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Welcome to the WISCAPE Blog

Thank you for visiting our blog. We aim to provide a space for WISCAPE faculty, staff, and others to share their viewpoints on key issues and trends in postsecondary education and invite discussion with the broader community. The opinions expressed in blog posts are the authors' own and do not reflect the official views of WISCAPE.
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  • Jan 29, 2015

    What we know about the proposal to make the UW a public authority

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    The purpose of this blog entry, and subsequent entries from myself and others, is three-fold. First, to paint a picture of the emerging UW System public-private authority proposal. Second, to introduce questions and ideas based on evidence-based research and lessons learned from other higher education public-private authority efforts. And third, to provide a non-partisan, objective platform for the exchange of knowledge and information for interested parties, including decision-makers. We aim to help you better understand the complexities, questions, options, and decisions surrounding the proposal to create a UW System public authority.
    Full story

  • Jan 13, 2015

    More reflections on free community college

    by Kari Dickinson, WISCAPE Communications Manager
    We asked our affiliates to share what they thought about President Obama's plan to make community college tuition free. Robert Kelchen and Nicholas Hillman discussed the plans pros and cons in previous posts. In an email, Lauren Schudde, a postdoctoral research associate at Teachers College, Columbia University, expressed concern about the requirement that students maintain a 2.5 GPA, as her research has found that academic standards have a negative effect on student persistence:
    Full story

  • Jan 12, 2015

    America’s College Promise: prospects, concerns, and the need for more research

    by Nicholas Hillman, WISCAPE Affiliate
    Like public libraries, parks, and K-12 schools, community colleges could one day also be free. Well, “free” in the sense that students would not pay tuition to attend their local community college. This was the original vision of community colleges in the 1940s, reaffirmed in the 1970s, and it is the goal of President Obama’s America’s College Promise proposal.
    Full story

  • Jan 9, 2015

    Thoughts on President Obama’s “Free Community College” Proposal

    by Robert Kelchen, WISCAPE Affiliate
    Two weeks in advance of the State of the Union Address, President Obama unveiled a proposal for tuition-free community college that is getting a great deal of attention. The plan, which was influenced by a “Free Two-Year College Option” paper by Sara Goldrick-Rab and Nancy Kendall, calls for the federal government to fund three-fourths of the cost of tuition and fees while states fund the remainder. The student is then responsible for covering other costs that go along with college attendance, such as books and living expenses.
    Full story

  • Dec 19, 2014

    Disconnected Dots Part 2: Athletics and UW-Madison

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    I was wrong. The prediction I made in my December 12 blog post that UW Athletics would be given a free pass to select a new football coach without actively involving other campus leaders in their search did not come to pass. Athletic Director Barry Alvarez; Chancellor Blank, and other campus leaders; UW System leaders; the University Committee; and the Athletic Board, especially the board chair, Professor Covaleski, all followed campus and UW System search policies and procedures in the selection of the new coach. Also, when the Athletic Department decided it wanted to expedite the required posting time frame, Chancellor Blank was consulted and she granted a campus waiver.
    Full story

  • Dec 12, 2014

    Disconnected Dots Part 1: Athletics and UW-Madison

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    This past Wednesday, December 10, 2014, UW-Madison announced that the campus football coach, Gary Anderson, was leaving to take another coaching position. An announcement for his replacement was then posted on the NCAA website, but not on the UW-Madison website.
    Full story

  • Oct 28, 2014

    Critical Reflections on Oct. 16 Forum on Comprehensive Universities - Part 3

    by Tola Ewers, Assistant Researcher and Lecturer, UW-Madison
    I recently attended “The Future of Wisconsin’s Public Regional Comprehensive Universities” forum. During the conversation, my comments regarding the affordability crisis were undoubtedly influenced by having just completed my own student journey as well as having focused my doctoral research on undergraduate student experiences.
    Full story

  • Oct 27, 2014

    Critical Reflections on Oct. 16 Forum on Comprehensive Universities - Part 2

    by Rep. Joan Ballweg, Wisconsin State Assembly
    On Oct. 16, I attended WISCAPE’s forum on the future of Wisconsin’s four-year, comprehensive universities. Administrators, faculty, researchers, and students attended the day-long session, bringing their own unique experiences to share. As a state legislator, I appreciated being invited to the table for this conversation. Higher education has been a key policy issue for me since I came to the state legislature. It’s been a big issue at home too; my youngest graduated from UW-Madison last spring. For many years I had a close relationship with admissions, tuition, and degree completion.
    Full story

  • Oct 23, 2014

    Critical Reflections on Oct. 16 Forum on Comprehensive Universities - Part 1

    by Kevin Miller, Dual Enrollment Consultant, WI Department of Public Instruction
    The WISCAPE and UW Oshkosh forum was especially notable in that attendees were comfortable openly sharing thoughts and ideas. They were even willing to draw attention to some “sacred cows” such as athletics and facilities. Equally impressive was that no one challenged or tried to divert attention from these ideas and dialogues.
    Full story

  • Sep 18, 2014

    Federal stimulus funds under the ARRA did not protect state student financial aid, further eroding higher education affordability.

    by Jennifer Delaney, WISCAPE Affiliate
    Today greater effort is required for families to send a student to college in the U.S. than ever before. College is both more expensive and a larger burden for the average American family today than at any point in the previous four decades. In 1984, at public four-year colleges and universities, average tuition (the instructional price charged to students) was 5.5 percent of median family income and the average cost of attendance was16.4 percent of median family income. By 2011 these had increased to 15.4 percent and 33.5 percent, respectively. Between 1982-83 and 2012-13, tuition and fees at public four-year institutions increased by 357 percent. Institutions of higher education are also becoming more reliant on tuition dollars, compared to federal funding. In 1987, total educational revenues were $11,085 per full time equivalent (FTE) student, with tuition accounting for approximately 23 percent of the total. In 2012, total educational revenues were also $11,085, but tuition revenues accounted for approximately 47 percent of the total.
    Full story

  • Aug 7, 2014

    Reflections on the July 24th Special Committee on WTCS Funding and Governance meeting

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    It is a treat to attend a Wisconsin Legislative Council Study Committee meeting where legislators and members of the public engage in debate over key policy questions and ideas. On July 24th the first meeting of the Special Committee on the Review of Wisconsin Technical College System Funding and Governance (hereafter called the Special Committee) managed to attract a large audience that left no empty seats in the conference room… during the dog days of summer, no less. Before I highlight some of the many policy questions from this meeting, let me briefly explain the purpose of Wisconsin’s Legislative Council Special Committees.
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  • Jun 27, 2014

    Lower tuition? Why not free?

    by Maxwell Love, Vice President, United States Student Association
    Sara Goldrick-Rab and Nancy Kendall’s paper for the Lumina Ideas Summit, “Redefining College Affordability: Securing America’s Future with a Free Two-Year-College Option” (F2CO), outlines a plan that would address the root of the problem of college access and affordability in this country by making two years of college free for every student.
    Full story

  • Jun 23, 2014

    Q&A with Jane Wellman

    by Kari Dickinson, WISCAPE Communications Manager
    On June 12, WISCAPE was pleased to host Jane Wellman, executive director of the National Commission on College and University Board Governance, for a day-long visit to Madison, where she met with UW System leadership, board members, faculty, staff, and students and delivered a public talk about the changing nature of higher education governing boards in the United States. Wellman also sat down with WISCAPE and answered a few questions about the work of the National Commission and challenges facing boards - and board members - today.
    Full story

  • Jun 5, 2014

    Avoid Pitfalls in Designing Course Options

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    On May 22nd, UW System President Ray Cross announced a one-year plan to fund the Wisconsin Course Options program—one of the state’s three dual enrollment programs—that would cover tuition costs for all high school students taking UW courses offered through their high schools. UW System will provide $1 million from its cash reserves to fund the initiative. If designed well, the program will allow more high schools to offer dual enrollment courses that generate both high school and college credits. If not designed appropriately, however, the initiative could widen existing academic achievement gaps.
    Full story

  • May 5, 2014

    Reflections on the UW System Informational Memo, “The New Freshman Class: Fall 2013”

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    Last week the University of Wisconsin System released an informational memorandum on the fall 2013 freshman class, which provides an interesting snapshot of the class and highlights trends in enrollment not previously reported. Below are data that caught my attention and may have implications for the UW System’s future, along with some questions worth considering.
    Full story

  • Feb 24, 2014

    Audio interview with Matthew Levin, author of Cold War University

    by Kari Dickinson, WISCAPE Communications Manager
    This Wednesday, February 26, at 4 pm, WISCAPE is excited to host a talk with historian Matthew Levin, author of Cold War University: Madison and the New Left in the Sixties. Check out this recent audio interview with Levin through the Oral History Review at the Oxford University Press blog, in which he talks about how he used oral histories in doing research for his book.
    Full story

  • Feb 4, 2014

    Addressing Student Debt in Wisconsin

    by Sara Goldrick-Rab, WISCAPE Senior Scholar
    On Wednesday morning at 10 am, a bill titled the “Higher Education, Lower Debt Act” will receive a hearing before the Wisconsin Legislature’s Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges.
    Full story

  • Jan 29, 2014

    New Data on State Appropriations for Higher Education

    by Jennifer Delaney, WISCAPE Affiliate
    Colleagues at the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers released new data this past week (on 1/20/2014) on state spending on higher education. Their annual Grapevine report is a survey of state general fund appropriations for higher education. Grapevine has been published since 1960 and offers a detailed look at state spending on higher education. The media headlines this week (for instance in Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Wall Street Journal) discuss higher education funding as beginning a “rebound,” “recovery,” or “comeback.” While I agree that the Grapevine data show that state support for higher education appears to be recovering, I also want to highlight the slow pace of recovery.
    Full story

  • Dec 9, 2013

    Reflections on WISCAPE's Dec. 4 tuition forum

    by Jason Lee, Outreach Programs Manager
    Too often discussions about tuition and aid get entangled in the swamp of current policies and practices without addressing larger questions about the purpose and role of higher education: Is college a right or a privilege? For whom? Is it primarily a public or private good? Is it a “good” at all? These themes and more emerged at our recent WISCAPE forum: Tuition and Aid: The Good, Bad, and Ugly.
    Full story

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