OVAE Connection Issue 168, September 19, 2013 (Corrected)

OVAE Connection

                                           OVAE Connection Issue 168, September 19, 2013

Is Starting College and Not Finishing Really That Bad?

At a time when the benefits of going to college are being questioned more than at any other in recent years The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution recently published Is Starting College and Not Finishing Really That Bad? by Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney. This study examines employment and lifetime earnings outcomes for students who begin college but do not finish within the larger context of students with varying levels of education attainment—from less than high school to professional degrees.

There has been much discussion lately about students who begin college but do not finish—especially in relation to concerns about student debt and college costs. In general, Greenstone and Looney note, workers with more education are employed at higher rates and have higher earnings than workers with less education. They point to previous research that shows that the returns to two- and four-year college degrees are substantial.

But, despite the public concern about students who begin college do not attain their degrees, this study suggests that these students may still reap benefits. Using recent employment data, the authors establish that more education does correspond to better employment outcomes, even for those who report some college but no degree. The authors also focus on whether starting college but not completing a degree is financially beneficial for these students. They find that the lifetime earnings of such students are approximately $100,000 higher (present value) than those of their peers who pursue no education beyond high school. Using rate of return on investment as the measurement criterion, the authors’ analysis shows that “getting some college education is an investment with a return that exceeds the historical return on practically any conventional investment, including stocks, bonds, and real estate.” The authors, however, observe that the returns for students who achieve either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree are the highest. Specifically, “the annual rates of return of investing in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree are two or three times higher than those from alternative investments, including stocks, bonds, gold, treasury bills, and the housing market.” Thus, it is clear that in the current situation more education is advantageous with regard to both being employed and to whether or not students attain their degrees.

This contextualized study is noteworthy primarily for the emphasis it places on the benefits of attending college but not completing a degree.

Young and Old Work Together to Improve Detroit

From clearing and securing abandoned properties to listening to individual student’s dreams and letting student energy, grit, and drive determine the scope of programs and then to mentoring high school students as they transition to new schools, new possibilities, and new opportunities, the GM Student Corps team internship program is making the difficult not just possible, but normal in Detroit. Where, you say? Detroit, Michigan, where, as reported in Education Week, General Motors (GM) the University of Detroit Mercy, and 11 high schools understand and take their places in what must ultimately be a community-wide effort to transform the way things work, the way people are treated, and a city’s identity.

Not surprisingly, this effort at a mammoth rebound comes from an organization so fresh from its own rebound that it is still being completed. Through community service, GM retirees and employees are working with young people as summer interns to help them clean up Detroit, learn life skills, and make some money. The university students—barely older than the high school students—serve as role models and mentors, alongside the GM retirees. As role models they talk straight to the students to help them both gain more control over their lives and begin a transition to college. In addition to community-service projects and mentoring, the GM team offers the high school students seminars on life skills topics such as financial management and decision-making as well as tours of colleges and businesses to broaden their experience bases and perspectives on what is possible for themselves. The mentors focus on inspiring confidence and supporting the high school students, many of whom are highly motivated to be the first in their families to attend and to graduate from college if they can get scholarships

The GM retirees use the skills they learned while working to teach students about how to present themselves, influences to avoid, living on a budget, and making friends and contacts who can help them along the way.

Weigh in on the ConnectED Initiative and Plans to Update the E-Rate Program

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will convene a meeting of stakeholders from the education, technology, and government sectors to share ideas, discuss policies, and consider promising strategies for achieving the president's goal of connecting virtually all K-12 students in the U.S. to next-generation broadband, the ConnectED initiative. The meeting will be held on Oct. 7, 2013, from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., EDT in the Gallery (located on the lobby level) of the American Institute of Architects headquarters, at 1735 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006. In addition to the ConnectED initiative, the recently launched proceeding to overhaul and update the federal E-Rate program, which funds Internet access in schools and libraries, under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be discussed. To sign up for the meeting, go to http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2013/connected-workshop-sign-up.

The meeting will also be webcast. A webcast page will be published on NTIA's website (www.ntia.doc.gov) several days in advance of the meeting containing webcast instructions and other information. If you have technical questions regarding the webcast, please contact Charles Franz at cfranz@ntia.doc.gov.

For further information, contact Joelle Tessler, Manager of Stakeholder Relations and Outreach, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 4897, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4829; email: jtessler@ntia.doc.gov.

Phase II of Career Pathways Systems Competition Announced

The U.S. Department of Education announces Phase II of the Advancing Career and Technical Education (CTE) in State and Local Career Pathways Systems project. This link describes an opportunity funded jointly by the departments of education and transportation, designed to help states integrate CTE Programs of Study (POS) into their broader Career Pathways system development efforts—focusing on transportation-related careers including highway design and construction. Under Phase II, three states will be selected to participate. (Under Phase I, five states were selected last year [Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Oregon]). The Application for State Participation is available at the above link, along with other pertinent information. Applications are due from states by 3 p.m., EST on Nov. 5, 2013.