Federal Accountability And Financial Pressure: A Survey Of Presidents

Career College Central summary:

  • College presidents generally agree that their institutions should be reporting much more information about the career and other outcomes of their graduates — they just don't necessarily want the federal government doing it, Inside Higher Ed's new survey of college presidents reveals.
  • Three-quarters of presidents say their institutions should be reporting the debt levels, job placement rates and graduate school enrollment rates of recent graduates, for instance (though fewer say they are doing so now). But just half of campus leaders agree that it is "appropriate for the federal government to collect and publish data on career and other outcomes of college graduates" (with public and for-profit college leaders much more likely to say so than their private nonprofit peers), and just 13 percent believe the government has a "good chance" of collecting such data accurately.
  • Inside Higher Ed's 2014 Survey of College and University Presidents was conducted in conjunction with researchers from Gallup. Inside Higher Ed regularly surveys key higher ed professionals on a range of topics. A total of 846 college chief executives participated in the survey — a response rate of 27 percent, with representative response rates from various segments of public and private nonprofit institutions as well as for-profit colleges. Presidents were granted anonymity to encourage candor, but their answers were coded by institution type, allowing for analysis of differences by sector. The margin of error is 3.4 percentage points. A report of the survey's results can be downloaded here.
  • Among other key results:
  • Nearly two-thirds of presidents are confident about the sustainability of their institution’s financial model over the next five years — but that proportion falls to half over 10 years. Asked to rate the financial viability of various sectors of colleges, presidents were most pessimistic about non-wealthy private colleges, for-profit institutions, and non-flagship public universities.
  • Just 5 percent of all campus leaders strongly agree that the economic downturn that started in 2008 is effectively over at their institution.
  • Fewer than one in five presidents agree that assertions that a "significant number" of colleges face "existential financial crisis" are "overblown."

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