States

Report: College Preparation Better, But Access Falling

By Lisa Fine Goldstein — October 09, 2002 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Many states have made noticeable strides since 2000 in preparing students for college, according to a biennial report card on states’ higher education efforts.

“Measuring Up 2002" is available from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

But at the same time, it says, students’ access to higher education has declined because college has become less affordable since the first such report was issued by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education two years ago.

Fifteen states improved their grades for preparing students for college through their K-12 education systems. Those states had success because they offered more upper-level mathematics and science courses, according to the report, “Measuring Up 2002,” released by the San Jose, Calif.- based center last week.

Meanwhile, the report’s authors lowered the nation’s overall grade on college affordability from a C-minus to a D. Most states had trouble in that category because of revenue shortfalls, steep tuition increases, and what the report characterizes as insufficient investments in student financial aid. California bucked the trend and scored an A because of its tuition program for disadvantaged families, the report says.

“States are forced to spend money on mandatory things like prisons and Medicaid, so colleges get less appropriated to them,” said Robert H. Atwell, the president emeritus of the American Council on Education, a Washington- based association for universities and colleges. “Colleges raise tuition. Then families can’t afford the tuition.”

Low Political Profile

Aside from college preparation and affordability, the report grades states in three other areas: the percentage of state residents enrolled in higher education; the percentage who complete their degrees or other educational goals; and what the report terms “benefits,” a grab bag of social and financial indices.

When students get into college, can they complete their degrees? No more than 70 percent of full-time students complete a degree within six years of enrolling in college in any state, the report says.

Though 42 states went up a grade in at least one category since the first report, no state received straight A’s. All 50 states dropped a grade in at least one category. The grading was based on data from the federal government and private institutions.

The center, whose board is chaired by former Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. of North Carolina, receives funding through foundations. Virginia B. Edwards, the editor and publisher of Education Week, is a member of its board.

Higher education advocates say they hope the report will put higher education on the radar screen in the upcoming elections.

“The whole report is addressed to state policymakers; it is not for institutions,” Mr. Atwell said. “It’s amazing to me that higher education isn’t more of an election issue.”

Related Tags:

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States How a Website to Complain About Teachers Is Fueling the Critical Race Theory Fight
It was pitched as an effort to strengthen anti-discrimination laws, but critics say it aims to reject any discussion of systemic racism.
2 min read
Frank Edelblut speaks at the Statehouse in Concord, N.H. on Jan. 31, 2017, during a public hearing on his nomination to lead the state's education department. As first-term Gov. Chris Sununu builds out his cabinet of commissioners, he's tapped some appointees with little to no professional experience in the departments they're tasked with leading. For education, he tapped Edelblut, a businessman who homeschooled his children.
Frank Edelblut speaks at the Statehouse in Concord, N.H. on Jan. 31, 2017, during a public hearing on his nomination to lead the state's education department. As first-term Gov. Chris Sununu builds out his cabinet of commissioners, he's tapped some appointees with little to no professional experience in the departments they're tasked with leading. For education, he tapped Edelblut, a businessman who homeschooled his children.
Elise Amendola/AP Photo
States Opinion 5 Takeaways for Education From Virginia's Governor Race
In an election where K-12 schooling was widely seen as the central issue, Glenn Youngkin’s victory has important implications for schools.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
States Anxiety Over Schools Fired Up Voters This Year. What About 2022?
Election results from Virginia, New Jersey, and elsewhere suggest educators and schools will be firmly in the spotlight next year.
10 min read
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin holds a broom as he greets supporters at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, holds a broom as he greets supporters at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., after he defeated Democratic challenger Terry McAuliffe.
Andrew Harnik/AP
States How One Governor's Race Has Channeled National and Local Anger Over Schools
Virginia's gubernatorial candidates are fighting over everything from parents' roles to banning books. Is this a preview of 2022 elections?
8 min read
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, left, gestures a he talks with supporters during a rally in Culpeper, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. Youngkin faces former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the November election.
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, left, talks with supporters during a rally in Culpeper, Va. Youngkin faces former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the November election.
Steve Helber/AP