Condition of Higher Education in Pennsylvania

The Education Policy and Leadership Center initiated and provided overall management for a short-term project that developed a report on the current condition of higher education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The report summarized the current conditions and circumstances of higher education across the Commonwealth, and framed the key questions public policymakers need to ask as they review the Commonwealth’s system of higher education.

Key Questions:
The report responded to five key questions.

  1. Who is currently being served by institutions of higher education across the Commonwealth?
  2. Are there academically qualified students who want to go to college but cannot find or gain admission to an affordable institution?
  3. How much do the Commonwealth-funded colleges and universities currently spend on remediation for college students who enroll without the necessary academic qualifications?
  4. Will Commonwealth institutions have the capacity to supply the kind of educated and trained graduates in the appropriate fields that are required to meet the needs of the Commonwealth’s emerging economy?
  5. How do Pennsylvania institutions currently earn and spend their public and non-public funds?

Project Outline:
The Project was commenced in early summer 2005. Early steps included the collection of basic statistical data and a survey of high school graduates. Those survey results were by analyzed and combined with the analyses of IPEDS, PHEAA, and College Board data.

The project’s focus then shifted to analyzing the match between the Commonwealth’s changing economy and the likely supply of college-educated workers. During this same time period, the project team analyzed the spending patterns reflected in the financial data that Commonwealth colleges and universities supply to IPEDS and the data that institutions receiving public appropriations from the Commonwealth supply to the legislature and other state agencies.

The final report was published in April 2006 and titled, “A Rising Tide: The Current State of Higher Education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”.

The Team:
The Education Policy and Leadership Center partnered with The Learning Alliance for Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania. The Learning Alliance was chaired by Dr. Robert Zemsky.

The Project also was informed by an Analytic Work Team, comprised of nationally-recognized researchers, and guided by a Project Advisory Panel. The Advisory Panel included a group of distinguished public policy, education, business and civic leaders.