Spellings Panel Spurred Progress in Some Key Areas but Failed to Remake American Higher Education

5 years after release of a report on the future of colleges, experts note improvements in access and accountability

Margaret Spellings v2

Brendan Smalowski for The Chronicle

Margaret Spellings

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close Margaret Spellings v2

Brendan Smalowski for The Chronicle

Margaret Spellings

Five years ago from Monday, Secretary Margaret Spellings's Commission on the Future of Higher Education issued a report that called on colleges to "improve in dramatic ways," becoming more accessible, more affordable, and more accountable to taxpayers and students.

At the time, James B. Hunt Jr., a commissioner and former governor of North Carolina, proclaimed the document "one of the most important reports in the educational and economic history of our country— if we act on