Searching for Accountability in Higher Education

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New America


This report provides a brief overview of the current state of federal accountability and the need for change, and a summary of the landscape of state accountability reforms through funding structures for public colleges and universities. It explores key questions or decision points that must be addressed in designing a federal accountability system and provides recommendations for each, in an attempt to form a set of guiding principles for thinking about the system’s objectives. And it identifies recommendations both for what needs to be measured and how, with a focus on the goals of completion, equity, and safeguards against risk to borrowers and taxpayers. Overall, the report argues for a combined system of consequential and report-card accountability, with the former including both bright lines for eligibility and graduated sanctions and rewards to drive continuous improvement.



public colleges and universities, federal accountability, higher education funding, equal opportunity in education