NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED531575
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Boosting Postsecondary Education Performance: A Statement by the Policy and Impact Committee of the Committee for Economic Development
Committee for Economic Development
It is not troubling, or even surprising, that the United States today faces increasing economic competition from around the world. It is easier for other nations to make up ground on the world's leader by copying more-advanced existing innovations, than it is for the leader to move forward by making new innovations. And as other nations improve their performance, they give U.S. businesses better suppliers, and better customers. Economic development anywhere in the world is a win-win everywhere in the world. However, although the United States should not will its competitor nations to stand still, it also should not stand still itself. Yet in the performance of its postsecondary education system, it has come dangerously close to a stall. This statement builds from the troubling truth that a smaller share of the younger generations of American adults has obtained postsecondary degrees than in several most successful competitor nations. Employers cannot find workers with the skills they need; and prospective workers without skills cannot find jobs. There is evidence that the quantity and quality of learning, even for those who earn degrees, has slipped. And simultaneously comes the news that accumulated education debt has grown to exceed the amount of credit card debt carried by households. The Committee for Economic Development (CED) believes that this nation's economy will grow only as fast as the skill base that its workforce--from the CEO office and the laboratory to the assembly line and the retail store--applies to the process of innovation. The most direct way to maintain and grow the standards of living of all Americans is to grow the share of young people who enroll in and complete postsecondary programs, while individuals maintain and improve the quality of the education that they receive. And if individuals are to achieve those goals, they must control the cost of postsecondary education--which has been growing far faster even than the widely cited cost of health care because neither public nor household budgets can withstand current rates of growth. Achieving these goals entails special challenges. Postsecondary attainment has been particularly low among low-income persons, and ethnic and racial minorities--many of whom would be the first of their families to attain a degree. Many working adults have begun postsecondary education but have not completed their programs. These persons need support different from and beyond what is typically required by the traditional full-time student. This statement makes the case that the key institutions that can fill this attainment gap are the broad-access colleges that focus on undergraduate education. This statement provides recommendations for the business community to become active advocates at the state level for the broad-access institutions that are so vital to the nation's economic future, because business leaders know that the supply of skilled, educated workers is truly crucial. These recommendations will help existing institutions to boost performance and become more productive and more effective, while new kinds of institutions utilizing new delivery systems and new business models are created and nurtured by utilizing new instructional technologies and business models through "disruptive innovation" in postsecondary education. (Contains 3 tables, 6 charts, 30 endnotes, and 15 selected readings and references.)
Committee for Economic Development. 2000 L Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-676-7353; Tel: 202-296-5860; Fax: 202-223-0776; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Committee for Economic Development
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; Indiana; Maryland; New Hampshire; Tennessee; Virginia