In Six States, Higher Education Is Getting a Tuneup

College courses and degree programs need to be clearer about what students will learn and be able to do after graduation.

What should America's students get out of their college education? It seems like a simple answer, yet few institutions seem to be able to agree on the knowledge and skills students need for success in career and life. But students, colleges, and the nation’s workforce can't afford the confusion any longer.

In an effort to streamline standards, colleges in seven states—Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, and Utah—have joined in "Tuning USA," an initiative started by the Lumina Foundation, funded by both the Lumina and William and Flora Hewlett foundations, and led by the and implemented by the Institute for Evidence-Based Change. Tuning is a collaborative, faculty-led effort to establish clarity and consistency about what is taught on American college campuses. It sets standards for what students should know, understand, and accomplish as they progress toward their degrees. That means transparency about what students will learn in each course and how the credits add up to a degree that holds value in the job market, and it makes student transfers more seamless.

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