Most consider that they must not have done well on a paper if they earn a D grade. It’s passing—but certainly not a score that’s worth bragging about.
Well, that’s the grade Utah earned in the U.S. Chamber’s newest education report, which placed Utah in the bottom fourth quintile in the nation.
The Leaders and Laggards report, which was released last week, evaluates public post-secondary performance across states.
So where is Utah lacking?
According to the report, the areas in greatest need of improvement in Utah are “Transparency & Accountability, Meeting Labor Market Demand (specifically for 4-year institutions) and Student Access and Success.” These are all areas of interest and concern to the Utah System of Higher Education, which is actively working toward improvement.
Completion, or graduation, rates from 4-year institutions in Utah are low, a concern shared by much of the nation. The state’s two-year institutions, however, receive an above-average grade in completion rates. An economy that demands increasingly skilled workers to fill jobs that will fuel economic growth depends on a steady supply of well-trained graduates. Low college completion rates keep the state from realizing greater prosperity, both individually and collectively.
Notably, Utah places fairly high in “efficiency and cost-effectiveness,” placing in the top 10 in the nation. Those responsible for use of designated resources deserve accolades and respect for their hard work to use resources effectively.
Overall, the report suggests we need to promote degree completion, improve transparency and be open to innovation. It also points out the need for better data systems. All of these are at the heart of discussions aimed at strengthening Utah’s higher education system.