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What's Got MDC Buzzing?

What's Got MDC Buzzing?

Here's what got MDC buzzing this week:

  • The U.S. Census Bureau released a report on the supplemental poverty measure, an expanded version of the official poverty measure that includes benefits from many government programs designed to assist low-income individuals and families. Based on this expanded measures, the poverty rate in 2011 was 16.1 percent; that’s higher than the 15 percent rate calculated with the official measure. The report notes that neither the supplemental nor official measure was significantly different than 2010 rates. For dataheads out there, the report also includes state-level supplemental poverty estimates for the first time.
  • Inside Higher Ed has a great summary of a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center on college completion rates. By shifting the focus to students, the new report captures successful transfers and includes part-time students, which means a more accurate picture of community college completion rates. According to the report, 75 percent of full-time students complete college within six years—that’s higher than other published figures, but represents “near-census national coverage.”
  • Here’s another Inside Higher Ed article you ought to read: In “Money on the Mind,” Allie Grasgreen has the run down on new National Survey of Student Engagement data about how finances affect students’ academic activity. “Not surprising, but worrisome,” is the way the survey director described it. Indeed:
  • About 60 percent of full-time seniors who work more than 20 hours per week said it interfered with their academic performance
  • About 60 percent also said they frequently looked into working more hours to cover costs
  • 32 percent of first-year students and 36 percent of seniors said financial concerns interfered with their academic performance
  • 27 percent of freshmen and 34 percent of seniors said they “often” or “very often” chose not to purchase required academic materials because of the cost
  • For MDC’s response to these issues, read about our Financial Empowerment Strategies for Student Success initiative here.
  • Byron Pitts and the 60 Minutes crew looked at the skills gap: 3 million openings, but employers are having difficulty finding qualified applicants. Who’s got the answer on this one?