Higher Education Report Card For The President

Career College Central Summary:

  • When President Obama took office in 2009, he proposed the U.S. regain its leadership in higher education by increasing college degree attainment from 40 percent to 60 percent, adding an additional 10 million Americans ages 25-34 with an associate or bachelor’s degree.
  • Using government data and third party survey results, we have evaluated the president’s progress in moving toward his “Big Goal” along four dimensions: enrollments, degrees, cost, and advocacy.
  • One of the most notably poor marks comes in the form of rising costs at public institutions:

    • According to Bureau of Labor data, reflecting constant dollars, the average cost of attendance for public institutions has increased 13.7 percent from 2009 to 2013. Over the same period, private, non-profit schools have increased 7.9 percent, while for-profit privates have actually decreased 11.7 percent.
    • The higher rate of cost among public institutions can be attributed to state legislatures’ decreasing state appropriations, forcing increases in tuition and fees to off-set costs. At the Federal level, the U.S. Department of Education has issued hundreds of new regulations since the President took office, each of which has carried compliance costs.
    • The on-again, off-again rules requiring online programs (now offered by 80% of institutions) to be reviewed and authorized in 54 jurisdictions has alone added millions of dollars in new costs. 

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