CIC Releases Updated Student Debt Data, Research Digest

Student Debt Research

CIC recently released an update of its analysis of student debt. The November 2019 fact sheet, “Student Debt: Know the Facts,” is based on the most recent government and industry data available. As the public remains concerned about complex issues of college affordability and student debt, the fact sheet is designed to help presidents counter misperceptions with data and provide explanations that can be shared with their leadership team, trustees, alumni, prospective students and their families, and journalists. CIC finds that too few campus constituents and the broader public realize that, properly understood and managed, student debt can represent a responsible investment with remarkable lifelong returns. Accurate information, such as provided in “Know the Facts,” is needed to inform public understanding of the true value of an independent college education.

Research Digest

Research Digest coverThe latest edition of CIC’s Digest of Recent Research, released in January 2020, highlights timely and pertinent research from scholarly journals that independent college and university leaders may find useful. The Digest is edited by Matthew J. Mayhew, William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Educational Administration at Ohio State University. The latest installment includes reviews of articles on student hunger at private institutions; the effect of critical thinking education on college students’ unwarranted beliefs; the use of nonacademic factors in holistic undergraduate admissions reviews; adjunct faculty members teaching at four-year institutions; and the implications of pretenure faculty members’ emotions for success in research and teaching. CIC is grateful to the Spencer Foundation for its support of this series.

Annual Report coverAnnual Report

CIC released its 2018–2019 Annual Report in December. The report comprehensively describes CIC programs and services offered during the membership year. 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.

CIC/New York Times Partnership

More than 200 CIC colleges and universities are members of the longstanding CIC/New York Times Partnership in Education. Partnership opportunities include two annual events hosted by the Times at its New York City headquarters: the Times Student News Editors Workshop held each spring (this year on April 3) and the Presidents Council Meeting held each fall (this year on October 20). In addition, members have access to the New York Times Academic Site License program, which helps campuses provide New York Times content that fosters media and information literacy in a format that resonates with students. For more information about the Partnership and how to join, contact Kandace Rusnak, Times education director, at, or Jo Ellen Parker, CIC vice president for communications, at

CIC in the News

Three Inside Higher Ed stories explored CIC’s 2020 Presidents Institute. The article “Liberal Arts Align with Employer Needs” (January 7) centered on the presentation by plenary speaker Jonathan McBride. “Private Colleges Battle Disconnects” and “Small College Struggles in the Sights” (January 8) focused on the opportunities and challenges of private colleges.

The Inside Higher Ed article “Liberal Arts Pay Off in the Long Run” (January 14), quoted CIC President Richard Ekman regarding a Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce study that noted the strong graduation rates and ROI outcomes of private liberal arts colleges.

CIC’s October 2019 report, A Study of Chief Academic Officers at Independent Colleges and Universities, 2009–2019, was featured in three publications this fall: University Business, “Money Management Accounts for More of Academic Leaders’ Time” (November 14); Chronicle of Higher Education, “Why Being a Provost Is One of the Toughest Jobs at Vulnerable Colleges” (November 8); and Inside Higher Ed, “Report on Chief Academic Officers” (October 29).

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article “Chatham Students Connect Generations through a Cookbook” (November 19), explored a community collaboration between Chatham University (PA) and Vintage Senior Center as part of the CIC-AARP Intergenerational Connections: Students Serving Older Adults program.

The story “English Professor to Speak at Bluffton University [OH]” (November 13), discussed a Bluffton University faculty member’s participation in CIC’s 2019 Teaching European Art in Context faculty seminar on “Art and Society in Britain, Hogarth to Turner (1730–1851).”

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program was highlighted in the Thomasville Times-Enterprise story “Former UN Official to Speak at TU” (January 7). The brief details how Thomas University (GA) will host a public lecture by Fellow Rodney Bent, former director of the United Nations Secretary-General’s office in Washington, in February.

The CIC/UPS Scholarship program was featured in the Wisconsin Patch story “Alverno College [WI] Student Receives CIC/UPS Scholarship” (December 12), which discussed the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges’ distribution of the award.

S. Georgia Nugent, Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) president and CIC senior fellow, wrote her fifth “Advancing to the Presidency” column in Inside Higher Ed, “No. 5: Stepping into the Position” (December 18). In addition, a Pantagraph article featured Nugent in “New IWU President: ‘Everyone Is Important’” (November 14).

In a Times of Northwest Indiana guest column “Private College Myths” (December 1), Valparaiso University (IN) President Mark Heckler mentioned CIC research on financial aid and student debt that helps counter false narratives about private colleges.

A column in The Advocate by Dillard University (LA) President Walter Kimbrough, “Real Rivalry between New Orleans and Atlanta Should Extend beyond the Gridiron” (November 8), mentioned CIC’s 2019 report, Strengthening the STEM Pipeline II: The Contributions of Small and Mid-Sized Independent Colleges in Preparing Underrepresented Students in STEM.

Staff News and Notes

In December 2019, the Institute of International Education (IIE) presented an IIE Centennial Medal to Roger Bowen, CIC senior advisor and director of the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program, for his contributions to international education and his role in shaping the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. While he was president of SUNY New Paltz from 1996 to 2001, Bowen worked with former U.S. Congressman Benjamin Gilman on a collaborative effort that led to the passage of the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000 and the creation of the Gilman Scholarship. The U.S. Department of State scholarship program enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad. The scholarship has since been awarded to more than 31,000 students nationwide.

On February 2, Lesley McBain, CIC’s director of research projects, presented preliminary findings of her research on student veterans and other military-affiliated students attending CIC member institutions to an audience of student affairs professionals serving the military-affiliated community at the 2020 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students in Seattle, Washington. CIC will publish McBain’s full report—drawn from a survey of CIC member institutions regarding their policies, practices, and enrollments of military-affiliated students—later in 2020.