Submitted by B Lab
B Lab, a non-profit organization, has launched a customized version of their B Impact Assessment to effectively measure the impact of higher education institutions and improve institutional accountability. The new standards are focused on ethical practices and equitable outcomes for students, particularly among underserved students including racial and ethnic minorities, and can be used by institutions for internal management, voluntary reporting, or to join the community of Certified B Corporations, companies who meet the highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
“The B Impact Assessment for Higher Education allows institutions to voluntarily evaluate, benchmark and improve their impact and outcomes,” says Dan Osusky, Standards Development Manager at B Lab. “B Lab recognizes that the cost and outcomes of higher education, particularly regarding for-profit institutions, have become increasingly controversial, but regardless of structure institutions should put their students’ needs first. We see our role as the promoter of robust standards of industry-specific performance that can be used by for-profits and non-profits alike to create the greatest possible positive impact and serve the public interest, ultimately by improving the lives of their students.”
Created by a multi-stakeholder expert working group in partnership with HCM Strategists and Lumina Foundation, the new standards are specific to post-secondary education institutions and include benchmarking and best practices to enable comparisons across both for-profit institutions and non-profits. In addition to topics on governance, workers, community, and the environment, the higher education version includes student learning outcomes, progression and completion rates, repayment and default rates, cost per degree, and labor market outcomes. One of the more than 48,000 multi-sector organizations already using the assessment is Laureate Education, the largest network of higher education institutions in the world, serving 1 million students.
The standards were developed over a 24-month period, including beta testing and a public comment period—and the resulting B Impact Assessment Standards for Higher Education are available at no cost for viewing online. Institutions can register and use the tool confidentially at www.bimpactassessment.net.
“For-profit education grew rapidly, and this growth was accompanied by appropriate criticism that some of these companies put financial gain above equitable access and student outcomes. The more recent declines in enrollment reflect the concerns that students and families have about these institutions,” said David Bergeron, a member of the working group and former Assistant Secretary for Post-Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. “The creation and use of transparent, comprehensive and comparable third-party standards for these institutions will encourage greater accountability and performance improvement, leading to better student outcomes and public policy.”
About B Lab
B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the Best for the World and as a result society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity.
B Lab drives this systemic change by:
1. Building a global community of Certified B Corporations who meet the highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability;
2. Promoting Mission Alignment using innovative corporate structures like the benefit corporation to align the interests of business with those of society and to help high impact businesses be built to last;
3. Helping tens of thousands of businesses, investors, and institutions Measure What Matters, by using the B Impact Assessment and B Analytics to manage their impact -- and the impact of the businesses with whom they work -- with as much rigor as their profits;
4. Inspiring millions to join the movement through compelling story-telling by B the Change Media.
Further information can be found at www.bcorporation.net.
B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement to redefine success in business. It's vision is that one day all companies will compete not only to be the best in the world, but best for the world.
B Lab drives this systemic change through a number of interrelated initiatives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations who lead this movement and make it easier to tell the difference between â€œgood companiesâ€ and good marketing; 2) passing benefit corporation legislation to create a new kind of corporation legally required to create value for society, not just shareholders; 3) helping investors invest for impact through use of the B Analytics data platform; and 4) helping businesses measure, compare and improve their social and environmental performance through use of the B Impact Assessment as a free powerful educational tool.
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