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Highlights from Higher Ed: Free College, Alternatives to College and Missed Enrollment Goals

Most Americans favor free college, but opinions vary by age, race and politics

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of U.S. adults surveyed in January said they favor making tuition at public colleges and universities free for all American students. Support for the idea is particularly high among women (68%), people under the age of 30 (75%), Hispanics (82%) and blacks (86%). Fewer than half of those who identified as Republicans (39%) or over the age of 65 (47%) said they were in favor of free college. Just over half of whites (53%) like the idea, as do 58% of men. It’s interesting to note that the more educated respondents were, the less likely they were to support free college. Those with only a high school diploma or less were the most enthusiastic supporters (68%), followed by those with some college (64%), college graduates (57%) and those with a post-graduate degree (56%).

Source: Pew Research Center

The Ad Council, White House, Apple and IBM to launch campaign touting alternatives to college

The federal government is planning to join forces with big business to launch an advertising campaign that will challenge “perceptions that a traditional college education is the only or primary vehicle for career success” and that “employers only value degreed talent.” An Ad Council spokesperson said the goal of the initiative is to showcase “how young and working adults can develop the skills in demand for today’s job market.” The campaign is said to part of the Trump administration’s effort to highlight workforce training programs. It is being funded by a coalition of educational institutions, industry organizations and private businesses, including Apple and IBM. According to one report, “The push comes as the private sector calls on colleges to provide more career-specific education and as confidence wanes in the value of a traditional college education.”

Source: Education Dive

Where are the middle-class students at elite private colleges?

Middle-class students make up a smaller share of the population at highly selective colleges and universities than students from the lowest and highest income brackets. Researchers who considered only the parental income of students who scored exactly 1400 on the SAT found that those in the lowest income quintile accounted for 7.3% of students at so-called “Ivy-Plus” institutions. Children of the richest parents made up 10.8% of the population. But “the students whose parents’ incomes are in the middle attended Ivy-plus colleges at rates much lower than the average, between 4.4 percent and 4.7 percent.” The list of Ivy-plus colleges includes those in the Ivy League as well as Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago. An SAT score of 1400 is the median score for students at those institutions.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Most colleges failed to achieve fall enrollment and revenue goals

A recent survey of nearly 300 public and private colleges and universities revealed that most (60%) institutions fell short of reaching their enrollment goals for the fall of 2019. In general, private schools missed their enrollment goals by a larger margin than public schools. An even greater number (67%) “did not meet their net-revenue goals, with public institutions hurting slightly more.” Just over half (52%) of private institutions missed both goals, as did almost the same number of public institutions (49%). Private colleges and universities were most likely to have raised the level of financial aid they provide — 46% did so, versus 30% of their public counterparts.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education