West Plains — The Coordinating Board for Higher Education today approved a baseline report that shows Missouri's system of higher education is resoundingly average when compared with similar measures in other states.

The report, Imperatives for Change, A Public Agenda for Higher Education, compiled data for 38 indicators regarding Missouri higher education, as determined by the Missouri Department of Higher Education with input from the state's colleges and universities.

The report will be issued yearly to track higher education's progress toward three goals:

  • Increasing degree attainment
  • Contributing to the economy
  • Investing in Missouri's future

According to the report, Missouri does well in some areas, needs improvement in others but tracks with the national average in most. A snapshot reveals:

Missouri ranks 6th nationally in the number of graduate degrees completed per 1,000 residents and 11th in the production of graduate health degrees.

Missouri is comparable to the national average in the percentage of the population with a bachelor's degree or higher. And families in Missouri spend about the same as other families in the country to send students to public colleges.

Missouri is 43rd in the nation in the amount of state funding for higher education per student. Only 29 percent of Missouri students who are eligible for federal financial aid filed their applications in time to be considered for state assistance.

Commissioner of Higher Education Robert B. Stein says the baseline data gives educators, lawmakers and the public objective, quantitative information about the state's system of higher education.

"Is average good enough for Missourians? That is a decision to be collectively made by citizens, elected officials and education professionals," said Stein. "If we are really to rise above average, higher education must aspire to bring together economic development and pre-K through 12 to move education forward in Missouri. Imperatives for Change is a dynamic tool that can help tear down silos to improve education and prosperity for all citizens."

The baseline report for Imperatives for Change is available on the MDHE Website at: