New Report Examines Game Changers for Improving Utah’s Below Average College Graduation Rates

The Utah Foundation released Steps Forward in Higher Ed: Success Measures, Game Changers, and Performance-based Funding in Utah today. The report, commissioned by the business community, examines Utah’s higher education system, including success measures, barriers to reaching them, costs of failure and potential game changers for increasing graduation rates. Highlights of the report include:

  • Utah’s public four-year institutions have slightly lower graduation rates than the nation
  • Utah’s graduation rate delay is not due to the “missionary effect” or military service
  • Utah’s public two-year institutions have higher completion rates than the nation
  • The cost of educating students has not increased in the past 20 years; there is simply a cost shift from the government to students
  • Nationally, the post-secondary education access agenda has shifted to include a completion agenda
  • Half of the states have begun to employ performance funding to affect completion rates
  • Utah directs less than 0.1% of higher education funds to performance funding

Based on the report findings, Utah Foundation shares four key lessons for Utahns to consider when developing the state’s higher education future.

Success in higher education is a critical part of a prosperous future for Utahns. One of the goals of Prosperity Through Education, the 5-Year Plan, is for a higher number of Utahns to earn postsecondary degrees and certificates. Utah Foundation’s report is a tool to facilitate discussion and planning for Utah’s higher education system.

Find the complete report at