High-quality and equitable education opportunities, ranging across early childhood, K-12, technical education, higher education and apprenticeships, are pivotal for the economic prospects of working people and their children.  Disparities in education funding and the resulting inequities in the programs and services provided to children and adults of different incomes and races can determine the earning potential for someone’s entire life.  EARN groups analyze how state and local school taxes are raised and how education funding is parceled out, showing the impact of current education policies and suggesting reforms that can improve educational outcomes and economic conditions for working families.


Reverse Credit Transfer: A Completion Strategy that Indiana’s Earned

At a time when Indiana is falling short of its higher education completion goals and the proportion of Hoosiers with some college but no degree exacerbates the skills gap, an education process called ‘reverse credit transfer’ can help address both needs. This strategy would award associate’s degrees to students who have earned all the right credits but who missed out on a diploma after transferring from community college to a four-year university.

This report finds that over half of the students who transfer from Indiana’s community colleges to four-year universities have no degree after six years. Meanwhile, there are almost 890,000 Hoosiers with some college education, but no degree to show for it, including over 600,000 with a year or more of studies. At the same time, only 33.8 percent of Indiana’s working population has at least an associate’s degree, well short of its goal of 60 percent attainment by 2025. These Hoosiers are often stuck in low-skill, low-wage jobs, and are the target population for reverse credit transfer.

Earning an associate’s degree through reverse credit transfer would benefit Indiana’s students, employers and the state. Students with an associate’s degree earn an average $5,000 more per year than those with some college education, but no degree, and are nearly a third less likely to be unemployed. Going along with increased personal earnings, for every Hoosier who earns a degree through reverse credit transfer, the state stands to gain $292 per year in increased revenues. If Indiana can convert a third of its ‘some college, no degree’ population to associates degrees through reverse credit transfer, the state stands to gain an additional $59,259,356 each year.

While a dozen other states have received grants of up to $500,000 to implement reverse credit transfer programs, Indiana has been left behind because to date the state has not articulated a cohesive statewide plan. This has become an issue of competitiveness, as states and neighbors such as Ohio have used reverse credit transfer to advance their ‘number one priority’ of college completion.
The report makes six recommendations for Indiana to create a reverse credit transfer program and to become competitive for potential grants: 1. incorporate a coordinated reverse credit transfer program into the state’s existing completion strategy; 2. cast the widest net possible to get degrees for the most students possible; 3. scale up to a statewide approach that includes as many majors and degree pathways as possible; 4. reach back and boost completion by including ‘near completers’ from previous years; 5. communicate effectively and keep student costs to a minimum; and 6. use best practices from other states to Indiana’s benefit.

The New York State DREAM Legislation: A strong return on investment

A proposal is gaining ground in New York State that would allow all students—including those who are undocumented immigrants—equal access to the state’s Tuition Assistance Program. Last year, the Fiscal Policy Institute published an analysis of the costs and benefits of the proposal. This report digs deeper into the fiscal and economic benefits to New York State, and shows that if the proposal were financed through the income tax the cost to a typical taxpayer would be 87¢, the price of a donut.

The Cost of Admission: Higher Education in Kansas

  • February 1, 2013
  • Staff Report

After years of declining state investment in higher education due to failed tax policy, Kansas college students incur higher debt and reduced economic prospects.

In the past, college was the ticket to a bright future. Each year of education after high school increases earning potential and opens the door to more stable, rewarding careers. Furthermore, education
beyond high school increases opportunity and cultivates a skilled workforce vital to a thriving Kansas economy, making the state more attractive to businesses and families.