New study grades states’ efforts at higher education


Associated Press

The old real estate adage "location, location, location" turns out to be crucial to whether someone earns a college degree, according to a new study that evaluates higher education state-by-state.

The state where you grew up and in which you live is paramount to your prospects for education past high school, followed in importance by your family resources and race and ethnicity, say the authors of Measuring Up 2000. The first-of-its-kind study by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, a nonpartisan think tank in San Jose, Calif., was released Thursday in Washington, D.C.

"Whether you’re going to be prepared to go to college, whether or not you’ll have the opportunity to enroll, whether or not you can afford to enroll, and whether you’ll complete a degree … depends on which state you live in and the policies that state has on higher education," said Joni Finney, a policy analyst who directed the project.

In addition, the study found that in every state, poor people and minorities fared the worst in getting a higher education.

"White folks are doing much better than other groups," Finney said.

The states were not ranked or compared. Instead, each received a grade of A through F in five areas: preparing schoolchildren for college; participation of residents ages 18 to 44 in college or other training; affordability of college; how promptly college students finish degrees; and economic and social benefits to the state as a result of its residents’ levels of education.

No state got straight A’s.

Washington state received a C+ for preparation; a C- for participation; a B- for affordability; a B- for promptness; and a B+ for benefits to the state.

The ideal state, by the study’s reckoning, would prepare students for college as well as Utah does, reach the post-secondary enrollment rate of Delaware, offer higher education as affordable as California’s, and see two- and four-year degrees completed as diligently as they are in New Hampshire.

Such a place might then match Maryland, the top state in terms of highly educated residents earning good incomes, and displaying high levels of civic involvement and charitable giving.

Each "report card" was based on broad statistics for each state, largely from the Census Bureau and the Education Department. The most recent figures were from 1998 and included all learning after high school — vocational and technical schools as well as two- and four-year institutions. It did not look at specific schools.

States should check out where they didn’t score well, said Henry Levin, a professor of education and economics at Columbia University’s Teachers College. "I would ask why. And I would ask what is happening in a state that has high ratings. Is there something we could learn from that?"

The study focused on the states because of their role in education, whether financing public universities or grants to private colleges. States determine policy and spending on public universities and colleges, where 78 percent of undergraduates enroll, the report said. And they provide about 29 percent of support for all public and private colleges.

Among overall top scorers was Massachusetts, which got an A or A- in all but affordability, which merited a D. Illinois got three As, but a B- for benefits to the state and C+ for degree completion.

West Virginia’s grades were among the poorest: three in the D range, C for completion rate and an F in benefits for the state.

The study’s authors started from the assumption that Americans now need more education than a high school diploma.

"As we enter the 21st century, the clear signal from the new economy is that education and training beyond high school are now prerequisites for employment that can support a middle-class lifestyle," North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt said in a forward to the report as chairman of the center’s board.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the Cascade Range and Olympic Mountains on Wednesday. (Provided by the National Weather Service)
Red flag warning issued for eastern Snohomish County through Wednesday

The National Weather Service says critical fire conditions are either imminent or occurring now.

Traffic camera shows Everett and Marysville firefighters on the scene of a crane accident along northbound I-5 near milepost 198 Tuesday evening. (Provided photo)
Two workers fall from I-5 bridge Tuesday evening

The workers were in a “cherry picker” type bucket when it tipped over. One man fell 60 feet into the water and was taken to the hospital.

Everett motorcyclist dies on Highway 99

Alexis Hernandez Cerritos was riding south on Highway 99 when a car driving north turned in front of him.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Everett’s rival minimum wage proposals: Second group submits signatures

Supporters from Raise the Wage Responsibly said their proposal strikes a balance between employees and employers.

Components of downtown Marysville’s new stormwater treatment facility can be seen from the walkway on Thursday, July 11, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. While much of the treatment and filtering happens out of sight, visitors of the area will see troughs, left, spilling water out onto the surrounding landscape, which soaks up the filtered water before it makes its way into a nearby lagoon. Overflow grates, right, help alleviate flooding during heavy rains. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
At new Marysville water treatment facility, plants filter out pollutants

City officials expect the $14 million project to clean 110 million gallons of water every year, reducing harm to wildlife.

Everett man sentenced to jail for threatening to bomb car dealership

The sentencing of Michael Harsh comes over two years after he threatened to bomb an Evergreen girls basketball game.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.