[House Hearing, 112 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
KEEPING COLLEGE WITHIN REACH:
EXPLORING STATE EFFORTS TO CURB COSTS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION
AND WORKFORCE TRAINING
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
AND THE WORKFORCE
U.S. House of Representatives
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, JULY 18, 2012
Serial No. 112-65
Printed for the use of the Committee on Education and the Workforce
Available via the World Wide Web:
Committee address: http://edworkforce.house.gov
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COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota, Chairman
Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin George Miller, California,
Howard P. ``Buck'' McKeon, Senior Democratic Member
California Dale E. Kildee, Michigan
Judy Biggert, Illinois Robert E. Andrews, New Jersey
Todd Russell Platts, Pennsylvania Robert C. ``Bobby'' Scott,
Joe Wilson, South Carolina Virginia
Virginia Foxx, North Carolina Lynn C. Woolsey, California
Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Ruben Hinojosa, Texas
Duncan Hunter, California Carolyn McCarthy, New York
David P. Roe, Tennessee John F. Tierney, Massachusetts
Glenn Thompson, Pennsylvania Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio
Tim Walberg, Michigan Rush D. Holt, New Jersey
Scott DesJarlais, Tennessee Susan A. Davis, California
Richard L. Hanna, New York Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona
Todd Rokita, Indiana Timothy H. Bishop, New York
Larry Bucshon, Indiana David Loebsack, Iowa
Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Mazie K. Hirono, Hawaii
Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania
Kristi L. Noem, South Dakota Marcia L. Fudge, Ohio
Martha Roby, Alabama
Joseph J. Heck, Nevada
Dennis A. Ross, Florida
Mike Kelly, Pennsylvania
Barrett Karr, Staff Director
Jody Calemine, Minority Staff Director
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE TRAINING
VIRGINIA FOXX, North Carolina, Chairwoman
John Kline, Minnesota Ruben Hinojosa, Texas
Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin Ranking Minority Member
Howard P. ``Buck'' McKeon, John F. Tierney, Massachusetts
California Timothy H. Bishop, New York
Judy Biggert, Illinois Robert E. Andrews, New Jersey
Todd Russell Platts, Pennsylvania Susan A. Davis, California
David P. Roe, Tennessee Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona
Glenn Thompson, Pennsylvania David Loebsack, Iowa
Richard L. Hanna, New York George Miller, California
Larry Bucshon, Indiana Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania
Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania
Joseph J. Heck, Nevada
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held on July 18, 2012.................................... 1
Statement of Members:
Foxx, Hon. Virginia, Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Higher
Education and Workforce Training........................... 1
Prepared statement of.................................... 3
Hinojosa, Hon. Ruben, ranking minority member, Subcommittee
on Higher Education and Workforce Training................. 4
Prepared statement of.................................... 5
Statement of Witnesses:
Jones, Stan, president, Complete College America............. 26
Prepared statement of.................................... 28
Lubbers, Teresa, commissioner, Indiana Commission for Higher
Prepared statement of.................................... 18
May, Dr. Joe D., president, Louisiana Community and Technical
College System............................................. 33
Prepared statement of.................................... 34
Pattison, Scott D., executive director, National Association
of State Budget Officers (NASBO)........................... 9
Prepared statement of.................................... 10
Barletta, Hon. Lou, a Representative in Congress from the
State of Pennsylvania, questions submitted for the record:
To Ms. Lubbers........................................... 58
To Dr. May............................................... 62
To Mr. Pattison.......................................... 66
Prepared Statement of John Ebersole, LPD, president,
Excelsior College...................................... 6
Questions submitted for the record:
To Ms. Lubbers....................................... 58
To Dr. May........................................... 62
To Mr. Pattison...................................... 66
Kline, Hon. John, Chairman, Committee on Education and the
Workforce, questions submitted for the record:
To Ms. Lubbers........................................... 58
To Mr. Pattison.......................................... 66
Ms. Lubbers' response to questions submitted for the record.. 59
Dr. May's response to questions submitted for the record..... 63
Mr. Pattison's response to questions submitted for the record 67
KEEPING COLLEGE WITHIN REACH: EXPLORING STATE EFFORTS TO CURB COSTS
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
U.S. House of Representatives
Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training
Committee on Education and the Workforce
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m. in
Room 2175, Rayburn, Hon. Virginia Foxx [chairwoman of the
Present: Representatives Foxx, Biggert, Roe, Thompson,
Bucshon, Heck, Hinojosa, Bishop, Miller, and Altmire.
Staff Present: Katherine Bathgate, Deputy Press Secretary;
James Bergeron, Director of Education and Human Services
Policy; Adam Bennot, Press Assistant; Casey Buboltz, Coalitions
and Member Services Coordinator; Heather Couri, Deputy Director
of Education and Human Services Policy; Cristin Datch,
Professional Staff Member; Amy Raaf Jones, Education Policy/
Counsel and Senior Advisor; Barrett Karr, Staff Director; Brian
Melnyk, Legislative Assistant; Krisann Pearce, General Counsel;
Dan Shorts, Legislative Assistant; Alex Sollberger,
Communications Director; Linda Stevens, Chief Clerk/Assistant
to the General Counsel; Alissa Strawcutter, Deputy Clerk;
Tylease Alli, Minority Clerk; Kelly Broughan, Minority Staff
Assistant; Daniel Brown, Minority Policy Associate; Jody
Calemine, Minority Staff Director; Ruth Friedman, Minority
Director of Education Policy; Megan O'Reilly, Minority General
Counsel; and Julie Peller, Minority Deputy Staff Director.
Chairwoman Foxx. A quorum being present, the subcommittee
will come to order.
Good morning and welcome to our subcommittee hearing. We
are fortunate to have a distinguished panel of higher education
experts here today, and I would like to thank these witnesses
for joining us.
In recent months, the issue of rising college costs has
shifted to the forefront of our national discourse, and rightly
so, as millions of young people struggle to manage school debt
and to find job opportunities in the lagging economy. Annual
tuition and fees at public universities have increased 72
percent since 2001, and the cost of private institutions and 2-
year degree programs have similarly increased. Meanwhile, the
student debt load recently surpassed $1 trillion, exceeding
total outstanding credit card debt for the first time in
Clearly there is a problem that needs to be addressed, but
it cannot be solved solely at the federal level with Washington
bureaucrats acting as master puppeteers. That has been tried
over the last decade, and it hasn't worked. Federal support for
higher education increased 155 percent over the last 10 years,
yet tuition has continued to rise. In these fiscally
challenging times, if government subsidies aren't producing
more affordable education in the current system, we cannot just
keep writing bigger checks. Instead, we need to look to States
and postsecondary institutions for creative solutions to the
college cost conundrum.
In a previous hearing, this subcommittee explored ways some
colleges and universities are working to streamline costs and
reduce the burden for students. Grace College and Seminary
President Dr. Ronald Manahan described the value of accelerated
degree programs that allow students to graduate in less time.
Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster explained how his
school's innovative work study program has been beneficial to
students and the school's bottom line.
Today, we will learn about State-led initiatives to tackle
the college cost problem. As our economy continues to falter,
it is no secret many States are hard-pressed to match the
levels of support they have appropriated to higher education in
previous years. Despite these challenging circumstances, some
State officials are developing inventive programs and policies
that provide students more affordable options on the path to a
For example, Indiana and Pennsylvania have successfully
implemented ``pay for performance'' funding structures in which
States set aside a certain percentage of funds for higher
education programs with the best retention, completion, and
placement rates. As one of our witnesses will discuss today,
the benefit of ``pay for performance'' is two-fold: Not only do
these structures offer colleges a financial incentive to raise
the bar, they also provide another layer of accountability to
ensure limited taxpayer resources are being used wisely.
Recognizing that not all learning occurs in a traditional
classroom setting, colleges and universities in Minnesota and
Vermont now offer assessments for prior learning. These tests
determine whether the knowledge a student has obtained through
previous education and work experience merits college credit.
And when these tests are implemented for each student, they
help eliminate instructional redundancies and spare students
the cost of courses that would attempt to teach them skills
they already possess. Other States, such as Ohio, require all
public universities to offer accelerated degree programs that
provide students the option to earn their degrees in less time
than the traditional 4 years, thereby saving money.
To help lower the tuition bill, some students opt to take
courses at a less expensive community college and then complete
their degree program at a public 4-year institution. Officials
in some States, including Louisiana, Florida, and my home State
of North Carolina, have acknowledged the fiscal practicality of
this approach in implementing comprehensive articulation
agreements to make it easier for students to transfer credits
to another public institution within the same State. We are
fortunate today to have a witness from the Louisiana Community
and Technical College System who will discuss how students are
benefiting from these agreements.
Before I yield to my colleague, Ruben Hinojosa, I would
like to make one thing clear: I know all of us have the best
intentions when it comes to helping students afford a college
education, and we all agree debt should not be a foregone
conclusion in higher education. However, we must not forget
heavy-handed federal regulations often yield results
contradictory to their aim, weighing down States with another
layer of burdensome red tape. Instead of leveraging new
mandates on States and institutions, we should encourage
innovation by continuing to highlight the successful efforts
being made at the State and local level.
I look forward to a productive discussion with my
colleagues and our witnesses on ways States are working to keep
college within reach for more students.
I now recognize the ranking member, Mr. Hinojosa, for his
[The statement of Chairwoman Foxx follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. Virginia Foxx, Chairwoman,
Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training
Good morning, and welcome to our subcommittee hearing. We are
fortunate to have a distinguished panel of higher education experts
here today, and I would like to thank these witnesses for joining us.
In recent months, the issue of rising college costs has shifted to
the forefront of our national discourse--and rightly so, as millions of
young people struggle to manage school debt and find job opportunities
in the lagging economy. Annual tuition and fees at public universities
have increased 72 percent since 2001, and the cost of private
institutions and two-year degree programs have similarly increased.
Meanwhile, the student debt load recently surpassed $1 trillion--
exceeding total outstanding credit card debt--for the first time in
Clearly there is a problem that needs to be addressed, but it
cannot be solved solely at the federal level with Washington
bureaucrats acting as master puppeteers. That's been tried over the
last decade, and it hasn't worked. Federal support for higher education
increased 155 percent over the last ten years, yet tuition has
continued to rise. In these fiscally challenging times, if government
subsidies aren't producing more affordable education in the current
system, we cannot just keep writing bigger checks. Instead, we need to
look to states and postsecondary institutions for creative solutions to
the college cost conundrum.
In a previous hearing, this subcommittee explored ways some
colleges and universities are working to streamline costs and reduce
the burden for students. Grace College and Seminary President Dr.
Ronald Manahan described the value of accelerated degree programs that
allow students to graduate in less time, and Colorado Mesa University
President Tim Foster explained how his school's innovative work study
program has been beneficial to students and the school's bottom line.
Today, we will learn about state-led initiatives to tackle the
college cost problem. As our economy continues to falter, it's no
secret many states are hard-pressed to match the levels of support
they've invested in higher education in previous years. Despite these
challenging circumstances, some state officials are developing
inventive programs and policies that provide students more affordable
options on the path to a postsecondary degree.
For example, Indiana and Pennsylvania have successfully implemented
``pay for performance'' funding structures, in which states set aside a
certain percentage of funds for higher education programs with the best
retention, completion, and placement rates. As one of our witnesses
will discuss today, the benefit of ``pay for performance'' is two-fold:
Not only do these structures offer colleges a financial incentive to
raise the bar, they also provide another layer of accountability to
ensure limited taxpayer resources are being used wisely.
Recognizing not all learning occurs in a traditional classroom
setting, colleges and universities in Minnesota and Vermont now offer
prior learning assessments. These tests determine whether the knowledge
a student has obtained through previous education or work experience
merits college credit. And when these tests are implemented for each
student, they help eliminate instructional redundancies and spare
students the cost of courses that would attempt to teach them skills
they already possess. Other states, such as Ohio, require all public
universities to offer accelerated degree programs that provide students
the option to earn their degree in less time, for less money.
To help lower the tuition bill, some students opt to take courses
at a less expensive community college and then complete their degree
program at a public four-year institution. Officials in some states,
including Louisiana, Florida, and my home state of North Carolina, have
acknowledged the fiscal practicality of this approach and implemented
comprehensive articulation agreements to make it easier for students to
transfer credits to another public institution within the same state.
We are fortunate today to have a witness from the Louisiana Community
and Technical College System who will discuss how students are
benefitting from these agreements.
Before I yield to my colleague, Ruben Hinojosa, I'd like to make
one thing clear. I know all of us have the best of intentions when it
comes to helping students afford a college education. And we all agree
debt should not be a foregone conclusion in higher education. However,
we must not forget heavy-handed federal regulations often yield results
contradictory to their aim, weighing down states with another layer of
burdensome red tape. Instead of leveraging new mandates on states and
institutions, we should encourage innovation by continuing to highlight
the successful efforts being made at the state and local level.
I look forward to a productive discussion with my colleagues and
our witnesses on ways states are working to keep college within reach
for more students. I now recognize the ranking member, Mr. Hinojosa,
for his opening remarks.
Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Chairwoman Foxx.
I would like to thank our distinguished witnesses for
joining us today to discuss State-led efforts to curb college
costs, as the chairwoman made in her opening remarks. I am also
eager to learn more about the strategies that a number of
States are taking to maintain affordability, accessibility,
diversity, and student success in higher education.
As ranking member of this subcommittee, I am deeply
concerned that college costs continue to rise at unprecedented
levels and of the ever-increasing amount of debt that students
are being burdened with. According to the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau, total outstanding student loan debt
surpassed $1 trillion late last year.
