Productivity: Higher education productivity is increased to expand capacity and serve more students.


Critical Outcome


Higher education productivity is increased to expand capacity and serve more students.

Intermediate Outcome

State higher education systems and institutions increase productivity to meet growing demand.

Intermediate Outcome

Alternate delivery systems are developed to meet growing demand.

While improving preparation and completion are essential, the third outcome needed to reach the big goal is to increase the capacity of the higher education system to produce 23 million additional graduates. It is unlikely that the current system can be scaled up to meet this need and demand. The Foundation’s priority strategies will:

  • Pilot new approaches to define, measure and increase effectiveness and productivity in higher education.

  • Share learning from pilots with states and higher education institutions to help promising approaches be adopted more quickly.

  • Support creation or expansion of alternative delivery systems for higher education that incorporate new technologies, competency-based approaches and other innovations.

The Foundation’s effort to make higher education more productive is embodied in a multi-state grant initiative. In late 2009, seven states received productivity grants to effect policy changes over four years that can serve as examples to the nation that many more students can be educated within existing budgets while maintaining academic quality. In 2010, those states and others will be invited to join groups that collaborate across state lines on common challenges such as instituting funding reforms and removing regulatory barriers to better serving more students within their means. The Foundation’s work in this area also includes supporting research on new higher education finance data systems and new models for delivery of higher education degrees and credentials.

Examples of the prospective work the Foundation believes will advance its productivity strategies include:

  • Advocate for states to implement new higher education funding formulas that improve productivity, including funding based on student progression and completion.

  • Support research on technology-driven and competency-based programs, credits and degrees.

  • Support exploratory work and research on approaches to expand capacity in higher education.

  • Support exploratory work on the development and applicability of qualifications frameworks in U.S. higher education.

  • Support research on new approaches to accelerated degree programs, and policy advocacy for their implementation.

One Response to Productivity

  1. Stephen Crawford says:

    Support exploratory work and research on more personalized student financial aid formulas (including loan terms and caps) that would likely improve productivity and reduce the risks of excessive debt, and advocate for the federal government to conduct pilots to test these ideas and formulas.

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