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Higher Education Accountability Hardcover – February 27, 2018
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"Kelchen takes a wide scope that tracks the history of efforts to prod colleges to do better, while also looking at the current environment and giving clues about what's to come."(Inside Higher Ed)
"Kelchen’s book reflects a deep knowledge of the field and is an outstanding work of scholarship."(William R. Doyle, Vanderbilt University, coauthor of Rethinking College Student Retention)
"New and proposed accountability measures have the potential to reshape the higher education landscape in the coming years, both for better and for worse. Robert Kelchen deftly navigates the complicated patchwork of the current system, analyzing the benefits and drawbacks, while also providing valuable guidance to policymakers, practitioners, and researchers."(Doug Webber, Temple University)
"Robert Kelchen’s Higher Education Accountability provides the most comprehensive top-to-bottom review of higher education accountability efforts currently available. Robert effectively engages the empirical literature but does so in a way that is accessible and actionable. Students, researchers, and practitioners will all find this volume to be helpful."(David Tandberg, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association)
"Higher education accountability is all the rage, at least rhetorically, amongst policy makers of all stripes and at all levels. Kelchen shows how different and competing stakeholders have tried to make higher education accountable from the colonial period to the present―and underscores why accountability policy is so hard to do well."(Amy Laitinen, New America)
The first comprehensive overview charting the accountability of higher education.
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Kelchen joins Marc Bousquet (How the University Works), Best & Best (The Student Loan Mess), Craig Steven Wilder (Ebony and Ivy), Suzanne Mettler (Degrees of Inequality), Tressie McMillan-Cottom (Lower Ed), AJ Angulo (Diploma Mills), Peter Capelli (Will College Pay Off?), Sara Goldrick-Rab (Paying the Price), Ron Stodghill (Where Everybody Looks Like Me), Paul Gaston (Higher Education Accreditation), David Halperin (Friends in High Places and Stealing America’s Future) and a handful of others for its contribution to the understanding of the ongoing US College Meltdown.
By College Meltdown, I am referring to the long downward trend in US college enrollment and public opinion about college, and a long upward trend in college debt, the use of faculty adjuncts, and system inequality.
Important concepts include the Chivas Regal Effect (people believe high price and quality are linked) and the Performance Paradox (creating a metric will encourage organizations to game the system).
Important policies include the Morrill Act (I and II), the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, the Higher Education Act, the Obama administration’s gainful employment and defense to repayment policies, and the Trump administration’s attempts to rollback accountability.
Key metrics include financial responsibility scores, institutional credit ratings, student loan repayment rates, and graduation rates.
Key organizations in the book include AAUP, ACE, ACICS, Apollo Education Group, APSCU, CHEA, C-REC, Bill and Melinda Gates, Lumina, NACIQI, the three major credit rating organizations, the seven regional accreditors, the Debt Collective, and many others. I wish Kelchen had included NACUBO, the National Student Clearinghouse, Navient and Sallie Mae, Pearson, the big banks, the CFPB and FTC, SEIU Faculty Forward, other student debt groups, including Student Loan Justice, the Everest Avengers, ITT Tech Warriors, and I Am Ai, watchdog groups like Veterans Education Success, and two funding gatekeepers, VA and DOD.
The only glaring weakness in the book is the omission of genocide, slavery, and other forms of oppression that reflected and reinforced inequality in US colleges and the larger social system. But that can be remedied by reading Wilder and Bousquet.