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State Reports

What benchmarks can states use to measure the effectiveness of their public higher education systems? ACTA’s series of state report cards provide in-depth analysis.

Trustees and policymakers look to ACTA’s state report cards for at-a-glance information in key areas of public interest including general education requirements, cost and effectiveness, intellectual diversity, and governance structures. Students and families can use ACTA’s state reports as a resource as they make critical decisions about their investment in a college education.


Tuition and fees have demanded an increasing percentage of Florida’s household income and saddled many Florida graduates with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. I strongly agree with [ACTA’s] final report recommendation calling for the university system to continue to hold the line on tuition.

—Rick Scott, former Governor, State of Florida


What We’re Doing

Each report card examines trends in academic standards, affordability, student performance, and resource utilization, and highlights best practices for governing boards at public institutions of higher education across the state.

General Education

ACTA’s reports examine the general education requirements at each public college and university in the state in order to answer the question of whether college graduates will acquire the critical liberal arts skills and knowledge needed for success in career, citizenship, and community. ACTA also looks for evidence of the use of nationally-normed assessments to measure student progress in gaining core collegiate skills such as formal writing and analytical reasoning.

Intellectual Diversity

Intellectual diversity is the very lifeblood of higher education. When the free exchange of ideas ceases, only indoctrination and intellectual stagnation will remain. Accordingly, through student surveys and analysis of campus practices, ACTA gathers information and reports whether students and faculty are free from coercion, intimidation, and indoctrination and whether their institutions foster or restrict vigorous academic inquiry and discourse.

Cost and Effectiveness

The price of tuition has skyrocketed over the past few decades—and ACTA’s state reports show how these costs affect everyday households as a rising percentage of median household income. Our analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education reveals how institutions are spending their money, tracks changes in graduation and retention rates, and analyzes whether institutions are efficiently using their classroom and laboratory space.

Governance

ACTA’s reports assess the structure and procedures of governing boards and highlight best practices. We evaluate the extent to which trustees and regents execute their fiduciary responsibilities and examine both their successes and shortcomings in furthering accountability and transparency in public higher education.

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WHO WE ARE

Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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