For over fifty years, speaker after speaker ? university presidents, business leaders, Presidents of the United States ? have praised our system of higher education as the finest in the world,but even as we bask in the afterglow of past achievements a starker reality is emerging on the horizon. For the first time in decades the United States no longer leads the developed world in the rate of college completion. In addition, large developing economies, especially China and India, are successfully educating thousands of scientists and engineers in order to compete in the global economy. At its best our system of higher education continues to set a standard for excellence and research that remains the envy of the world, but the foundations of our system of higher education are too weak to sustain our economy and quality of life. Accountability for better results is imperative, but more accountability of the kinds generally practiced will not help improve performance. Our current system of accountability can best be described as cumbersome, over-designed, confusing, and inefficient. It fails to answer key questions, it overburdens policymakers with excessive, misleading data, and it overburdens institutions by requiring them to report it. The National Commission on Accountability in Higher Education believes improved accountability for better results is imperative, but how to improve accountability in higher education is not so obvious. This report conveys the analysis of the situation and recommendations for improvement. Educators and government officials are urged to implement these recommendations to ensure higher education in the U.S. continues to advance the well-being and prosperity of future generations.