Linking funding to colleges’ graduation rates

October 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm 3 comments

I’m all for improving retention and success rates, but I found the rhetoric here a little surprising.  We owe students graduation because “we take students’ money”?  Do they pay for graduation, or do they pay for admission and the opportunity?  Clearly, the chairman is right that we have “a moral and ethical obligation to do everything we possibly can to help them graduate.”  But is it because we take their money?

In any case, the Board of Regents in Georgia is making it all about the money.  Funding may be linked to graduation rates in Georgia.

“Let’s be honest, that is an embarrassment,” said Willis Potts, chairman of the State Board of Regents. “If we take students’ money we have a moral and ethical obligation to do everything we possibly can to help them graduate. We haven’t been doing that.”

The regents ordered each college president to explain where their campuses struggle. They had to develop improvement plans, with most calling on graduation rates to improve by 1 percent a year over the next three years. The regents approved those plans earlier this month.

Potts said the next step is to research linking campus funding and presidential compensation to how well colleges meet their  goals.

via Georgia colleges’ graduation rates unsatisfactory  | ajc.com.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Briana Morrison  |  October 28, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I have no problem linking the money to graduation rates, as long as we can actually define (and statistically defend) the graduation rates. Currently the only thing the Board of Regents is looking at is first-time, full-time freshmen. I believe this is the reason that the Georgia Tech and UGA rates reported are so much higher than the other USG schools. Tech and UGA get the bulk of the first-time, full-time freshmen, while the rest of the schools deal with part-time students and transfers. These are not currently in the measurements, yet, for SPSU, these are the majority of our students.

    Reply
  • 2. Aaron Lanterman  |  November 1, 2010 at 1:22 am

    This is pretty scary.

    A friend of mine spent a year teaching at a university in Singapore. She was constantly berated by the administration for fighting against their “zero defect” policy – basically, she wasn’t allowed to flunk people no matter how little work they did.

    Reply
  • 3. Bijan Parsia  |  November 1, 2010 at 7:13 am

    There’s scary and non scary aspects.

    There are clear cases where a low graduation rate is an indicator of a problem: E.g., systematically admitting people who do not have a realistic chance of graduating. I think it *is* wrong to admit people, take their money (and years of their lives), when there is no reasonable belief that they will graduate (at least in US/UK style systems; in other systems arranged differently, e.g., with an open admissions policy, a high failure rate might make sense).

    Scary aspects include admin pressure to lower evaluative standards and the substitution of “graduating” for ‘learning” as the key goal.

    Reply

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