Paul L. Caron
Dean


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

State Support for Higher Education Has No Correlation With College Quality

Interesting article in today's Chronicle of Higher Education:  State Support for Higher Education Has "No Correlation" With College Quality, Report Says, by Anne K. Walters:

Public colleges in states that spend a lot of money on higher education aren't necessarily better than colleges in states that provide them with meager support, according to a report that ranks states based on an analysis of their higher-education budgets and the performance of their colleges. The report, which was prepared by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, attempts to answer the age-old question in debates over state financing of higher education: Does more money equal better quality? The report, A New Look at the Institutional Component of Higher Education Finance: A Guide for Evaluating Performance Relative to Financial Resources [by Patrick J. Kelly & Dennis P. Jones] compares state funds for higher education in each state with colleges' performance in a variety of areas, including graduation and participation rates. The report concludes that education can succeed even when state support falls.

Here are the Top 10 and Top 10 rankings for "performance relative to funding" for both state higher educations systems as a whole and public research institutions:

Rank

State Higher Education Systems

Public Research Institutions

1

Utah

Colorado

2

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

3

Colorado

California

4

California

Wisconsin

5

North Dakota

Georgia

6

Maryland

New Jersey

7

Rhode Island

Texas

8

Iowa

Washington

9

Arizona

Virginia

10

Virginia

Nebraska

41

Wyoming

Kentucky

42

Louisiana

Arkansas

43

South Carolina

West Virginia

44

Arkansas

Idaho

45

Kentucky

Maine

46

Vermont

Tennessee

47

Hawaii

Wyoming

48

West Virginia

Alaska

49

Maine

Hawaii

50

Alaska

Vermont

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2006/01/state_support_f.html

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Comments

The study uses the wrong measure of performance. Rather than looking at institutional prestige, they should be looking at the percentage of high school graduates in the state who go to college. By this measure, states with low levels of higher education, like Colorado, are adject failures. Many states that fund higher education rather better, generate more college graduates.

The primary purpose of state aid to higher education is to subsidize tuition for in state students.

In the same way, one wouldn't expect there to b e a relationship between the amount of a state's spending on health care (predominantly Medicaid) and the quality of its research hospitals.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Jan 19, 2006 8:55:54 AM