- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been front and center among private foundations involved in state-level higher education policy changes over the last several years, and The Chronicle of Higher Education analyzed its perhaps unprecedented influence on state policy.
- Gates Foundation officials say they're simply making data necessary for smart policy decisions available to states and putting the spotlight on academic experts with wide-scale, workable solutions to improve problems like the 58% rate of first-year, full-time students who finish a bachelor's degree within six years at the first four-year school they attend.
- Critics say they're uncomfortable with the Gates Foundation and its grantees having influence in state policy discussions since private entities don't have voter accountability, and that the strategies presented are top-down solutions that bypass colleges and attempt to implement quick fixes to complicated issues.
From the article:
... "You create this whole hyped-up, get-it-done-fast mentality," says Debra Humphreys, vice president for policy and public engagement for the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Association officials have argued that the completion agenda being pushed by the Gates foundation doesn't pay enough attention to educational quality, and that it focuses too narrowly on getting students through as quickly as possible. ...