Is federal data a reliable metric to determine higher ed funding?
- Forbes offers a unique perspective on the false logic powering government statistics on public appropriations for higher education.
- By tracking money received by institutions and averaged on a per student basis, there is no solid metric for determining differences in costs for students paying out-of-state tuition and fees, and those students receiving discounts for financial need, geographic proximity or other factors.
- Statistically, low-income students are more likely to attend less-selective institutions, but given their size, large state institutions are likely to enroll just as many low-income students and they are to enroll students from wealthy families.
With all of the talk about increased focus on postgraduate metrics, the federal government's database on student and institutional metrics continues to come under fire for incomplete narratives on the value and performance of higher education. Earlier this week, accrediting agencies challenged IPEDS' metrics on graduation rates, citing that the database does not include data for transfer or part-time students.
Now the database is being criticized for taking a global view of higher education spending, and not on the metrics of which students actually receive which benefits. Higher education is changing at large, but the emerging story which is not receiving much attention is how much of a role bad data is playing in forcing, or allowing, the federal government to change the industry.