Wed. Nov 13th, 2019

Utah’s higher ed scores higher in preparation; lower in participation & affordability

Higher Education in the state if Utah received an A in
preparation, C+ in participation, C in affordability, B in
completion and B in benefits from the Measuring Up
2004, the national report card on higher education.
Prepared by the National Center for Public Policy and
Higher Education, the organization is an independent,
nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It is not affiliated
with any government agency, political party, college or
university. Its purpose is to stimulate public policies that
will improve the effectiveness and accessibility of higher
education.

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Higher Education in the state if Utah received an A in
preparation, C+ in participation, C in affordability, B in
completion and B in benefits from the Measuring Up
2004, the national report card on higher education.
Prepared by the National Center for Public Policy and
Higher Education, the organization is an independent,
nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It is not affiliated
with any government agency, political party, college or
university. Its purpose is to stimulate public policies that
will improve the effectiveness and accessibility of higher
education.
Each of the 50 states is graded and compared to other
states along critical dimensions of college opportunity and
effectiveness, from high school preparation through the
bachelor’s degree. In 2004, a ten-year retrospective was
added that assesses changes in performance since the early
1990s.
According to Chair James B. Hunt Jr., and Vice Chair
Garrey Carruthers, the study does not assess the quality or
prestige of particular colleges or universities. “Rather, it
gauges the educational health of the population of each
state in terms of five categories of college opportunity and
achievement,” they wrote.
In the preparation category, the survey asked how well
high school students are being prepared to enroll and
succeed in college-level work? Utah schools received its
only A in this category. Nationwide, 44 states improved in
this area, six states improved on some of the indicators and
no state declined on every indicator.
In the participation category, the survey asked if young
people and working-age adults have access to education
and training beyond high school? Utah received a C+ in
this category. Nationally, eight states improved in this
area, 23 states improved in some of the indicators and 19
states declined on every indicator.
In the completion category, the survey asked if students
persist in and complete certificate and degree programs?
Utah colleges received a B. Nationally, 37 states
improved on more than half the indicators, nine states
improved on some of the indicators and four states declined
on every indicator.
In the affordability category, the survey asked how
difficult it is to pay for college in each state when family
income, the cost of attending college and student financial
assistance are taken into account? Utah colleges received
a C. Nationally, two states improved on more than half the
indicators, 31 states improved on some of the indicators
and 17 states declined on every indicator.
In the benefits category, the survey asked how the
workforce-trained and college-educated residents contribute
to the economic and civic well being of each state?
Utah colleges received a B. Nationally, 41 states improved
on more than half the indicators, eight states improved on
some of the indicators and one state declined on every
indicator.
Overall, 25 states received no A ratings on any of the
five categories. Fourteen states received one A (Florida,
Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico,
New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont,
Wisconsin and Virginia), seven states received two As
(California, Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota, New Hampshire,
Rhode Island and Washington), three states received
three A’s (Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey) and one state received four A’s (Massachusetts).
The information contained in
Measuring Up 2004 should stimulate
state, national, and educational policy
leaders to meet a fundamental goal:
assurance that coming generations of
Americans will have the benefits that
we and earlier generations have enjoyed,
writes Callan.
While the survey offered many
examples of states that have improved
performance over the past decade,
some of the findings are not encouraging.
Compared to a decade ago, more
high school students are enrolling in
courses that prepare them for college,
including eigth grade algebra and
upper-level math and science. More
students are taking and performing
well on advanced placement exams,
and more are taught by qualified teachers.
Although a large number of high
school students are better prepared for education or training beyond high
school, these gains have not translated
into higher rates of enrollment
in higher education. There have been
real but modest gains in rates of associate
and baccalaureate degree
completion, but participation in college
and completion of degrees remain
among the weakest aspect of
performance.
Pervasively dismal grades in
affordability show that for most
American families, college is less affordable
now than it was a decade
ago. The rising cost of attending college
has outpaced the growth in family
income. Although financial aid
has increased, it has not kept pace
with the cost of attendance.
“Every state should reexamine
college tuition and financial aid policies,
and each should formally link
future tuition increase to gains in family
income. In the meantime, the conclusion
from Measuring Up 2004 is
clear: The vast majority of states have
failed to keep college affordable for
most families,” Callan wrote.
The nation’s gaps in college participation
between affluent and poor
students have widened. The collegegoing
gaps between whites, African-
Americans and Latinos persist.
In viewing the statistics, CEU
president Ryan Thomas said, “While
Utah, overall, is average or above in
most categories, one of the aspects of
the study that is of concern to me, is
that the overall rate of participation in
higher education does not appear to
be increasing in Utah. In fact, among
some underserved populations, including
racial minorities, the study
indicates that the state may be losing
ground. Part of this can be explained
by looking at the changing demographics
of the state, since there has
been an increase in the percentage of
minorities in the state. However, one
of the important challenges for the
state is to ensure that these incoming
populations are given access to higher
education at rates that will ensure that
they receive the full-economic benefits
that education can provide.”
In a press release issued by the
Utah System of Higher Education,
Utah Commissioner Richard E.
Kendell said, “It is heartening to see
that in this important national report
in every case but one Utah’s grades
have improved or stayed the same.
Given the economic and budget climate
of the past few years, this is a
credit to those who work so hard to
provide quality higher education
throughout the state of Utah.”
Not surprisingly, the one place
where our grade dropped is in the area
of affordability. Undoubtedly this is
because of the tuition increases of the
past few years – raised mostly to
make up some of the gap in what was
available from the Legislature during
difficult budget times. Utah has not
been alone in this phenomenon, as is
evident from the fact that the ‘C’
grade we were given actually ties for
the second best in the nation. In contrast,
47 states received an ‘F’, ‘D’ or
‘D-‘ grade.”

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