Thursday, January 08, 2009

Top 10 State Policy Issues for Higher Ed in 2009

by Daniel Bennett

The American Association of State Colleges and University (AASCU) recently released a report that describes the top ten issues likely to affect public higher education across the 50 states in 2009, accompanied with some predictions. The brief review of the list includes:
1. State's fiscal crises will result in reduced state appropriations for public postsecondary education
2. Increases in tuition at public schools and further support for policy legislation to control tuition
3. Changes in state student grant aig programs to tighten restrictions on eligibility
4. Increase in enrollment demand and capacity limitations
5. Implementation of the Higher Education Opportunity Act and the call for increased transparency and accountability
6. Possible Obama Policies - tax credit in exhange for community service, streamlined aid application, increased Pell Grant maximum, matching grant programs, and public higher ed stimulus
7. Improve college-readiness among all high school students
8. Implementation of the Post 9/11 GI Bill in August 2009
9. Federal legislation to clarify the rights of states to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students
10. Fed & State action to accelerate campus sustainability projects and fund campus-based research endeavors while generating so-called "green collar jobs"
The concluding remarks of the report state:
Embedded in the fiscally tumultuous year ahead is a silver lining, however. Sheer economic necessity will drive greater innovation, through new policies and actions at all levels—state, system and institutional. The need to innovate, even while under financial will lead to improvements in cost efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.
In a related story, CCAP's Richard Vedder discusses 10 possibilities for universities to cut costs during the current economic downturn in a recent Inside Higher Ed article.

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