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Primary Finding
States vary considerably in the opportunities they provide their residents for education and training beyond high school.

Key Findings
  • State policy makes a difference. State and national efforts to improve preparation for college and participation in higher education have yielded promising results. Affordability and degree and certificate completion have received less policy attention, and there has been a slippage in affordability and little or no progress in improving completion rates.
  • No state receives straight A's. Every state, including those with high grades, can and should improve their performance in higher education.
  • Each state receives an Incomplete for Student Learning. All states lack information on the educational performance of college students that would permit systematic state or national comparisons.
  • How does your state compare? See the U.S. maps inside and visit www.highereducation.org.

    More Information Visit measuringup2000.highereducation.org
    to:
  • Download Measuring Up 2000
  • Compare state performance in higher education
    To order Measuring Up 2000, call 1-888-269-3652. Single copies are available for $25.00.

    College Opportunity Varies Greatly by State

    How Does Your State Compare in Higher Education?

     
    The chances of getting a college education in America depend to a large extent on where you live, according to a first-of-its-kind report card that grades the states on their performance in higher education. The report card, released recently by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, finds that the state you live in, along with family resources and ethnicity, plays a major role in determining your college opportunities.

    Many states perform well in several areas, but no state receives straight A's in providing opportunities for education and training beyond high school, according to the report card, titled Measuring Up 2000.

    "Despite the accomplishments of American higher education, its benefits are unevenly and often unfairly distributed and do not reflect the distribution of talent in America," said James B. Hunt Jr., former governor of North Carolina and chair of the National Center's Board of Directors. "Geography, wealth, income, and ethnicity still play far too great a role in determining the educational life chances of Americans."

    For instance, according to Measuring Up 2000:
    • Students in many states don't have the opportunity to take challenging high school courses that could prepare them for college. In Massachusetts, 59% of high school students take upper-level math; in Alabama, less than one-third do.
    • People in some states have a much higher chance of going to college. In California, 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds are enrolled in higher education, whereas in Nevada, only 20% are. In Delaware, 6.3% of 25- to 44-year-olds are enrolled part-time in college-level education, whereas in Montana, only 1.8% are enrolled.
    • People in some states have to pay a much higher share of their income to attend college. In New York, tuition (less student financial aid) at public four-year colleges and universities requires about 36% of family income. In Illinois, it accounts for about 24% of family income.
    • Students in some states have to borrow a lot more to attend college. In Massachusetts, the average for all kinds of student loans is $4,719 annually. In Minnesota, the average student loan is $3,168 annually.
    • Nationwide, about half (52%) of full-time freshmen at four-year colleges and universities earn a bachelor's degree within five years. States range from a high of 68% (Vermont) to a low of 28% (Louisiana) on this measure.

    Measuring Up 2000 also finds that income plays a key role in determining college opportunity. In California, for instance, 58% of 18- to 24-year olds from high-income families are enrolled in college, while only 33% from low-income families are enrolled in college.

    The distribution of grades is not, however, explainable only by differences in income or ethnic representation in the states, according to the report. About 25% of the distribution of the grades is associated with factors like wealth and income. About 10% is associated with race and ethnicity.

    "Our hope is that Measuring Up 2000 will be an impetus for state leaders to address some of the higher education policy challenges they face," said Patrick Callan, president of the National Center. "Certainly there is no single blueprint that can ensure that a state will excel in higher education."

    Measuring Up 2000 is based on quantitative measures of performance rather than the opinions and judgments of authors or sponsors. States are evaluated using "A" through "F" grades in five key areas: preparation, participation, affordability, completion, and benefits (see U.S. maps).

    Student Learning was not evaluated because sufficient data were not available. All states received an "Incomplete."

    As Measuring Up 2000 was being completed, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported that for the first time three countries - Norway, Britain, and the Netherlands - have surpassed the United States in the proportion of young people who graduate from college.

    "As the world leader in higher education in the 20th century, the United States will have to work hard to maintain leadership in the 21st century," Gov. Hunt said. "Accessible, affordable and quality higher education is critical to preparing Americans for the high-skilled jobs of the new economy."

    Comprehensive, individual profiles of each state, as well as brief "states-at-a-glance" comparisons, are also featured in the report. Full state-by-state breakdowns and report methodology can be found on the National Center's web site at http://measuringup2000.highereducation.org/.

    Under development for more than two and a half years, Measuring Up 2000 grades the states on education and training through the bachelor's degree because providing opportunities for undergraduate education is a responsibility of state government. The report evaluates preparation for college because success in higher education must be built on a solid foundation in the primary and secondary grades.

    Measuring Up 2000 will be updated in 2002 and 2004.

    Preparation: How well are students in each state prepared to take advantage of college?

    .A
    .B
    .C
    .D
    F
    The United States has improved over the last decade on the extent to which its young residents are being prepared for education and training beyond high school. This improvement has been uneven, however, with wide disparities among the states.



    Participation: Do state residents have sufficient opportunities to enroll in college-level programs?



    .A
    .B
    .C
    .D
    F
    The number of Americans enrolling in college-level education has increased over the last ten years. However, participation in higher education varies a great deal by income and ethnicity.



    Affordability: How affordable is higher education in each state?



    .A
    .B
    .C
    .D
    F
    The affordability of higher education for students and families depends on the income of state residents, the cost of attending college, and the availability of student financial aid.



    Completion: Do those who enroll complete their academic and vocational programs?



    .A
    .B
    .C
    .D
    F
    There are wide differences between states in the extent to which students are completing their certificates or degrees in a timely manner.



    Benefits: What economic and civic benefits does each state receive from the education of its residents?



    .A
    .B
    .C
    .D
    F
    The educational achievement of residents provides states with significant benefits - economic, civic, and otherwise.



    Student Learning: What do we know about student learning as a result of education and training beyond high school?



    .A
    .B
    .C
    .D
    F
    All states lack information on the educational performance of college students that would permit systematic state or national comparisons. Their Incomplete grades highlight a gap in our ability as a nation to say something meaningful about what students learn in college.



    "My message is a simple one today, and it is to every governor, every state legislator, every policymaker, every educator, every citizen in every state: It is important to read this report. It is important to study it and use it as a guide for improvement. Use it to develop an agenda that makes sense for your particular state. As a former governor and state senator I can tell you it contains exactly the kind of information that can help states to mobilize in order to improve higher education and expand educational opportunities across the board."

    -Richard W. Riley
     Former U.S. Secretary of Education
         Measuring Up 2000 grades states - not individual colleges and universities - on their performance in higher education because it is the states that bear primary public responsibility for providing opportunities for higher education. In evaluating performance, Measuring Up 2000 includes all education and training beyond high school, including all public and private, two- and four-year, profit and nonprofit institutions.
         All information in Measuring Up 2000 was collected from national, reliable sources, including the U.S. Census and the U.S. Department of Education - not by the National Center. All data are the most current available (in most cases from 1998), are in the public domain, and were collected in ways that allow effective comparisons among the states.
         Grades are based on each state's performance on 30 quantitative indicators within five performance categories. Grades are calculated by comparing each state to the best-performing state on each indicator.

    For more information, visit http://measuringup2000.highereducation.org/.
    To order Measuring Up 2000, call 1-888-269-3652.
    Single copies are available for $25.00.

    Established in 1998, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education promotes public policies that enhance Americans' opportunities to pursue and achieve a quality higher education. The National Center is not associated with any institution of higher education, with any political party, or with any government agency. It receives continuing, core financial support from a consortium of national foundations that includes The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Ford Foundation.

    Measuring Up 2000 was funded through grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts.
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