Predictive Data Helps Students Succeed


June 9, 2017 – Here’s our weekly roundup of education news you may have missed. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testifies before a Senate committee concerning the proposed Education Department budget; 54 percent of the graduating class of 2017 at the University of California at Irvine are first-generation college students; a study finds that even in the state with the lowest public higher education cost, a family would need to earn almost three times the federal poverty level to comfortably afford in-state tuition. 

Elementary & Secondary Education

  • Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testifies to the Senate Appropriations Committee about the administration’s proposed education budget. In response to questions about whether the proposed voucher program would enable private schools that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and religion to obtain federal funds, DeVos says: “Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law.” Yet, there are no federal civil rights statutes that explicitly protect LGBT students, U.S. News reports.
  • The Hechinger Report explores Washington, D.C. public preschools, lauded for their quality nationwide. D.C. has the nation’s highest overall enrollment of 3- and 4-year-olds in pre-K but it is also one of the most segregated, with 86 percent of the city’s black pre-K students attending racially isolated nonwhite schools.


Higher Education

  • A new report released by The Campaign for College Opportunity gives California a failing grade for its higher education system. The report finds that only 43 percent of California’s 2015 high school graduates were academically eligible for the state’s public universities. The state also fell short in college completion standards, LA School Report summarizes. Though system-wide completion rates are low, some institutions, such as UC Irvine are succeeding at producing graduates. In May, UC Irvine granted 10,000 degrees, over half of which were earned by first-generation college students. 
  • Predictive data analysis is now being used to identify students at risk on college campuses, the New York Times reports. Institutions such as the University of Texas have used the data to help implement early interventions to help students succeed before they fail. Bridget Burns of the University Innovation Alliance notes how essential this technology could be for first-generation college students. “Usually schools intervene when [students] are too far gone,” she says. 
  • A study investigates how much a family would need to earn per year to be able to live comfortably while paying in-state university tuition for one student. Hawaii comes in with the highest required figure at $126,454 and Indiana comes in at the lowest at around $60,000. The federal poverty level for a family of four is $24,600, around $35K lower than the required earnings in Indiana. Bloomberg summarizes. 
  • In an opinion piece in Forbes, contributor Jaclyn Grimm outlines the ways in which college waitlists, a common practice used by institutions to control enrollment, discriminate against students from low-income families. Being able to afford a college’s tuition can be a factor in whether an applicant is accepted off the waitlist or turned away, regardless of whether the institution claims to be need-blind. 


Cooke Foundation Highlights

  • Vanessa Nava, a new Undergraduate Transfer Scholar, is profiled by The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California. Nava hopes to become a doctor.


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