State authorization: the forgotten element of higher ed quality assurance
- A new report from the Center on Higher Education Reform suggests that states should take a more prominent role in the oversight of colleges and universities, by way of business authorization statutes.
- According to the report, a majority of states do not review institutions for postgraduate success metrics, and do not require certain minimum standards for academic or industrial performance.
- The report recommends states mandate accurate reporting on student outcomes and metrics and penalize underperforming institutions.
While the report reads as a call for the abolishment of the federal Department of Education, the focus on state-level metrics could become a reality for public and private institutions on the notion of funding and performance. As scrutiny increases for elite institutions over endowment management for student access and the federal government increases its assessment of postgraduate outcomes, states could follow suit in the effort to serve as pseudo accrediting agencies.
For institutions with small student bodies or niche missions (community colleges, historically black colleges and minority-serving institutions), putting state legislatures in charge of institutional review could be a dangerous proposition to higher education. College leaders should continue to work with legislative partners and lawmakers in helping elected officials to better understand the industry of higher education and how metrics do not tell a complete story of civic and individual impact.
- Center on Higher Education Reform Report and disclose: State oversight of institutional performance in higher education