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Highlights from Higher Ed: State Spending and Starting Salaries on the Rise

States to increase higher ed spending by 5% in 2020

Overall funding of higher education by state governments will rise by 5% this year, which amounts to the biggest increase in five years. However, almost half of that increase is attributable to spending by just five states: California, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey and Tennessee. Three states — Alaska, Hawaii, and New York — will spend less than they did last year. In 2018, 18 states cut spending; nine did so in 2015. Four states boosted funding by more than 10% in 2020: Utah (10.1%), South Carolina (10.8%), New Jersey (11.1%) and Colorado (11.4%). Total spending by states has risen by 18.8% since 2015.

Source: Education Dive

Minority and first-generation students report a greater sense of belonging at two-year schools

Generally speaking, first-year college students “somewhat agree” that they feel like they belong at the schools they attend. Among all students at all types of schools, those at two-year colleges report a lower sense of belonging. However, minority students and those who are the first in their families to attend college feel a stronger sense of belonging at two-year colleges than those who go to four-year institutions. Feeling a sense of belonging may be associated with beneficial outcomes, including “higher rates of personal and academic successes later in their college experiences.” In addition, “students at four-year institutions who felt a higher sense of belonging were more likely to utilize campus services such as student advising and financial aid services than those at two-year colleges.”

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Starting salaries for college graduates rose modestly in 2019

The average starting salary for college graduates in 2019 rose 2%, to $51,347 annually. In 2018, it was $50,390. However, starting salaries for those who attended “top 100” undergraduate business schools were significantly higher; their median salary exceeded $58,000. That amount does not include signing bonuses. The school with the highest compensation for recent graduates was Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business ($89,930), followed by Washington University’s Olin School of Business ($86,090), NYU’s Stern School of Business ($85,930) and the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce ($85,591). In addition, more than 96% of graduates from those programs received a job offer within three months of earning their diploma.

Source: Forbes

Graduates schools need to align their priorities with those of students and employers

Graduate education is at a crossroads, and programs that fail to adapt accordingly are at risk of becoming less relevant in the eyes of employers. For example, health care, community services and STEM now represent America’s fastest-growing occupational clusters. As a result, “if today’s graduate schools fail to respond to these pivotal workforce trends, they risk falling behind their peers or even becoming extinct.” Furthermore, the recent decline in international student applications and enrollment “could have severe consequences not just for graduate schools, but for our employers, skilled workforce and economy as a whole.” With that in mind, “members of the graduate education management community increasingly recognize that they must act on the need to align graduate schools with the priorities of the students and workforce they serve.”