March 29, 2013
WI: Committee charged with developing for-profit college standards disbands
The Wisconsin Educational Approval Board, a state regulatory body that oversees for-profit colleges operating in the state, shut down a committee last week charged with developing new state for-profit college standards. One regulatory effort would have required the colleges to demonstrate that at least 60 percent of students who started programs finished and got employment in their fields of study. The measure was opposed by representatives from the for-profit college industry. A leading state lawmaker said the proposed changes needed more study and input.
Wisconsin State Journal (Date posted: March 24, 2013)
LA: Gov. Jindal favors more tuition-setting authority for public universities
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) expressed his support last week for granting greater tuition-setting authority to the state's public colleges and universities. In exchange, Jindal called for institutions to meet higher performance standards with more oversight from the state legislature. Jindal's announcement comes as the Louisiana Board of Regents considers taking legal action against the state over tuition-setting authority. Under state law, a two-thirds vote by the state legislature is necessary before a state agency can increase fees. A state attorney general's opinion from the 1990's interpreted the law as applying to public colleges and universities, making the threshold to increase tuition one of the toughest in the country.
The Advocate (Date posted: March 24, 2013)
Student Aid, Access & Affordability
MA: New state scholarship targets students entering fast-growing fields
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) unveiled a new state scholarship program Tuesday that will award a total of $2 million to students entering the fields of science, business and health care. Last week 800 of 5000 applicants were awarded as much as $3,250 a semester to defray the cost of their college education. The governor hopes the scholarships will encourage students to pursue careers in high-demand fields.
The Boston Globe (Date posted: March 26, 2013)
SD: Governor signs teacher recruitment legislation
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) signed a bill last week creating a college scholarship program with the goal of recruiting teachers in critically-needed subject areas. The bill stipulates that college students who agree to teach in certain subject areas for five years after graduation are eligible for a scholarship to cover two years of college tuition and fees. A new state board will determine the teaching fields with the highest need and will award scholarships. The new program will start with a $1.5 million trust fund.
Associated Press (Date posted: March 21, 2013)
ID: Faith-based student groups bill headed to governor's desk
The Idaho Legislature approved a bill last week that would bar public universities from denying recognition and funding to faith-based organizations that require a statement of faith from its elected leaders. The bill will now be considered by Gov. Butch Otter (R).
The Associated Press (Date posted: March 21, 2013)
TN: Governor expected to sign student groups legislation
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) is expected to sign a bill that bars the state's public colleges and universities from enacting nondiscrimination policies for student groups. The bill passed with wide margins in the Tennessee House and Senate. A similar measure was vetoed by the governor last year because it included private colleges.
The Associated Press (Date posted: March 28, 2013)
VA: Gov. McDonnell signs student groups bill
This week Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signed a bill that bans public colleges and universities in the state from having "all comers" policies for student groups. The new law will give religious or political student organizations the right to define their doctrine and restrict membership to students deemed as committed to their mission.
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Date posted: March 27, 2013)
CT: Regents approve tuition increases
Last week Connecticut’s Board of Regents for Higher Education approved tuition and fee increases for their member community colleges and state universities. Commuter and residential students at the state's regional public universities will pay 5.1 and 4.1 percent more next year, respectively. Community college students will pay 5.25 percent more. Since 2000, tuition and fees at the state's universities and community colleges have more than doubled.
Hartford Courant (Date posted: March 21, 2013)
FL: Governor rejects tuition increase proposal
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has rejected a call from the state’s House of Representatives to increase tuition by 6 percent next year. Scott has argued that tuition increases amount to a tax hike on students and families. According to the State University System of Florida, the average in-state, undergraduate tuition rate in Florida is $6,232 a year, or 41st nationally. Florida university presidents said last year they would not seek a tuition increase if 2012 budget cuts were restored and the state agreed to add $118 million in new state money. The House and Senate have until early May to pass a state budget.
The Associated Press (Date posted: March 26, 2013)
UT: Governor signs in-state college tuition legislation
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) has signed legislation that would allow public colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition to high-performing students from other states. The bill is aimed at addressing a revenue gap left by an exodus of students to Mormon missions. Mission applications have doubled since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in October it was lowering the minimum age for missionaries from 21 to 19 for women and 19 to 18 for men.
The Associated Press (Date posted: March 22, 2013)
Improving Postsecondary Education Through the Budget Process: Challenges and Opportunities (Website) (Related story)
The National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO)
This report offers the perspective of state budget officers it is pertains to challenges in state higher education finance and performance. The report offers five recommendations: target more funding to improve performance, slow tuition and fee growth, create incentives for increasing college and university degree access, improve transparency on higher education spending and results and increase value, productivity and efficiency.
California: The Impact of Budget Cuts on California’s Community Colleges (Website) (Related story)
Public Policy Institute of California
This reports reveals that enrollment at California’s community colleges is at a 20-year low and course offerings are at a 15-year low as a result of state budget reductions. Enrollment trends were fueled by a 21 percent enrollment decline from 2008-09 to 2011-12. According to the report, California's community colleges were cut by a total of $1.5 billion from 2007-08 to 2011-12.