Monday, December 15, 2014

Institutional Performance in Perspective

(by Marcus Szymanoski, MASFAA Research Committee)

The following post originally appeared in NASFAA Today’s News on October 20, 2014 and is partially reposted with permission.

I doubt you would be impressed if I told you it takes me 25 minutes to run one mile. After all, most healthy adults can walk a mile in less time than that. If I told you this particular mile is the Manitou Incline, which ascends 2,000 feet up a Colorado Rocky mountain, you might be more impressed. The difference is context.  

Context is critically important in many aspects of life, and postsecondary education outcomes are certainly no exception. As policymakers increasingly look to measurements of institutional outcomes to allocate financial aid funds and influence behavior, many within the financial aid community have expressed valid concerns about the potential unintended consequences. A key U.S. Department of Education (ED) official acknowledged these concerns during a recent congressional briefing. To strike a balance between the goals of enabling access and improving higher education attainment, institutions should not be discouraged from serving the very students necessary to achieve these goals.


Marcus Szymanoski is the manager of training and communications for DeVry Education Group’s regulatory affairs division. Marcus has worked in postsecondary education for more than ten years, specializing in education policy and student financing. In addition to training, Marcus also performs legislative analysis and outreach and is an active volunteer for NASFAA, MASFAA, and ILASFAA.


Marcus has recently been appointed by MASFAA President Aaron Steffens as the new Research Committee Chair to replace Justin Chase Brown as he moves into the role of the new Communications and Electronic Initiatives Committee Chair position.

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