NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Higher Education Cost And Enrollment Varies By State

December 1, 2000

Opportunities for higher education vary widely among the states, according to a report entitled "Measuring Up 2000," released yesterday by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education -- a nonprofit organization chaired by North Carolina Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. (D). Its definition of higher education embraces two- and four-year schools, both public and private, and non-profit and for-profit institutions.

The report assigns letter grades to each state in several categories.

  • Delaware captured first place for the percentage of 18 to 24 year-olds enrolled in public institutions of higher education, says the report, which equates use with opportunity.
  • New Hampshire was recognized for having the greatest proportion of higher education enrollees completing their studies and attaining their degrees.
  • California was cited for having the greatest degree of education affordability.
  • Maryland residents enjoyed the greatest benefits from higher education.

Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, California, South Dakota and Indiana were called "states to watch" because initiatives there appear promising despite some low grades.

However, the report does have its critics. The National Governors' Association and some higher-education organizations faulted it for using limited or out-dated data in some categories. Others said such a state-by-state comparison is dangerously misleading.

Source: Mary Beth Marklein, "College Hope Can Depend on Where You Are," USA Today, December 1, 2000.


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