News: Data, Research & Evaluation

Report Roundup: College Graduates, Black Student Debt, Hispanic-Serving Institutions All Increasing

Monday, April 27, 2020  
Posted by: Bill DeBaun, Director of Data and Evaluation
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It’s easy for education policy research to feel like a Baskin-Robbins: overwhelming and offering every flavor imaginable. If your email inbox is anything like mine, you’ve got a bunch of white papers in there that you’ve flagged as interesting but haven’t had time to get to. In this report roundup, I look at three that caught my eye.

College Graduates Up 7% Between 2012-13 and 2018-19

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has a new report out this month looking at the number of college graduates from a six-year academic window. In 2012-13 there were 3.4 million college graduates at the undergraduate level. By 2018-19, that number grew to 3.7 million.

The increase was largely driven by “traditional college-age graduates ages 24 or younger as well as non-first-time graduates with prior awards.” Note that this latter group shows some hopeful signs for students receiving certificates and/or associate degrees and then pursuing another degree. In 2018-19, students with a prior degree or certificate receiving another degree comprised 26% of all graduates.

For more on the associate to bachelor’s pipeline, check out the NSCRC’s “Tracking Transfer” series.

New Series Explains Black Student Debt, Offers Solutions

The Education Trust and The Hechinger Report teamed up last week to release a series of seven articles on black student debt. Ed Trust asserts, “Student debt is not just a crisis for Black borrowers but the whole country. Racist public policy created it, and we will need bold structural solutions to fix it.”

Some of the solutions proposed for addressing black student debt include stronger state-federal partnerships, more and better career counseling, investment in historically Black colleges and universites, reparations, and a focus on organized labor and tackling the racial wealth gap. In “The ‘Black Tax’ Is Key to Understanding and Solving the Black Student Debt Crisis in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond,” Victoria Jackson and Tiffany Jones weave in current events and note, “As Congress considers what to do next to address this deepening public health and economic disaster, it must account for the disproportionate cost of being Black in America. That will mean tackling the Black student debt crisis that was spiraling out of control well before the new coronavirus showed up.”

The articles are worth your time, and the groups have a handy digital toolkit for organizations that want to spread the word.

Excelencia: Hispanic Students, Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) Both Increasing

HSIs are “accredited or degree-granting public or private-not-for-profit institutions of higher education with 25% or more undergraduate Hispanic full-time-equivalent (FTE) enrollment.” In their recent report, which examines the 2018-19 academic year, Excelencia in Education identified 539 HSIs and 352 emerging HSIs (with Hispanic populations between 15-24.9% of FTEs) enrolling 1.44 million Latino undergraduates nationwide. That 539 figure has increased 93% over the past decade.

Excelencia also issues the “Seal of Excelencia” to identify “institutions that strive to go beyond enrollment to better serve Latino students.” The Seal is awarded according to a framework with data, practice, and leadership components.

Visit the Excelencia website to find the most recent list of HSIs.

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