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The Landscape

"Sizing Up the Competition: Contours of For-Profit Higher Education"
December 2001
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As for-profit colleges obtain accreditation and greater access to government-funded student aid, they are also acquiring greater legitimacy—and generating anxiety among their public and nonprofit peers. While for-profits maintain an emphasis on applied education for career preparation, they are increasingly adopting features of traditional institutions, and the financial and educational distinctions between the two sectors are increasingly blurred.

NCPI executive director Patricia Gumport and researchers Thomas Bailey and Norena Badway have culled much-needed systemic information about this sector of the postsecondary enterprise. Using national data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) and qualitative case studies, they provide preliminary answers to questions about for-profit institutions. This issue of The Landscape describes their findings on areas such as enrollment, costs, degrees offered, student characteristics, growth relative to more traditional institutions, and their potential threat to community colleges.


"A Report to Stakeholders on the Condition and Effectiveness of Postsecondary Education, Part Two: The Public—"A Respectable B"
October 2001
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The second installment of A Report to Stakeholders gauges public opinion er education through a systematic polling of the general public as one group of postecondary stakeholders. It serves as an important tool for documenting how t the American public views a wide range of issues important to higher education, the quality of American colleges and universities, whether they are efficient or wasteful; and the extent to which minority communities have truly equal access to educational opportunities. The report was derived from results of The Household Survey, designed by Public Agenda in conjunction with the National Center for Postsecondary Improvement (NCPI), the National Center on Public Polic and Higher Education, and the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE)


"A Report to Stakeholders on the Condition and Effectiveness of Postsecondary Education, Part One: The Recent College Graduate"
June 2001
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This expanded edition of The Landscape presents the first of three reports developed by the National Center for Postsecondary Improvement that reflect the perspectives of a different group of stakeholders—recent college graduates, employers, and the general public—on the utility and value of the postsecondary enterprise. The intention of the data, concepts, and language in these reports is to assist stakeholders as they reflect on the value added that a higher education imparts. The series is intended to serve as a distinctive set of navigational soundings, proving useful in the same way that sonar assists vessels traversing difficult seas.

This first installment focuses on the outcomes of a higher education for recent college graduates—the men and women who obtained their bachelor's degrees between 1991 and 1994. The basic question asked of these graduates was, "What did you learn, and how confident do you feel about doing the things a college education is supposed to prepare you to do?" Their answers were captured by the Collegiate Results Survey (CRS), developed by NCPI researchers Robert Zemsky and Susan Shaman, in collaboration with Ann Duffield of the Knight Higher Education Collaborative. Administered in the beginning of the fall of 1999, the CRS queried graduates of 80 baccalaureate-granting colleges and universities, gathering information on their occupations, skills used in the workplace, educational activities since graduation, and current activities.


"Resurveying the Terrain: Refining the Taxonomy for the Postsecondary Market"
April 2001
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In the three years since IRHE published a taxonomy describing the market for higher education (The Landscape, Change, November/December 1997) it has worked with a wide range of colleges and universities both to test the taxonomy's mettle and to explore how it might be used in institutional settings. The IRHE team reran its basic analysis, asking this time what proportion of the variance in the tuition charged by individual institutions could be explained by differences in five-year graduation rates. Based on this second look, IRHE recast the taxonomy itself in three fundamental ways: five-year graduation rates became taxonomy's fundamental organizing principle; a better measure of price was introduced to account for financial aid and the role of public appropriation; and slightly different segment boundaries were used to delineate public and private institutions. This issue of The Landscape reports on the broad outlines of this resurvey.