Financial Data in Higher Education: Setting the Groundwork for Sustainability and Innovation
The American Council on Education (ACE) and the TIAA Institute jointly convened a diverse group of higher education scholars, administrators and practitioners for a day-long exploration of the twin challenges of college affordability and pedagogical innovation.
College affordability questions arise as current sources of funding – i.e., direct subsidy, public financial aid and student resources – fail to keep pace with the costs of delivering a quality college education. Pedagogical innovation, from competency-based education to digital content, in turn, is driving new delivery models with the potential to change the underlying cost structure of teaching and learning.
This roundtable discussion was designed to articulate priorities in connection with these issues, frame the data challenges, and develop a research agenda that can help bridge the gap between today’s increasingly stretched financial models and a financially sustainable future for higher education in the United States. The agenda centered on four key questions:
- What are the priority higher education finance issues that demand attention?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of available data sets for understanding how resources and processes are used to deliver value in higher education?
- What would be necessary to improve the data to more deeply explore key performance issues at the institutional level?
- How can enhanced data sets be used to explore key affordability and innovation questions?