Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Report: Community Colleges Contributed $809 Billion to Economy in 2012

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) released a report, "Where Value Meets Values: The Economic Impact of Community Colleges," showing that community colleges are a boon to the American economy at large and to the individual student.

In 2012 alone, community colleges were responsible for $809 billion in added income in the U.S. economy, equal to 5.4 percent of GDP. 

Students also experience a significant economic benefit. For every one dollar a student spends on his or her two-year college education, he or she sees an return on investment (ROI) of $3.80.

Over time, the U.S. economy will see even greater economic benefits, including $285.7 billion dollars in increased tax revenue as students earn higher wages and $19.2 billion in taxpayer savings as students require fewer safety net services, experience better health, and lower rates of crime.

Please access the links below to read more:
The study was compiled by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., (EMSI). EMSI turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work. Read more about EMSI.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why is the MKE Common Council funding the Retail Christian Network's breakfast?

Yesterday the Milwaukee Common Council voted to allocate $5,000 to the Retail Christian Network to cosponsor of a breakfast at the International Council of Shopping Centers annual convention in Las Vegas on May 20.

The Retail Christian Network describes itself as: “an extension of Higher Call, which endeavors to make Christ known within the Shopping Center industry.” Its website states that it "provides an avenue for professionals in the shopping center industry to connect and encourage one another with the life-changing good news of Jesus Christ."

What public interest does this expenditure serve?

The city is closing fire houses. It has cut hours in branch libraries and reduced its budget to buy books and other materials. It has experienced a 50% increase in potholessince last year.

How is this expenditure in the citizens’ interest?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Organizations urge President Obama to issue Gainful Employment regulations

A group of 50 organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers,  has written a letter to president Obama and .S. Department of Education officials to "urge the administration to issue promptly a stronger, more effective" set of gainful employment regulations. The group includes higher-education associations, faculty unions, consumer advocates and veterans organizations.

In December a panel of department-appointed negotiators failed to reach consensus on the proposed rules, which would affect vocational programs at for-profit institutions and community colleges. The department is expected to issue its final draft standards in coming months. A period of public comment will follow their release.

The letter began:

Our organizations—which work on behalf of students and college access, veterans, consumers, and civil rights—were heartened by your (President Obama's) remarks last August when you so effectively summed up the problems in the for-profit college industry:

[T]here have been some schools that are notorious for getting students in, getting a bunch of grant money, having those students take out a lot of loans, making big profits, but having really low graduation rates. Students aren’t getting what they need to be prepared for a particular field. They get out of these for-profit schools loaded down with enormous debt. They can’t find a job. They default. The taxpayer ends up holding the bag. Their credit is ruined, and the for-profit institution is making out like a bandit.That’s a problem.

Your administration now has an opportunity to better protect taxpayers and students, including our nation’s veterans, service members and their families, from predatory career education programs. The Education Department is developing draft regulations to enforce the statutory requirement that all career education programs that receive federal funding, whether at for-profit, public or nonprofit colleges, “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.” The negotiated rulemaking panel convened last year by the Department to develop the draft regulations was unable to reach consensus. Even after the Department made multiple changes requested by the for-profit college industry representatives that dramatically weakened the draft regulation, the for-profit college industry representatives objected to it. The changes would have made the regulation so weak on predatory colleges and so hard on low-cost, high-performing colleges that not a single negotiator voiced support for the Department’s last proposal.

We urge the Administration to issue promptly a stronger, more effective proposed regulation so that the urgently needed rules can be finalized by November 1, 2014, and go into effect by July 1, 2015.

The organizations wrote that a gainful employment regualtion must include:

1. A repayment rate or another metric to effectively prevent programs with high borrowing and high dropout rates from receiving federal funding;

2. A meaningful approval process to weed out programs that will not prepare students for gainful employment in the specified occupations before they harm students;

3. Borrower relief that is fair and provides a greater incentive to improve weak programs;

4. Meaningful debt-to-earnings standards;

5. Protection for schools offering low-cost programs in which most students do not borrow..

The entire letter is linked here.