Recent Statewide Reforms in Higher Education Financing and Accountability: Emerging Lessons from the States

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This paper, by Jane Wellman and Darcie Harvey, examines reforms to historic approaches of paying for higher education in other states with the goal of finding and highlighting relevant lessons that California can apply to its current higher education financing efforts.

Historically, financing higher education has been left primarily to the states. Because states have substantial autonomy in higher education governance and finance, there is wide variation in the states in both the level of support and the structure of higher education systems. However, despite their diversity, states have faced similar problems recently because of declining state revenues and a need for greater higher education output to fuel the economies of the future.

Recent statewide approaches to reforming both financing and performance in higher education are outlined in this paper with an eye to finding solutions to common problems.