Access and Affordability

Enrollment in online courses has increased substantially over the past decade.  Online, educational offerings are flexible and allow students to develop the skills they need to be competitive in the job market even if they cannot regularly attend class and/or are located remotely.  The current, complex regulatory environment in the states inhibits many institutions from delivering these courses across state lines.  CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts, in conjunction with the Presidents’ Forum and with support from the Lumina Foundation, is developing an interstate compact to allow greater reciprocity in online education among the states.

After being mired for years in deep and harsh budget cuts, public colleges and universities in some states could be about to see daylight. Stateline reports several governors are calling for sizeable increases in postsecondary spending as their state budget woes begin to ease.

A compact in the works could unlock the power of online education by connecting more students to the degrees they need, even when that instruction is delivered across state lines. Currently, institutions with limited budgets face a patchwork of regulatory hurdles when it comes to offering their curricula in other states, which is preventing many students from acquiring the skills they need because institutions are avoiding the approval processes in the states.

The Lumina Foundation hosted the Multistate Reciprocity Compact's Drafting Team and Advisory Council on Feb. 22-24 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Advisory Council provided feedback on an early version of the draft in a hearing format.  The Advisory Council met on the 22nd and the Drafting Team considered the comments made in the hearing on the 23rd and 24th. 

On Monday, President Barack Obama officially unveiled his budget for 2013.  As he spoke from Northern Virginia Community College, Obama highlighted the more than $65 billion in education funding focused on resources dedicated to transforming K-12 and postsecondary education to ensure students have the skills and knowledge to succeed in the future.

In order to see robust economic growth in the states, postsecondary degree attainment must increase to produce skilled employees for the workforce.  The need for higher-skilled employees is increasing, yet the United States is not producing enough workers with a college degree to meet the growing demand.  Each year until 2025, 800,000 more college students must complete their degrees to meet the needs of the workforce.  Policymakers and education officials can assist college-goers as they seek high-quality degrees and credentials.  Additionally, policies can be enacted to help institutions increase capacity to serve more students and increase system productivity.

While President Barack Obama’s third State of the Union address Tuesday focused primarily on familiar themes of economic recovery, the president tipped his hat to some new policies that could have a major impact on states, specifically education reform, infrastructure and hydraulic fracturing.

Obama announced a goal to increase the minimum student dropout age to 18 or until they graduate.

”When students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma,” Obama said. “When students...

Educators and policymakers realize that all of America’s students need a high-quality education to prepare them for college and careers. 2012 promises to be another busy year in  transformational strategies in education. In order to ensure a world-class education, leaders will likely address these top five issues facing states and territories (“the states”) this year.

Tens of thousands of Arizona college students who receive scholarships through the state’s three public universities could face new restrictions if they want to keep all their awards.

The Arizona Board of Regents is commencing a review of student financial-aid programs that could result in students receiving aid from universities to meet higher academic benchmarks for renewing their scholarships. It could also limit the number of credit hours covered by scholarships.

With all eyes on the Super Committee as it finishes determining the fate of the federal budget, Congress has been more quiet than normal. The same cannot be said about the White House, however, as President Barack Obama has taken a series of executive actions to promote his own economic policy agenda. In the past week, the White House has announced plans intended to help veterans, homeowners, teachers and student loan borrowers. But will any of these initiatives move the needle on a stalled economy or provide relief to cash-starved state budgets?