Infographic: Do Degree Completers Who Transfer or Stop Out Earn Less Than Those Who Don’t?

This infographic, based on study conducted by AIR, used a comparative analysis of earnings outcomes for degree completers who transferred, stopped out, or did neither— whom we refer to as “traditional”—on the way to their degree. This infographic focuses on the cohort of completers who earned their degree in 2015, presenting their average quarterly wages 1, 3, and 5 years after degree completion.

Diving Into Students’ Transcripts: High School Course-Taking Sequences and Postsecondary Enrollment

The purpose of this study was to explore high school course-taking sequences and their relationship to college enrollment. Specifically, we implemented sequence analysis to discover common course-taking trajectories in math, science, and English language arts using high school transcript data from a recent nationally representative survey. Through sequence clustering, we reduced the complexity of the sequences and examined representative course-taking sequences. Classification tree, random forests, and multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to explore the relationship between the course sequences students complete and their postsecondary outcomes. Results showed that distinct representative course-taking sequences can be identified for all students as well as student subgroups. More advanced and complex course-taking sequences were associated with postsecondary enrollment.

Infographic: Three Evidence-Based Strategies to Support College Completion

This infographic explores three evidence-based advising strategies with the potential to support students on their path to college completion as well as shares seven advising strategies widely used by colleges that show low evidence establishing their effectiveness.

Mapping the Opportunities: How Industry-Led Public–Private Partnerships Are Engaging Postsecondary Institutions

To strengthen students’ pathways through postsecondary education and into in-demand careers, employers and colleges must work more closely together. Industry-led public‒private partnerships have tremendous potential to build and grow these employer‒college relationships, but little information is available on these partnerships and their postsecondary initiatives. This project aims to fill this gap and foster the growth of these initiatives by highlighting the features of industry-led public‒private partnerships’ initiatives with postsecondary institutions and providing lessons and opportunities for developing, sustaining, and scaling these initiatives. The project website hosts a report, geographic map, directory, and recorded webinar to foster information sharing.

Supporting the Mental Health Needs of Community College Students

This report shares a descriptive study of eight community colleges at the forefront of implementing multilevel approaches (a combination of prevention, early intervention, and treatment services) to support student mental health, as well as key facilitators for and barriers to their success.

Validating the Multicultural Teaching Competency Scale in Higher Education: Testing Factor Structure among Faculty at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Higher education lacks validated instruments to gauge abilities in applying culturally relevant teaching approaches. Sampling faculty from 10 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), this study modified and evaluated the factorial structure of the Multicultural Teaching Competency Scale (MTCS), originally developed for K-12 settings, for use in higher education. The publication presents a validated multicultural teaching competency scale for instructors in postsecondary education. 

College Completion Network Findings

College Completion Network

The College Completion Network, led by AIR and funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, brought together research teams focused on postsecondary success for students—coordinated by a network lead—to share ideas, build new knowledge, conduct strong research, and share findings. Specifically, the network worked to refine and evaluate interventions for increasing the number of students who earn degrees in open- and broad-access institutions with the goal of providing college leaders and policymakers with reliable evidence on promising strategies.

The research teams in the College Completion Network conducted studies to refine and evaluate interventions for increasing the number of students who earn degrees at open- and broad-access institutions with the goal of providing college leaders and policymakers with reliable evidence on promising strategies.


Working Paper: The Impacts and Experiences of Corequisite Remediation for Latinx Students

Colleges across the United States are now placing most or all students directly into college-level courses and providing supplementary, aligned academic support alongside the courses, also known as “corequisite remediation.” To better understand the potential for differential impacts of English corequisites for Latinx students, this study leverages data from a randomized control trial across five large urban community colleges across Texas. We also utilize student survey data to develop a deeper understanding of how corequisites shape the experiences of Latinx students in their college-level English courses.

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AERA Presentation: Serving Servant Leaders- Understanding the Institutional Strengths and Financial Needs of Historically Black Colleges and Universities That Serve Low-Income STEM Students

This research seeks to understand the financial characteristics of HBCUs that enroll a large proportion of students who come from low-income families and how these characteristics influence student success in STEM. The study used secondary data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to examine the financial metrics of HBCUs that are associated with the percent of students awarded Pell grants. The sample size consists of 84 four-year HBCUs that submitted financial information to IPEDS. Included in this sample are HBCUs that serve undergraduate students with active grants funded through the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program.