As costs to educate have increased, students have been
forced to shoulder the additional cost burden. In 2012, student
tuition made up 43 percent of higher education spending.
According to the State Higher Education Executive Officers
Association, that is a fact. By contrast, in 1986, student
tuition comprised only 23 percent of higher education spending.
To make matters worse, State funding per full-time equivalent
student declined 23 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars over
the last 10 years.
In the past several years, Democrats have taken bold steps
to address rising costs through increased transparency and
investments in federal aid.
With the passage of the Student Aid and Fiscal
Responsibility Act, known as SAFRA, in the year 2010, the
Democratic-led Congress provided $36 billion in additional Pell
Grant funding, as well as $2.55 billion in targeted investments
for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, better known
as HBCUs, as well as for Hispanic-Serving Institutions, known
as HSIs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Predominantly Black
Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific
Islander-Serving Institutions to bolster STEM education.
It is important to note that HBCUs and minority-serving
institutions like I enumerated are some of the most affordable
colleges and universities in our nation's higher education
Most recently, the passage of the Moving Ahead For Progress
in 21st Century Act kept interest rates on need-based student
loans from doubling in July of this year, saving 7.4 million
students an average of $1,000 in borrowing costs over the life
of their loan. I would also like to underscore that the Obama
administration has redoubled efforts to increase transparency
of college costs through additional institutional reporting
requirements and new tools for consumers to better understand
the costs and financial aid.
Clearly, federal investments in higher education are
critical to student success. This is especially true for low-
income, for first-generation college and minority students. At
the same time, States and colleges and universities must do
their part to keep college affordable, promote on-time
graduation, and create and strengthen articulation agreements
that help students transfer credit and earn their degrees.
While this is a tall order, I am confident that State
leaders and institutions, as are being represented today by our
panelists, can do more to rein in college costs without
sacrificing quality, without sacrificing equity, and diversity.
In closing, I want to say that if students can afford the
cost of their college education they are more likely to lead
healthy and prosperous lives and use their degrees to
contribute to our nation's workforce and economy.
I look forward to hearing from today's witnesses on how
States and institutions can work together and help all students
afford the cost of a high-quality postsecondary education, and
I thank you.
With that, I yield back.
[The statement of Mr. Hinojosa follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. Ruben Hinojosa, Ranking Member, Subcommittee
on Higher Education and Workforce Training
Thank you, Chairwoman Foxx.
I would like to thank our distinguished witnesses for joining us
today to discuss state-led efforts to curb college costs. I am eager to
learn more about the strategies that a number of states are leading to
maintain affordability, accessibility, diversity and student success in
As Ranking Member of this Subcommittee, I am deeply concerned that
college costs continue to rise at unprecedented levels and of the ever-
increasing amount of debt that students are being burdened with.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), total
outstanding student loan debt surpassed $1 trillion late last year.
As costs to educate have increased, students have been forced to
shoulder the additional cost burden. In 2012, student tuition made up
43.3% of higher education spending, according to the State Higher
Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO). By contrast, in 1986,
student tuition comprised 23% of higher spending. To make matters
worse, state funding per full time equivalent student declined by 23%
in inflation adjusted dollars over the last decade.
In the past several years, Democrats have taken bold steps to
address rising costs through increased transparency and investments in
With the passage of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act
(SAFRA) in 2010, the Democratic led Congress provided $36 billion in
additional Pell grant funding and $2.55 billion in targeted investments
for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-
Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs),
Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) and the Asian American and
Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions to bolster STEM
It's important to note that HBCUs and Minority-Serving institutions
are some of the most affordable colleges and universities in our
nation's higher education system.
Most recently, the passage of the ``Moving Ahead for Progress in
21st Century Act'' kept interest rates on need-based student loans from
doubling in July, saving 7.4 million students $1,000 in borrowing costs
over the life of their loan. I would also like to underscore that the
Obama Administration has redoubled efforts to increase transparency of
college costs through additional institutional reporting requirements
and new tools for consumers to better understand costs and financial
aid. Clearly, federal investments in higher education are critical to
student success; this is especially true for low-income, first-
generation college, and minority students. At the same time, states and
colleges and universities must do their part to keep college
affordable, promote on-time graduation, and create and strengthen
articulation agreements that help students transfer credit and earn
While this is a tall order, I am confident that state leaders and
institutions can do more to rein in college costs, without sacrificing
quality, equity, and diversity.
If students can afford the cost of their college education, they
are more likely to lead healthy and prosperous lives and use their
degrees to contribute to our nation's workforce and economy.
In closing, I look forward to hearing from today's witnesses on how
states and institutions can help all students afford the cost of a high
quality postsecondary education.
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you, Mr. Hinojosa.
Pursuant to committee rule 7(c), all subcommittee members
will be permitted to submit written statements to be included
in the permanent hearing record. Without objection, the hearing
record will remain open for 14 days to allow statements,
questions for the record, and other extraneous materials
referenced during the hearing to be submitted in the official
[An additional submission of Mrs. Foxx follows:]
July 24, 2012.
Hon. Virginia Foxx, Chairwoman,
House Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee, 1230 LHOB,
Washington, DC 20515.
Dear Chairwoman Foxx: Per our conversation, I am grateful for your
accommodation to include my supplemental testimony as part of the
official record for your recent hearing titled ``Keeping College Within
Reach: Exploring State Efforts to Curb Costs'' which was held on
Wednesday, July 18, 2012.
Excelsior College is most grateful for your commitment to keeping
college costs low and for your great work on behalf of higher
John F. Ebersole,
Prepared Statement of John Ebersole, LPD, President, Excelsior College
Chairwoman Foxx and Members of the Committee, I am grateful for the
inclusion of my testimony as part of the official record on the hearing
titled ``Keeping College Within Reach: Exploring State Efforts to Curb
In addition to the ideas and concepts presented to your committee
during its recent hearings on college affordability, I would like to
add the following:
1. Improve the credit transfer process. It is inefficient and
costly to require students to repeat course work simply because they
satisfied a particular degree requirement at a different institution.
In academic year 2010-2011, Excelsior College (a regionally accredited,
non-profit, adult-serving institution created by the Regents of the
State of New York in 1971) enrolled about 12,500 new students. On
average, these adult students presented five transcripts for review and
evaluation. From these, Excelsior accepted over 600,000 credits toward
Excelsior's established degree requirements as approved by the State of
New York. At our tuition rate of $355 per credit, Excelsior saved these
students, their families, employers and the American taxpayer over $200
million, in one year alone.
2. Accept credit for non-collegiate instruction that has been
reviewed by the American Council on Education, such as military and
3. Accept credit for prior learning that has been assessed by such
credible entities as the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning
(CAEL), for work and life experience.
4. Accept credit earned through such psychometrically valid,
nationally normed, assessments as those of The College Board (CLEP),
the Educational Testing Service (DSST), and Excelsior College
(Excelsior College Examinations and UExcel Exams).
5. Offer instruction on a year round basis. This would both reduce
living costs by one year and allow graduates to enter the workforce a
year earlier. While most traditional institutions offer a summer
program, they often do not recognize the credits earned toward degree
requirements. This is inefficient and driven by business
considerations, rather than academic quality, in most cases.
6. Consolidate libraries. In the digital age, it is no longer
necessary to maintain large inventories of books and journals at every
institute of higher education. A single, full-service library can
support the students of multiple institutions, as Johns Hopkins now
does for a number of online institutions, including Excelsior College.
Imagine the savings if all public institutions in a given state were
serviced by a single, online mega-library, with the staff and
technology to support all of the state's public higher education
7. Reduce or consolidate state and federal regulations that have
been imposed on higher education, using some form of cost-benefit
analysis or needs test. Since the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher
Education Act, the American Council on Education states that 150 new
regulations have been imposed on higher education. Each of these
requires expending staff time to review, evaluate applicability, ensure
compliance and provide reporting. Frequently, these regulations are
required of all institutions to solve a problem created by a few. For
instance, the abuse of credit hour criteria by two institutions has
resulted in a national definition of ``credit hour'' that cannot be
used by online education providers and flies in the face of efforts to
move from ``inputs'' to ``outputs'' (results) as a means of determining
return on investment.
Compliance with ``state authorization'' regulations has cost my
institution over $300,000 in its first year. The requirements proposed
by the ``Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act of 2012'' (Senate
Bills 2179, 2006 and 2241) will cost Excelsior College another
$200,000, if enacted as proposed. This $500,000 that my institution
will need to pay, on a recurring basis, becomes more than $2 billion
when multiplied by the approximately 4,600 regionally accredited
institutions that will need to comply. Administrative expense, the
primary category of cost created by new regulations, is growing at a
rate 3 to 4 times greater than for academic staff or faculty. These
positions are for risk managers, compliance officers, legal counsel and
government affairs staff. Their salaries are a significant part of the
cost that the nation is experiencing in rising tuition expense.
8. Provide incentives for institutions to reduce their costs.
Excelsior College is home to the largest pre-licensure nursing program
in the nation with approximately 14,000 associate degree-seeking
students. It is a ``career ladder'' program that only admits persons
with existing clinical experience such as licensed practical nurses,
paramedics and military corpsmen. Our School of Nursing has been
designated, three consecutive times, as a Center of Excellence in
Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing.
Yet, none of the students in this particular degree program are
eligible for Title IV financial aid because this low cost, competency-
based model has been deemed an ``independent study program'' by the
Department of Education and is, therefore, excluded from Title IV
However, if Excelsior moves this accredited program from its
current competency-based model, where the costs are a few hundred
dollars per assessment, to an online instructional model, increasing
the cost to over $1,000 per course, the program would become federal
aid eligible. Similarly, recent Congressional discussions of the Pell
Grant program have led to consideration of a new ``total cost of
attendance'' formula for online students that actually penalizes those
who attend low tuition programs.
9. Reduce ``residency requirements'' for adult students. Many
traditional institutions require that all graduates earn at least 30
units from their institution, regardless of available transfer credit,
as well as complete their final work at that school. Some institutions
even require that all of the final 30 units be in ``residency.'' For
mobile adult students this may mean that they have to complete more
than the 120 semester units typically required for a bachelor's degree.
Such students, for example, may come to an institution with more than
100 units available for transfer, but still will need to complete at
least 30 more to earn their degree because of lack of transfer
acceptance and residency requirements.
10. Make greater use of online technology. After nearly 30 years of
evaluation, most objective observers have come to the conclusion that
there is ``no substantive difference'' between outcomes achieved online
and those attained in a classroom. As a result, nearly two-thirds of
all accredited institutions are now offering at least some credit-
bearing programs online. This includes some of the most prestigious
institutions in the world. Yet, many of these still attempt to ease on-
campus classroom shortages through the construction of costly new
buildings rather through the ``blended'' use of online technology,
combining online with on-campus class sessions. The capacity of
existing space could be doubled or tripled depending upon the number of
class meetings which would occur with virtual interactions in addition
to those conducted face-to-face.
11. Provide greater access to college courses to high school
seniors. The 12th year of secondary education is often referred to as
``a wasted year.'' This need not be the case if seniors are expected to
complete college-level, general education courses (breadth
requirements) as part of their final year. While some do take College
Board AP courses for this purpose, there is insufficient availability
or support for these programs to create the kind of ``running start''
that will benefit college completion and real cost reduction. With the
plethora of high quality Open Education Resource courses increasingly
moving online and validation of learning assessments that are
available, access can be easily expanded.
12. Combine Open Education Resource (OER) courses with nationally
reviewed and approved assessments to award low cost degrees. By vetting
that OER material which maps directly to subject matter assessments
that are readily available from ETS, The College Board and Excelsior
College, students can study independently (or with tutors) with
assurance that their studies and the assessments are aligned. For those
who have discipline and motivation to satisfy degree requirements in
this fashion, the cost of a bachelor's degree can be as little as
$10,000 for someone with little or no prior credit, or considerably
less for those with accumulated transfer credit.
Excelsior College is proud of the fact that it has adopted and
perfected a variety of tools for assessing prior learning and for
applying these to rigorous State of New York degree requirements. Over
the College's 40 years it has graduated nearly 150,000 individuals,
primarily adult learners, with a quality degree. It has done this at an
average cost per student, per year, of $1,600 according to 2010 IPEDS
Thank you for this opportunity to address your subcommittee.
Chairwoman Foxx. It is now my pleasure to introduce our
distinguished panel of witnesses.
Mr. Scott Pattison is the Executive Director of the
National Association of State Budget Officers, the professional
membership organization for State budget and finance officers.
Prior to his current role, Mr. Pattison served as Virginia's
State budget officer for 4 years, headed the Regulatory and
Economic Analysis Section of the Virginia Department of
Planning and Budget, and served on the Virginia Debt Capacity
Ms. Teresa Lubbers became Indiana's Commissioner for Higher
Education under Governor Mitch Daniels in 2009 following a 17-
year career as a Republican member of the Indiana State Senate.
During her tenure in the legislature, she chaired the Education
and Career Development Committee.
Mr. Stan Jones is the current President and founder of
Complete College America. He has been involved in higher
education for three decades, serving as Indiana's Commissioner
of Higher Education, a State legislator, and a senior adviser
to former Governor Evan Bayh.
Dr. Joe May is the President of the Louisiana Community and
Technical College System, the management board for the State's
14 public 2-year institutions. Prior to joining the system in
2006, Dr. May was Senior Vice President for Best Associates, a
private equity group in Dallas, Texas, where he provided
operational leadership for new higher education ventures.
Before I recognize you to provide your testimony, let me
briefly explain our lighting system. You will have 5 minutes to
present your testimony. When you begin, the light in front of
you will turn green; when one minute is left, the light will
turn yellow; and when your time has expired, the light will
turn red, at which point I ask you to wrap up your remarks as
best as you are able. After you have testified, members will
each have 5 minutes to ask questions of the panel.
