As part of its efforts to make college more affordable nationwide, the Lumina Foundation for Education announced today that it would give grants to 11 states to help them develop policies to make their higher-education systems operate more efficiently and to get more residents to earn college degrees.
The states, which applied for the money, will receive $150,000 each to create strategies over the next year to improve their institutions’ productivity in ways that would be sustainable over time. The states’ governors, legislators, and college officials are to focus their planning on three areas: creating state-finance systems that reward institutions for graduating students, not just enrolling them; adopting broad approaches to reducing costs of institutions’ academic programs and administrative operations; and creating or expanding alternate, low-cost pathways for students to complete their degrees.
The 11 states that will receive the grants are Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
After one year, the states will be eligible to compete for a $2-million grant to help them put their plans in place over four years. Lumina said it would award up to five of those grants.
“We need to take a harder look at how public colleges are prioritizing and managing their resources,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, Lumina’s president. “Current spending patterns are not sustainable in the face of rapid demographic shifts, rising costs on campuses, and increased competition for state budget dollars.” —Sara Hebel