This week, the Postsecondary Value Commission released its final report and action agenda, which caps two years of work to provide new answers to the question “What is college worth?”
For us, this is more than just the release of a report. It represents an important step forward in transforming our higher education system to make it more student-centered and deliver on the promise of equitable opportunity. And that opportunity has to include equitable value – value for students, regardless of their race, ethnicity, income, or gender.
The commission’s findings underscore that while many colleges and universities see upward economic mobility for their students and graduates, too many do not. And what’s even more disheartening: students who complete the same degree see vastly different economic outcomes according to their race or ethnicity.
This should not be the case in 2021.
That is why the commission is proposing an action agenda, one that will not fix every problem, but one that will put more students – especially Black, Latino, Indigenous, and underrepresented Asian American/Pacific Islander students and students from low-income backgrounds – on the path to a credential that leads to a better living and a better life.
The foundation will pick up where the commission leaves off by supporting colleges and universities and partners committed to gathering and using better data about the value of education after high school – and more importantly – taking action to improve value and make it more equitable.
Learn more about the commission’s findings and recommendations.
Director of Partnerships, Learning and Evaluation University Innovation Alliance
Program Manager, University Innovation Alliance
Just before adjourning for the term, Congress passed a spending and COVID relief bill that will simplify the FAFSA, reducing the number of questions from 108 to a maximum of 36. It also restores Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students after a nearly 30-year ban. Read more from our partners at NCAN and IHEP about these important steps forward.
A new survey released by Third Way and conducted by Global Strategy Group found that while the pandemic has slightly dampened perceptions of college value among likely voters, two-thirds still rate return on investment as “excellent” or “good.” Respondents also said that colleges and universities have a role to play in improving value and called for more transparency from institutions.
The National Student Clearinghouse found a 3.5% decline in Fall 2020 undergrad enrollment, driven largely by a 13.1% drop in enrollment of first-time students and a 10% decrease at community colleges. Enrollment at public and private four-year institutions remained essentially flat.