Proposed State Budget Increases Fail to Address Critical Issues in Higher Education

by Taylor Myers

Policy and Research Analysis

On January 10, 2018, Governor Brown released his final budget proposal, a $131.7 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year. The proposal earmarks $18.5 billion in General Fund appropriations for higher education. Following its release, California Competes published an initial analysis of the new budget which highlighted an expansion of investments in full-time student success and innovations targeted at the millions of workers who lack a college credential. While there are many reasons to be optimistic about the proposal, as a policy blueprint, it fails to address several critical issues for improving student access and success across the state:

1. Investing in college completion is critical to promote degree attainment and close the degree gap.

California needs 2.4 million more credentials and degrees by 2025 to remain economically competitive and closing this gap requires every segment to significantly increase degree attainment. The state has historically been inconsistent with imposing enrollment goals on CSU and UC, and has never imposed a strict completion or attainment goal on the segments. This year is no different—the Governor’s budget does not include any enrollment growth or completion rate expectations for either the UC or CSU.

2. Strong policies to support on-time completion and transfer should support the cost of non-tuition expenses while students attend full-time.

Research suggests that full time students who work between five and ten hours per week are less likely to see their academic performance impaired by their jobs than students who work more than 20 hours per week. However, many students need to work longer hours to cover living expenses. Incentive programs that seek to increase full-time attendance, like the proposed consolidated grant for full-time Community College students, should consider the difficult decisions students face when deciding between academics and work. The California College Promise may address this challenge for students who are eligible for regional college promise programs; regions may use their local programs to support students for a second year of full-time attendance, or to cover non-tuition costs. For students who do not qualify for the California College Promise, or who are not additionally covered by a regional college promise program, a solution has yet to be offered.

3. California’s competitive economy depends on increasing degree attainment, which can’t happen without statewide cross-segmental coordination and aligned data practices.

This spending plan doesn’t address the need for statewide, cross-segmental coordination of higher education systems. Several legislative attempts to create one have been introduced, including the current measure AB 1936, authored by Assembly Members Low and Eggman. Over the last several months, policymakers have shown interest in revisiting the Master Plan for Higher Education and in considering more aligned goals for the state’s public higher education segments. But despite demonstrated enthusiasm from policymakers, the budget does not address the need for statewide coordination.

Nor does it include any impactful provisions for data collection and sharing – it leaves institutions to continue to serve as gatekeepers and stewards of information on student and programmatic outcomes. Currently, state policymakers and researchers have no way of efficiently and robustly evaluating the impacts of the state’s higher education investments. California desperately needs a statewide longitudinal data system to evaluate the impacts of the myriad of programs receiving funds from the state.

As they continue to refine the state’s 2018-2019 higher education budget, policymakers should consider the efficacy of the policy changes proposed in the current budget in the absence of the critical components discussed above. Addressing the needs of California’s diverse student population and ensuring equity in educational attainment and economic opportunities requires significant investment from the state in meaningful segmental or institutional goals, stronger higher education finance policies, intentional cross-segmental coordination, and a robust longitudinal student data system.

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How Better Data Can Help Colleges Re-engage Those Who Leave Without a Degree

“Every number is a student, and every student has a story.”

Nele Hempel-Lamer, director of the CSU’s new Certificate Program in Student Success Analytics, offered this insight in her welcoming remarks at a recent convening at which we were invited to speak. It was an important reminder to those in the room who were starting on a pilot program to learn new skills in using predictive analytics to better serve students that the data they are looking at have a rich context that surrounds them. As the faculty and staff members from CSU East Bay and San Francisco State discussed current practices and issues in using student data, it was clear that there is a lot of innovation happening on the ground as well as a lot of room for improvement in the quality and breadth of the data that are collected.

Whichever way you choose to look at the data, there is a large population of adults that are ripe for outreach to be brought back into the fold of higher education…

As we discussed where California stands in closing the degree gap and what role the CSU specifically has in closing that gap, we looked at the large number of Californians in the workforce who have not completed college. There are many ways that this number can be cut: 2.5 million Californians aged 25-34 are in the workforce with only a high school diploma. 5.6 million adults over the age of 25 started college but never finished. Whichever way you choose to look at the data, there is a large population of adults that are ripe for outreach to be brought back into the fold of higher education, if they are going to keep pace with the increasing demand for degrees and credentials in California’s economy.

