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ERIC Number: ED539698
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 52
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Easy Come, EZ-GO: A Federal Role in Removing Jurisdictional Impediments to College Education
Sponsler, Brian A.; Kienzl, Gregory S.; Wesaw, Alexis J.
Center for American Progress
Responding to the link between postsecondary education and economic productivity, government policymakers and private-sector and nonprofit groups are implementing a number of initiatives aimed at increasing educational attainment among the American public. By and large, these actions have taken place at the state level, which at first glance makes sense. Increasing college-degree attainment in multistate metropolitan America represents a unique challenge. How should the nation best leverage the fluidity of large population centers with the goal of successfully getting more individuals into and through postsecondary degree programs? States historically retain jurisdictional responsibility for postsecondary education, yet multistate metro regions represent spaces for which state-based policy arrangements are ill-suited to serve national college-degree attainment goals. Rational state-based policy actions appropriately reward residency in the provision of public postsecondary education. Yet in so doing, state policy is mismatched with the permeable nature of multistate metro regions. Labor, capital, and social markets in these areas are regionally based. Postsecondary education markets should be as well. Toward this end, Congress should create Educational Zone Governance Organizations in specific multistate metropolitan areas of the nation. EZ-GO areas would capture places in the nation where the federal government should coordinate and incentivize policymaking to take a regional approach to support increasing educational attainment. To identify and manage EZ-GO areas, an EZ-GO Commission should be created. The EZ-GO Commission, authorized by congressional action and housed in the Department of Education, would provide independent advice and counsel to the authorizing committees and the secretary of education on matters relating to increasing college-degree attainment in critical metropolitan areas. The central purpose of the commission would be to identify and develop policy solutions to jurisdictional barriers unnecessarily restricting student access to postsecondary education in multistate metropolitan regions. In addition, the commission would play a role in implementing reforms and coordinating and facilitating state and local actors. Broadly, the commission should undertake three primary tasks: (1) Ratify boundaries of multistate EZ-GO areas; (2) Advise federal policymakers on actions to incentivize local actors; and (3) Redesign existing federal policies. Several suggestions of where federal action could be useful include: (1) Provide technical support to develop EZ-GO-wide articulation agreements; (2) Support capital investments to build up institutional capacities; and (3) Assist in matching postsecondary programming to local labor markets. In these three ways, the EZ-GO Commission would be able to demonstrate and then deliver on the expected gains and efficiencies to be had from more regional coordination of postsecondary education. Methodology is appended. (Contains 9 figures, 6 tables, and 64 endnotes.)
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress