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John O. Harney, Executive Editor, Connection
New England Board of Higher Education’s Connection Magazine Details Trends & Indicators in Higher Education
BOSTON-Just how high are New England college and university prices? What do New England’s college admissions officers look for in college-bound students? How much progress has been made in minority enrollment? What impact do college degree trends have on the region’s economy? How does going to college influence future earnings? At which institutions are freshmen most likely to return for sophomore year?
The Spring 2002 issue of Connection magazine features 90 charts and tables as well as expert commentary on “Trends and Indicators in New England Higher Education.”
Connection is the quarterly journal of the nonprofit New England Board of Higher Education (nebhe)-and America’s only regional journal on higher education and the economy.
Connection explores the complex condition of the region’s higher education enterprise in some broad areas: demography, admissions, enrollment, degrees granted, educational attainment and income, student migration, retention and graduation, financing and university research and development.
Among other things, the data reveal:
- New England’s tuitions and mandatory fees are America’s highest-$4,892 on average for state residents at public four-year campuses, compared with $3,754 nationally. Meanwhile. states across the nation increased their grant aid during the 1990s by 100 percent. But New England increased state aid funds by just 17 percent.
- Though New England’s total number of new high school graduates will grow more slowly than in most parts of the country between 1994 and 2012, the region will lead the United States in growth of African-American high school graduates with an increase of 39 percent.
- New England’s total number of Hispanic high school graduates will increase by 114 percent between 1994 and 2012, while the region’s total number of Asian-American high school graduates grows by 84 percent.
- Fifteen of New England’s 270 institutions account for fully one-third of African-American enrollment. Just 15 also account for one-third of Hispanic enrollment.
- Every New England state ranks below the U.S. average in percentage of freshmen who enter public institutions. Every New England state ranks above the U.S. average in percentage of freshmen who enter four-year institutions.
- New England’s higher education leadership continues to erode by some measures: the region’s share of total U.S. enrollment declined from 6.2 percent in the late 1980s to just over 5 percent today. New England’s share of all university research & development spending drooped from over 10 percent in the early 1980s to less than 8 percent today.
Connection also explores New England higher education’s links to the Middle East and Islamic world, as well as campus security issues in light of the new terrorism concerns. Following is a summary of articles in the new issue of Connection:
New England’s Higher Education Reputation in Jeopardy — There are 624 for-profit, degree-granting colleges in the United States and 2,000 corporate universities. Nearly 300 institutions are granting information technology certificates to students all over the world. And at least 70 percent of traditional institutions offer online courses. Frank Newman, president of the Futures Project: Policy for Higher Education in a Changing World at Brown University, and research associate Jamie E. Scurry explain what the emergence of for-profit colleges, virtual institutions and corporate universities will mean for New England.
What Really Makes a Student Qualified for College? — Donald Brown, the director of the Office of AHANA Student Programs at Boston College, explains how BC combines nontraditional admissions criteria such as positive self-concept with academic counseling to help African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American students succeed.
Diversity Among Equals: Battling Our Past with Affirmative Admissions — Diane L. Saunders, vice president of communications and public affairs at the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, looks at affirmative action in college admissions, and asks: “Why do we so see reverse discrimination when someone of color is selected by an institution to add to the diversity of talent and background on a campus when other factors that influence student selection do not raise an eyebrow? Where is the outrage at filling slots with legacy students? They certainly had an unfair advantage in getting into the college based on their parents’ alumni status.”
Enrollment Winners, Losers, Turnarounds and New Players — Spiraling costs, rampant tuition discounting, merciless competition and complex, shifting demographic and career trends have combined to make New England an unforgiving, market-driven environment for higher education. Massachusetts higher education consultants James Martin and James Samels take stock of the region’s enrollment winners, losers turnarounds and new players.
New England’s Graduate Education Advantage — University of New Hampshire economist Ross Gittell explains how economic growth hinges more on graduate degrees than four-year degrees, and offers prescriptions for New England to thrive in an increasingly knowledge-based economy.
Driving Mobility: The Three Labors Facing Two-Year Colleges — University of Massachusetts Public Service Professor Ralph Whitehead Jr. and Robert J. Lacey of the Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research at UMass Amherst assess the economic advantages of two-year degrees and see three tasks for community colleges: 1) Enable high school graduates at the bottom of the economic ladder to get to college; 2) help modernize the job training system, and 3) address the new economic role of women.
How Washington Can Serve the Student Borrower — Between 1990 and 2000, federal and state student loans grew by 186 percent, according to the College Board. And the more debt, the more handcuffed the student is in terms of post-graduation career and economic choices. American Student Assistance CEO Paul Combe calls on Congress to create incentives for student loan guarantors to shift their focus from reacting when a borrower defaults to proactively helping borrowers manage their debt.
Middle East Experts: New England Higher Education’s Links to the Middle East and Islamic World — Since September 11, U.S. colleges have been criticized for under-emphasizing the Middle East and Islamic world-producing too few Arabic translators, underplaying Arab-American and Middle Eastern studies and generally neglecting Islamic culture and politics. But New England campuses boast extraordinary connections to the Middle East and Islamic World. Contributor Abigail E. Lootens explains.
Terror: Is the Campus Changed Forever? — Freelance writer Alan R. Earls talks with New England higher education officials about the findings of a Connection survey on how campuses are responding to new risks, new regulations and new fears that will change the way institutions operate in the aftermath of September 11.
Book Reviews Former Connecticut Higher Education Commissioner Andrew G. De Rocco reviews In Defense of American Higher Education, a collection of essays analyzing higher education’s history, present condition and future prospects. Jane Sjogren of Johnson & Wales University’s Educational Leadership program reviews The States and Public Higher Education Policy, a series of nine essays focused on affordability, access and accountability in higher education.