Accountability in Public Higher Education

Voluntary reporting of outcomes has been shown in other areas to improve performance through accountability. Today, there are a variety of voluntary participants across the country, but by no means are all public colleges and universities voluntarily reporting on their success rate to parents and prospective students.  You will see notable absences in almost every state.  And many of those that have agreed to voluntarily participate have not updated their reporting in more than a year.  This inconsistency in providing information on how soon you can expect to graduate or the actual costs of a public education is likely to make demands for accountability remain a part of this administration’s agenda as it was with the Bush administration.

And there are many reasons for making accountability an important national issue.  The United States is in a global competition for economic prosperity.  Economic prosperity depends on the quality of human capital.  That means that we depend on the quality of education – on whether a person attends school, on what is learned and whether the student has a supportive school environment and the perseverance in order to graduate.

As I stated in my last post, we should all check out the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities website, called College Portrait of Undergraduate Education, to see if the universities in our own state are willing to voluntarily provide information on their performance.

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