Difficult changes needed to improve graduation rates, say US state officials

August 11, 2011

At the annual policy conference of the State Higher Education Executive Officers this week, one panel discussion focused on the following questions: Who should pay for college and how should institutions spend their money? One panelist says much more money could be saved by eliminating administrative redundancies, and adds that degree production could be improved by ensuring that students are not taking unnecessary courses. One approach more states are considering is “performance funding” – giving colleges funding based on the number of students who graduate rather than the number who enroll. Improving the graduation rate will mean little if colleges cannot ensure the quality of their degrees, says the deputy director of postsecondary improvement for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)