Blog: The Educated Reporter

Lessons from Indianapolis: Higher Education Struggling To Boost Completion Rates

I was in Indianapolis this week for an event hosted by the Lumina Foundation, and I caught this story about Ball State University moving to cap tuition costs. Ball State is offering $500 to students as an incentive to graduate on time, and there is also the potential of saving up to $10,000 over the course of their studies by staying on track.The Ball State story echoes some of the central themes on the higher education beat these days: What are students getting for their money, is what they’re getting worth the price, and how can institutions improve completion rates.

Incidentally, Lumina has an ambitious campaign underway: Goal 2025. The intent is to increase the percentage of the nation’s population with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent. Right now, that percentage hovers around 40 percent. To reach that goal by the year 2025, Lumina is proposing four steps: rewarding institutions that improve completion rates; rewarding individual students who finish their degrees; expanding opportunities for non-traditional and low-cost degree options; and investing in business practices that support this mission. For more on college completion and remediation issues, I suggest you start with Getting Past Go.