Lande Ajose presenting at CSU East Bay on February 2, 2018

Participants in the room gasped at these data. They asked very insightful questions about how we track the students who have left college before completing, what the mechanisms are for letting them know that they only need a few more classes to complete a degree, or that they may have already completed a degree and just need to declare it. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to their questions. The reality is that our data systems currently make it difficult to track students when they move across institutional boundaries. When a student leaves a CSU and then re-enrolls for a semester at a community college but leaves again just short of completing an associate’s degree, there is not a system for the institutions to combine their records to complete a degree audit, and it’s not clear who would be responsible for reaching out to the student to invite them back.

This seemingly simple dilemma highlights the need for three of California Competes’ policy priorities.

First, we need strategies for re-engaging students with some college but no degree and helping them toward completion. We could close a significant portion of the degree and credential gap by helping them toward completion. Second, we need an integrated data system that spans all of California’s higher education system. Finally, none of these strategies or data systems will be possible without a coordinating entity that spans all three segments of California’s higher education system.

Moving policy on all of three of these fronts can ensure that there are systems and processes in place to empower faculty and staff to have and utilize the data they need to create more positive stories behind their data.

42 million Americans struggle to find their next meal.

When most people think about hunger, they think of a starving child in a third-world country. Or perhaps they think of a long line of homeless people waiting outside an inner-city soup kitchen.

The truth is: hunger is a HUGE problem everywhere in the United States, but it’s not always easy to see. In a country known for its wealth and prosperity, 42 million Americans struggle to find their next meal.

The face of hunger has changed. No longer is it just the homeless man on the street reaching out for a helping hand, but every day millions of people are struggling to feed their families. No one is a stranger to the economic hardships of today.

soup_about_hunger

Hunger is all around us. Hunger is not limited to a single demographic or geographic region of the country. It is not a problem only affecting the homeless or the poorest of the poor. Hunger is everywhere, and the numbers are staggering.

As the economy continues to put a strain on our wallets, people are being forced to make extremely difficult decisions. What does hunger look like, you might ask?

  • It is your father-in-law who just got laid off and now struggles to pay his mortgage and put food on the table.
  • It is your elderly neighbor who must choose between buying groceries and heating her home.
  • It is your child’s classmate who goes to school each day without lunch and is too embarrassed to ask for help.

Adults who suffer from hunger live shorter, less healthy, and less happy lives. They are more likely to be obese, more prone to mental illness, and more susceptible to deadly diseases. Hunger is terrible for adults, but it’s so much worse for children.

child_hunger_medium

Hunger and malnourishment go hand-in-hand, and kids who miss out on essential nutrients during their critical years of growth will be dramatically disadvantaged for the remainder of their lives. 1 in 6 American children go to bed hungry each night.

According to the Food Research and Action Center, hungry children have compromised immune systems and are two to four times as likely as nourished children to develop health problems—ranging from the relatively minor to potentially fatal. Childhood hunger also impairs cognitive development. Kids who don’t have enough to eat do worse academically, do worse socially, and risk becoming so impacted—even by only temporary food insecurity—that recovery becomes impossible.

Most people tend to think about hunger during the holiday season. We see a ton of food drives occur right around Thanksgiving. But what happens during the rest of the year? Food insecurity is a year-round issue affecting millions of families and individuals across the country.

schoolbus

The summer months are the most difficult time for our nation’s food banks. During the school year, hungry children get the majority of their daily calories from free or reduced price school lunches. When school is out of session, those calories must come from somewhere else. There are summer meal programs, but over 13 million children face a greater risk of hunger during the summer because those programs are difficult to access and underfunded.

Thankfully, the summer is also the busiest season for the moving industry, so Move For Hunger has a great opportunity to fill the shelves of our communities’ food banks. Move For Hunger works to rescue food from people’s homes that would otherwise be thrown away and get it to local food banks where it’s needed.

Want to make a difference?

Click here to Get Involved in our fight against hunger.

