The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation has announced grants totaling more than $2 million to nine states working to design or implement new systems that use better data to approve new college programs and review the quality of existing programs.
Selected from a pool of twenty-three agencies that responded to a Lumina RFP, the recipients will receive grants ranging between $100,000 and $350,000 in support of their approaches, which include strengthening transparency and accountability for quality post-high school programs and providers; enhancing consumer protection efforts in partnership with other state agencies; and working with faculty and employers to develop new programs aimed at buttressing student success. Recipients include Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Minnesota Office of Higher Education and Minnesota State Colleges and University System, Montana University System, New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, South Dakota Board of Technical Education, and University System of Georgia.
The awards are part of a broader Lumina initiative to update and strengthen the nation's systems for defining, assuring, and improving the quality of post-high school learning. A task force assembled as part of the initiative recently released a report designed to launch a national dialogue about the reforms needed to "meet the demands of today's economy and labor force while also meeting the needs of today’s students for meaningful employment, satisfying lives, and civic engagement." The program also builds on earlier work by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), which in 2019, with support from Lumina, released a report, Quality Assurance and Improvement in Higher Education: The Role of the States, that urges state official and education leaders to develop real partnerships among members of the traditional "quality assurance triad"; invest in data, tools, and people with dedicated responsibility for quality assurance; and make program review and state authorization meaningful quality assurance processes.
(Photo credit: Minnesota State Colleges and University System)