CIC Releases Updated ‘Student Debt Myths and Facts’ Data

Student Debt Data

To help campus leaders and the broader public better understand news regarding college affordability and student debt levels, in November 2018, CIC released updated analyses on student debt and college costs. The update includes two CIC documents: The popular “Student Debt: Myths and Facts,” an analysis of the components of undergraduate student debt broken out by sector that is designed for campus leaders to share with their senior officers, trustees, alumni, and others; and “Reframing Student Debt Totals,” which explains the role of graduate education in the student debt conversation. Common misperceptions and myths lead to a persistent and inaccurate picture of the debt levels of students who graduate from independent colleges and universities. An understanding of accurate information will help inform public discourse regarding the value of an independent college education.

 Annual Report

CIC released its 2017–2018 Annual Report in December. The report comprehensively describes CIC programs and services offered during the membership year in support of independent higher education. All activities were designed to support the work of member colleges and universities to increase academic quality, administrative effectiveness, and advance the public’s understanding of private higher education. The report is available online.

CIC in the News

The new CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium received significant press coverage in recent months. In January 2019, the Consortium was explored in the Forbes article “A New Initiative Looks to Save Failing Students—and Their Colleges” (January 22) and the EdSurge story “Small Liberal Arts Colleges Are Sharing Online Courses” (January 25). In December 2018, the Consortium was discussed in the Chronicle of Higher Education article “One Way to Set Up Liberal-Arts Majors for Success: Focus on Skills” (December 4), the UBdaily newsletter (December 5), the Campus Technology story “Deal with Independent Colleges Expands Online Course Sharing Options” (December 12), and the edscoop article “Group of 650 Schools Partners with College Consortium for Online Course-Sharing” (December 6). After interviews with CIC President Richard Ekman, Inside Higher Ed published the article “Your Course Is My Course, Too” (November 29), and the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Teaching” newsletter highlighted the Consortium in “Sharing Online Courses” (November 29).

After CIC received a $9.9 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. largely to support the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) at independent colleges and universities, two publications covered the news: the Philanthropy News Digest, “Lilly Endowment Awards $10 Million to Council of Independent Colleges” (January 11), and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, “Lilly Endowment Inc. Donates $9.9M Grant to Support NetVUE Programs” (January 8).

Sessions of the CIC’s 2019 Presidents Institute were discussed in the Inside Higher Ed article “Small Colleges Grapple with ‘Culture of Insecurity’” (January 8). President Institute plenary speaker Howard Gardner, John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, wrote about the Institute in his blog series (January 9 and 10).

On January 7, Inside Higher Ed featured a column by CIC NetVUE Director David S. Cunningham on the importance of vocational education: “What College Students Need Most.” The column provides a strong case for integrating the concepts of vocation and calling into independent higher education.

Staff News and Notes

Kerry Pannell headshotKerry E. Pannell joined CIC as vice president for academic programs on February 4. Previously, she served Agnes Scott College (GA) as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college as well as professor of economics. While at DePauw University (IN), Pannell was QG Noblitt Professor of Economics and Management and served as dean of the faculty and chair of the department of economics and management. She also taught at Stanford University, Bowdoin College, Kiev Polytechnic Institute (Ukraine), and the University of Colorado-Boulder. Pannell has published many book chapters, articles, and other writings, ranging in subject matter from “Creating and Maintaining a Supportive Environment for Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity” to “Policy Gaps and Theory Gaps: Women and Migrant Domestic Labor.” She has made presentations at many conferences, including for CIC’s Institutes for Chief Academic Officers. Pannell earned a BA and MA in economics from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she was inducted to Phi Beta Kappa, and a PhD in economics from Stanford University.

Richard Ekman wearing a medal stands between Hood College's president and board chair
From left to right: Hood College (MD) President Andrea E. Chapdelaine, CIC President Richard Ekman, and Hood College Board of Trustees Chair Judith Messina (Photo credit: Derek Knecht, Hood College)

Hood College (MD) President Andrea E. Chapdelaine presented the President’s Medal for Opportunity to CIC President Richard Ekman on January 18. Ekman was on campus with Harold V. Hartley III, CIC senior vice president, leading a workshop for Hood College faculty and staff on “Debunking the Myths: Making the Case for Higher Education to Our Friends and Neighbors.” The Hood College President’s Medal is a prestigious honor awarded to an individual or organization who exemplifies one of the college’s core values of hope, opportunity, obligation, and democracy.

Katherine M. Whatley, who joined CIC in March 2013, retired from her position as senior vice president in early February. Whatley provided nearly six years of innovative and effective leadership of CIC’s annual Institute for Chief Academic Officers, the Presidential Spouses and Partners Program, and the Workshops for Department and Division Chairs. She now serves CIC as a senior advisor for academic programs.

S. Georgia Nugent, former CIC senior fellow and president emerita of Kenyon College (OH), participated in a panel discussion on “The College ROI Debate” at Inside Higher Ed’s November 15, 2018, leadership series event in Washington, DC, “The Admissions Challenges Facing Private Colleges.”