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Rajashri Chakrabarti, Michael Lovenheim, and Kevin Morris
The past decade and a half has seen dramatic changes in the higher education landscape, characterized by significant growth in enrollment. This growth has been concentrated mostly in for-profit schools, where enrollment skyrocketed in the first decade of the period, nearly quadrupling between 2000 and 2011. The post-2011 period has been marked by an abatement of this growth. These patterns have strong implications not only for the higher education market but also for the labor force and the economy more broadly. Therefore, it is essential to understand the evolution of the different sectors of higher education over the last sixteen years; in this post we aim to do just that. How have the different sectors of higher education changed during this period, in particular the for-profit sector? Is the story here more about enrollment in existing schools, or were there differential entries and exits of for-profit schools? This post is the first in a four-part series looking at different aspects of the changing higher education market, including enrollment growth and its composition, student loans, and student loan defaults.
Rajashri Chakrabarti, Giacomo De Giorgi, and Rachel Schuh
Educational attainment is an important element of human capital; however a series of recent papers highlights the crucial role of the quality of education—which determines the skills actually learned, rather than the number of years spent in a classroom—as a main driver of growth. In fact, Hanushek and Woessmann argue that the importance of more appropriately measuring skills is seen in the very tight relationship between quality of skills, or knowledge capital, and growth. Moreover, the researchers state, “The knowledge capital–growth relationship suggests little mystery for East Asia, Latin America, or other regions: Growth rates are accounted for by cognitive skills.” Similarly, “Considering knowledge capital dramatically increases our ability to account for differences in growth.”
This morning, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a set of interactive visuals that present data on school spending and its various components—such as instructional spending, instructional support, leadership support, and building services spending—across all thirty-two community school districts (CSD) in New York City and map their progression over time. A key feature of these interactive visuals is that they present the data in two forms: as adjusted data, which control for student categories that receive differential funding from the City based on their needs, and as raw data that do not include this adjustment. The interactive features allow the user to easily view (and compare) the adjusted and raw data, to observe trends for different spending categories, and to compare spending profiles across community school districts for each form of data. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of each CSD can be viewed by clicking on the district of interest. Our purpose is to make data on education finance and education indicators more accessible to a broader audience, including education researchers.
Many newly minted college graduates entering the labor market in the wake of the Great Recession have had a tough time finding good jobs. But just how difficult has it been, and are things getting better? And for which graduates? These questions can be difficult to answer because timely information on the employment prospects of college graduates has been hard to come by. To address this gap, today we are launching a new interactive web feature to provide data on a wide range of job market metrics for recent college graduates, including trends in unemployment rates, underemployment rates, and wages. We also provide data on the demand for college-educated workers, as well as differences in labor market outcomes across college majors. These data will be updated regularly and are available for download.
With the college graduation season well under way, a new crop of freshly minted graduates is entering the job market and many bright young minds are hoping to land a good first job. It’s no wonder if they are approaching the job hunt with some trepidation. For a number of years now, recent college graduates have been struggling to find good jobs. However, the labor market for college graduates is improving. After declining for nearly two years, openings for jobs requiring a college degree have picked up since last summer. Not only has this increase in the demand for educated workers continued to push down the unemployment rate for recent graduates, but it has also finally started to help reduce underemployment, though the underemployment rate remains high. While successfully navigating the job market will likely remain a challenge, it appears that finding a good job has become just a little bit easier for the class of 2015.
This morning, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a set of interactive visuals that present school spending and its various components—such as instructional spending, instructional support, leadership support, and building services spending—across all thirty-two Community School Districts (CSD) in New York City and map their progression over time. The interactive features allow the user to easily view the data and observe spending trends. Our purpose is to make data on education finance more accessible to a broader audience.
Uncertainty is of considerable interest for understanding the behavior of individuals as well as the movements in key macroeconomic and financial variables. Despite its importance, direct measures of uncertainty aren’t widely available. Because of this data limitation, a common practice is to use survey-based measures of forecast dispersion—reflecting disagreement among respondents—to proxy for uncertainty. Is this a reliable practice? Here, we review the distinction between disagreement and uncertainty as concepts, and show that this conceptual distinction carries over to their empirical counterparts, suggesting that disagreement is not generally a good proxy for uncertainty.
In the first of this two post series, we investigated the relationship between state aid and local funding before and after the Great Recession. We presented robust evidence that sharp changes in state aid brought about by the prolonged downturn influenced local budget decision-making. More specifically, we found that relative to the pre-recession relationship, a dollar decline in state aid resulted in a $0.19 increase in local revenue and a $0.14 increase in property tax revenue in New York school districts. In this post, we dive deeper to consider whether there were variations in this compensatory response across school districts, using an approach described in our recent study. For example, one might expect that there would be differences in willingness and ability to offset cuts in state aid across districts with varying levels of property wealth, which in turn might lead to differences in responses. Was this really the case?
Correction: Earlier, we inadvertently posted the content of the second post in this two-part series under today’s headline. We have updated the blog with the correct content and will post part two on November 12. We apologize for the error.
It’s well known that the Great Recession led to a massive reduction in state government revenues, in spite of the federal government’s attempt to ease budget tightening through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act aid to states. School districts rely heavily on aid from higher levels of government for their funding, and, even with the federal stimulus, total aid to school districts declined sharply in the post-recession years. But the local school budget process gives local residents and school districts a powerful tool to influence school spending. In this post, we summarize our recent study in which we investigate how New York school districts reacted when state aid declined sharply following the recession.
This post is the first in a series of four Liberty Street Economics posts examining the value of a college degree.
Not so long ago, people rarely questioned the value of a college degree. A bachelor’s degree was seen as a surefire ticket to a career-oriented, good-paying job. Today, however, many people are uncertain whether going to college is such a wise decision. It’s easy to see why. Tuition costs have been rising considerably faster than inflation, student debt is mounting, wages for college graduates have been falling, and recent college graduates have been struggling to find good jobs. These trends might lead one to believe that college is no longer a good investment. But when you dig into the data, is this really true? This week, we examine the value of a college degree in a four-part blog series. In this first post, we do the basic math and show that despite what appears to be a set of alarming trends, the value of a bachelor’s degree for the average graduate has held near its all-time high of about $300,000 for more than a decade.
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.
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