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Productivity isn’t confined to business growth

PBS Nightly Business Report for March 15

Increased productivity in higher education leads to a more prosperous nation.

SUSIE GHARIB: When it comes to education, states should pay more attention to productivity. So says tonight's commentator, Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation.

JAMIE MERISOTIS, PRES., & CEO, LUMINA FOUNDATION: America is home to some of the most productive and successful businesses in the world. Recent government data shows that U.S. productivity is at the highest level in many years. But one place where productivity is lagging is in the hallowed halls of our great colleges and universities.

Now, productivity may not be a word you automatically associate with higher education. And yet, productivity is consistent with the loftier goals of academia. Higher education productivity is about making the system more efficient, more innovative and more cost-effective. We need a more productive higher education system because the U.S. needs a lot more college-qualified people to power our economy. And research shows that the public wants this.

Some states are working hard to increase productivity by paying for results, embracing new course and program delivery models and making campus operations much more efficient. But the work must continue, because one thing we know for sure is that if companies or colleges, don't meet the challenge, competitors will find openings and take advantage of them. And that would make a less productive and less prosperous, nation for all of us. I'm Jamie Merisotis.

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