Resources

In this journal article, scholars of higher education and public policymakers describe promising directions for postsecondary reform. They argue that it is essential to redefine postsecondary education and consider a broader range of learning opportunities—beyond the research university and traditional bachelor degree programs—to include community colleges, occupational certificate programs, and apprenticeships. The authors also emphasize the need to rethink policies governing financial aid, remediation, and institutional funding to promote degree completion.

AIR’s Dr. Rachel Dinkes joined panelists from academia, policymaking, and the U.S. higher education system to discuss who should foot the bill as postsecondary education expands in the United States.

In this journal article, researchers discuss findings from a study investigating the effect of students losing merit-based HOPE scholarships midway through college. The findings suggest that losing one’s scholarship results in a small degree of detachment from college and a rise in earnings of about 14 cents per dollar of lost aid but no affect on timely degree completion.

This journal article provides a review of causes and policy solutions of two equity problems: (a) Too many college students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the United States do not complete their coursework with any college credential, whereas others earn degrees or certificates with little labor market value; and (b) many of these students also struggle to pay for college, and some incur debts that they have difficulty repaying. Solutions include those focused on both individual students and institutional reform.

This journal article discusses a study that used data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and the Delta Cost Project to identify institutional predictors of bachelor’s degree completion rates for Pell Grant recipients and nonrecipients at public and private not-for-profit 4-year institutions. The results suggest that Pell Grant recipients are relatively concentrated in institutions with demographic and structural characteristics associated with lower completion rates, including lower SAT scores, enrollment, and residential intensity.

Projects

AIR is providing support for the Longitudinal Studies Branch, which is responsible for the design and operation of three national early childhood cohort studies and several longitudinal studies of middle school, high school, and postsecondary students. AIR is providing support across the full range of design and reporting activities associated with the major data collection projects and statistical studies, including study development, cognitive laboratory work, field test and national data collection activities, review of data files and data documentation, report review and development, outreach, user support, and training activities.

The Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, operated by AIR, in collaboration with Wisconsin Public Television, created a documentary that discusses promising practices for educators to help Black students on their journey to postsecondary education. The documentary sought to raise awareness about the best ways to support Black students’ higher education aspirations.

AIR, in collaboration with IMPAQ, is designing and building a borrower-based dynamic microsimulation model of the repayment of federal student loans for the Cost Estimation and Analysis Division of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Budget Services. This work will help the Department better estimate the costs and consequences of student loan debt for a wide array of student populations, as well as understand the impact of potential policy changes on loan program costs and student outcomes.

Researchers from AIR supported the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics in data collection efforts related to IPEDS. Specifically, AIR staff prepared IPEDS survey components, developed and maintained written work products, prepared reports, verified statistics, provided expertise on complex data structures and data systems, and participated in planning meetings related to the postsecondary administrative data collection.

AIR created an online tool that allows users in Florida to view the return on investment associated with completing a degree from a particular state institution, in a particular major, at a particular level. The tool incorporates data from multiple sources, including statewide completion data, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, and Gallup. AIR also produced a report describing the earnings outcomes for college completers of different levels of degrees in different majors from Florida institutions, as well as discussing student debt levels and job growth information. The goals of the project were to present the state’s educational outcome data in a way that makes it easy for users to compare and make decisions about their educational path.