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Newsletter Article February 09, 2021

Follow-Up Reports Now Available for Rural Matters Podcasts

Rural postsecondary education professionals and policymakers now have a complete collection of resources at their disposal thanks to a partnership between Ascendium, Rural Matters and MDRC.

All podcasts in a series of four from Rural Matters, titled Rural Higher Education: Challenges & Opportunities, are now available for listening. In addition, follow-up reports to these podcasts, Rural Higher Education: Realities & Opportunities, are now available. The reports, written by Alyssa Ratledge of MDRC, are a complement to the podcasts and summarize the key takeaways from each podcast episode. This includes:

  • “Right now recommendations” that rural institutions can adopt amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and big ideas for longer-term recovery.
  • Strategies shared from our grant partners involved with West Virginia’s Climb, a campaign to improve college degree attainment across the state.
  • Considerations from grant partners Excelencia in Education, Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholars and UNCF for rural higher education professionals who are trying to address equity and inclusion issues in their communities.
  • Information on just how important the local college is to rural economies and communities, especially those with an eye toward innovation.

We’re excited to share this combination of podcasts and reports with rural postsecondary education leaders and policy makers; they play a significant role in determining policies that improve rural higher education for learners from low-income backgrounds and their communities.

“MDRC reports that the podcasts and papers have gotten lots of interest and traction,” said Danielle Vetter, senior program officer at Ascendium. “This is just one example of how we can leverage partnerships to elevate rural postsecondary education and workforce training and call attention to our rural partners who are carrying out the important work.”

Ascendium has elevated rural postsecondary education and workforce training by making it one of our four focus areas. We are also supporting the development of a research agenda that can benefit the field, as rural geographies are often left out of postsecondary education reform. We hope the field can use the research collected through this agenda to inform improved policies and practices at rural institutions. More information will be available later in 2021.

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