Washington, D.C. - A new report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) shows the variety of ways states are using postsecondary data to inform policy decisions around public institutions of higher education.
The report provides a snapshot of the data states use to implement outcomes-based funding (OBF) systems, funding mechanisms that provide financial support to institutions based on their performance on key metrics such as college completion or outcomes for low-income and minority students.
"We found that states are taking a variety of different approaches to OBF," said Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, president of IHEP. "Although most states use metrics related to student access, progression, completion, and cost, it's clear that there isn't one 'right' OBF formula that all states should adopt. However, states must take care to design policies that centralize the success of low-income students and students of color."
The report aims to inform state policymakers by summarizing key postsecondary data measures as well as best practices for data use. It also seeks to spur discussion among state education policy leaders on data-centric practices and policies.
"States should be using data to contextualize, compare, and benchmark colleges' performance, and to build the case for college value," says Dr. Cooper. "Many states are using data effectively to evaluate institutional performance and student outcomes." The paper offers concrete examples of how state policymakers have used postsecondary data.
This paper was released as part of a Lumina Foundation paper series on outcomes-based funding.