Higher education expenditures have ballooned to nearly half a trillion dollars a year, but despite rising costs, it is unclear that higher education is succeeding at its core mission: graduating students prepared for today’s dynamic world.
Four-year completion rates for students at public schools are below 35 percent, and there continue to be massive disparities in outcomes based on race and class. The combination of low completion rates and high costs makes enrolling in college a risky proposition for students. Salaries for college graduates, adjusted for inflation, have remained flat since the 1960s, even as costs have risen dramatically. Employers are also dissatisfied; they struggle to fill positions and express frustration with recent college graduates’ skill sets.
These problems stem from a business model that was never designed to serve students, a regulatory model that reinforces that broken business model and spurns innovation, and a lack of data to hold colleges and universities accountable.