I now recognize Mr. Pattison for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF SCOTT PATTISON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE BUDGET OFFICERS
Mr. Pattison. Thank you, Chairwoman Foxx, Ranking Member
Hinojosa and members of the subcommittee. Thank you for
inviting me to appear today on behalf of the nation's State
budget and finance officers.
Since 1945, NASBO has been the professional organization
for the State budget officers; and I commend the subcommittee
for examining this important issue of keeping higher education
costs within the reach of all Americans. Today, what I would
like to do is briefly provide you a fiscal context for
continued examination of this important issue.
Since the beginning of the most recent recession, the State
fiscal landscape has dramatically changed, as I think most of
you know. The bottom line is State revenue and State funding
will be slower growing than usual, and therefore there will be
very stiff competition for every dollar that the States have.
For the last 3 fiscal years, for example, State budget growth
is running at about half of what it used to run prior to the
recession in terms of growth, and we expect that slower growth
to continue. In fact, many economists use the term ``the new
normal,'' and we at the State level are certainly experiencing
Demand for funding for everything from Medicaid, health
care, K-12 education, prisons, transportation, and, of course,
higher education is extremely high; and the bottom line is
there simply won't be enough money to go around. So, therefore,
in this new funding environment, now more than ever, public
higher education officials, institutions, State government, in
fact, every level of State government, local government,
federal government, will need to work together to figure out
how to improve access and performance while spending resources
wisely and efficiently and, yes, frankly, figuring out how to
Because of balanced budget requirements and other
restraints, it is true that the proportion of State funding for
higher education has indeed decreased over the past decade and
that over the years the State funding for higher education has
been rather volatile and up and down. However, I do want to
note that State funding has increased for higher education even
in this environment; and, interestingly, when fiscal times are
good, an examination of the data demonstrates that States are
actually more generous to higher education on average than to
other parts of State government.
But, unfortunately, when you look at the data during
recessions and downturns, States are less generous to higher
education. And part of that is higher education has alternative
sources of funding and so, from a practical standpoint, for
better or for worse, there is an ability to cost shift, which
I want to note that the proportion of State funds going for
higher education went from about 11 percent in 2001 down to 10
percent in fiscal year 2011, and a lot of this is due to the
increased spending on Medicaid and K-12 education. And, even
so, State funds to higher education have increased in nominal
dollars in the last decade by about 50 percent.
I also want to note you can use statistics in many
different ways, as we all know, but State governments still
remain a very critical and important source of funding for
public higher education. In fiscal year 2010, for example, 53
percent of the general operating educational expenses were
supported by State funds. And we shouldn't overlook that
capital spending from the State is extremely important. States
for years have issued billions of dollars in bonds to fund
public university capital projects.
Now, as I mentioned, higher education for States is
important and popular; and so when the resources are there,
they tend to be more generous than average for them. But,
unfortunately, resources are cut more during downturns. As a
result, funding for higher education at the State level, again
because of balanced budget requirements and other constraints,
tends to be rather volatile.
But going forward there is going to be a need for a new
approach to higher education finance. With resources scarce, as
I mentioned, State officials are going to increasingly expect
improved efficiency and tying funding at higher education to
outcomes and results. Because there is simply not enough money
to go around for all of the areas of State government like
Medicaid, health care, K-12, and so forth.
In addition, and you are seeing some of this and we are
going to hear more about this today, but you need to see more
of an adoption of innovative reforms, changes in financing
structure, so that you are tying funds to performance and
One of the things I know over time a general concept I want
to mention is the importance of providing States with
flexibility so that they can allocate their resources based on
the need and evidence and not have constraints such as
maintenance of effort requirements, which provide disincentives
for providing maybe a big bump in funding during a particularly
So NASBO commends the subcommittee on their attention to
this very crucial and timely issue. Obviously, it is extremely
important. So I want to thank you very much for the opportunity
to testify today on behalf of the 50 State budget officers.
[The statement of Mr. Pattison follows:]
Prepared Statement of Scott D. Pattison, Executive Director,
National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO)
Chairwoman Foxx, Ranking Member Hinojosa and members of the
Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today on
behalf of the budget and finance officers of the nation's 50 states and
territories. For over 60 years, the National Association of State
Budget Officers (NASBO) has been the professional membership
organization for state budget and finance officers. As chief financial
advisors to our nation's governors, NASBO members are influential
decision makers in state government. They guide their states in
analysis of budget options and formation of sound public policy.
Fiscal Outlook: A New Era for State Budgeting
The state fiscal landscape has changed dramatically in recent
years. Even with a recovering economy, the fiscal environment for state
higher education support is expected to be very different and much more
constrained compared to past decades. State budgets continue to be
impacted by the recent recession, and funding for all areas of state
government, including higher education, is expected to be constrained.
This is because future state spending is likely to grow more slowly
than in past decades, meaning that resources will continue to be
limited for years to come. At the same time, the demand for funding
continues to rise in a number of high-priority program areas,
particularly Medicaid. As a result, competition for state funds is and
will continue to be stiff, leaving support for traditional higher
education funding arrangements possibly permanently and unalterably
different from the past.
The fiscal challenges facing state governments are largely tied to
the fact that a few program areas consume very large shares of state
budgets. As shown in the figure below, elementary and secondary
education and Medicaid--the two largest state expenditure areas--
together consumed nearly 44% of all estimated state expenditures for
The relative size of these two spending areas is even more
prominent when just looking at expenditures out of states' general
funds, which are states' own source funds over which they have more
control and discretion. As shown below, in fiscal 2011, K-12 and
Medicaid expenditures were estimated to account for over half all state
general fund spending. Both areas are generally top funding priorities
for states, leaving state officials with limited room in their budgets
to make program adjustments to close gaps when necessary. Thus, in
severe revenue downturns, state officials face constituent and
political pressures to avoid K-12 education and Medicaid budget cuts,
forcing difficult choices and spending cuts--at times severe--to other
areas of state spending, in particular higher education.
According to NASBO's Spring 2012 Fiscal Survey of States report,
state fiscal conditions are projected to continue slowly improving in
fiscal 2013, although general fund expenditures and revenues remain
below pre-recession levels in many states.\1\ The national economic
recovery is causing aggregate state tax collections to increase,
prompting general fund expenditure growth and a further restoration of
budgetary reserves. Governors' recommended spending plans deliver a
relatively positive outlook for many states, but valid concerns persist
with slowing general fund expenditure growth rates compared to fiscal
2012, constrained revenue growth and a lingering high unemployment
rate. Such concerns ensure budgetary challenges will continue for
states in fiscal 2013 and possibly beyond. Thus, though revenue growth
could help mitigate the funding squeeze and restore more resources for
critical areas that were cut during the recession, the fiscal situation
will entail budgetary decisions that must balance the recent rise in
Medicaid costs over the past two years with increased demand for
education and other state services. In this new funding environment,
now more than ever, public higher education institutions and state
officials will need to work together to improve access and performance
while spending resources wisely and cutting costs.
Recent trends in public higher education finance
Higher education is in stiff competition for state funds and its
share of the budget has certainly been affected by significant funding
increases for large and high priority budget items like health care
programs, especially Medicaid. This can be seen in the figures below.
The proportion of state budget dollars directed towards higher
education has only decreased slightly over the past decade; however,
total state spending on higher education has increased steadily over
time (48 percent between fiscal 2001 and 2011, without adjusting for
inflation),\2\ except during recessionary periods. On the surface this
may appear positive, but the actual cost of acquiring a degree from the
public higher education system has gone up significantly more, placing
an ever greater reliance on tuition dollars. According to College
Board, published tuition and fees for four-year public universities and
colleges increased by 72 percent, after adjusting for inflation, over
roughly the same time period (from 2000-2001 to 2010-2011 academic
years). In nominal terms (without adjusting for inflation), four-year
public institution tuition and fees increased by 117 percent.\3\
And yet, state governments have in the past and continue to be a
tremendously critical source of funding for public higher education
institutions. While public university presidents often claim that state
funds may make up a small percentage of their institutions' budgets,
these statistics can be misleading, since they include all parts of the
institution's budget, including hospital and other expenditures that
the state has no part in subsidizing. State dollars comprise a much
larger share of these institutions' yearly expenditures on educational
activities--or on what the Delta Cost Project refers to as ``education
and related'' (E&R) expenses per student. Using this measure, the
national average state subsidy for higher education in 2009 accounted
for 48% of E&R spending per student at public research institutions,
51% at public master's institutions, and 68% at community colleges.\4\
Using a different metric, the share of general operating expenses
of higher education institutions supported by the state was 53% for
fiscal 2010 according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers
(SHEEO), as displayed in the pie chart below.
In addition to this assistance, states have also historically and
annually provided enormous financing assistance for capital projects at
public universities. States often issue bonds for public university
Funding for public higher education has been volatile over time.
States usually are generous to higher education in good fiscal periods,
only to cut significantly during severe revenue downturns. In fact,
state funding to higher education experiences outright declines during
recessionary periods. For instance, state spending for higher education
was nearly $62 billion in FY 2002, but dropped slightly to $61.6
billion in FY 2003 and was down to roughly $60 billion in FY 2004.
Affected again by the latest recession, state funds (that is, excluding
federal assistance) spent on higher education fell by 0.8% between
fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010; however, when federal funds are included
in the calculation, total state higher education expenditures went up
by 0.8% in this period due to increased federal assistance resulting
from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Recessions have led to
an unfortunate--and almost unique--cycle of state funding for higher
education. A long-time budget director in Ohio and Illinois, the late
Hal Hovey provided analysis in the 1990s about this volatile cycle in
state budgeting. According to Hovey, states use higher education as a
``balance wheel'' during economic downturns. Essentially, states cut
higher education funding in bad fiscal times (allowing significant
tuition increases to make up for the reductions) but then dramatically
increase higher education spending when state revenues rebound. A group
convened by the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education
(NCPPHE) put it more starkly when they said in a 2009 statement, states
``follow past patterns of responding to revenue shortfalls by shifting
the financial burden [of higher education] to students and their
families and by shutting out undergraduate students. Even when growth
returns, states will still face structural budget deficits.'' \5\
More recently additional data on this issue of cyclical funding for
higher education has been analyzed by William Doyle of Vanderbilt
University and Jennifer Delaney of the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. The two authors analyzed data on state support for
higher education between 1979 and 2007 and demonstrated the volatility
in higher education funding. Echoing Hovey's point, they write, ``When
state revenues are low, higher education is an attractive option for
heavy cuts because it has the ability to collect fees for its services
(an ability lacking in most other state spending categories). When
states revenues are high, higher education is a politically attractive
area on which to spend money.'' \6\ This past recession has been no
different with declines in state support for higher education (along
with significant cuts to nearly all parts of state budgets) and
increases in tuition.
Moving towards a new approach to state higher education finance
On a nominal basis, state spending growth has averaged 5.5 percent
annually over the last few decades.\7\ Economic forecasts for slower
growth--the new normal--make this scenario unlikely to continue. Based
on governors' recommended fiscal 2013 budgets, state spending is
expected to increase by just 2.2 percent,\8\ and average spending
growth may actually be closer to 3 percent to 4 percent on a nominal
basis for years to come, in line with slower national economic growth.
Consequently, even if states want to be generous to higher education,
they may not be able to be. With resources even scarcer, state
Governors and lawmakers are going to be asking administrators tough
questions about state-supported programs and this will include higher
education. State officials will be reluctant to provide funding
increases unless they know how the money will be spent wisely and that
there will be an improvement in program performance.
State officials, for example, will be less patient with
universities that have empty classrooms for significant portions of the
day, or that cannot accommodate all of the students who want a
particular course. State officials also will be less patient with
institutional duplication. Too often, each separate institution within
a public university system wants to do what its peers are doing,
leading to extensive duplication. When the institutions are able to
complement each other rather than duplicate, funds can be allocated
more efficiently. Increases in appropriations for the institutions will
need to lead to increased performance in some way.
According to College Board, over the past five years, average
posted tuition and fees at public four-year higher education
institutions increased at an annual growth rate of 5.1% after adjusting
for inflation.\9\ Granted, in some cases universities are simply
replacing lost state dollars, but state officials still want to
understand whether this is always necessary and when institutions
should seek to be significantly more efficient. One major concern among
state officials was raised by a recent study that found that much of
the new incoming revenue to institutions was not necessarily spent on
educating students or producing degrees. There needs to be a serious
commitment among state and education policy leaders to set specific
goals, align spending with those goals, improve degree productivity and
improve public accountability. Goals need to be based on the public's
needs not necessarily on the interests of individual public
Funding has rarely been tied directly to results and performance in
the case of higher education but the scarce resource environment at the
state, and ultimately at the federal level, may cause this to change.
More and more officials are focusing on the importance of
accountability. There will be opportunities in the states to adopt
different approaches to this dilemma and in fact there are some
examples to examine. At the same time, certain obstacles impede states
from tying spending to performance, such as the Maintenance of Effort
(MOE) provision of the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act. With this
requirement in place, states have less flexibility to allocate
resources based on need and evidence, and furthermore have a
disincentive to make a large or one-time increase in higher education
spending in a given year.
The bottom line is: Money will be tight for all areas of state
government. The ability of states to fund higher education at previous
growth rates may be limited and in many states not possible. The old
pattern of making up for significant cuts with generous increases to
higher education when good times return may no longer be possible. With
resources so scarce, state officials will increasingly expect improved
efficiency and funding tied to outcomes and results. Working with
university systems, state officials can improve the situation by
determining ways to provide more predictable revenue to higher
education. At the same time, public university officials will need to
understand and acknowledge the ``new normal,'' and determine ways to
improve efficiency and performance.
NASBO commends this subcommittee on their attention to this
critical and timely issue. Our organization also recognizes the
importance of state higher education finance and is very interested in
strategies to reform the system to make it work better for all. In
light of this, among many other projects, NASBO is partnering with the
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to have state budget officers engage
in an open dialogue on the critical issues associated with higher
education finance. This effort will culminate in a final report
offering best practices and recommendations in this area. Ultimately,
we expect these efforts and the efforts of many other groups to lead to
the adoption of changes to higher education finance to make it more
closely tied to successful outcomes.
Thank you again for the opportunity to testify here today on the
subject of higher education finance and share the perspective of the
nation's state budget officers.
\1\ National Association of State Budget Officers. The Fiscal
Survey of States. (June 2012).
\2\ National Association of State Budget Officers. State
Expenditure Report. (2002; 2010).
\3\ The College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges. (2011).
\4\ Delta Cost Project IPEDS database. www.deltacostproject.org.
\5\ The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. The
Challenge to States: Preserving College Access and Affordability in a
Time of Crisis. (March 2009).
\6\ Delaney, Jennifer. A. and William R. Doyle. ``The Role of
Higher Education in State Budgets.'' The Challenges of Comparative
State-Level Higher Education Policy Research. Kathleen M. Shaw and
Donald E. Heller (Sterling, Virginia: Stylus, 2007). 55--76.
\7\ National Association of State Budget Officers. The Fiscal
Survey of States. (June 2010).
\8\ National Association of State Budget Officers. The Fiscal
Survey of States. (June 2012).
\9\ The College Board. Trends in Higher Education Series: Trends in
College Pricing 2011. (2011).
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you very much, Mr. Pattison.
Ms. Lubbers, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF TERESA LUBBERS, COMMISSIONER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION,
STATE OF INDIANA
Ms. Lubbers. Chairwoman Foxx, Ranking Member Hinojosa, and
members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to
testify today. My name is Teresa Lubbers, and I serve as
Commissioner of Indiana's Coordinating Board for Higher
Education. My testimony will provide a brief overview of
Indiana's efforts to lower student costs and enhance success by
improving college affordability and productivity.
Indiana is ripe for reform in higher education. The State
currently ranks 40th in the nation in postsecondary attainment.
Capitalizing on that need to reform, the Indiana Commission for
Higher Education has adopted an aggressive strategic plan,
``Reaching Higher, Achieving More.'' Ultimately, our goal is
quite straightforward: to ensure that more students complete
postsecondary credentials on time and at the lowest possible
Indiana has fared no better than most States in containing
the costs of postsecondary education over the past two decades.
Hoosier students borrow an average of $27,000 to finance a
college degree, and Indiana's student loan default rate has
increased by 35 percent over the past 3 years.
Indiana has weathered the recent recession far better than
nearly any other State; and thanks to Governor Mitch Daniels
and the State's General Assembly, Indiana's funding for higher
education operations has remained essentially stable. In the
past decade, Indiana's allocation for financial aid has
actually increased by 90 percent, and during the current
biennium it has grown by a generous 4.5 percent.
Indiana's tuition has increased by nearly 100 percent over
the past decade, while Hoosier per capita personal income has
grown by only 27 percent. In response, the General Assembly
mandated that the commission set targets for tuition and fees
at the public institutions.
To their credit, Indiana's public colleges adopted measures
that lower cost, including decreasing summer tuition,
guaranteeing on-time graduation, and increasing aid based on
Affordability is also a function of time spent in
remediation, excessive credits taken, and credits lost through
transfer or poor academic advising.
Indiana has focused on five opportunities for limiting
higher education costs.
The first, as has been mentioned, is performance funding.
Indiana's performance funding formula has evolved since 2003 to
prioritize degree completion, on-time completion, the success
of at-risk students, and the production of credentials that
support Indiana's economy. Indiana allocated 5 percent of
overall State support for institutions to performance funding
in the past budget and is committed to increasing the
percentage in the years ahead.
The second opportunity is creating innovative educational
models. As an example, Western Governors University Indiana
allows students to advance in their degree programs as they
master the material rather than through credits earned or seat
The third area focuses on accelerated credentials. Ivy Tech
Community College enables some students to earn a 2-year degree
in 10 months, while Purdue University's balanced trimester
schedule will allow students to obtain a 4-year degree in 3
Currently, 90 percent of Indiana's college degree programs
exceed 120 or 60 credits. Ball State University has led a
statewide return to the 120-credit-hour standard, while
recently enacted legislation mandates that all public
institutions provide justification for degree programs that
exceed the standard.
A fourth opportunity is optimizing credit transfer. We have
developed a core transfer library of courses that transfer
seamlessly among public and many private colleges.
Additionally, Indiana mandated a general education core, which
will transfer as a block among the State's public institutions.
Finally, Indiana seeks to increase the transparency of
return on its educational investment. Students need to know
that, while all degrees matter, some matter more in terms of
earning, employment prospects, and job security. Already, the
commission has supported the development of a college cost
estimator and will launch a return on investment calculator to
convey the value proposition of investing in higher education.
I will conclude with some reflections on the shared
responsibility which must characterize the discussion of
educational affordability as we move forward.
The past two decades have witnessed a perfect storm within
higher education and the economy. Cost growth among
postsecondary institutions has been fueled by the extraordinary
institutional investments in technology, facilities, employee
benefits, and student support staff.
The recent economic downturn has caused many States to
reduce their spending on postsecondary operations. And students
themselves are not without culpability. Completion rates have
stagnated, more students supersede normal graduation timelines,
and many practice less than sound judgment in borrowing and
spending. This perfect storm has resulted in triple-digit
percent increases in tuition and fees and runaway increases in
student debt. Reversing this trend must be a responsibility
shared among States, institutions, and students.
While today's hearing focuses on some cost considerations,
a word of caution is warranted. Neither Indiana nor the nation
can suffer the long-term consequences of building a productive,
affordable system of higher education that diminishes academic
quality. Ensuring affordability at the expense of academic
rigor would be a hollow victory indeed. To avoid doing so will
take thoughtful, collaborative action and metrics to promote
quality learning and accountability.
I am grateful to the members of committee for convening
this important discussion and thank you for this opportunity to
[The statement of Ms. Lubbers follows:]
Prepared Statement of Teresa Lubbers, Commissioner,
Indiana Commission for Higher Education
Chairwoman Foxx, Ranking Member Hinojosa and members of the
subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on the important
subjects of affordability and cost containment within higher education.
My name is Teresa Lubbers, and I serve as commissioner of the
Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The commission is a 14-member
public body, created in 1971 to define the missions of Indiana's public
colleges and universities; plan and coordinate the state's
postsecondary education system; and ensure that Indiana's higher-
education system is aligned to meet the needs of students and the
My testimony will provide a brief overview of the commission's
goals for college affordability and productivity; the current cost of
higher education in Indiana; and how those costs have increased over
time. I will describe actions the Commission for Higher Education and
its partnering state institutions of higher education have recently
undertaken to contain, and in some cases reduce, the cost of education
to Indiana residents. I will also mention briefly additional steps that
are planned or currently in progress to advance the goal of making
postsecondary education affordable to all Hoosiers. In particular, I
will focus my comments on five areas that the commission considers to
have great potential in limiting the cost of postsecondary-credential
attainment to students and to taxpayers. Those five areas are:
performance-based funding, innovative educational-models, accelerated
credential-completion, optimization of credit transfer, and transparent
means for students and parents to calculate the return on their
investments in postsecondary study.
Reaching Higher, Achieving More
Indiana is ripe for reform in higher education. The state currently
ranks 40th in the nation in higher education attainment. Less than a
third of Indiana's four-year college students graduate on time, and
just over half graduate after six years. Only 4 percent of the state's
two-year college students complete their credentials on time, and
merely 12 percent graduate within three years. More than two-thirds of
students attending the statewide community college require remediation
in math, English, or both.
With the recent economic downturn, the imperative to increase
Indiana's postsecondary attainment was never clearer or more vividly
impactful on the lives of the state's workforce. As the graph below
describes, the unemployment rate of Indiana workers by educational
attainment is inversely proportionate to their average weekly earnings.
Generally, Hoosiers with postsecondary credentials have weathered the
recession far better than their less-well educated neighbors; and the
higher the educational attainment, the more secure the job and the
greater the income.
While Indiana's postsecondary attainment lags the national average,
and has done so historically, the will and call to improve are strong.
More Hoosiers than ever before recognize that a college credential is
their passport to opportunity and prosperity, as evident in the recent
growth in postsecondary study. Within the past five years, enrollment
at Indiana's statewide community-college has increased by double-
digits, and it has witnessed a remarkable 57 percent increase in
associate degree production. Moreover, the postsecondary-enrollment
rate of recent high school graduates is moving in a positive direction,
now at 67 percent. Increasingly, Indiana's economy demands better-
skilled workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2018,
Indiana will have 500,000 job vacancies requiring postsecondary
credentials, compared to only 325,000 with high school diplomas.
Indiana's legislature is equally committed to improvement, having
enacted broad-sweeping reforms to improve the state's K-12 system,
while actually increasing the allocations of state funds for financial
aid during the recent economic downturn.
With the need to reform and the commitment to do so at hand, in
March 2012, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education adopted a new
strategic plan, titled Reaching Higher, Achieving More. The development
of a new plan reflects the evolving environment of higher education,
including employer demands for higher-skilled workers, the imperative
to ensure quality in the credentials produced, the need for quicker and
alternative pathways to credential attainment, and the fact of ever-
increasing costs of tuition and fees.
To respond to that evolving environment, Reaching Higher, Achieving
More envisions a higher-education system grounded in three overarching
principles. The system must be student-centered, recognizing the
changing needs and demographics of Indiana students and placing
students at the center of all reform efforts. It must be mission
driven, recognizing Indiana's diverse landscape of public and private
postsecondary institutions, each with a distinct but integrated role
within the system. It must be workforce aligned, recognizing the
increasing knowledge, skills and credential attainment needed for
individual lifetime-employment and to ensure Indiana's economic
To advance the principles embedded in Reaching Higher, Achieving
More, and to honor the evolving environment of higher education, the
plan calls for action by the commission and by Indiana's public
universities in three key areas: completion, productivity and quality.
Specific recommendations are set forth to increase credential
attainment, generally, as well as on-time graduation rates. The plan
supports improvements to remedial education; a focus on improved
secondary-postsecondary alignment; and increases in dual-enrollment
courses and other means of accelerating credential completion. It calls
upon the colleges and universities to collaborate more fully on
instructional delivery, to expand joint-purchasing agreements, and to
establish annual targets for savings. And the document seeks reform in
the allocation of state financial-aid awards, facilitated transfer of
academic credit, and comparable assessments of program quality. While
many and aggressive, the objectives contained within the plan are well
reasoned; some are reflective of the very best practices in higher
education nationally, while others are truly innovative in concept and
Ultimately, the goal of Indiana's environmentally-responsive,
integrated system of higher education as envisioned in Reaching Higher,
Achieving More is quite straightforward: to ensure that more students
complete postsecondary credentials on time and at the lowest possible
Indiana's Educational Costs and Financial Aid
Indiana has fared no better than most states in containing the
costs of postsecondary education over the past two decades. Too many
Indiana families must borrow large sums to pay for higher education. In
fact, Hoosier students borrow an average of $27,000 to finance a
college degree, and according to the U.S. Department of Education,
Indiana's student loan default rate has increased by 35 percent over
the past three years.
It is true that Indiana has weathered the recent national
recessionary-period far better than nearly all states, attributable to
sound fiscal management and prudent spending cuts across state
agencies. Credit is due to Indiana's political leadership, Governor
Mitch Daniels and the state's General Assembly, for their extraordinary
efforts to sustain postsecondary funding during a period of significant
economic turmoil. Whereas most states have trimmed, and many have
eviscerated, their appropriations for public institutions, Indiana's
higher-education funding has remained essentially stable in terms of
Moreover, recognizing the ever-increasing importance of college
access, Indiana has nearly doubled its appropriation for student
financial-aid over the past decade. State student-support has increased
by 90 percent, and remarkably, the appropriation has grown by $23
million during the current biennium--a generous 4.5 percent increase.
Importantly, Indiana's financial-aid program is primarily needs-based,
focused on Hoosiers who would otherwise be challenged to pay the cost
of postsecondary study. And since Indiana grants-in-aid follow the
students, whether they enroll in public, private or proprietary
institutions, students are free to choose the school that best fits
Nationally, much recent debate has centered on the role of tuition
and fee increases in college affordability. The graph below describes
tuition increases in comparison to other cost-sectors. Over the past
twenty years, tuition and fees have grown nearly 300 percent, while
other cost-sectors have increased by a fraction of that rate. That
tuition and fees have outpaced increases in healthcare costs is
especially remarkable, given the substantial national-outcry about
Indiana faces the same concerns. Despite Indiana's efforts to
sustain higher education appropriations and increase funding for
student financial-aid, state dollars simply cannot keep pace with the
year-over-year cost increases among postsecondary institutions. The
table below describes the increases in tuition and fees at Indiana's
public institutions over the past decade, as compared to changes in
Hoosier per-capita personal income and the consumer price index. The
average tuition and fees at Indiana's public colleges have increased by
nearly 100 percent over the past decade, while Hoosier per-capita
personal income has grown by 27 percent and inflation by 24 percent. To
address this dramatic increase, the legislature has mandated that the
commission set targets for tuition and fees at public institutions and
requires each institution to hold an open hearing on proposed
To their credit, Indiana's public postsecondary-institutions have
begun to adopt measures that directly lower their costs of tuition and
fees. While some measures are quite straightforward, others seek to cut
costs while also incentivizing student achievement.
Indiana University, Ball State University and the
University of Southern Indiana have lowered their summer-session
tuition and fees by as much as 25 percent.
Vincennes University has instituted the ``Middle-Income
Hoosier Scholarship,'' which provides semesterly tuition reductions to
income-qualified students who maintain a 2.5 grade-point average.
Students who graduate within five semesters receive a $250 refund.
Indiana State University has launched the ``Sycamore
Graduation Guarantee,'' which guarantees eligible students that they
will be able to complete a bachelor's degree within four years. If not,
they will be able to enroll in remaining courses tuition free.
While direct reductions in postsecondary tuition and fees are
certainly welcome, it is widely recognized that college costs, and
therefore affordability, are also a function of more indirect
variables. The correlation between cost and time spent by students in a
course of study is clear. By delaying college completion, time spent in
remedial courses, a superabundance of academic-credits taken, and
academic credits lost through transfer or poor academic-advising all
contribute to inflated student costs. In fact, these factors diminish
the likelihood of completion all together; and low completion-rates
surely increase institutional costs. Moreover, if students' expected
return on their educational investment is not transparent or evident,
they will be less likely to make good, cost-conscious educational
choices, and may not make them at all.
In recognition of the impact of these more indirect drivers of
postsecondary costs, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and
its partner postsecondary-institutions have committed to a series of
reforms as articulated in Reaching Higher, Achieving More. Among them,
five opportunities for action are particularly noteworthy for their
potential to lower the cost of college completion.
The commission believes that funding for our state's colleges and
universities should be tied to key values and needs, especially higher
graduation rates and credentials that lead to greater economic
opportunity for students and the state.
Historically, support for Indiana's public colleges and
universities had been determined by set increases in state funding,
based on the number of students enrolled in a given year and adjusted
for inflation. In other words, the more students enrolled, the greater
the funding colleges received, without respect to how many students
actually graduated. A performance-based funding formula represented,
therefore, a significant shift from past practice.
Indiana's performance-funding formula was first enacted in 2003 as
an incentive to increase the level of research conducted at the public
institutions of higher education. In the intervening years, the formula
continued to evolve, expanding upon its incipient research-focus to
place priority on degree completion, on-time completion, and the
success of at-risk students. Indiana allocated 5 percent, approximately
$61 million, of overall state-support for institutions to performance
funding in the 2011-13 biennial-budget.
As Indiana plans for its next biennial budget, new performance
criteria have been established. The refined performance-funding formula
complements the existing foci by rewarding successful remediation
strategies, establishing targets for credit-attainment, and
incentivizing institutions to produce graduates in fields that support
Indiana's economic-development goals. To honor mission differentiation
among the state's colleges and universities, and to support their
individual priorities, each institution may also designate a unique
metric to be included in its performance formula. The new criteria fit
within three high-level foci of performance:
Overall Degree Completion--Includes one-year certificates,
associate degrees, bachelor degrees, master's degrees and doctoral
At Risk Student Degree Completion--Includes one-year
certificates, associate degrees and bachelor degrees. Applies to Pell
recipients at the time of graduation.
High Impact Degree Completion--Includes bachelor degrees,
master's degrees and doctoral degrees in STEM-related fields. STEM is
defined as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, based on
national standards. This metric applies only to research campuses.
Student Persistence Incentive--Provides an incentive for
students successfully completing a set number of credit hours. Two-year
institutions are rewarded for students earning 15, 30 and 45 credit
hours; four-year, non-research campuses are rewarded for students
earning 30 and 60 credit hours. The metric applies only to community
colleges and non-research four-year institutions.
Remediation-Success Incentive--Provides an incentive to
two-year institutions for students who successfully complete a remedial
course and subsequently complete a gateway college-level course in math
On-Time Graduation Rate--Provides an incentive for
increased on-time graduation rates at two- and four-year institutions.
On-time graduation rate is considered four years for four-year
institutions and two years for two-year institutions.
Institutional Defined Productivity Metric--This metric is defined
by each institution and submitted to the commission for approval. The
metric must align with the strategic plan of the institution and focus
on reducing the cost of attendance to the student. Although differing
by institution, the goal is to rewarding institutions for improving
productivity in some manner.
Indiana is widely recognized as a national leader for advancing an
effective performance-based formula for higher education funding, and
it is a practice we advocate for consideration among other states, as
well. With the staunch support of Governor Daniels and members of the
General Assembly, Indiana has made performance funding a foundational
principle of public support for our higher-education system, and the
state is also committed to increasing the percentage of overall
institutional support allocated through performance in the years ahead.
Increasingly, Indiana's college students are a diverse group from
all ages and backgrounds who are working (often full time), commuting
to campus, and balancing their academic work with family obligations.
The changing demands of Hoosier students requires new approaches to the
delivery of higher education, embracing flexibility and expanding
options that support student learning at the time, place and pace that
best fits an individual's unique needs and circumstances. Within
Indiana's system of public postsecondary institutions, several
innovative models meet those changing demands.
Western Governors University-Indiana fills a unique role among
higher-education institutions. WGU-Indiana is a fully-online university
that allows students to advance in their degree programs as they master
the material rather than through credits-earned or time-spent in class.
WGU-Indiana's competency-based approach caters specifically to working
adults, enabling motivated students to earn bachelor and master's
degrees faster and at lower cost than they could otherwise. Moreover,
WGU-Indiana offers the state's community college graduates full
transfer-credit for prior coursework, an application fee waiver, and a
5 percent tuition discount.
Ivy Tech Community College also employs a competency-based approach
through its Ivy Institute of Technology. The Institute delivers
academic programs that are structured around industry-recognized
certifications in such high demand areas as manufacturing, computing
technology, and logistics. The 30-week programs are offered as a single
progression of skill acquisition within a fixed daily class schedule of
6 hours per day. The self-contained instructional day includes all
academic activity, allowing students to engage in evening employment,
if necessary. The curricula are delivered through self-paced, computer-
based instruction, and are facilitated by a content-expert, certified
faculty. At the completion of the program, students earn a certificate
of completion and are eligible to sit for one or more nationally-
recognized certification exams.
In addition to these competency-based models, Indiana actively
encourages the state's colleges and universities to award credit for
prior learning. Through competency-based assessments that evaluate the
knowledge and skills individuals have mastered in their work and
related experiences, students earn credit, thereby shortening the
length of their formal studies.
Taken together, these and other innovative educational-models are
providing more options for students to complete postsecondary studies,
while ensuring academic quality.
Accelerated Credential Completion
Recognizing that time is the enemy of completion, the commission
increasingly emphasizes on-time and accelerated degree completion. In
addition to the on-time completion component of the performance funding
formula noted previously, several of the state's postsecondary
institutions are implementing alternative course-delivery and
scheduling options that enable students to earn an associate degree in
one year and a bachelor's degree in three years.
Ivy Tech Community College's Associate Accelerated Program (ASAP),
a highly-structured associate degree program enables students to earn a
two-year degree in 10 months. The accelerated program is intensive,
applying rigorous interventions to address remediation needs and
requiring students to be on campus 40 hours each week for coursework
and group study. Designed specifically for students from low-income
households, the ASAP program targets students during the critical
transition period from high school to college. As participants in ASAP,
students are encouraged to think of college as a job, and to that end,
they are provided with a stipend of $5,200 per year, which covers
living expenses and encourages them to make coursework their first
priority. This focus also ensures that students learn critical soft
skills, including the importance of arriving on time, staying on
schedule, and working collaboratively with others.
Purdue University is transitioning to a balanced trimester schedule
in an effort to streamline students' path to graduation and to increase
institutional operating-efficiency. Offering a third semester each year
will allow students to complete a four-year degree in as little as
three years, saving students both time and money in the process. When
fully implemented, Purdue estimates that the trimester initiative could
provide $40 million in additional revenue for the university and would
support better use of classrooms, residence halls and other campus
facilities during the summer months.
Eliminating excessive credit requirements is another effective
strategy for supporting on-time and accelerated degree completion.
Credit requirements have steadily increased nationwide over the years,
and currently, nearly 90 percent of Indiana college degree programs
exceed the historical standard of 120 credit hours for a bachelor's
degree (four years of full-time attendance) and 60 credits for an
associate degree (two years of full-time attendance). Ball State
University has led a statewide return to the 120 credit-hour standard
for all bachelor's degrees offered by that institution. Further,
recent-enacted legislation mandates public institutions to provide
justification for degree programs that exceed the standard, and
establishes an ongoing audit-process that empowers the commission to
enforce the statute.
Building on this recent progress, Indiana is currently exploring
related on-time and accelerated completion incentives for students.
Possible policy directions include encouraging full-time students to
take 30 credit hours per year and potentially capping state financial
aid for students who accumulate excessive credits.
Optimization of Credit-Transfer
College becomes more affordable when students are able to transfer
without losing credit, take courses from less expensive colleges before
transferring, succeed after transferring with a strong foundation for
subsequent coursework, and easily access reliable information about
their transfer options. To these ends, Indiana has, over the past ten
Created a statewide comprehensive community college
Undertaken curricular innovations;
Facilitated ways high school students can earn college
Utilized technology to inform students about transfer
Indiana has the only statewide community college system that is
accredited as a single institution. Such an approach facilitates
transfer of credit, providing a single curriculum and common syllabi
for each credential statewide. Moreover, transfer agreements with four-
year institutions are more readily maintained; and the community
college's accreditation as a single institution promotes system-wide
For nearly a decade, the Commission for Higher Education has worked
with the state's institutions of higher education to develop a
legislatively-mandated Core Transfer Library (CTL) of some 85 courses.
All courses in the CTL transfer to all public institutions, and many
private colleges participate in the CTL on a voluntary basis, as well.
To supplement the CTL, the commission worked closely with the Indiana
General Assembly during the last legislative session to establish a
common statewide-transfer general-education core, which, when
completed, will transfer as a block of 30 credits to any of the state's
public institutions. Notably, the general education core is to be based
on a set of competencies--what students are able to know and do--rather
than a standard set of distribution requirements of credits. The
legislation also calls for a common course-numbering system to reduce
confusion among institutions and students, alike.
To increase public transparency in credit transfer, the commission
maintains a comprehensive TransferIN website that helps students to
understand how completed courses transfer between colleges and to avoid
wasting time and money on duplicative coursework. Students are also
able to determine how a specific course they are contemplating will
transfer to another institution, if at all.
Indiana has also worked to provide students with more opportunities
to complete college-level coursework while in high school. By statute,
each Indiana high school must offer a minimum of two dual-credit and
Advanced Placement courses, and the state has made a concerted effort
to expand the numbers of students completing these rigorous courses.
From 2006-2011, Indiana increased the percentage of high school
graduates passing AP exams from 7.5 percent to 14 percent, while dual-
credit course-taking increased by 317 percent to include more than
43,000 students. To support affordable access to dual credit courses,
state law also gives the Commission for Higher Education the authority
to limit the cost charged to students by the Indiana's public colleges
and universities. For 2011-2013, that cost was capped at $25 per credit
hour. The commission has also put in place quality-control mechanisms
to ensure that dual-credit courses are truly college-level courses.
With these reforms, Indiana has made important strides in ensuring
the fungibility of coursework between a less-expensive community
college and a four-year institution. Students who begin their education
at a community college will be able to transfer their credits
seamlessly to four-year schools. Likewise, four-year students who
discover a community college or a different university to be a better
fit, will not lose academic credit. These efforts will undoubtedly help
make college more affordable to students and lead to greater student
Transparent Return on Education Investment
As the cost of postsecondary education rises, students and their
families are increasingly called upon to finance tuition and fees
through personal savings or student loans. As noted above, the average
Hoosier student now graduates with $27,000 in college debt. In making
investments in college study, students and families alike, increasingly
seek assurance that they will realize a return, in employment
opportunity, in job security and in financial remuneration.
Although there is no single measure, data point or piece of
evidence that will fully satisfy that need for assurance, a number of
sources of information can be assembled to help students and their
families make good investment choices. One important data point is
presented in the chart on page two of this document, describing the
inverse proportionality between unemployment risk and wages produced as
academic attainment increases. A multiplicity of data demonstrate the
truism that while all postsecondary degrees matter, some matter more in
terms of postgraduate earnings-level, employment prospects, and job
security. Other data attest to the differential quality of education
among institutions, demonstrating that the same degree, earned from
disparate institutions, frequently results in widely-varying employment
prospects and salary levels.
The whorl of these data points and other information about
postsecondary outcomes begs for improved aggregation, accessibility and
transparency; and sound advice on appropriate debt-levels should be
part of the calculus. The goal of this ambitious project is support for
students and their families in appreciating the value proposition in
higher education--in making reasoned and informed judgments about their
financial investments in postsecondary study and understanding the
value of what they stand to yield from them.
The Commission for Higher Education has embarked on such a project
to bring that information into a one-stop, user-friendly, easily-
accessible format for Hoosier. When complete, the utility will allow
students to discern their interests and values for a professional
career; to identify those careers that best fit their aspirations and
financial goals; to discover which academic programs and postsecondary
credentials lead to that career; to learn which institution meet their
personal and academic needs, and those of employers; to obtain precise
information about available financial aid; and to understand how their
own monetary contributions should best support their education.
