Weekly Research Digest, 11-7-13

A snapshot of recently released research, reports, surveys, and other findings within the postsecondary education field.

The State of Communities of Color in the U.S. Economy
Center for American Progress, October 2013
A report that analyzed data relating to the recovery of the great recession from December 2007 to June 2009 as it pertains to race and unemployment, home ownership, savings, and education.
Key findings:  

  • African Americans and Latinos have persistently higher unemployment rates than whites.
  • The median weekly earnings are lower for African Americans and Latinos, $272 for African Americans and $245 for Latinos.
  • Household incomes have fallen for African Americans 7.1 percent from 2007 to 2009 and another 4.7 percent from 2010 to 2012.
  • Communities of color are found to be at greater risk to lose their homes to foreclosure.
  • Poverty rates rose faster for both African Americans and Latinos, who have a poverty rate of 23.7 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively.

Barriers to Needs-Based Financial Aid: Predictors of Timely FAFSA completion Among Low-Income Students
Journal of Student Financial Aid, September 2013
This study examined the likelihood of low-income students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in a timely fashion and the factors that affect them most.
Students who were more likely to complete the FAFSA in a timely manner:

  • Students with slightly higher Expected Family Contribution
  • Students with at least one parent who attended college
  • Student with higher academic performance in high school
Barriers for students to meet the FAFSA deadline:
  • confusing forms with too many questions
  • inability to answer some of the questions
  • assumption that parents will contribute to the cost of education
  • general lack of knowledge by students and their parents about available financial support
  • confusing deadlines for support eligibility
In The News
University of Illinois at Chicago - "Neediest students most likely to miss deadlines"

The Center for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education issued the following four reports on MSIs and the students they serve:
1.    Minority Serving Institutions: Educating All Students

An overview of Minority Serving Institutions in regards to their retention and graduation rates.
2.    Using Educational Data to Increase Learning, Retention, and Degree Attainment at Minority Serving Institutions

Using data from the Models of Success study, the following lessons were found:  

  • Use commonly accepted measures of students’ progress to identify opportunities to improve student success.
  • Empower staff and faculty to gather data about students’ challenges and successes in order to improve educational opportunities.
  • Use the data to explain MSI students’ paths to success to students and other stakeholders.
3.    What Happens When You Give 12 Minority Serving Institutions $50,000 Each to Support Innovation in Learning, Retention, and Degree Attainment?

This report features brief descriptions of the programs and practices that each of the 12 Models of Success institutions implemented. Programs and practices included creating a learning community, an early alert intervention system, a summer bridge program, a program that paired successful students with new students through tutoring, mentoring, and guidance, and an experiential learning center.
4.    Telling a Better Story: Narrating Student Successes at Minority Serving Institutions

This report discusses the value of “telling a better story” about students in addition to providing data and outcomes. It encourages MSIs to use traditional as well as nontraditional media and social networks to gather information that tell those student stories. It also points out that student success stories have different effects on different audience, which include alumni, funders, and the community, and therefore MSIs should be adept at telling stories to these multiple audiences.


APSCU Statement on Education and Opportunity in the State of the Union Address Following the conclusion of President Obama's State of the U…

APSCU Releases Best Practices in Financial Literacy For All of Higher Education Recognizing the financial challenges in balancing life’s dem…

Weekly Research Digest - 8.22.13 A snapshot of recently released research, reports, surveys, …



PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.