State policy

Huge Problem, Problematic 'Solution'

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There is no dispute about just how bad things are for public higher education in Colorado. The governance structure has been weakened, and, like that of many states, Colorado's budget is a big-time mess. So nobody questions that something needed to be done, and fast, to get the state and its colleges through the next two years.

Community Colleges' Unfunded Mandate

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President Obama, foundation leaders and the heads of advocacy groups all agree that community colleges need to focus on more than access and drastically improve their generally low completion rates. By and large, these leaders believe that these institutions know, whether by research or common sense, just what to do – such as providing better academic advising, outreach to struggling students, financial aid to encourage full-time enrollment, smaller class sizes and so forth. So what’s the holdup?

Whose Associate Degree Is It?

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Four-year institutions tend to bristle when nearby community colleges push to award baccalaureate degrees. In Missouri, the tables have turned: Officials at Three Rivers Community College are decrying plans by Southeast Missouri State University to award associate degrees in their backyard.

No Felons Allowed

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A Michigan community college that this year banned all child sex offenders from enrolling will now meet with all students who are felons or whose name appears on the state’s sex offender registry to determine if their enrollment should be revoked or their admission denied.

Governors Push College Completion

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President Obama has used his bully pulpit to focus attention on the "college completion" agenda like no one else can. But if the United States is actually going to make meaningful progress on increasing the number of Americans with college credentials, it's going to be up to the states -- whose public institutions enroll roughly four of every five students -- to get the job done. And systemic change in the states will occur only if their chief executives -- governors -- get with the program.

A Marriage Made in Indiana

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Just about everywhere you turn, state leaders are searching for a way to use online education to expand the reach of their public higher education systems at a time of diminished resources.

The Role of the Regions

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MINNEAPOLIS -- If the United States is to have even an outside chance of reaching the goal that President Obama has set for college completion -- and heck, many people are still talking as though that's feasible, despite what seem like impossibly long odds -- it will take enormous work, and it's not entirely clear who will lead.

Colleges and the Common Core

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MINNEAPOLIS -- For years, educators and policy makers have been talking about the need to better align K-12 and higher education, so that students coming out of high school have the skills and knowledge they need to do college-level work (and, not unimportantly, to reduce the need for remediation once students are in college).

Completion State by State

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College completion has quickly become a national problem and a federal priority. But the solutions and answers are likely to lie largely with the states, and two new reports lay out the scope of the challenge in individual states and offer guidance for state leaders on how best to bolster postsecondary attainment.

Colleges and the Governors' Races

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With state budget shortfalls likely to hit $180 billion in 2011, the incoming governors -- a potentially record-size pool of brand-new state chiefs -- will have a lot to take on when they take office in January. Jobs and the economy have dwarfed all other campaign issues, and higher education -- despite its link to economic development -- is unlikely to be a focal point in this year’s elections.


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