FCAN’s Research Roundup is a monthly feature highlighting reports and projects related to student access and success that we think are worth sharing. You will also be able to find a link to this page in FCAN’s monthly newsletter. Happy reading!
1. Research has consistently shown that educational attainment is associated with a variety of positive social and economic outcomes. As attainment increases, so too do levels of economic self-sufficiency, positive health outcomes, and even levels of civic engagement such as voting and volunteerism. Although questions surrounding the value of a four-year degree (bachelor’s degree) remain, new research from the Burning Glass Institute affirms that bachelor’s degree holders earn better wages and experience better job mobility than their colleagues without bachelor’s degrees. Not all bachelor’s degrees are created equal, however – the research found that both major and institutional selectivity affected earnings for bachelor’s degree holders, with STEM degree holders from highly selective institutions out-earning others. The research recommends that institutions offering four-year degrees emphasize the skills students develop during their education; foundational skills (e.g. negotiation) resulted in higher earnings than specialized skills. It also recommends that four-year degree programs should allow students to earn stackable credentials that showcase their skills, as many students stop their education to work before returning for more education.
2. Total transfer enrollments between 2020 and 2022 and undergraduate degree earners for the 2021-2022 school year both fell, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. However, the demographic observing one of the greatest increases was returning students – students that restarted their educational journeys after a stop out. Within this demographic, transfers increased 5.4% in the Fall 2022 semester for a two-year overall increase of 0.8% (2020-2022). Returning students from the top two economic quintiles (top 40%) increased at the highest rates in 2022; however, all quintiles observed increases over 2021 transfer rates. Transfer enrollment for returning students increased the most at primarily online institutions, private for-profit colleges, and community colleges.
3. New data from the Florida Department of Education and GetThereFL indicates an increase in the number of secondary students enrolled in CTE courses. Between the 2017-2018 and 2021-2022 school years, the number of students taking at least one CTE course increased by 9.6% to 799,150 students. There are encouraging numbers for CTE concentrators (those taking at least three courses in the same career-focused curriculum), as well. In 2020-2021, the most recent year for which data was available, CTE concentrators (n = 45,470) scored a 98% graduation rate and 65% graduated with a least one industry credential. CTE concentrators received the highest number of industry certifications in Entrepreneurship and Small Business, followed by Certified Food Protection Manager, and Agriculture Associate Certification. This is positive news for the state in light of recently released data from FCAN and the Lumina Foundation showing a slight downward trend in Floridians possessing a credential or certification between 2019 and 2021.