chapter  12
26 Pages

Using and Enhancing Existing Data to Respond to Campus Challenges

ByJ. Fredericks Volkwein, Pennsylvania State University

Despite their apparent popularity among those seeking degrees and credentials, today’s colleges and universities face several interrelated public criticisms and concerns. First, many students are not successful and few campuses can explain why: Some students are highly successful, others struggle and take longer to graduate, and still other students seem to disappear after a few semesters. A second concern regards organizational productivity and inefficiency. Virtually every sector of the economy except education has made substantial gains in productivity over the years. Considerable resources are devoted to the processes of recruiting, educating, and graduating diverse populations of students in a competitive environment. Student dropouts and delays in college completion produce costly inefficiencies in the educational system. A third concern pertains to the high cost of higher education-a concern expressed by parents, college students, and taxpayers alike. Since 1970, tuition and fees on public and private campuses have risen on average at a rate that is double the increases in the Consumer Price Index. The fourth concern focuses on effectiveness. Most customers are willing to pay more for higher quality and better service, but it is not clear that our higher tuition prices translate into higher quality. There is ample evidence from employers and researchers alike that many college graduates are not as well educated, nor as employable, as they were in the past and as they need to be in the future.