Indiana has already made good progress on the project. Learn More
Indiana is a communication and outreach initiative that guides students
through a series of questions and exercises designed to help them plan,
prepare and pay for postsecondary studies. Planning includes completing
the Indiana Career Explorer interest and values inventory and
investigating universities and colleges with the College Navigator
developed by the Institute of Education Sciences. The Preparing section
counsels students in good study habits and leads them to explore
careers through information provided by the United States Department of
Labor. And when it comes to Paying, students are directed to the
commission-supported College Cost Estimator, a robust tool that uses
family-specific income information and demographic data to predict,
quite accurately, their anticipated costs at any Indiana college or
Within the coming months, the assistance already available at Learn
More Indiana will be supplemented by a Return on Investment Calculator.
The calculator will frame the value proposition inherent in higher
education, generally, as well as the anticipated returns on making
specific choices about college major, degree type, institution and
cost. Moreover, the commission has begun scoping a prescription, likely
in the form of a percent on post-graduation earnings, that will provide
students and their families solid advice on appropriate debt-levels for
their postsecondary education.
The commission anticipates that, equipped with fuller information
about their interests, institutional quality, major-to-career options,
employment prospects, financial aid and borrowing, students will be
empowered to make the good decisions about their postsecondary study
and will understand that a sound and appropriate financial commitment
will produce lasting dividends.
I will conclude with some reflections on the shared responsibility
which must characterize the discussion of educational affordability as
we move forward.
The past two decades, right up to the present, have witnessed a
perfect storm within higher education and the economy. Cost growth
among postsecondary institutions has been fueled by the emergence of
widespread information-technology and the need to make extraordinary
capital investments to facilitate learning and to support
administrative needs. Many universities have made costly investments in
residence halls, fitness centers, and other high-visibility facilities,
as well as student support staff, in an on-going race to attract
students who place a premium on such amenities.
Concomitantly, evolving employer demand for a highly-skilled
workforce has required more students to seek postsecondary study,
placing further pressure on institutions to expand their offerings and
facilities to accommodate burgeoning enrollment. Complicating these
upward pressures on cost, the recent national economic-downturn has
caused many states to contract their spending on postsecondary
operations. Students themselves are not without culpability:
postsecondary completion rates have stagnated, more students supersede
normal graduation-timelines, and practice less-than-sound judgment in
borrowing and spending.
The result of this perfect storm has been triple-digit-percent
increases in tuition and fees, and runaway increases in student debt-
load. To reverse this trend and rationalize postsecondary costs must be
a responsibility shared among states, institutions and students.
Indiana has taken significant steps to contain higher-education
costs and to advance the goal of making postsecondary education
affordable to all Hoosiers. More needs to be done, but in adopting
Reaching Higher, Achieving More as its strategic plan, the Indiana
Commission for Higher Education has articulated a clear pathway
forward--one that is student-centered, mission-driven and workforce-
aligned--with specific, actionable goals. The commission remains
grateful to have the support of Governor Mitch Daniels and the Indiana
General Assembly in sustaining public investments in the operations of
the state's institutions and in increasing the amount of aid available
to Hoosier students.
The commission is fortunate to have the partnership of Indiana's
public colleges and universities, whose leadership is active and
engaged in efforts to improve postsecondary affordability. Those
institutions have already begun to adopt cost-containment measures
aimed directly at lowering tuition and fees. Many have implemented
other affordability measures that will allow students to graduate more
quickly and at reduced cost.
Now we must turn our attention more fully to the crisis of student
debt. Solutions will require the development of assistance mechanisms
and making information more transparent, so that students and their
families can simultaneously realize the overwhelming value proposition
inherent in postsecondary attainment, while understanding fully the
ramifications of borrowing and the need to spend wisely.
While today's hearing focuses on cost considerations, a word of
caution is warranted. Neither the nation nor the State of Indiana can
suffer the long-term consequences of building a productive, affordable
system of higher education that gives short shrift to academic quality.
Ensuring affordability at the expense of academic rigor would be a
hollow victory, indeed. It would be far too easy to develop academic
programs that accelerate completion at the cost of learning, and
credentials that have no value within the workplace. To avoid doing so
will take thoughtful, collaborative discussion among all stakeholders
in the outcomes of postsecondary education, as well as mutually-
accountable, eagerly-accepted shared responsibility in making positive
I am grateful to the members of the subcommittee for convening this
important discussion and thank you for the opportunity to contribute
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you, Ms. Lubbers.
Mr. Jones, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF STAN JONES, PRESIDENT,
COMPLETE COLLEGE AMERICA
Mr. Jones. Thank you, Chairwoman Foxx.
I am Stan Jones. I am president of Complete College
America. We are a relatively new national organization, not-
for-profit. We have a single purpose. That is college
completion. We principally work with States, with governors,
with key legislators within States. We have been funded,
fortunately, by the Gates Foundation, Lumina, Ford, Carnegie,
and Kellogg; and that has been our focus.
I want to approach this hearing just a little bit
differently than my good friend and colleague, Teresa Lubbers
from Indiana. When I was first elected to the Indiana General
Assembly, being quite a bit older than Teresa, in 1974, college
tuition had literally doubled in 2 years; and it was a hot
issue in 1974. And Indiana enacted in 1975 a 2-year tuition
freeze, the first and only time they have done that. It has
been a hot issue ever since. And Chairwoman Foxx very correctly
outlined the situation that States are facing, that this
country is facing and its students are facing very well.
But I would like to take a different look at this tuition
affordability issue. If we think that college is increasingly
expensive for students, it is even more expensive for students
who don't graduate; and half those that start at 4-year
colleges don't graduate. Two-thirds of those that start at
community colleges don't graduate. That is crippling. Those
students are more than twice as likely to be in default on
their student loans, twice as likely to go into bankruptcy.
What is even more expensive, as well, is what we think of
college as a 4-year enterprise. Actually, it takes most full-
time students 5 years to graduate. It takes most students going
to community colleges that are going full time not 2 years, not
3 years, but 4 years to graduate.
So you think about tuition at a community college, you
might think about doubling it. If you think about it at a 4-
year institution, it is at least 20 percent more. We only have
about a third of the students going to 4-year colleges that
graduate on time. So when we talk about these things, we have
to talk also about the price of failure, about students who
don't graduate and students who take too long.
One of the contributing factors that I see, and that
Congressman Miller has introduced some legislation on, is
transfer of credit. It simply doesn't work in many States.
Everybody is working on this problem.
Students also accumulate too many credits. Typically an
associate degree, instead of being 60 hours, the average
student gets 80 hours; and typically a 4-year student, instead
of 120 hours, it takes 135 credit hours to graduate. And many
of these credits are inefficient credits. So--not enough
students graduate and it takes too long and they accumulate too
What are States doing? They have been pretty aggressive, as
my colleague has pointed out, in terms of performance funding,
in terms of 120-hour credit caps, in terms of more on-time
pathways, in terms of attacking remediation. We have about 60
percent of students that start at community colleges, start
taking remedial courses, courses they just literally passed in
high school, a very expensive proposition. So these strategies
are being put in place.
Rethinking what a full-time student is. If we think a full-
time student is 12 credit hours, they are already on the 5-year
plan, not the 4-year plan. So States are working toward getting
more students on 15 and 16 credit hours a semester so they can
graduate in a timely way.
What is important here, and I guess what I would like to
say to you, is the federal government can provide more
transparency. Right now, we don't report graduation rates for
Pell students. Even though we spend literally billions of
dollars a year on Pell students, that is not part of the
federal database. We don't report graduation rates on part-time
students. Right now, they represent 40 percent of all the
students going to college in this country. We don't report
graduation rates on adult students, who increasingly are an
important part of the economy for all these States. So
transparency is very important as part of what the federal
government can do.
But also importantly, this country has been hugely
successful on our access agenda. We have record-breaking
enrollment in the middle of this recession, more students going
to college than ever before, the freshman class is more
representative of this country than ever before in respect to
Latinos and African Americans than ever before. But if you look
at graduation day, we have lost many of those demographics by
graduation day, and less than half of the students that start
So we would like the federal government to rethink that
this should not only be an access agenda with student loans,
with Pell grants, with college access, but also a success
agenda. How can we better model State programs and federal
programs to respect progress toward degrees, on-time
graduation, higher graduation rates?
So thank you very much for having me. It is a pleasure.
[The statement of Mr. Jones follows:]
Prepared Statement of Stan Jones, President, Complete College America
A new American majority of students is emerging on college
campuses. These students must often delicately balance long hours at
jobs they must have with the higher education they desire.
Approximately 40% of all American college students today feel they can
only manage to attend part-time. And just one-quarter of American
college students attend full-time at residential colleges.
Even though this emerging majority has fundamentally
different needs, American higher education in general has been slow to
change, continuing to deliver courses and programs designed decades ago
and best suited for full-time, residential students.
To achieve the substantial gains in college completion
America must have to compete, we must reinvent American higher
education. To do so, requires significant shared responsibility by all
stakeholders, including government. More of the same will not do.
Historic data has proven that time is the enemy of college
completion: the longer it takes to graduate, the less likely one is to
do so. And more time on campus means more is spent on college, adding
high costs as another cause for dropping out.
Time, choice and structure are the essential optics
through which all higher education reforms must be viewed in order to
maximize the likelihood of graduating more of today's students.
Successful, large-scale programs and systems around the
country have proven that by utilizing informed choice and structured
delivery, students can successfully balance jobs and school--and are
much more likely to graduate.
States, as the leading investors in higher education, have
the power and authority to demand more from higher education--and they
have a moral obligation to do so.
By utilizing the NGA/CCA Common College Completion
Metrics, yawning gaps in current data collection will be filled and
states will be empowered with new tools to hold higher education
accountable and inform reform design.
Congress can seize key opportunities to encourage states,
incent needed reforms, and signal its clear interest in more college
graduates, not just enrollments.
Measured on the first day of classes each fall, higher education in
America appears to be a roaring success. In most communities, our
campuses are bursting at the seams with eager students. More important,
colleges have nearly erased racial gaps in enrollment: According to a
2003 US Department of Education report, 83% of whites pursue higher
education in the first eight years after high school--and 80% of blacks
and Hispanics do the same.
We have clearly convinced almost all of our young people that for
good jobs and a brighter future there is one irrefutable fact: high
school isn't high enough. Our colleges provide most of the open doors
and essential ladders to the greater opportunities and higher
achievement young people desire.
There's no disputing that a generation or more of sustained
efforts--while unfinished--have yielded impressive gains in access.
But, access without success is an empty promise--and a missed
opportunity with severe economic consequences for students, states and
With so much at stake, how is America doing? Barely more than half
of full-time students graduate with 4-year bachelor's degrees in six
years--and fewer than three in ten pursuing 2-year associate degrees at
our community colleges graduate in three years! Sadly, part-time
students graduate at even lower rates.
To make matters worse, a closer look on graduation day reveals that
those eventually receiving degrees look very different than the student
body on the first day of class: the hopes raised by nearly equitable
enrollments are crushed by long persistent gaps in achievement and
Given projections that two-thirds of all jobs in 2020 will require
advanced training or education, we simply have no choice: We must get
more of our students--from all walks of life--to graduation day.
Many argue that it is the significant cost of higher education that
is the greatest obstacle to student success. If we simply cut tuition
and fees, they claim, our country can significantly boost college
While it is true colleges must become more efficient and tuition
more affordable, we will not regain our intellectual leadership in the
world without new policies, legislation and strategies to reduce the
time it takes students to complete degrees and certificates.
Historic data has now proven that time is the enemy of college
completion, not just tuition. Today's college students are dramatically
different than those of the past: most now commute to campus, balancing
jobs, school and often family.
Yet higher education has done little to adjust to the changing
needs of this new majority. The result: students are spending longer
than ever in college. The longer it takes, the more life gets in the
way, and the less likely it is that one will ever graduate. More time
on campus means more is spent on college, adding high costs as another
driver of dropping out. Simply put: time is money.
A New Reality for an Emerging Majority on Campus: Time is the Enemy
Why does America have such abysmal completion rates? Of the many
reasons offered, one compelling fact stands above all others: Today,
most students balance the jobs they must have with the higher education
Today's college student is a far cry from the American archetype of
the 19 year-old college kid who lives on campus, attends full-time,
doesn't work, and gets most of his bills paid by Mom and Dad. In fact,
only 25% of college students in our country today attend residential
What's the new reality? According to a recent study by Public
Agenda, nearly half of students at 4-year schools work more than 20
hours a week. At community colleges, 60% are at jobs more than 20 hours
a week, and a quarter of these stressed out students are working more
than 35 hours. Nearly 40% of all of our college kids attend part-time.
Roughly a quarter of them have children of their own to support. And
yet they still find a way to come to college to pursue better lives.
With so much at stake, today's students need to finish their
studies as soon as possible to get on with life. They need clear
pathways to quality degrees and career certificates in order to land
the good jobs they desperately want. And they must have predictable
schedules they can count on in order to balance jobs and school. Why is
this so important? Because the more time college takes, the more life
intrudes. And when more life intrudes, fewer students complete college.
The Completion Cornerstones: Time, Choice and Structure
For years, adding time and more choices have been our answers.
Semester long, multiple-level remediation courses, limitless periods of
exploration before declaring a major, and midnight courses are all
examples of well-intended efforts to try and meet student needs. When
coupled with other policies like additional credit requirements or
transfer rules that don't readily recognize credits earned at multiple
campuses, the result has been to lengthen the time to degree for many
students--or hinder degree completion altogether.
The numbers make it clear: When it comes to college graduation,
time is the enemy. According to federally collected data in 2008, only
29% of full-time students at public 4-year institutions graduated on
time. After the fifth year of pursuing a Bachelor's degree, 19% more
Now consider the sixth and eighth years after enrollment: Only 6%
then 3% more students made it to graduation day, respectively. Giving
students more time to graduate does not yield many more graduates. Why?
