August Articles of Interest for Higher Education Professionals

The Association for Institutional Research shared the following publications of interest for higher education professionals. Click on each of the titles to access full articles. The synopsis of each article is credited to the Electronic AIR Newsletter (August edition).

How America Pays for College 2012 (Melodie Christal)

Sallie Mae’s How America Pays for College 2012 describes the decisions families make in paying for a college education, focusing on undergraduate students ages 18 to 24. The study provides the average amounts and proportion of total costs paid from each funding source a “typical” family uses to pay for college. In 2011-12, average family spending declined for the second year in a row, dropping by 5 percent to $20,902. In addition, families shifted how they pay for college. Drawing from savings, income and loans, students paid 30% of the total bill, up from 24% four years ago, while parents covered 37% of the bill, down from 45% four years ago. The report also addresses the use of credit cards by families and students to cover college costs as well as the effect of the Card Act of 2009, which restricted the marketing and distribution of credit cards to students.

Is College Affordable? In Search of a Meaningful Definition (Mary Sapp)

The Institute for Higher Education Policy Issue Brief, Is College Affordable? In Search of a Meaningful Definition, argues that perceptions about college affordability are more negative than reality as it is difficult for people to think about college as an investment. The brief recommends shifting college affordability discussions from sticker price to net price and treating college as an investment with a high rate of return that should not simply be funded from residual family income. The affordability debate is further complicated as investments in a college education do not pay off equally for all students and are typically not viewed as an investment to be paid over time from increased lifetime income. The report proposes better information about complex pricing, financial aid, and the benefits of postsecondary education as well as efforts to provide more grant aid, targeted tax subsides, and better protection for students who cannot repay loans.

New Americans in Postsecondary Education (Melodie Christal)

The NCES Statistics in Brief, New Americans in Postsecondary Education: A Profile of Immigrant and Second-Generation American Undergraduates, presents data from the 2007-08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:08) on undergraduates who immigrated to the United States or who had at least one immigrant parent, i.e., a second-generation American. The report compares background characteristics, educational pursuits, and attainment for these two immigrant groups with all undergraduates (excluding foreign students). The report also compares immigrants of Asian and Hispanic descent—the most prevalent immigrant and second-generation American undergraduates.

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