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Resource Library

Sharing knowledge is at the heart of our mission. Explore Ascendium’s growing library of publications that examine the complex challenges facing postsecondary learners, and how we’re helping our partners address them.

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states take steps
RAND Corporation

States Can Take Steps to Address Potential Barriers to Equity in Stackable Credential Pipelines

April 2023
To ensure that stackable credentials are advancing equity, states and institutions can take actions to scale initiatives in ways that ensure learners from low-income backgrounds have access to and succeed in these pathways. A new research brief offers insights and recommendations for stakeholders based on a study of potential barriers within stackable credential pipelines.
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stacking cred
RAND Corporation

Do Low-Income Students Benefit from Stacking Credentials? Descriptive Evidence from Colorado and Ohio

April 2023
Stackable credential programs may be especially helpful for learners from historically underserved communities as they provide greater flexibility to pursue postsecondary education and workforce training. Using data from Colorado and Ohio, this research brief details the differences in credential-stacking and labor market returns from stacking for learners from low-income backgrounds versus middle- and high-income learners.
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RAND Corporation

Stackable Credential Pipelines and Equity for Low-Income Individuals: Evidence from Colorado and Ohio

April 2023
The ability for learners to “stack” short-term credentials in order to gain specific skills needed for in-demand jobs is a strategy gaining momentum around the country. This report features findings from two states pursuing stackable credential initiatives. It details what they’ve learned from analyzing administrative data to describe patterns in credential-stacking and earnings for learners from low-income backgrounds relative to middle- and high-income learners.
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AR 2022 NewsRelease Featured

2022 Education Philanthropy Report: Meeting the Moment

April 2023
This year’s report is all about overcoming the challenges presented by our changing world. Inside, you’ll read about the tremendous efforts of our grant partners to improve postsecondary education and workforce training systems so that learners from low-income backgrounds can succeed beyond high school.
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Coleridge Initiative

3rd Annual National Convening: Cross-Agency Collaboration for Evidence-Building

March 2023
The Coleridge Initiative hosted a convening highlighting the potential of collaborations amongst government agencies and researchers to produce actionable insights that could improve government programs. Presenters at the event included members of Ascendium’s Education Philanthropy. The convening report spotlights the potential of federal, state, and private data owners working together to answer policy questions, particularly those with relevance to postsecondary education and workforce training outcomes.
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National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

Transfer and Progress

March 2023
A recent National Student Clearinghouse Research Center analysis reveals concerning trends: that community college enrollments and transfer rates, particularly from two- to four-year institutions, continue to fall. Community colleges and transfer play an important role in serving learners from low-income backgrounds as they pursue their educational goals. The report, the first in a series that uses a new measure of students’ income background, builds on work done tracking transfer trends throughout the COVID-19 health crisis.
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Alternatives to College Social resource
Academic Intelligence

Short, Affordable College Alternatives Lead to Careers with Upward Mobility

February 2023
In this Future U. podcast episode, Merit America and Marcy Lab School founders talk about how their organizations train learners facing financial and other barriers to postsecondary education and connect them with careers in the technology sector. Merit America’s program is designed for and supports working adults while the Marcy Lab is an alternative to college for those who either never enrolled or dropped out. Organizations like these are creating opportunities for low-income learners to pursue careers leading to upward mobility.
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kent state transfer v2
Kent State University Foundation

Lessons From a Multi-College Transfer Partnership

January 2023
Kent State University worked with three local community colleges to advance a “statewide comprehensive transfer blueprint” modeled on the Aspen Institute’s Transfer Playbook. Kent State and its partners implemented two key strategies recommended in the Playbook, clear programmatic pathways and tailored transfer student advising, with success. The partnership resulted in a transfer process that can help all learners transition to four-year programs and meet their academic goals.
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UI DesigningCareer
The Urban Institute

Designing Career and Technical Education Programs that Help Students Get Good Jobs

December 2022
Learners today face a landscape of postsecondary education credentials that may or may not lead to the upward mobility they seek. Learners from low-income backgrounds need career and technical education pathways that can help them get good jobs. The Urban Institute has developed a three-pronged framework that includes strategies for advising, skill building and making employment connections to support these learners in meeting their goals.
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HolisticCredit resource
Ithaka Harbors Inc

Holistic Credit Mobility: Centering Learning in Credential Completion

November 2022
Today’s learners accumulate college credits from more sources and in more forms than ever before. However, the challenge is that postsecondary institutions lack mechanisms to integrate credit for those experiences, disproportionately affecting learners from low-income backgrounds. The formal recognition of such varied ways to learn can bring learners closer to their postsecondary education goals. Ithaka S+R’s holistic credit mobility framework supports solutions that mitigate credit loss by focusing on learning outcomes rather than where the learning occurred.
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CTE Instagram Square
Urban Institute

Getting the Most Out of Short-Term Career and Technical Education Credentials

October 2022
The Urban Institute uses data from the College Scorecard to take a closer look at short-term Career and Technical Education programs overall and in the six fields of study with the most students. The resulting report examines return on education investment for learners, especially learners from low-income backgrounds. It explores debt, earnings two years after graduation, overall debt burden and how each outcome is shaped by program, institution and labor market characteristics.
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The National Student Clearinghouse Resource Center

COVID-19 Transfer, Mobility and Progress: First Two Years of the Pandemic Report

September 2022
The final report in the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s series shows overall declines in both transfer enrollment and continuing enrollment post-transfer during the COVID-19 health crisis. Transfer students over 20 years old were among those whose enrollments declined most. In addition, community college enrollments dropped sharply, aligning with a drop in transfers from two- to four-year institutions, otherwise known as upward transfer.
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