Share an infographic from our Visualize Hunger collection on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tarragon Property Services Pledges to Fight Hunger in Seattle

Seattle, WA – Tarragon Property Services has partnered with Move For Hunger, a national non-profit organization, to help provide much-needed assistance to food banks in Washington and across the United States.

People throw away a lot of things when they move, including perfectly good food. As a proud partner of Move For Hunger, residents at Tarragon’s 17 multi-family apartment locations in Seattle will have the opportunity to reduce food waste and fight hunger by donating their unopened, non-perishable food items when they move out. These year-round donations are distributed directly to local food banks in need and will help provide meals for the more than 900,000 people in Washington who face hunger every day.

“There are more than half a million people in the greater Seattle area who are struggling with food insecurity; one in six children in the region will go to bed hungry tonight,” explains Adam Lowy, Executive Director and Founder of Move For Hunger. “Tarragon Property Services is committed to fighting hunger in the communities they serve. We are proud to call them our partners.”

“”Everyone at Tarragon Property Services is excited to help Move For Hunger channel much-needed food to local food banks,” says Shelly Gil, Regional Manager of Tarragon Property Services. “We are gratified to serve as a resource for this vital service to hungry families.”

With one in eight Americans affected by food insecurity, including more than 13 million children, it has never been more important to come together to help our neighbors in need. Through the support of partners like Tarragon Property ServicesMove For Hunger can continue to help the more than 42 million Americans struggling to find their next meal.

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 Move For Hunger is a non-profit organization that mobilizes the relocation industry to fight hunger and reduce food waste. In addition to collecting food from people who are moving to new homes, Move For Hunger helps companies and individuals across the United States and Canada organize successful food drives. To date, they have collected more than 8 million pounds of food. For more information, or to find out how you can host your own food drive, visitwww.MoveForHunger.org.

Tarragon Property Services, based in Sumner, Washington, provides commercial, retail, residential and mixed used property management services exclusively for real estate assets owned by Investco Financial Corporation. For more information, please visit www.tarragon.com.

Media Contacts:

Dan Beam, Move For Hunger | dan@moveforhunger.org | (732) 774-0521 x 109

Jane Griffith, Tarragon Property Services | jgriffith@tarragon.com | 253.861.5700

‘My experience as a woman in tech has been difficult and wonderful’

‘My experience as a woman in tech has been difficult and wonderful’

By: Jenny Darmody

From using data to make a difference in non-profits, to her experience of ‘gaslighting’, Karen Taggart shares her career story and her experience as a woman in tech.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, we still have a long way to go.

Despite the gender gap being one of the most talked about diversity issues in the industry, women in tech still have countless stories of how their experience differs to their male counterparts – be that in pay, treatment or perception.

Karen Taggart is a customer success manager for CloudBees. She has had an extensive and successful career within the tech sphere, particularly within DevOps and data analytics.

Taggart told Siliconrepublic.com that her experience as a woman working in tech has been both difficult and wonderful. It took a long time before she realised that previous things she had experienced were due to gender discrimination.

But she also spoke highly of her overall experience, meeting countless intelligent, funny and innovative individuals from all backgrounds throughout her career.

While she said she couldn’t picture working in any other industry, it wasn’t necessarily clear from her early years that tech was where she was heading.

Tell me a bit about your career background

Sometimes it is difficult to explain my résumé. When I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had planned on going to law school and getting a master’s in public policy, but decided to put that plan on hold for a bit and just start working.

I moved to Washington DC and looked for entry-level jobs with non-profit organisations. I ended up working in the fundraising department for a non-profit, which they call development (not to be confused with software development).

In my first job, they needed a database to keep track of major donors, so I taught myself Access and created the system. It was the early ’90s, so databases were nowhere near as complicated and powerful as they are now.

From there, I moved more into direct marketing fundraising – direct mail, telemarketing and eventually online. This is where my interest in data really began to develop and I got more involved in database marketing, list segmentation and marketing analytics. I then began working at a direct marketing agency that targeted non-profits and political candidates.

After taking a few years to earn my master’s in education and teach eighth-grade history, I returned to direct marketing and began focusing more on email and social media, where the possibility of combining data and strategy was really exploding. However, I was finding that many of the organisations I was working with did not have the systems they needed to collect the data I wanted.

