College is the path to the American Dream

To keep open the path to the American Dream, we must tackle college productivity and affordability, writes Jamie Merisotis, CEO of the Lumina Foundation in the Huffington Post.

To increase productivity, institutions and systems must find ways to graduate significantly more students while controlling costs and delivering high-quality degrees. We believe that part of the solution lies in performance-based funding that rewards institutions not for the number of students they enroll, but for how many of their students succeed.

Tennessee is linking 70 percent of higher education appropriations to results and quality rather than enrollment.

Ohio’s public colleges and universities have saved more than $900 million over the last few years through joint purchasing of products and services, Merisotis writes.

Technology also can help students cope with college costs.

Research shows that prospective college students and their families still find it difficult locating information about college, and particularly the availability of financial aid and grants. We recently announced the winners of our NextGen planning grants and now six college access organizations are developing innovative technology solutions that will help students gain easier access to information about paying for college and applying for financial aid within college admission.

Employers must help colleges train skilled workers and help workers pay for advanced training, Merisotis adds.