We’re coming up on tax season, when many of us find ourselves gathering bundles of information, navigating often confusing paperwork and instructions, all with tight deadlines and high stakes. I find myself wondering what we did in the days before software to help us make sense of it all.
Our students face similar complexities on their way to a certificate or degree, especially students who are the first in their family to attend college. They and their advisors are swimming in data and information but often struggle to bring that information into focus to clarify the path for students. And that can lead to missed deadlines, less financial aid, courses not needed or taken out of order, and even dropout. It’s a situation that can and must change.
That is why we are partnering with seven colleges and universities [University of Montana, McDowell Tech Community College, Bay Path University, University of Arizona, Lehman College, Wright State University, Maricopa Community Colleges] and four leading non-profit and for-profit advising product providers [EAB, Watermark, Dxtera, and Stellic] and to break down the silos that currently exist in our student information systems, gain a better understanding of the information students and staff need, and create integrated advising platforms that can be adapted by institutions nationwide. Stay tuned for more on these demonstration projects as they get started on this exciting work.
Learning should be the challenging part of college, not the navigation. If we can get our taxes down to a few simple clicks, we can use the same know how to keep more students on the path to a certificate or degree that has value.
I look forward to our continued partnership to eliminate race and income as predictors of educational success – together.
From the Foundation
In 2018, six organizations came together to form the Advising Success Network, dedicated to helping colleges and universities become more student-centered and equity-focused through changes in policy and practice surrounding student advising. The network, led by NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, provides resources and technical assistance to colleges and universities seeking to strengthen different components of their advising program, from technology solutions to professional development to leadership and change management.The network’s newest resources include case studies of promising redesign efforts at institutions such as Lorain County Community College, whose Avanzando through College program for Latino students has boosted the first semester performance of program participants above that of all LCCC students.
From Our Partners
Economic mobility is a key component of postsecondary value. So Third Way set out to answer the question “Which colleges and universities are excelling when it comes to economic mobility?” Their new Economic Mobility Index looks at return on investment for students from low-income backgrounds and finds that the colleges and universities that provide the strongest returns (i.e. enroll the most students from low-income backgrounds and post the best cost-earnings outcomes) are public colleges and universities. Highly selective private colleges and universities provide strong student returns but enroll few students from low-income backgrounds.
The American Enterprise Institute is out with a new report that takes an in-depth look at post-college earnings as a student outcome measure, documenting the history of efforts to collect this measure, analyzing the strengths and limitations of existing measures, and spotlighting innovations in the use of earnings data. The report includes case studies on key tools such as the federal College Scorecard and the seekUT platform developed by the University of Texas System.