Access and Affordability

On Monday, the Tennessee Senate expressed their approval for the Veterans Education Transition Support Act, or Tennessee VETS ACT, by a 30-0 vote.  If the House also approves military veterans could attend state public colleges and universities at the in-state tuition rate.

The country needs a comprehensive national authorization and regulatory model for long-distance education that will serve all interested states, accommodate all sectors of higher education and support quality, Paul Shiffman, executive director of The Presidents’ Forum, said Friday.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon sees education’s role in economic development as plain and simple.

“Education is, quite simply, the best economic development tool there is,” he said during Friday’s opening session, “Postsecondary Education for the 21st Century.” “As we look to a future in which two-thirds of occupations will require a college degree, we must intensify our efforts to ensure that students have access to higher education.”

State policymakers can learn more about a compact to streamline the process for authorizing online degree programs across state lines during The Council of State Governments’ 2013 National Conference in Kansas City from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 20. Drafters of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, or SARA as the agreement is called, hope it will increase access to degree attainment and reduce costs for students, states and institutions.

The longer a student takes to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree, the more it costs both the student and taxpayers. Fewer than half of all students entering four-year universities in 2003 and 2004 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 48 months or less. The Center for College Affordability and Reliability reports the public sector would save $7.5 billion each year if all students graduated on time.

The Council of State Governments’ National Center for Interstate Compacts is working with several stakeholder groups on issues ranging from electric transmission lines, distance learning, and licensing of EMS and other medical services personnel. Find out more about compacts relating to these issues, all of which are in various stages of development.

According to a report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers, total education revenue per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) in public higher education from 2007 to 2012 is 7.9% lower than in 2007 and 1.6% lower than in 2011.

Historically, community colleges have served as an entry point to higher education for many students, particularly nontraditional older students as well as those from low-income households. Community colleges provide general education courses that often, but not always, are transferable to public four-year colleges and universities. For students who persist, the outcome at community colleges has traditionally been a two-year associate degree. Over the past 20 years, however, the line in the sand separating two- and four-year postsecondary institutions has begun to erode. Twenty states have begun meeting the demand for more bachelor’s degrees by giving community colleges an expanded role and allowing them to offer four-year degrees. 

Tim Weldon, education policy analyst, and I had the opportunity to meet with Lt. Governor Garcia, state legislators, department of education officials and postsecondary education leaders to discuss innovative state action through policymaking.  Specific recommendations and opportunities were shared to ensure college- and career-readiness and access to and success in postsecondary education.

During the Joint Committee on Education meeting, we were given the opportunity to share the work of CSG's Deeper Learning Focus...

Democrats in the New York Assembly are solidly behind a bill that would give illegal immigrants access to the state’s college financial aid programs, The New York Times reports.  If adopted, Assembly Bill 2597 would make New York the fourth state to enact the so-called Dream Act. Texas, New Mexico and Maryland have similar statutes offering financial aid to illegal immigrants who satisfy certain conditions. New York’s illegal immigrants have been allowed to pay in-state tuition at state universities in New York since 2002.