CSG Midwest
A new initiative in Indiana is looking beyond the state’s K-12 population as a means to increase the percentage of Hoosiers with education beyond high school. The goal of the “You Can. Go Back.” program is to encourage the 750,000 Indiana adults who completed some college, but left before earning a degree, to come back and finish what they started. Through a mix of strategic marketing and financial aid, the campaign hopes to attract 200,000 adults back to college by 2020, and help them complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or a workforce credential.
“You Can. Go Back.” is administered by the Indiana Commission of Higher Education in partnership with the state’s public university system, but has also gained the support of nearly two dozen private institutions and a variety of businesses.

On Dec. 9, the U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, an important case that addresses the constitutionality of considering race in public university admissions decisions. Fisher v. Texas dates back to 2008 when Sugar Land High School student Abigail Fisher was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin, or UT-Austin. The facts in Fisher v. Texas reflect the decades-long evolution of the use of race as a factor in university admissions. Currently eight states ban race-based affirmative action at all public universities. Despite the bans, public flagship universities in nearly all of these states have implemented alternative methods to promote racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity on campus.

CSG Midwest
In 2012, concerned about the high rate of students who had to take remedial-level math and English classes during their first year of college, Ohio legislators decided to intervene. And the early results under HB 153 are promising. With this law in place, Ohio now sets college readiness indicators across all of its public colleges and universities. These statewide standards are then used to determine which students are placed into remedial-level versus college-level classes during their freshman year.
CSG Midwest
Minnesotans struggling with high student debt and monthly payments can now get some assistance from their state government. Launched in January, the Self Refi program is the result of legislation (HF 3172) passed in 2014. That law gave Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education the authority to refinance student loans through the sale of revenue bonds.
CSG Midwest
The idea of providing tuition-free community college got a major boost in early 2015, when President Barack Obama included it in his State of the Union speech. The America’s College Promise Act was subsequently introduced this past summer in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. If signed into law, the act would create a new state-federal partnership to waive student tuition and fees at community colleges, with the federal government providing $3 for every $1 invested by a state. As of late 2015, the legislation had not passed out of any congressional committees.
A handful of U.S. states, meanwhile, moved ahead with tuition-free plans of their own in 2015, including Minnesota with passage of SB 5.

In December, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two of its most significant cases of the term so far for states. It is difficult to predict what the court will do based on oral arguments but it is the only clue the court offers.

CSG Director of Education Policy Elizabeth Whitehouse outlines the top five issues in workforce development policy for 2016, including Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act implementation, employment issues for people with criminal records, engaging people with disabilities in the workforce, veterans' employment issues, and career pathways for students.

Top 5 Issues in Workforce Development

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Implementation

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, also known as WIOA, became effective on July 1, 2015. However, the act includes several provisions that become effective on other dates. On March 1, 2016, governors must submit a Unified or Combined State Plan pertaining to workforce...

As state leaders outline their goals for 2016, educators and policymakers will look for strategies that ensure America’s students receive a high-quality education while addressing workforce challenges that inhibit economic growth.  2016 promises to be another busy year in transformational strategies in education.  State leaders will likely address these top 5 issues facing states this year:

CSG Director of Education Policy Elizabeth Whitehouse and Senior Policy Advisor Jeff Stockdale outline the top five issues in education policy for 2016, including college access and affordability, Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, WIOA implementation, and student veterans. 

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