Around the nation: December 11, 2014

Bite-sized college and higher education industry news

  • Colorado: The University of Colorado Boulder has formed a committee to investigate dramatic declines in arts and humanities enrollment. From 2009-2013, enrollment in arts or humanities departments fell by almost 14%, with some specific subjects reporting even bigger shortfalls. And in the last five years, the number of students majoring in arts or humanities subjects has fallen 32%. While some say students are responding to market forces, faculty members argue that the classes are central to the school's mission to provide a liberal arts education (Kuta, The Denver Post, 12/8).
  • Illinois: A new report finds that the number of Chicago ninth-graders who eventually graduate from college has doubled since 2006, from a dismal 8% to almost 14%. The authors attribute the jump to improved rates of high school graduation and college enrollments. The rate remains lower than the national average (18%), but is on par with other urban areas (4% to 13%). The story has become a symbol of the challenges facing urban education nationwide. Officials are now focusing on the last part of the pipeline: college retention and completion (Mulhere, Inside Higher Ed, 12/9).
  • Utah: The Utah System of Higher Education has asked the state legislature to triple allocations to performance-based funding and make it a regular part of state appropriations. In the past two legislative sessions, lawmakers have piloted performance-based funding through small, one-time allocations of $1 million to $1.5 million. The new request seeks to add $5 million in performance funding to the regular budget, which would shift the funds from one-time to recurring. A committee is reviewing performance metrics and the state legislature is expected to consider the proposal early next year (Jacobsen, Deseret News, 12/10).

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