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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.


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.



New York Times Op-ed columnist David Leonhardt reports on a new study by the non-profit Equality of Opportunity Project which used, "…data on 30 million college students to construct mobility report cards — publicly available statistics on students' earnings and their parents' incomes — for each college in America". Their analysis sheds light on how colleges shape children's prospects of upward mobility and how we can help more children climb the income ladder through higher education. Leonhardt looks at colleges who educate students from modest backgrounds and finds that most are producing much better student outcomes than many of the more elite colleges.

"Education is a ladder. Rung by rung, it helps people reach places that would otherwise be an impossible climb,” said outgoing U.S. Secretary of Education in his final commentary. He added, "It is not enough for those already prosperous to prosper. All Americans must have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in our nation's growth, if it is to succeed. That has always been so but is even truer today, at a time when the fastest-growing occupations require education beyond high school. And that is why now is the time for champions of public education to set aside the policy differences that have divided us over the past two decades and move forward, together, to defend and extend this fundamental American institution. We don't have to agree on every strategy or tactic. We won't. But we can stop wasting energy on false dichotomies and disparaging rhetoric. We can stop questioning our natural allies' intentions and fight side by side for the belief that every student in America has the right to a great public education."

According to the Economic Policy Institute, “Americans with no more than a high school diploma have fallen so far behind college graduates in their economic lives that the earnings gap between college grads and everyone else has reached its widest point on record. College graduates, on average, earned 56 percent more than high school grads in 2015.” That was up from 51 percent in 1999 and is the largest such gap in EPI's figures dating to 1973.

As state spending for public universities goes down, international student enrollment goes up. A newly published working paper seeks to quantify this relationship, estimating that for the period between 1996 and 2012, a 10% reduction in state appropriations was associated with a 12% increase in international undergraduate enrollment at public research universities -- and a 17% increase at the most research-intensive public universities, the flagships and other institutions that are members of the exclusive Association of American Universities. The paper, available via the National Bureau of Economic Research and authored by John Bound, Breno Braga, Gaurav Khanna and Sarah Turner, concludes that expanding foreign undergraduate enrollment "is an important channel through which public research universities buffer changes in state appropriations. While additional revenue from in-state tuition increases appears to recoup a large fraction of the fall in appropriations, research universities would have had to navigate reductions in resources per student or yet larger increases in in-state tuition in the absence of the large pool of foreign students."

BusinessBecause spoke to MBAs students and graduates from some of the world's top business schools who told us five ways business education will change in 2017:

MBA programs will keep getting shorter: "More and more people want the full MBA experience in a shorter time period," says a current student on the University of Edinburgh Business School's one-year MBA. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), application numbers for traditional two-year MBA programs in the US have stagnated since 2012. In 2016, application numbers fell in over half of US business schools. At the same time, shorter programs in Europe – like the intensive 10-month MBA offered by France's EDHEC Business School - are gaining in popularity and ranking. Even in the US, shorter business master's programs are on the rise, with Johnson at Cornell set to launch a 12-month Master in Management program later this year.

Technology will change what's taught and how it's taught: GMAC figures show that the demand for online MBA programs continues to eclipse that for classroom-based part-time and executive courses. And as technology becomes more and more advanced, the credibility of online MBAs continues to grow. In 2016, Birmingham Business School's online MBA became the first fully-online MBA to receive accreditation from AMBA, the Association of MBAs. "Online MBAs help schools reach out to a greater audience. And students who might struggle to study abroad will be able to gain the same knowledge by staying at home," says one MBA graduate. "Ultimately, technology will keep growing and everyone is going to gain from that."

More learning will take place outside of the classroom: "The biggest thing is utilizing the space outside the classroom so that you're doing your learning through live consulting projects and working with real clients," a Temple MBA student says. "Then, the classroom space is more for discussion, reviewing concepts and working in groups, as oppose to the traditional lecture style format. I had very few classes at Fox that were in the lecture style format and I think that will continue."

MBA students will be able to customize their degrees: An Edinburgh MBA student thinks more and more MBA programs will allow students to tailor-make their MBA journeys to match their own specific career ambitions. "What I see in our cohort is people coming in knowing exactly what they want to get out of the MBA, and giving feedback to the school based on that," she says. "I see a lot of the fluff added to the MBA program going away, and a lot of programs becoming more focused and market-driven." Even so, she is not sure that the trend towards fully-customizable programs is entirely a positive thing: "How do you make sure that you offer a customizable program without leaving out key trends or things that help make a rounded individual?" she asks.

Business schools will keep building internationally: International experience has long been a key component of MBA programs. But now, more and more business schools are building international campuses to extend their global footprint. Hult MBA students can rotate across international campuses in Boston, San Francisco, New York, London, Dubai and Shanghai (pictured above). Chicago Booth has branches in London and Hong Kong. HEC Paris offers an EMBA program in Qatar. SKEMA Business School's EMBA students experience international campuses in Oslo, Shanghai, Dallas and Belo Horizonte in Brazil. One HKU student says: "There's a push from the Ivy League and the top schools in Europe to open up branches within Asia. That's definitely a trend I see increasing."

The UK must not close its doors on international talent, a group of top business and academic leaders from across the country have urged in a letter published in the Financial Times. Signed by the president of Universities UK, Julia Goodfellow, and the director of the Confederation of British Industry, Carolyn Fairbairn, the letter calls upon the UK government to adopt policies that support international collaboration. It insists that this must include a reformed visa and immigration system that supports both higher education and industry to recruit internationally. The government has made clear in recent announcements that it "recognizes the fundamental value of science, research and innovation for the UK's economic growth, productivity and global standing", it notes. "However, if the UK is to compete on an international scale and become the go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors, it is imperative that the government also recognizes and supports the crucial role of international collaboration and access to highly skilled, overseas talent," it argues.

A new survey from University Business shows that an overwhelming number of college leaders have worked to strengthen student success capacity in the last year, and that it will remain among their top institutional priorities in 2017. The survey reveals student success among participants' top four priorities for the upcoming year, with specific emphasis on recruiting and retaining low-income students, boosting graduation rates, increasing financial literacy and providing career development services for graduates. These areas outpaced controlling institutional costs and philanthropic development among more than 60 presidents and provosts from colleges around the country.

Student success is, for the third year in a row, one of the top four priorities of college leadership teams. On the list of 12 potential priority areas, student success (at 88%) edged controlling costs (74%). The next most popular response, fundraising, was chosen by 41% of respondents. The next group of priorities—raising non-tuition revenue, and expanding college access and online learning—all registered at around 25%, and all three can be filed under student success efforts. Campus success comprises a wide range of initiatives. Expanding college access, helping first-generation or low-income students, improving retention, and improving academic success or outcomes are the most popular aims of programs started in the past few years. The most popular initiatives being started or enhanced in 2017 cover career preparation, graduation rates and guided pathways.

Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business, two for-profit education providers with shared ownership, have announced that they are closing their campus in Minnesota. "It is our goal to make sure students have options to complete their degree with us or transfer credits to another accredited institution," said a statement on Globe's website. Globe said it would close its South Dakota and Wisconsin branches on December 31 and transfer them to Broadview University, a for-profit institution, "for teach-out purposes." The business school is to stay open through January. Students enrolled in the nursing program will be able to transfer to Concordia University of St. Paul, the announcement said. Globe and the Minnesota School of Business were denied access to federal student-aid funds this month by the U.S. Department of Education. The department said they had committed fraud with Title IV funding and "knowingly misrepresented" transfer eligibility for their criminal-justice programs.

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:

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