Simply put, life gets in the way.
Today's students need less time on campus, fewer confusing choices
and more structured schedules. Time, choice and structure are the key
issues to address the needs of today's students and the optics through
which efforts to boost completion must be viewed.
Directed Choice Yields More Graduates
More time and uninformed choice work against college completion. To
understand why, we must again consider the nature of today's college
students--and human nature, in general.
Respected researcher and educator, James Rosenbaum, of Northwestern
University, and his colleagues have found that students at 2-year
colleges in America, which now make up nearly half of all college kids
today, often lack the know-how to direct their own progress. Further,
their work revealed that although students ``are assumed to be capable
of making informed choices, of knowing their abilities and preferences,
of understanding the full range of college and career alternatives, and
of weighing the costs and benefits associated with different college
programs, our analyses show that many students have great difficulty
with such choices.'' The fact that on average one college guidance
counselor is matched with 700 students in this country doesn't help the
While public 2-year colleges design their programs and procedures
based on faulty assumptions about the capability of their students to
make informed choices, Rosenbaum found that their private counterparts
often do not. According to him and his fellow researchers, many private
2-year colleges--with identical student bodies containing large numbers
of low-income and minority students who did poorly in high school--
shift academic planning responsibilities to themselves, ``devising
procedures to help students succeed even if they lack the traditional
social prerequisites of college.'' And it works: Rosenbaum found that
the private 2-year schools in his study graduate significantly more
students than their public peers.
How do they do it? The private 2-year colleges in the study offered
students ``package deal'' plans for accomplishing their specific
academic and career goals in a clear length of time. Instead of
charting their own paths by navigating daunting catalogs overflowing
with choices, students make the ``big choice'' of a desired career or
academic discipline and then the colleges make all of the ``little
choices'' for them by utilizing structured programs that move students
to degrees in the shortest time possible. (See Appendix A to review
Before assuming that only private colleges can accomplish this,
consider the tremendous success of the past twenty years at the public
Tennessee Technology Centers. Part of the Tennessee Board of Regents
system, the statewide Technology Centers have been regularly
accomplishing graduation rates of 75% or higher and job placement rates
Their approach shares many common elements with private schools:
Students sign up for whole programs, not individual courses. They are
clearly told how long the program will take to complete, the likelihood
of success, and the total ``all in'' costs. There are plenty of ``big
choices,'' but the ``small choices'' are directed, streamlined and
packaged to cut down on confusion and the chance of mistake.
So, this isn't about public versus private 2-year schools. It's
about divining an uncharted course through a catalog of undirected
choices on one's own versus fully informed choices with clear
expectations and benefits.
Nor is it just about college students--it's about what the
abundance of choice does to the human brain. In one famous study,
subjects became nearly paralyzed when presented with 24 choices of
fruit jams. While 60% helped themselves to samples, only 3% could ever
decide which jam to buy. By reducing the choices to just 6, researchers
observed that nearly a third of the 40% who sampled the jams made a
purchase. Whether choosing jams, bath soaps, investment plans, or
college courses, directed choice can be a great benefit to consumers.
As important as direction, the best choices are those most closely
aligned with intentions: Students come to college in pursuit of better
lives, higher-paying jobs and clearer paths to accomplish their goals.
They simply seek the fastest, most affordable route to do so--and most
don't enjoy the luxuries of endless time and resources to get there.
Add Structure to Achieve the Full Potential of Reforms
By choosing to think differently about choice, colleges can meet
the needs of more of today's students and share in the success that
comes with more graduates. But, combining directed choice with new
structures for academic delivery unleashes the full potential of
reforms to boost college completions.
To understand why, return again to what it's all supposed to be
about: students. It's clear that too many students work too many hours.
That's unlikely to change unless college suddenly becomes a lot more
So, let's consider again the lives of young adults who try to keep
it all going. At almost all colleges, courses are scheduled all over
the weekly calendar. In a student-centered culture, would programs be
designed that required an 8:00 a.m. class on Monday, a 2:00 p.m. class
on Tuesday, 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, etc.? Of course not.
Instead, what if programs were designed utilizing more structured
scheduling? Students could attend classes every day, five days a week,
from 8:00 a.m. to noon or from 1:00 until 5:00 p.m. Full-time
attendance would now be possible for many more, dramatically shortening
the time it takes to graduate. And finding time for jobs in such a
predictable daily routine is no longer a challenge.
When presented with this concept, students are incredulous. ``That
would be a dream come true,'' they have told us. Here again, the dream
is actually a tried-and-true reality.
Not only do the hugely successful Tennessee Technology Centers help
direct student choices, they also structure academic delivery in just
this way. Three-quarters or more of their students earn career
certificates in twelve to eighteen months going full-time, five days a
week, from 8:00 until 2:00. Every year over 12,000 students move
through the multiple Technology Center campuses and nearly all of them
head straight into jobs.
Structure also produces some added bonuses that should not be
overlooked. Compressed class schedules create stronger linkages between
faculty members--and cohort-like connections between students.
Professors not only interact more often, they also tend to create team
approaches to teaching the students they share. And students often move
through programs as a group, strengthening their ties and support of
But, structured scheduling only works for vocational education and
career certificate programs, right? Wrong. The City University of New
York (CUNY) has a program (ASAP) for accelerated completion of
associate degrees that is so successful the system will soon open an
entire campus designed to utilize block scheduling, student cohorts,
directed choice, embedded remediation and reinvented supports. Why make
this kind of significant investment in the midst of a budget crisis?
Because it works so well: ASAP students graduate on-time at more than
twice the rate of their peers.
Time, choice and structure: to significantly boost college
completions, turn the broken dreams of dropouts into the bright futures
of graduates, fully seize the opportunities for our country that
overflowing campuses provide, and make America the world leader again
in college attainment, we must keep our collective focus on these three
touchstones. They are universal truths arrived at in the best way: by
seeing the true nature of our college students today--and opening our
minds to accept that to help them succeed--a success that America is
counting on--we must reinvent American higher education.
States Must Lead the Way
The stakes are high. That's why we must recognize that higher
education institutions themselves are not the only players. One key
participant that has too long been on the sideline of higher education
reform is state government.
Given that our country has suffered these low graduation rates for
a generation or more, it is clear that--in spite of our best
intentions--doing more of the same will just get us more of the same.
Higher education now must have the committed and shared partnership of
all key stakeholders. America--now 12th in the world in college
attainment and falling--does not have the luxury of time to wait.
States must step forward and help lead the way.
There are many compelling reasons for governors, state legislatures
and higher education system leaders to assume leadership on this
While state-appointed or elected citizen boards directly govern
public institutions, ultimately states are responsible for all public
colleges and universities. State goals and state leadership created
college systems and expanded open access four-year institutions over
the past 50 years; state leadership and support will be necessary to
enhance and sustain their effectiveness in improving college completion
in the 21enhance and sustain their effectiveness in improving college
completion in the 21enhance and sustain their effectiveness in
improving college completion in the 21
By a wide measure, state taxpayers provide the greatest funding for
institutions, especially community colleges and open access four-year
institutions. No other stakeholder is better positioned than state
governments to ensure that public investments are wisely utilized to
maximize opportunities for the future economic success of their states.
Systemic, Scalable Change
States are the best positioned to ensure reform across systems and
campuses by setting goals, establishing uniform measures, and
monitoring progress. They can also serve as the most efficient
clearinghouses of best practices, allowing for rapid scaling of
With so much at stake economically, states must hold themselves,
students, and institutions accountable for success. States have
leverage over both governance and the funding mechanisms needed to
achieve higher levels of completion.
Institutions have strong incentives to shape reporting to mask
failure and avoid confronting problems. States are much more likely
than individual institutions to share and publish data to drive reform.
Higher education attainment is inextricably linked to future
economic success. State leadership will ensure stronger linkages
between each state's economic needs and higher education delivery.
Mobility of Students
Today's students move across campuses and systems to attain
credentials. Coherent state policy and integrated state strategies are
essential for assuring ease of transfer and efficient completion of
States in Action: Complete College America's Alliance of States
When it comes to state leadership, there is great reason for
optimism. Today, more than half of the states have joined Complete
College America's Alliance of States. To do so, Governors and their
higher education leadership had to make four key commitments:
1. Establish statewide and campus-level college completion goals,
2. Adopt the NGA/Complete College America Common Completion Metrics
in order to measure progress and hold institutions accountable for
results (see Appendix B),
3. Create comprehensive statewide and campus-level college
completion plans, and
4. Move significant legislation and policies to remove unnecessary
obstacles and speed student success.
As of this writing, 30 states have made these commitments and are
now working as members of the Alliance of States to design and
implement strategies that will significantly boost the number of their
citizens with college degrees or other credentials of value.
Essential Steps for States
Complete College America recommends several significant policy
levers that states can utilize to enhance the likelihood of student
success and college completion, including shifting to performance
funding, reducing time-to-degree, transforming remediation,
restructuring academic delivery, and making career certificates count,
among others. Please see Complete College America's Essential Steps for
States documents for more specifics on what states can do today
Actions Congress Can Take Now
1. Restructure federal investments in higher education to reward
states and institutions that implement new strategies and structures to
significantly boost college completion, including measures to shorten
time-to-degree. As an example, the Community College and Career
Training Grants program should incent states with unified community
college systems and/or community college consortia to restructure
delivery to help working students. As shown above, proven models exist
that can be replicated and scaled by states and consortia.
2. Embed robust progress and completion metrics in all federal
higher education policies and statutes. The NGA/CCA Common College
Completion Metrics can serve as a strong starting point. These
comprehensive metrics allow for accurate state-by-state and
institutional comparisons and fill in yawning gaps in current data
collection, enhancing opportunities for accountability and empowering
all stakeholders with new tools to inform reform design.
Commitments like those made by our Alliance States give us great
reason for optimism--and a clear path forward. With a little more
help--and a lot of common sense--students, their families, taxpayers,
and all Americans will share in the benefits of more individuals
Complete College America applauds the President and Congress for
efforts to make America first in the world again in college completion.
And we stand ready to assist in efforts to reinvent higher education to
meet the needs of the new emerging American majority of college
students. Thank you for this opportunity to be of assistance in this
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you very much.
I would now like to recognize Dr. May for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF JOE MAY, PRESIDENT, LOUISIANA COMMUNITY AND
TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM
Mr. May. Thank you, Madam Chair, Ranking Member Hinojosa,
and members of the committee. I am honored to be with you today
and to represent not only the State of Louisiana and our
community and technical colleges but also community colleges
across the nation. The Louisiana Community and Technical
College System is comprised of 14 colleges, which last year
served 111,000 students.
As well as being the President of the Louisiana Community
and Technical College System, I also am President and represent
a new group, an organization called Rebuilding America's Middle
Class, which represents about 100 institutions across the
country that have joined together to ensure that federal
policies support the ability of individuals to acquire the
skills needed for today's jobs.
More than ever, as was said in opening testimony, the road
to economic security runs through higher education and through
specifically community and technical colleges. Over the last 5
years, Louisiana, like most of the nation, has seen reduced
State funding and yet increased interest. In fact, our
enrollment has grown by 55 percent, while we have seen
decreased State support of almost 37 percent during that same
period of time. And while the changing funding model creates
challenges, I believe it is in times like this that community
and technical colleges shine.
In Louisiana, through merging colleges, eliminating
redundant programs, aligning programs with market demand,
consolidating information technology systems, sharing backroom
operations like payroll and auditing services, we are saving
almost $30 million a year that we are applying to meet
students' needs as compared to 4\1/2\ years ago.
One of the greatest opportunities for keeping costs low is
to encourage more students to begin their postsecondary career
at a community or technical college. Because our colleges are
close to where students live and work, they are lower cost and
offer high quality programs, they are an outstanding value for
students planning to transfer to a university and earn a
While this has been an obvious benefit of attending
community colleges, for many students the transfer process
itself has been a nightmare. In fact, in Louisiana, in the past
if a student earned an associate's degree at a community
college and transferred to a public university, the student
would on average lose between 21 and 24 semester credit hours.
The solution to this problem was clear: develop a statewide
transfer agreement to ensure that students can transfer without
losing credit, regardless of which institution they choose to
Today, students can enroll at any community college in
Louisiana, earn the Louisiana transfer degree, either an
associates of art or associates of science degree, and transfer
to LSU or any of the 14 State universities with junior status.
Thus, for the first time in the history of our State, 2-year
college advisers can actually encourage students to earn the
Prior to this legislation, advisers knew that if the
student earned the associates degree that he or she would take
more hours than needed and spend more money than was necessary.
Prior to this legislation, students were spending about $2,100
more in terms of the amount of money they needed to spend and
the State of Louisiana was spending about $1,900 more per
student. In addition, the Pell program was spending about
$2,750 more per student than was necessary. It is estimated
that, on average, students would save over $10,000 of the cost
of a bachelor's degree by starting at a community or technical
college and then transferring with the associate degree into a
4-year college or university.
As we streamlined the process, we also realized that one of
the barriers, and it has been mentioned earlier, was the fact
that we had seen the credit hour creep. Many of our programs
associate degrees had gotten as high as 75 hours required to
earn the associates degree. In 2010 we capped that at 60 hours,
went back and reviewed programs, both to reduce time to degree
and to save students dollars. On average, we have seen a $1,100
reduction in terms of the amount of money that students spend
and about $792 per student in terms of what the State is
As both the President of the Louisiana Community and
Technical College System and the President of Rebuilding
America's Middle Class, I have learned the importance of policy
on impacting the ability of colleges to respond to business and
industry to meet the needs of students and to rebuild America's
middle class. In Louisiana, we have been successful in growing
enrollment while reducing costs, improving services and
enhancing quality and guaranteeing that we are relevant to the
needs of today's students, business and industry and our
Thank you for the opportunity to share this important story
today, and I welcome your questions.
