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Education Policy and Social Analysis
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Education Policy and Social Analysis

News from EPSA

Aaron Pallas Quoted in Huffington Post

Pallas Urges Caution on NCTQ Teacher-Absence Report Published: 6/12/2014 2:49:00 PM

Ryan Allen's podcast discussion with Kevin Dougherty and Vikash Reddy.

Ryan Allen, an M.A. student in the Politics & Education Program at Teachers College has recently become a new host for the New Books in Education, a part of the New Books Network, which is a non-profit that offers podcasts in every academic field. New Books in Education show provides interviews with authors about their new publications related to the education field. In this podcast, Ryan interviews Prof. Kevin Dougherty, an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Education Policy, and Vikash Reddy, a Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy. They discuss their book Performance Funding for Higher Education; What are the Mechanisms What are the Impacts. The book was published in July 2013 at Jossey-Bass. Published: 6/3/2014 11:35:00 AM

Parent Involvement Not Overrated in Children's Success, writes Professor Bergman

Professor Peter Bergman co-authored an opinion piece for CNN debunking reports that parent involvement adds little to student achievement. Published: 5/21/2014 2:54:00 PM

Study by Center Co-Directed by Professor Levin Finds MOOC Reality Not Yet Meeting High Expectations

Study by Center Co-Directed by Professor Levin Finds MOOC Reality Not Yet Meeting High Expectations Published: 5/15/2014 1:43:00 PM

Jill Bloomberg, Ph.D. student in Politics & Education program featured in the article on school integration in the New York Magazine.

Despite the New York City's problem of deeply segregated school system, the Park Slope Collegiate in Brooklyn is determined not to be put in the same box. Jill Bloomberg, the third year Ph.D. student in the Politics and Education Program at EPSA, has been the school's principal since summer 2004 and she has been determined to fight the race and class divide at her school from the beginning. The New York Magazine's article from April 23 tells the story of how she set up to achieve that with a group of teachers an parents. Published: 5/9/2014 11:14:00 AM

Report by Professors Amy Stuart Wells and Doug Ready and EPSA Students and Alumnae Documents "Separate But Unequal" Suburban Schools

Report focuses on Nassau County, Long Island as one of "hundreds of suburban counties across the country." Published: 5/7/2014 2:56:00 PM

Prof. Luis Huerta quoted in Huffington Post's article, April 30

Prof. Luis Huerta shares his opinion in Joy Resmovits' article Charter Schools Get Less Money Than Public Schools. Is That A Problem?, posted in Huffington Post on April 30. Published: 5/1/2014 11:23:00 AM

EPSA announces winners of 2014-2015 Education Policy Dissertation Research Fellowships

EPSA department congratulates all the winners. And the WINNERS ARE: Published: 4/24/2014 12:08:00 PM

Scott-Clayton Proposes Changes to Pell Grant System

Judith Scott-Clayton

Judith Scott-Clayton

At an October forum hosted by the Brookings Institute’s Hamilton Project, Assistant Professor Judith Scott-Clayton presented a proposal on changing the Pell Grant program to improve college outcomes. The proposal, described in detail in a paper released by the Brookings Institute, addresses the issue of low completion rates for Pell Grant recipients.

Professor Scott-Clayton and co-author Sandy Baum of the Institute for Higher Education Policy recommend three major Pell Grant reforms to strengthen student success and on-time completion. The Pell Grant was originally designed as a one-size-fits-all voucher intended to serve the needs of recent high school graduates from low-income families. Since the program’s inception in 1972, it has grown to serve a much larger and more diverse population—9.4 million students now receive $35 billion in Pell Grant funds—even as graduation rates for recipients remain stubbornly low. Only about 45 percent of Pell recipients obtain a degree or credential within six years.

Scott-Clayton and Baum propose three major structural reforms to improve outcomes for Pell recipients. First, the authors argue that financial assistance alone will not help high-need students complete college: “Handing students money and expecting them to steer their own courses through the maze of available options is an insufficient strategy for supporting their success.” Instead, they propose that the program’s financial assistance should be supplemented with guidance and support services that have been shown to improve academic outcomes.

Scott-Clayton and Baum suggest that the Pell Grant program provide services tailored to meet the needs of the different populations it serves: younger, dependent students would receive personalized, technology-assisted outreach and coaching services from initial application through the first year of college; adult, independent students—who often are returning to college to obtain specific career-related credentials—would receive third-party pre-enrollment counseling to help them choose appropriate institutions and programs, as well as one-on-one guidance provided by their institution at least once per year while enrolled.

The authors also recommend that the Pell Grant program simplify the application process by automatically calculating eligibility using information retrieved electronically from tax returns and by making eligibility fixed for several years. Furthermore they argue that eligibility should be based on a simple formula based on income and family size so that students and families can easily calculate in advance what college costs will be. Finally, Scott-Clayton and Baum suggest strengthening incentives for student effort and completion, including larger grants for students who take more credits than the current Pell maximum of 24 per year, and small monetary bonuses for on-time completion.

According to the authors, the proposal would require only a minimal increase in funding. For instance, providing each Pell recipient with technology-assisted guidance and counseling worth $500—which research evidence suggests would have meaningful impacts on student outcomes—would cost $1.3 billion, less than 4 percent of current Pell spending. If not additional funds are available, services could be financed by setting the per credit award size to maintain cost neutrality.

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Read coverage of the proposals by Inside Higher Ed

Read coverage of the proposals by The Chronicle of Higher Education

A link to the full study is here: Redesigning the Pell Grant Program for the Twenty-First Century

Scott-Clayton spoke with the New York Times about a new higher education ranking system: Lists That Rank Colleges’ Value Are on the Rise


(10/31/2013)

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