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The Value of Higher Education website, created by Educational Testing Service (ETS), is devoted to highlighting issues and trends in higher education. We provide news, insight, resources and a positive platform for discussion about America's ever-changing higher education system.

Spotlight

OECD, Sept. 2016 — Education At A Glance Report Released

The OECD’s annual Education at a Glance report is a handy reference for a wide range of education metrics across the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s 35 member-states. This year’s edition provides an interesting overview of international student mobility in advanced higher education, looking at the master’s and doctoral levels. It finds that roughly one in four internationally mobile students enrolled in OECD countries is studying at the master’s or doctoral levels, and that those students are highly concentrated in European and North American destinations.

The 2016 edition introduces a new indicator on the completion rate of tertiary students and another one on school leaders. It provides more trend data and analysis on diverse topics, such as: teachers’ salaries; graduation rates; expenditure on education; enrolment rates; young adults who are neither employed nor in education or training; class size; and teaching hours. The publication examines gender imbalance in education and the profile of students who attend, and graduate from, vocational education.

 

News

USED released a report, "Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education" and held a summit in DC on the issue which highlights the Administration’s efforts to expand college opportunity for all. It presents key data that show the continuing educational inequities and opportunity gaps for students of color and low-income students and highlights promising practices that many colleges are taking to advance success for students of all backgrounds. Specific recommendations include colleges allocating resources to provide academic, social and emotion support for minority and first-generation students, make building a diverse faculty and staff a priority, and training students, faculty, staff and leadership on 'how to' support diverse student populations and address the implicit biases we all carry with us.

The number of postsecondary institutions in the United States declined by 1.8% from 2014-15 to 2015-16, with all of the decline occurring in the for-profit sector of higher education, new federal data show. The data, contained in an annual report from the USED’s National Center for Education Statistics, show that the number of U.S. institutions that award federal financial aid declined from 7,151 to 7,021. The number of public institutions actually increased by one from 2014-15 to 2015-16, while the number of private nonprofit colleges grew from 1,827 to 1,859. The number of for-profit institutions fell from 3,360 to 3,197. The same report shows that the number of degrees and other credentials conferred by American postsecondary institutions grew by 1.2% from 2013-14 to 2014-15, from 4.525 million to 4.581 million. Public institutions accounted for a disproportionate share of the increase — roughly 3% — while there was a more modest rise at private nonprofit institutions (2.6%) and a sizable drop at for-profit colleges.

More than one million international students studied in the United States in 2015/16, a 7% increase on last year’s enrolments, according to the latest Open Doors report published by the Institute of International Education. China continues to provide the bulk of international students on US campuses, growing 8% last year to reach 328,000 students. India’s growth rate however outpaced China's, jumping almost 25% to 165,000 students mostly studying STEM subjects. Saudi Arabia has passed South Korea to be the third strongest source country despite growing by only 2% to 61,287 students. International students now account for 5% of the total student population at US institutions. More than a third of these students studied engineering, math or computer science, and 14% participated in Optional Practical Training, including many in STEM fields. "The growth in international STEM students is likely connected to the 25% increase in students from India, more than three quarters of who study in these fields," said IIE in a statement. International students contributed more than $35bn to the US economy in 2015, according to the US Department of Commerce — a large increase over the previous year’s total of $31bn.

The number of new study permits issued to international students in Canada increased by 5.4% in 2015, according to the latest figures published by the Canadian government, which also show that international students spend more than $11.4bn in Canada annually. However, growth in the number of study permits issued has slowed slightly over the last two years, the figures show. The Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration showed that 125,783 new study permits were issued to international students last year. Presented by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the report also found there was a 6.4% increase in the number of student applications received in 2015 – to 187,968 – compared with the year before.

A large group of congressional Democrats last week joined a chorus of higher education associations and consumer advocates who have been pressuring appropriators to preserve funding for the Pell Grant program and restore year-round use of the federal grants. The Pell Grant is one of the rare higher education programs that receives wide bipartisan support, from Democrats like Virginia Representative Bobby Scott to Republicans like Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx. Yet restoring year-round Pell Grant funding -- which would allow students to use the grant funds in the summer -- is not a sure thing in the lame-duck session, despite support from members of both parties. That’s because members of the appropriating committees in both the House and Senate are juggling multiple priorities in a government funding bill for fiscal year 2017. They have limited time and flexibility before a Dec. 9 deadline to reconcile the differences between appropriations bills passed out of both chambers. Meeting the demands of various interest groups also will be difficult for Congress.

Slowing growth, a booming middle class, shifting destination market share, and new regional study destinations are helping to set a new competitive dynamic in international education:

The cost of college continues its steady rise, but students are borrowing less money, according to the College Board's annual Trends in Higher Education report. Average published in-state tuition at public four-year universities rose by $230, about 2.4%, to $9,650 in 2016. That was a slightly smaller increase than in years past, but it continued a years-long trend of colleges and universities raising tuition to make up for cuts in state funding, according to the College Board. The report also finds students are borrowing less. Students and parents borrowed a total of $106.8 billion, down from a peak of $124.2 billion in 2011.

The College Promise Campaign released its first report examining more than 150 Promise programs across 37 states that are offering some form of free community college. The online database, which was assembled by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, seeks to track the characteristics of Promise programs including funding, student and institution demographics, educational interventions, and student eligibility requirements. Officials from the campaign hope the database can be used by communities and states that are designing or expanding their own types of Promise programs.

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced plans to reduce the number of people coming into the UK to work and study. Hinting at a potential two-tier system for education institutions that enroll international students, Rudd said the government will target students at 'low quality' education institutions in particular.

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