So, I joined the team at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to help improve some of their CRM systems and practices. Through that work, I realised I didn’t want to just work on the existing systems, but instead wanted to play a role in creating better solutions. I began working at ROI Solutions, a woman-owned-and-run CRM provider for non-profits, as a business analyst, where I spent much of my time working on third-party integrations.

While at ROI, I started a book club. The second book we read was The Phoenix Projectand it blew my mind. From that point forward, I became a bit obsessed with not just helping build better software for users, but delivering it to them. As my interest in DevOps grew, I stumbled upon CloudBees and quickly knew it was the place for me.

You have done a lot of work in the past for non-profits, what was that like?

Working with non-profits is wonderful! They are full of some of the smartest, most dedicated, inventive people you will ever meet. Because they have to be so budget-conscious, many find new ways of doing things with technology.

When you work with non-profits, you get exposed to all aspects of business. While working in this field, I worked on projects in areas such as marketing analytics, API and web services integrations, credit card processing, financial reporting, database architecture, sales, proposal writing, strategic planning, and solution selection.

‘When I felt like I just couldn’t do it any more, I would remind myself why I was doing the work I was doing’
– KAREN TAGGART

The best part of working with non-profits was the end result – campaigns I worked on helped house people suffering from floods, bring medical resources to regions suffering from Ebola, win the fight for marriage equality in the US, release political prisoners, elect officials to office who support women’s reproductive rights and stop the suffering of countless animals.

After a hard day at work, when I felt like I just couldn’t do it any more and was asked to do the impossible, I would remind myself why I was doing the work I was doing.

How have you seen data analysis change over your time in the industry?

When I began working with data, the sets were so small and simple that it was possible to get by with basic statistics skills and the ability to do a few charts in Excel. That has all changed.

Upcoming Move? Helpful Tips for Household Packing and Moving

Thanks NEDRAC!

If you have an upcoming move, figuring out where to even start can be intimidating. Household packing and moving is not something most people look forward to, but we have collected some helpful tips from articles on Moving.com, BuzzfeedHGTV and How Stuff Works to help your next move go a little smoother. Here is a summary of what we found.

Packing Tips

The following are some basic tips for household packing:

  • Don’t Procrastinate – This seems simple enough, but getting started can be difficult. A few weeks prior to your move, start packing several boxes a day.
  • Pack Room-by-Room – Focus on one area of a room at a time and don’t mix items from different rooms in one box.
  • Label Boxes Clearly – On the top and side of each box, write a general description of the contents and the room name.
  • Use Packing Paper – Regular newspaper may bleed ink onto your possessions. Use white packing paper to wrap all items.
  • Stick with Moving Boxes – Use boxes designed for moving. Boxes obtained from grocery or liquor stores are not always clean and might not hold the weight of the items that you will be putting in them.
  • Don’t Box up Everything – You should personally transport heirlooms, important papers, legal documents (wills, passports. etc.), and valuables.

Moving Tips

Now you’re packed, here are some tips for the actual move:

  • Keep Children and Pets Out of the Way – No matter who is moving your things — professional movers or friends — they don’t want a barking dog or a rambunctious kid running around while they’re carrying heavy boxes and furniture.
  • Pack an Overnight Bag Containing the Essentials – Chances are, you’ll be too tired to unpack your things. You’ll want your essentials within easy access.
  • Change Your Address at the Post Office – Try to submit the change address form two weeks prior to the move to avoid missing timely mail like bills.
  • Write Down Your Utility Meter Readings – When you receive your final bill from your utility companies, verify that the figures match up.
  • Make Sure There’s Parking for the Truck – When the moving van or truck arrives at the new place, it will need a place to park and unload. This can become complicated depending on what type of home you’re moving into. For example, if you’re moving into a house, the truck can simply park out front. But if you’re moving into a high rise building, then you may need to set up a place ahead of time for the van or truck. You may also need to reserve an elevator. This should be set up beforehand, so the movers can carry things in as quickly as possible when they arrive.

CALL ED MELTON for your next relocation : 916-563-7472

emelton@chipmanrelo.com