Higher Education Accountability Act Part 2 Exposed
The Higher Education Accountability Act was adopted by ALEC's Education Task Force at the States and Nation Policy Summit on December 8, 2007, amended at the Spring Education Task Force Meeting on April 30, 2010, approved by the ALEC Board of Directors on June, 3, 2010. The original bill is available as Higher Education Accountability Act Part 1. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of ALECexposed.org in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.
CMD's Bill Summary
This model legislation expands access to public information and requires that each college or university annually report to the Legislature about student and faculty engagement, student achievement, and institutional efficiency. Most governing boards already require a similar set of accountability measures.
ALEC Bill Text
To expand access to public information and be accountable to the taxpayers of the state of [State], each public institution of higher education must annually report to the legislature and in a prominent consumer-friendly location on its Web site, in a common format, the following information on institutional profile, affordability, student and faculty engagement, student achievement, and institutional efficiency. This information should be disaggregated by student socioeconomic factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, income level, age, and first-generation status and should be compared to peer institutions and past institutional performance whenever possible:
(A) Institutional and student profile:
- (1) Institutional purpose and mission.
- (2) Admissions standards.
- (3) Clear, accurate, comprehensive, and annually updated description of the student body profile including, but not limited to:
- (a) Number and percentage of students enrolled by residency; and
- (b) Incoming students’ average high school GPA and ACT or SAT scores; and
- (c) Total student enrollment.
- (4) Crime statistics.
(B) Measures of Affordability
- (1) A net price calculator that enables current and prospective students, families, and consumers to determine an estimate of a current or prospective student’s individual net price at a particular institution after estimated federal, state, and institutional financial aid have been subtracted from published tuition and living expenses.
- (2) Percentage of students graduating with debt and their average debt burden.
- (3) Average net price compared to family income.
- (4) Three-year and lifetime student-loan default rates.
- (5) Percentage of state and institutional financial aid awarded by family-income quintiles.
(C) Measures of Student and Faculty Engagement:
- (1) Average teaching load by discipline (i.e., credit hours taught per student).
- (2) Clear explanations of student outcomes, in terms of discipline-specific knowledge and application as well as achievement of general competencies, expected by each degree program and how these outcomes are assessed.
- (3) Freshman and senior scores on externally validated, nationally recognized surveys of student and faculty engagement, including but not limited to measures of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, studentfaculty interaction, supportive campus environment, and enriching educational experiences.
(D) Measures of Student Achievement:
- (1) Graduation rates for 100 and 150 percent of “normal time” to completion. For purposes of this Act, graduation rates shall be based on the federal definition for the freshman-cohort rate (percentage of freshmen who entered during a given academic year and graduated within 100 to 150 percent of “normal time” to completion).
- (2) Number of students entering the institution through transfer by sending institution; two-, three-, and four-year transfer student graduation rates.
- (3) Number and percentage of students who are admitted to a community college with an expressed desire of transferring to a four-year institution who are deemed “transfer ready” within three years.
- (4) Number and percentage of students who are accepted for transfer from community colleges by a four-year or bachelor’s granting institution who graduate within six years of beginning college-level studies.
- (5) Completions per 100 students enrolled.
- (6) Number of students taking remedial or developmental courses, by subject, and the percentage who complete them successfully, also by subject.
- (7) Number of students who attempt developmental coursework and who later advance to credit-bearing courses.
- (8) Number of students who take online coursework, by subject, and the percentage who complete them successfully, also by subject.
- (9) Number of students who take dual-enrollment coursework, by subject, and the percentage who complete them successfully, also by subject.
- (10) Average time to completion, by major.
- (11) Average learning gains on externally validated, nationally benchmarked outcome assessments in core areas, including but not limited to writing, mathematics, and general education, if applicable.
- (12) Measures of student satisfaction.
- (13) Measures of employer satisfaction.
- (14) Average scores on graduating seniors and entering graduate students on graduate school admission tests including but not limited to the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and other licensure examinations including those for nurses, CPAs, teachers, and other fields in which graduates must pass certification exams.
- (15) Admission rates for baccalaureate degree recipients into graduate programs.
- (16) Job placement rates and median wages earned one year and five years after graduation, by discipline or type of credential awarded.
- (17) By [State] high school, FTE enrollment in public higher education.
(E) Measures of Institutional Efficiency and Fiscal Condition:
- (1) Percentage of Educational and General (E & G) budget spent on operation and maintenance of facilities.
- (2) Ratio of administrative staff to total staff.
- (3) Measures of classroom and laboratory space utilization.
- (4) General Fund appropriations per in-state FTE student.
- (5)Total expenditures per FTE student.
- (6) Revenues per FTE by institution and by source of revenue.
- (7) Spending per FTE:
- (a) by education and related services (E&R),
- (b) by education and general expenses (E&G), and
- (c) by total operating expenses.
- (8) Percentages of money within E&R going toward each of three spending areas
- (a) instruction,
- (b) administration, and
- (c) student services.
- (9) Student share and share of subsidy (state and institutional) within E&R.
- (10) Proportion of average annual tuition increases over five years that can be attributed to changes in revenue vs. spending increases.
- (11) Expendable net assets compared to plant debt and total operating revenue.
- (12) E&G spending per student completion.
(1) Legislators should customize Act to account for and utilize existing data collection systems.
(2) Data requested may not be applicable to all institutions in the state and legislators might wish to account for institutional differences.
Adopted by the Education Task Force the States & Nation Policy Summit on December 8, 2007.
Amended by the Education Task Force at its Spring Task Force Meeting on April 30, 2010.
Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors on June 3, 2010.