Federal Program To Strengthen Developing Institutions of Higher Education Lacks Direction

HRD-78-170: Published: Feb 13, 1979. Publicly Released: Feb 13, 1979.

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GAO reviewed the Strengthening Developing Institutions of Higher Education Program implemented by the Office of Education under title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The program was planned to make grants to institutions which are struggling for survival and isolated from the main currents of academic life, so they might contribute to U.S. educational resources if they have the desire and potential.

More than 800 institutions participated in the program between 1966 and 1977, exhausting appropriations exceeding $700 million, most of which was allocated to small institutions serving primarily minority or low-income students. There was no evidence of improvement among the institutions in the program; in fact, none of the institutions has graduated from title III status, including 120 which have received funds for at least 8 years. Questions persist regarding the program's intended beneficiaries, the method of assistance, and program objectives.

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