ALEXANDRIA — Virginia’s public colleges and universities received “D” grades for their transparency and accountability in publishing measurable markers like graduation rates and post-graduation job data.
ICW, the education division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that promotes rigorous educational standards and career training programs for a stronger American job market, pointed out a shortage of easily accessible data that would be valuable to prospective families and the public.
Transparency and accuracy was one of a handful of categories. This is ICW’s first report on colleges and universities.
“‘We realized that a lot of higher ed (institutions were) touting their (incoming class data) and not so much (graduate data), so we kind of asked ourselves, ‘with tightening state budgets and the situations that we’re in, what’s the value of the nation’s public higher ed systems?’” said Mark D’alessio, ICW manager of communications.
D’alessio said ICW staff assessed states on how easily the public could access all performance-based data. The report card harped on Virginia specifically for failing to publish post-graduation employment rates, among other things.
The executive staff of State Council of Higher Education for Virginia — the government agency in charge of higher ed data — pointed out that SCHEV will publish the earnings of graduates by major and institution. But that won’t include what percentage of graduates actually land jobs.
SCHEV noted in a statement that it’s “important to take Virginia’s ‘grade’ in context,” and questioned instead why more than half of the states received a ‘D’ grade or lower in the same category.