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Higher Education Quality and Accountability

Image of diverse college classroom with students in session.

For most students, higher education is a smart investment that pays off. But our higher education system still fails too many. 

Despite significant improvements in college access and substantial investments from students, families, and taxpayers, our system of higher education is underperforming. We need to raise the floor for quality in higher education and ensure strong protections against predatory practices. We also need policies that incentivize progress in addressing persistent disparities in student outcomes. 

Today, there are no meaningful penalties for institutions that persistently fail and prey on students, and only limited financial incentives and supports to help colleges improve. Federal and state policymakers must take action by implementing stronger quality control policies. Through our investments in research, policy, advocacy and litigation, Arnold Ventures is building a higher education system that ensures students are better off for having attended higher education and that taxpayers aren’t left holding the bag for unscrupulous institutions.

Image: (SDI Productions/ Getty Images)

Share of bachelor’s degree programs that leave students with a negative return on investment Source
Overrepresentation of students of color at for-profit colleges, relative to their overall enrollment Source
Share of borrowers who have ever defaulted on their student loans Source
Two-year colleges that don’t graduate most of their students Source

Requests for Proposals