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Reports and Publications
Access & Affordability

  Policy Alert: Open-Access Colleges Responsible for Greatest Gains in Graduation Rates (February 2010). This Policy Alert, which summarizes research at Vanderbilt University, finds that the largest gains in graduation rates over the past decade have been accomplished at open-access or nearly open-access colleges and universities. In addition, states could see even bigger increases if they directed their policies and supports toward improving graduation rates at these nonselective institutions.

  The Challenge to States: Preserving College Access and Affordability in a Time of Crisis
(March 10, 2009)

  California Community Colleges: Making Them Stronger and More Affordable by William Zumeta and Deborah Frankle (March 2007 #07-1). This report examines the effectiveness of statewide policies in assisting the California Community Colleges in meeting their mandate for affordability, and makes recommendations in light of today's public needs.

  Policy Alert: Income of U.S. Workforce Projected to Decline IF Education Doesn't Improve November 2005. Policy Alert is a publication series that summarizes important policy findings affecting the future of higher education. This issue concludes that if current trends continue, the proportion of the U.S. workers with high school diplomas and college degrees will decrease and the personal income of Americans will decline over the next 15 years.

  Borrowers Who Drop Out by Lawrence Gladieux and Laura Perna May 2005 (#05-2). This report examines the experiences of students who borrow to finance their education, but do not complete their postsecondary programs. Using the latest comprehensive data, this report compares borrowers who drop out with other groups of students, and provides recommendations on policies and programs that would better prepare, support, and guide students-especially low-income students-in completing their degrees.

  Case Study of Utah Higher Education by Kathy Reeves Bracco and Mario Martinez April 2005 (05-1). This report examines state policies and performance in the areas of enrollment and affordability. Compared with other states, Utah has been able to maintain a system of higher education that is more affordable for students, while enrollments have almost doubled over the past 20 years.

  Ensuring Access with Quality to California's Community Colleges by Gerald C. Hayward, Dennis P. Jones, Aims C. McGuinness, Jr., and Allene Timar, with a postscript by Nancy Shulock (May 2004, #04-3). This report finds that enrollment growth pressures, fee increases, and recent budget cuts in the California Community Colleges are having significant detrimental effects on student access and program quality. The report also provides recommendations for creating improvements that build from the state policy context and from existing promising practices within the community colleges.

  Policy Alert: The Educational Pipeline: Big Investment, Big Returns (April 2004). This issue looks at the benefits of increasing a state's "educational capital," and highlights four key transition points of the "educational pipeline" marking students' progress from high school to completion of a college degree. Also available (in Adobe Acrobat pdf format for easy downloading and printing) are individual state supplements with state specific information on the educational pipeline.
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  Responding to the Crisis in College Opportunity (January 2004, #04-1 and Supplement to Winter 2004, National CrossTalk). This policy statement, developed by education policy experts at Lansdowne, Virginia, proposes short-term emergency measures and long-term priorities for governors and legislators to consider for funding higher education during the current lean budget years. Responding to the Crisis suggests that in 2004 the highest priority for state higher education budgets should be to protect college access and affordability for students and families.

  College Affordability in Jeopardy (February 2003, Supplement to Winter 2003, National CrossTalk). This report is the first to look at what has happened state-by-state to public tuition and fees, state appropriations for higher education, state student financial aid, and personal income for fiscal years 2002 and 2003 (as of December, 2002).

  The Affordability of Higher Education: A Review of Recent Survey Research by John Immerwahr (May 2002, #02-4). This review of recent surveys by Public Agenda confirms that Americans feel that rising college prices threaten to make higher education inaccessible for many people.

  Losing Ground: A National Status Report on the Affordability of American Higher Education (May 2002, #02-3). This national status report documents the declining affordability of higher education for American families, and highlights public policies that support affordable higher education. Provides state-by-state summaries as well as national findings.

  Losing Ground Updated, May 2003


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