No More Higher Ed Report Cards


Since 1998 the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education has issued report cards on American colleges. Well no longer. Eric Kelderman writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education that:

The [organization]… has been the nagging conscience of campus leaders and state policy makers through its biennial report cards evaluating each state’s college affordability, completion rates, and learning outcomes.

But the center, which issued its fifth and final national report card in 2008, will be closing its doors in June, says its president, Patrick M. Callan. The center was begun to focus on a particular set of problems at a particular time and was never meant to exist indefinitely, Mr. Callan has said.

Well yes, but does that mean the center is closing because it’s already achieved all of its goals? It certainly doesn’t look like it.

The center’s reports were a source of much useful information for journalists and other nonprofit groups interested college access and completion. Part of the problem may have been that, while everyone talked about the information contained in the report cards, the reports didn’t seem to spur much innovation. “Policy makers have become good at talking about the need to overhaul higher education but have not been quick to act,” said the center’s president, Patrick Callan, at a higher education policy forum recently.

The center issued its last national report card in 2008. It periodically issued other papers, however. Read the center’s latest publications here.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer