TICAS Congratulates James Kvaal and Welcomes New President Sameer Gadkaree

Congratulations to TICAS’ past president, James Kvaal, who has been confirmed as Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. James will bring to his new position deep expertise and experience, a passion for results and equity, and a commitment to helping underserved students access, afford, and complete higher education.

We are also pleased to announce that Sameer Gadkaree has been selected as the new president of TICAS. Gadkaree has served in senior roles in higher education and philanthropy, most recently at the Joyce Foundation. TICAS looks forward to his leadership. He will assume his new role on October 1.

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Statement on the Build Back Better Act

Marked up last week, the House Education and Labor Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act takes a comprehensive approach to making college more affordable. We commend Chairman Scott for its introduction. By creating a new federal-state funding partnership, boosting Pell Grant funding, and investing in evidence-based student success initiatives, the bill recognizes that new investments in higher education are fundamental to advancing an equitable recovery and ensuring long-term prosperity and competitiveness for the United States. Next, we look to the Senate to protect and build on these proposals as they move forward.

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Funding for Colleges that Predominantly Serve BIPOC Students Critical to Success and Racial Equity

Dismantling Dire Disparities: A Closer Look at Racially Inequitable Funding at Public Four-Year Colleges and Universities examines funding and resource patterns from the Great Recession to the peak of the economic recovery (2006 to 2018) and takes a deep dive into the funding of public four-year colleges that disproportionately enroll and graduate BIPOC students. Inadequate and inequitable funding persisted at public colleges and universities during the 12-year period, especially for community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) that primarily educate Black and Latina/o students.

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Learn more about the data

Data for Equity: Closing Racial and Economic Gaps Through a Federal-State Partnership

Racial and economic equity gaps persist in access to college, degree attainment, and employment outcomes despite attempts to close them over multiple decades. Systemic barriers make it more difficult for BIPOC students and students from low-income backgrounds not only to complete their degree but also to receive returns on those degrees comparable to those of their White and higher-income peers.

As policymakers look to build a new federal-state partnership to restore and maintain funding for public colleges, federal and state data should be used to identify and target resources where they are most needed. However, the data are limited. Improvements to data are essential to better understand and more effectively address these longstanding inequities, and TICAS’ new report provides an in-depth overview of federal and state postsecondary data collection, highlights current legislation that could fill existing equity gaps, and makes policy recommendations for federal and state data collection. We advocate for the creation of equity dashboards to analyze trends, individual institution data, and program outcomes to provide actionable information to guide state policies for improving equity in postsecondary education.

Read the report
View the sample equity dashboard

Where to Find Evidence-Based College Completion Programs Across the Country

Among the many strategies for increasing college persistence and success, one emerging model is backed by an increasingly robust body of evidence: college completion programs.

President Biden’s College Completion Fund would fund evidence-based programs to increase completion rates nationwide among BIPOC, first-generation, and students from low-income backgrounds. TICAS has tracked proven, evidenced-based programs nationwide and documented them in an interactive map that illustrates the reach of college completion programs across the United States. These innovative programs operate in 23 states. A substantial increase in resources would not only boost existing programs but provide a lifeline to expand to more states and transform our nation’s graduation rates.

View the interactive map
Hechinger Report: Op-ed from TICAS and MDRC on proven student success programs and the need for federal investment
Read more about evidence-based college completion programs at four-year postsecondary institutions

How Can Congress Improve College Affordability & Permanently Reduce Reliance on Student Debt? Double the Maximum Pell Grant & Restore State Investment in Public Colleges

As lawmakers look to improve college affordability, close racial and economic equity gaps in college completion, and reduce reliance on student debt, they must take a comprehensive approach that includes doubling the maximum Pell Grant, securing and strengthening the Pell Grant program, and creating a new federal-state funding partnership to restore state investment in higher education. This comprehensive policy approach would lower net costs for students, improve institutional quality, and stabilize funding across economic cycles.

This policy brief outlines how policymakers should make these investments in tandem to ensure that all students, regardless of means, have the option to earn an affordable, high-quality degree.

Read the brief