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EdPolicyWorks: Center for Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness

Student loan borrowing for higher education has emerged as a top policy concern. Policy makers at the institutional, state, and federal levels have pursued a variety of strategies to inform students
about loan origination processes and how much a student has cumulatively borrowed, and to provide students with greater access to loan counseling.

Growing experimental evidence demonstrates that low-touch informational, nudge, and virtual advising interventions are ineffective at improving postsecondary educational outcomes for economically-disadvantaged students at scale. Intensive in-person college advising programs are a considerably higher-touch and more resource intensive strategy; some programs provide students with dozen of hours of individualized assistance starting in high school and continuing through college, and can cost thousands of dollars per student served.


The impact of “credential stacking” among community college students had long been of interest to Batten’s Ben Castleman and his colleague Katharine Meyer, but they became even more curious about it during the pandemic.


In one of the most abrupt upheavals in the history of American education, schools across the country have responded to COVID-19 by shifting to online instruction. How has this affected the millions of students now taking classes virtually? Batten professor Ben Castleman, along with his collaborators Gaby Lohner and Kelli Bird from the UVA School of Education and Human Development, will take on this question in the latest edition of Batten Expert Chats.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an abrupt shift from in-person to virtual instruction in Spring 2020. Using a difference-in-differences framework that leverages within-course variation on whether students started their Spring 2020 courses in person or online, we estimate the impact of this shift on the academic performance of Virginia’s community college students. We find that the shift to virtual instruction resulted in a 6.7 percentage point decrease in course completion, driven by increases in both course withdrawal and failure. Faculty experience teaching a course online did not mitigate the negative effects of moving to virtual instruction.

Castleman and Kim address the Commonwealth’s shortage in healthcare professionals.

During the most recent Batten Expert Chat, a Batten professor and a graduate of the School’s MPP program shared how they’re using data science to help address the Commonwealth’s shortage in healthcare professionals.

Please join the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy for cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and a conversation titled Leadership for Diverse Communities: A Vision for “One Richmond” with Levar Stoney, Mayor of the City of Richmond, and Ian H. Solomon, Dean of the Batten School.

A teacher with DC Public Schools.

As IMPACT enters its second decade, two new studies from team including Batten's Jim Wyckoff provide evidence that the initiative continues to support meaningful improvement in the effectiveness of DCPS teachers.