In Tennessee

We called this The Complete College Act. It's not often that our state is a trendsetter, but that appears to be the case as others move from rewarding inputs to rewarding outputs.  Faculty worry that it lowers standards; an easy way to increase the number of graduates is to just pass every student.  But rather than just dilute the soup, and my provost told me recently, let's find out what we can add to the soup that enriches us all.  Is this same type of thing happening in your state?

The shift would end a long practice that guarantees campuses a set payment for each student they enroll. The practice, which gained steam in the early 2000s with the UNC system's "focused growth" initiative, prompted some campuses to fling open their doors.

But campuses didn't always have the resources to help all the students who came in, many of whom were the first in their families to go to college. Often, these students dropped out of college.

The change would tie enrollment growth funding directly to a series of academic markers such as retention rates, graduation rates and how long it takes students to graduate.

"We need to make sure people graduate - and graduate with diplomas that mean something," said UNC President Erskine Bowles.

A campus's retention rate - the percentage of students who return to college after their freshman year - would be key under the proposed change. Each campus has a retention target to hit, and if it misses, its enrollment could be limited or even frozen.


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