Report and Disclose: State Oversight of Institutional Performance in Higher Education

State authorization is the regulatory process by which post-secondary institutions obtain the approval of a state agency to serve students within the state. In this capacity, states act as gatekeepers for their post-secondary systems. They are responsible for greenlighting colleges to operate within their borders, and over time they have the duty to protect state residents from poor-performing and fraudulent institutions.

Most state authorizers do not require outcomes data from colleges when they initially apply for authorization. Roughly a third of state authorizers do not require institutions to report any outcomes data on an annual basis. In addition, just a handful of authorizing agencies publicize the reported information on student outcomes for all authorized institutions.

States need to take a more active role in monitoring institutional performance. They should shore up oversight of institutional performance while reining in overly burdensome regulations in other areas, particularly those surrounding institutional inputs.

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