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Page 3 of 3

Good Policy, Good Practice

  Conclusion

This report offers evidence of a wide range of strategies and policies that have been used to increase access and improve quality while reducing per-student costs in higher education. As with all descriptions of best practices, the examples herein are not comprehensive. Undoubtedly, other states and campuses have developed and implemented effective strategies that do not appear in this report. In addition, no single policy or practice offers a silver bullet to states that will raise the level of their population's educational attainment. But Part I of this report highlights a solid base of experience available to policy leaders as they seek to raise the educational attainment of state residents. And Part II outlines the key policy levers that state leaders can use to pursue the strategies outlined in Part I.

Although the strategies and policy levers are discussed in separate sections, they should be considered as integrated dimensions of an overall state framework for higher education policy, since the success of the strategies depends on pursuing appropriate policy levers. In addition, it is crucial that the policy levers be aligned with each other. Supportive funding incentives, for example, are not effective if regulations prevent institutions from pursuing them. Nor are regulatory changes likely to be implemented if state leadership is not prepared to act consistently, with intentionality, over an extended period of time to build awareness for productivity improvements.

The examples of best practices in this report show that there are ways to simultaneously achieve access, quality, and efficiency in higher education. It is up to state leaders to develop appropriate policies and practices that meet their state's unique needs for increasing the educational levels of its population. In this global knowledge-based economy that thrives on a highly skilled workforce, the costs of inaction are substantial.

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