CALDER Center paper

Teachers and Students’ Postsecondary Outcomes: Testing the Predictive Power of Test and Nontest Teacher Quality Measures

This paper from the CALDER Center examines how different measures of teacher quality are related to students’ long-run trajectories. Comparing teachers’ test-based value-added to nontest value-added – based on contributions to student absences and grades – they find that test and nontest value-added have similar effects on the average quality of colleges that students attend. However, test-based teacher quality measures have more explanatory power for outcomes relevant for students at the top of the achievement distribution such as attending a more selective college, while nontest measures have more explanatory power for whether students graduate from high school and enroll in college at all.

College Completion Network: Research Project Findings

This document presents high-level summaries of the approaches and findings of each network project as well as links to additional resources related to the projects. These projects examined interventions for which there was strong interest at open- and broad-access institutions. College leaders, practitioners, and policymakers can use the findings to guide decision making related to the use and refinement of these interventions. 

Confucius Institutes at U.S. Institutions of Higher Education: Waiver Criteria for the Department of Defense

More than 100 U.S. institutions of higher education hosted Confucius Institutes (CIs), Chinese government-funded language and culture centers, on campus during the late 2000s and 2010s. While CIs provided a source of funding and other resources that enabled U.S. colleges and universities to build capacity, offer supplemental programming, and engage with the local community, CIs presented an added, legitimate source of risk to host institutions with respect to academic freedom, freedom of expression, and national security. At the request of DOD, Confucius Institutes at U.S. Institutions of Higher Education presents a set of findings and recommendations for waiver criteria to potentially permit the continued presence of CIs on U.S. university campuses that also receive DOD funding.

Tool 4: Beyond Title IX – Pursuing Full Participation through Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA)

As many work to make the Science Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) career pipeline more inclusive, the proportion of students and faculty in STEM who experience gender-based discrimination remains high. This recent book chapter from AIR’s Jennifer Poole is intended to help leaders and stakeholders evolve approaches to addressing gender-based discrimination in ways that also support full participation for campus community members. The tool provided in the book chapter is informed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's (IHI's) recommended process of Plan Do Study Ask (PDSA) – for continuous improvement.

Addressing Barriers to Women’s Entry and Retention in High-Wage, High-Demand Occupations

This infographic presents promising strategies for addressing barriers to both entry and retention for women in pursuing such occupations. It suggests policymakers and practitioners’ strategies to address inequities in access to higher education and improve mobility among underserved women.

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AIR, in collaboration with Quality Education for Minorities and the Kapor Center, is examining learning environments that enable undergraduate students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to thrive and subsequently attain doctoral degrees in science and engineering (S&E). The goals of the study are to (a) identify unique characteristics of S&E learning environments at the 21 HBCUs ranked as top producers of Black baccalaureate degree recipients who earn S&E doctorates (“anchor institutions”), (b) identify HBCUs that have similar characteristics as the anchor institutions and have a high potential to graduate students who go on to earn doctoral degrees, and (c) develop and disseminate a model that builds HBCU capacity to produce graduates who go on to earn S&E doctorates. Click here to access the project website.

lecture classroom

Using Corequisite Remediation to Help Students Progress to College-Level Courses

One common approach to helping students who have been assessed as needing developmental education is corequisite remediation, where students enroll directly in college-level courses while receiving concurrent and aligned developmental educational support. There are numerous corequisite education models (for example, paired courses or tutoring), each designed to support students in passing college-level courses while avoiding the delays associated with prerequisite developmental courses. This brief from MDRC describes lessons from the emerging research examining the effects of corequisite education.

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HBCU Adult Learner Initiative

American Institutes for Research is supporting the Technical Assistance team at the Center for Innovation in Postsecondary Education at the University of South Alabama in building the capacity of five HBCUs in North Carolina to serve black adult learners. AIR is helping the TA team build content via webinars about data use and data driven decision making and facilitating conversations about strategic goals and needs of campus staff and faculty to understand capacity needs. The goals of the project is to change policy and practices that support removing barriers for black adult learners to complete a postsecondary credential. 

money and graduation cap

Modeling Costs to Inform Performance-Based Financing of Texas Community Colleges

The project seeks to determine the differential cost of providing an equal educational opportunity to community college students from different backgrounds to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in order to support legislative policy debate surrounding reform of the public community college funding system in Texas. To determine the cost, the team at AIR is conducting a cost function analysis to estimate the cost of generating outcomes of community college students in Texas. 

College student holding a backpack and books

The Edge: Two Shifts That Could Bolster Enrollment

This commentary from the Chronicle of Higher Education features remarks from AIR senior researcher Kelle Parsons on enrollment resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic among competency-based education programs.

Students sitting in a lecture classroom

Four Ways to Scale Evidence-Based Strategies to Improve Postsecondary Education

During a meeting with senior U.S. Department of Education leaders, AIR's Irma Perez-Johnson and Alexandria Radford offered four ways to scale and use evidence-based strategies to improve postsecondary education outcomes for today’s students.