photos from the event click here.

For news articles on the report’s release:

Cleveland.com: Ohio colleges among most expensive in U.S.; coalition calls for schools, lawmakers to step up
Dayton Daily News: Study: Ohio 45th of 50 states in college affordability
WCPO Cincinnati: UC, Cincinnati State partnering up to give students an affordable alternative
WSKU Akron: Report says education costs will hurt Ohio’s economic future
Cleveland.com: Ohio lags in providing need-based grants for college students