America’s public state universities were established primarily to serve the residents of their respective states, but recent findings show that state institutions are increasingly appealing to out-of-state students. Opponents of this practice have concerns that certain in-state applicants are being neglected and left behind. An analysis of 100 state universities, including the flagship institution of each state and one additional prominent public university, shows that from 2004 to 2014, 74 saw declines in in-state freshmen as a share of total enrollment.

As state leaders construct public policy to support increased educational attainment and workforce development, they need be mindful of the assumptions about college students and their attendance patterns embedded in most state financial aid programs. Reforming state aid is one necessary step to supporting student success.

In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin the Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the University of Texas at Austin’s race-conscious admissions program is constitutional, as least of 2008, when this case was first brought. Justice Kagan did not participate in this case.

Even though this case arises in the higher education context, the Supreme Court has decided relatively few affirmative action cases so all are of interest to state and local governments that use race as a factor in decision-making.  

In December, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two of its most significant cases of the term so far for states. It is difficult to predict what the court will do based on oral arguments but it is the only clue the court offers.

As state leaders outline their goals for 2016, educators and policymakers will look for strategies that ensure America’s students receive a high-quality education while addressing workforce challenges that inhibit economic growth.  2016 promises to be another busy year in transformational strategies in education.  State leaders will likely address these top 5 issues facing states this year:

CSG Director of Education Policy Elizabeth Whitehouse and Senior Policy Advisor Jeff Stockdale outline the top five issues in education policy for 2016, including college access and affordability, Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, WIOA implementation, and student veterans. 

Comprised of eight campuses and over 80,000 students, the Texas State University System has devised an innovative strategy to make college more affordable for its students. Starting next fall, nontraditional students will be encouraged to take free massive open online courses (MOOCs) before stepping on campus and earn college credit for up to a year if they pass related exit exams. 

Credit for Prior Learning is gaining traction as one strategy for advancing postsecondary degree attainment. While much progress has been made in institutions across the U.S., challenges remain in the widespread acceptance and application of prior learning to provide transfer pathways. State and regional collaborations offer promising models.

For the second time the Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the University of Texas at Austin’s race-conscious admissions policy is unconstitutional in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.

Even though this case arises in the higher education context, the Supreme Court has decided relatively few affirmative action decisions so all are of interest to state and local governments that use race as a factor in decision-making.

College affordability has become an increasingly salient topic among state policymakers, especially with the large amounts of debt facing students (nearly $1 trillion nationally).  While the post-Great Recession years were generally characterized by states slashing funding and colleges and universities subsequently raising tuition, some states in in 2015 have become more “student-friendly.”

Last month, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed...

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