Higher Ed Leaders & Laggards

Photo Courtesy of Get Schooled

The Chamber released a state-by-state report card on public post secondary education. The report suggests that public colleges must do a better job of measuring their efficiency and quality. The report points to seven reasons that completion rates, cost efficiency and improved outcomes matter:

  • Projections of labor market demand show that two-thirds of all jobs will require some postsecondary education by 2018; however, given today’s disappointing levels of higher education productivity, labor economists estimate that the United States will fall seven million degrees short.
  • While American employers increasingly struggle to find the talent they need to grow our economy, our youngest workers rank a disappointing 15th out of 34 industrialized countries in the percentage with a college diploma.
  • Tuition rates have grown at three times the rate of inflation in recent decades, prompting students, employers, and policymakers alike to question how efficiently and effectively our institutions of higher education are using the precious resources made available to them.
  • Students who enrolled in public colleges three years ago now face tuition as much as 50 percent to 80 percent higher in some states—reflecting a model of postsecondary education that is expensive, inefficient, and slow to change.
  • Seventy percent of our high school graduates now move on to some form of postsecondary education, but fewer than half of those who enroll finish a degree or certificate within six years.
  • There is a growing skepticism among employers about whether those lucky enough to graduate have acquired the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the 21st century economy.
  • Prospective students, policymakers, and taxpayers deserve comprehensive, quality data to help drive crucial decision making. However, most existing data systems are flawed and do not provide sufficient information.

It’s fascinating how different the states are on every dimension. Nearly all states score low on openness and online learning. Colorado, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia score high on efficiency and cost-effectiveness.  Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee got good marks for their policy environments.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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