Blog

For-Profit Colleges – What Went Wrong?

Mention the phrase “for-profit college” and I can’t help but immediately picture a single parent working two jobs while attending college at night, after the kids are asleep, saddled with debt and no prospects for improving their employment conditions or earnings despite their best efforts. Vivid in my mind are the painful stories of young low-income mothers I interviewed during my graduate studies, whose economic, family, and personal decisions (and…

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Blog

The Tax Status of Colleges: Who Cares?

Across several survey items, the respondents to Ithaka S+R’s Higher Ed Insights Spring 2017 Survey rated Obama administration policies and enforcement actions against for-profit institutions as having a high and positive impact. In my view, policies such as the gainful employment rule and actions such as revoking the accreditation authority of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) for revoking Title IV eligibility for students attending ITT Tech…

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Blog

In New Survey, Higher Ed Insiders Share Concerns about Impact of Federal Policy Changes under President Trump

In May and June of 2017, we surveyed the Ithaka S+R Higher Ed Insights panel—164 senior leaders and experts at colleges and universities, associations, research groups, and philanthropies—about the state of higher education and the likely impact of recent events and trends. (You can learn more about our Higher Ed Insights Project here.) Today, in “Higher Ed Insights: Results of the Spring 2017 Survey,” Rayane Alamuddin, Daniel Rossman, and I…

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Publication

Higher Ed Insights: Results of the Spring 2017 Survey

In May and June of 2017, we surveyed the Ithaka S+R Higher Ed Insights panel—164 senior leaders and experts at colleges and universities, associations, research groups, and philanthropies—about the state of higher education and the likely impact of recent events and trends. While respondents were generally positive about the state of undergraduate education in the United States, they expressed urgency …


Event

Martin Kurzweil Speaks on Quality Assurance in U.S. Higher Education
At University of Pennsylvania School of Law

On Thursday, November 9, Martin Kurzweil and Wendell Pritchett, Provost and Presidential Professor of Law and Education at the University of Pennsylvania, are speaking on "Quality Assurance in U.S. Higher Education: The Current Landscape and Principles for Reform." The talk will be held in the Bernard Segal Moot Court Room at Penn Law at noon. From the event website: The U.S. system of higher education continues to be vital to our country, but…


Blog

How to Assure Quality in Higher Education?
Focus on Innovation, Minimum Standards, and Continuous Improvement

The U.S. quality assurance system—focused mainly on accreditation as a threshold for federal financial aid eligibility—has done a poor job of assuring quality. Barely 60 percent of first-time students complete a bachelor’s degree and 40 percent complete an associate’s degree at the institution where they started. These overall results mask a wide range of outcomes across institutions. As a result, many students, parents, and policymakers question the value of their…

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Publication

Quality Assurance in U.S. Higher Education
The Current Landscape and Principles for Reform

The American higher education sector is diverse and creative. In 2014-15, the sector produced over 1 million associate’s degrees, nearly 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees, over 758,000 master’s degrees, and over 178,000 doctoral degrees.[1] The world leader in innovation for decades, the sector continues to produce cutting edge research and contributes mightily to the American economy. Recent estimates concluded …


Blog

How Should Higher Education be Regulated?
The Case for Management-Based Regulation

For much of the 20th Century, the government relied on a command-and-control form of regulation in their oversight of organizations across many sectors. In other words, the government mandated that these regulated entities undertake specific activities and then monitored their compliance. In the late 20th Century, reaction to the burdens and inefficacy of command and control led to a shift in some areas to performance-based regulation. Under this model,  the…

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Blog

The Problems of Accreditation of For-Profit Institutions
And a Step to Improve It

In my most recent blog post, I compared financial aid data for the 2013-14 academic year with that of previous years. One interesting finding was that the share of Pell enrollments at for-profit institutions has declined by 22 percent since it peaked in 2009-10. As explained in the blog, this decline coincides with the federal government’s efforts to crack down on students’ low-value use of Pell grants, specifically at for-profit…

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