[The statement of Mr. May follows:]
Prepared Statement of Dr. Joe D. May, President,
Louisiana Community and Technical College System
Thank you, Madam Chair, Ranking Member Hinojosa, and members of the
I am honored to be with you today.
My name is Joe May and I am the President of the Louisiana
Community and Technical College System.
On behalf of the great state of Louisiana and Louisiana's community
and technical colleges, I want to thank you and the members of the Sub-
committee on Education and Workforce Training for inviting me to be
part of these important deliberations.
The Louisiana Community and Technical College System is comprised
of 14 colleges which last year served 111,000 unduplicated students.
Of these 14 colleges, seven have been recognized as among the
nation's fastest growing colleges when ranked among colleges of the
Along with being President of the Louisiana Community & Technical
Colleges, I am the president of a new organization called Rebuilding
America's Middle Class (RAMC).
Our almost 100 members are a group of community and technical
colleges that have joined together to insure that federal policies
support, rather than hinder, the ability of individuals to acquire the
skills needed for today's jobs.
Our economy is in trouble. When our economy is in trouble,
individuals and families struggle to find good jobs.
More than ever, the road to economic security runs through higher
education and specifically community and technical colleges.
The fear of skyrocketing college costs has put the dream of a
middle-class lifestyle out of reach for many Americans.
Yet, community colleges are the low cost, high value educational
providers that respond to market demands.
The average annual cost per year to attend a community college is
just under $3,000 compared to over $8,000 for the average price of
annual in-state tuition at a four-year public college.
Author Jim Clifton points out in his book, ``The Coming Jobs War,''
that today's global economy is engaged in a war for jobs.
As pointed out by the McKinsey publication of a few years ago,
employers are also engaged in a ``war for talent.''
The war for jobs and the war for talent are symptoms of the same
As a country, we must do more to align postsecondary programs with
the needs of business and industry to enable them to be successful and
to equip individuals for good paying jobs.
It is clear that while employers are fighting for the top talent in
terms of knowledge, skills, and abilities in order to remain
competitive in today's economy, individuals badly want those jobs.
Community colleges are the key to bridging this knowledge gap
between employers and individuals.
Bringing together employers and individuals has been the story of
the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
Yet like most of the nation, funding at Louisiana's community
colleges and technical colleges has not kept pace with enrollment
Over the past five and a half years, Louisiana's community and
technical college enrollment has grown by 55% while our state support
has decreased by 37%.
While the changing funding model creates great challenges, I
believe that it is in times like this that community and technical
As institutions, we are problem solvers that find ways to be more
efficient while serving more students and meeting the needs of business
Our colleges are driven to adapt to changing economic realities
because we understand that the stakes have never been higher.
In Louisiana, through merging colleges, eliminating redundant
programs, aligning programs with market demands, consolidating
information technology systems, and sharing backroom operations such as
payroll and auditing services, we are saving almost $30 million
Enrolling almost half of the nation's undergraduate enrollment,
community and technical colleges have become the front line for
improving student access and student success.
Perhaps most importantly, our colleges are the conduit by which
employers secure the talent they need and help students get the jobs
Louisiana's community and technical colleges are proud to say:
Our colleges have no needs * * *
We quickly point out that it is people, who have needs,
Employers have needs,
Communities have needs * * *
Our colleges must use all of our resources to provide the solutions
to meet the needs of people, employers and communities.
In Louisiana, we have worked hard to help students achieve their
goals and objectives, ensuring that employers find the talent they
need, while at the same time driving costs down.
One of the greatest opportunities for keeping cost low is to
encourage more students to begin their postsecondary career at a
community or technical college.
Because our colleges are close to where students live and work, are
lower cost, and offer high quality programs, they are an outstanding
value for students planning to transfer to a university and earn a
While this has been an obvious benefit of attending community and
technical colleges, for many students, the transfer process has been a
In fact, in Louisiana, if a student earned an associate's degree at
a community college and transferred to a public university, the student
would, on average lose between 21 and 24 semester credit hours in
The solution to this problem was clear: develop a state-wide
transfer agreement to ensure that students can transfer without losing
credit hours regardless of which university they chose to attend.
When the Louisiana legislature debated our transfer policy, it was
supported by not only two-year colleges but university faculty as well.
Referencing the transfer policy in testimony before the Louisiana
Senate, Louisiana State University Faculty Senate President, Kevin Cope
stated, ``I urge everyone to think long and deeply about this system
and how it will impact the educated person. I believe that with this
legislation we finally have the chance to get it right.''
Today, students can enroll at any community college in Louisiana,
earn the Louisiana Transfer Degree--either an Associate's of Arts
degree or an Associate's of Science degree and transfer to LSU or any
of the state's 14 universities with junior status.
Thus, for the first time in the history of our state, two-year
college advisors can actually encourage students desiring to transfer
to complete the associate's degree.
Prior to this legislation, advisors knew that if the student earned
the associate's degree that he or she would take more hours than needed
and spend more dollars than necessary.
As the result of this initiative, the average student saves $2,117
while the state of Louisiana saves $1,930 per transfer student.
In addition, this means that $ 2,750 less Pell funds are needed by
students who transfer to a university having already earned an
It is estimated that, on average, students would save over $10,000
of the cost of a Bachelor's of Arts by starting their college careers
at a community college and transferring their credits seamlessly to a
Establishing a General Education Common Core
The legislation didn't stop with policies related to student
transfers, it also allowed for the development of a common general
education core of 39 semester credit hours.
These courses would be the same regardless of the institution
attended and would be guaranteed to transfer to all public institutions
Capping Associate Degree Programs
As we streamlined the process for students, we realized that one of
the transfer barriers was inconsistency with the number of hours needed
to earn an associate's degree.
Over time, many of our programs had grown from the standard 60
semester credit hours to as many as 75.
This sort of credit hour creep had to be changed.
Therefore, in 2010 the Louisiana Legislature passed a bill that
limited all but selective associate's degrees to 60 semester credit
Reducing the number of credit hours results in a reduction in cost
of approximately $1,100 to the student and their family. The state of
Louisiana additionally saves $792 per student and most importantly, it
reduces time to degree.
Accountability, Retention, and Graduation Rates
We also support legislation in Louisiana that holds colleges
accountable for retention and graduation rates as part of the higher
education funding formula, which ensures that students are getting more
value for their dollar.
Common Course Numbering
Another important policy measure passed in the 2012 legislative
session was a bill to require common course numbering at all 2-year and
This means that English 101 at any community college is the same
English 101 at LSU or any other 4-year college in the state, ensuring
that the course will transfer no matter when or where it was taken,
which has not always been the case.
In closing, I want to mention that the Louisiana Community and
Technical College provides something we call the Day One Guarantee.
Our colleges guarantee that a graduate of any of our certificate or
associate degree programs will have the knowledge, skills, and
abilities expected by employers on day one or we will retrain them for
This is about guaranteeing quality and market relevance to our
graduates and our employers.
This guarantee is posted in every college and listed in every
college catalog and we stand behind it.
Our goal is to ensure that both students and employers know that
there is guaranteed value in every educational dollar they spend.
As both the President of the Louisiana Community and Technical
College System, and the President of Rebuilding America's Middle Class,
I have learned the importance of policy in impacting the ability of
colleges to respond to business and industry, to meet the needs of
students, and to rebuild America's middle class.
In Louisiana, we have been successful in growing enrollment while
reducing costs, improving services, enhancing quality, and guaranteeing
Thank you for the opportunity to share this important story today.
I welcome your questions.
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you very much, Dr. May.
Thank you all very much for staying within our time
constraints and presenting very cogent testimony to all of us.
I am very grateful to you.
I am going to ask a couple of questions, and then I am
going to list some questions that I am not going to ask you to
answer today. And I know we can do this in the record without
my saying them, but I want to put some issues out there for
everybody to hear, not just to send them to you to answer. So I
will do that and probably not use all of my time so that I can
move on to some of my colleagues. But I did want to get a
couple of things out.
I would like to ask Dr. May and then Ms. Lubbers and Mr.
Pattison, if you know this from either your experience in
Virginia or general knowledge, how much does it cost in your
State, Dr. May, Ms. Lubbers and Mr. Pattison, if you know, how
much does it cost to fund a student's degree? How much is your
If you don't know that, then we can get that answer from
Mr. May. In terms of the funding from the State and the
cost to students to earn a 60-semester-hour associate degree,
it is going to cost a little over roughly $5,500, $5,600 for
tuition fees and State costs, not counting books and fees, our
books, which would be in addition to that. So around $5,500.
Chairwoman Foxx. That is what the student would pay?
Mr. May. Yes, the student would pay about $5,500, and the
State would pay roughly an equal amount to that. So the total
cost of that would be about $10,000.
Chairwoman Foxx. Okay. I thought your number was a little
Ms. Lubbers. Our State operating per FTE is about $4,900;
and the students are paying, depending on whether they are
going to a community college or they are going to a 4-year
institution, somewhere between a little over $4,100 for the 2-
year college and more like $7,200 to $7,400 for the 4-year
institution. So the State's commitment, which is down for FTE
by about 16 percent over the last 3 years, is right at around
Chairwoman Foxx. Mr. Pattison?
Mr. Pattison. I unfortunately don't recall off the top of
my head for Virginia. But I will say what is very interesting
and I think a very important point is it does vary quite
tremendously by State, and that brings up another issue as to
why costs are so different, depending on the State.
Chairwoman Foxx. Okay. Thanks.
And, again, I will ask Dr. May and Ms. Lubbers this
question, and if you would answer it as succinctly as you can:
What led each of your States to recognize that you had a
problem in making college affordable for students? What was the
awakening in the State?
Mr. May. I think the awakening really came from the
employers in the State. We saw two issues that were taking
place. On the one hand, our companies were looking for talent
to meet their needs and stay viable as organizations. On the
other hand, we have seen the highest unemployment rate in a
generation occur. So you have companies wanting to hire people
but couldn't find them, and individuals needing jobs who
weren't getting those jobs.
So what we began to look very closely at, how do we get
more people in the door, recognizing that there are budget
constraints that are out there. So we began to look at wastes
to reduce costs to students so that even in tight budgets we
could expand services. And, in fact, we have done that, having
grown 55 percent in enrollment during the very time that we
have seen funding reduced at the State level.
Chairwoman Foxx. Ms. Lubbers.
Ms. Lubbers. Certainly Indiana, like most States and more
than most States, needs to look at this from the standpoint of
the job opportunities we have and the workforce preparation.
But I think the one factor that probably has directed this more
than anything else has been the 100 percent increase in tuition
over this period of time.
Chairwoman Foxx. Great. Thank you.
Let me throw out again some questions that we will ask you
in a more formal way. One is, do you believe higher education
is subject to the whims of the economy more than other areas of
State budgets? In what ways do you anticipate the structure of
State funding for higher education to evolve over the next 10
years? Mr. Pattison, that is a particularly good question for
And I think another question, to build on what Ms. Lubbers
just said, why has the cost of acquiring a degree outpaced
State funding increases so dramatically?
And another question again for Ms. Lubbers and Dr. May, did
you encounter pushback from institutions when the State began
to discuss higher education reforms, how did you appease the
concerns of the faculty, and what benefits have students and
institutions realized since enacting the reforms put forward by
I think we have sort of glossed over in some ways the
institutional resistance to the changes that have to occur in
higher education. We haven't really focused on those very much
as we deal with this issue.
But thank you all very much.
I would now like to recognize Mr. Hinojosa for his
Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you.
Mr. Jones, President Obama has set a national goal that the
United States will lead the world in proportion of college
graduates by the year 2020. Will you elaborate on the
importance of this goal, both in terms of individual prosperity
as well as our nation's ability to compete in this 21st century
Mr. Jones. Well, first of all, I think it is aspirational
in the sense that we used to talk about that it was good enough
to get an eighth grade education, and then we focused on it was
important for everybody to get a high school education. And so
clearly this is generational. It is aspirational, the
recognition that more students need to go to college, that that
is the remaining pathway to prosperity as many of the good
factory jobs just aren't there anymore.
There also have been a lot of economic reports out, one
from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Economy, that
clearly points to the fact that 60 percent of our workforce is
going to need credentials of value, 2-year degrees, 4-year
degrees, 1-year certificates. So there is both an economic
imperative, nationally, internationally, as well as a
generational imperative to do this.
I do want to clarify, because this is an issue that comes
up all the time, when we say not everybody should go to
college, I think all of us here would define ``college'' as
being, broadly defined, not only 4-year bachelor's degrees but
2-year associate's degrees, 1-year certificates. Many of the
vocational programs one might think about in terms of
electrical work or plumbing, all those students go to college.
So we think of it as broadly and not simply as getting a 4-year
Mr. Hinojosa. Tell me, in my home State of Texas, Latino,
African American, Asian American, and Native American students
already make up the majority of the students enrolled in many
of our colleges and universities. Can you highlight what States
are doing to ensure that these students are part of the
President's college completion goal?
Mr. Jones. I think, as I said, this country, ever since the
GI Bill, higher education has been about access. That has been
the DNA of higher education. And we have record breaking
enrollment in this very difficult time because people have
decided the pathway to a better job is education. And the
freshman class has more, across this country, more Hispanics,
more African Americans, than ever before.
But if you look at the graduating class, a lot of the
Latinos, a lot of the African Americans that we worked so hard
to get into college, they are not there, a lot of the first-
generation students. So we are winning the access battle. We
are losing, not only in the State of Texas but across this
country, the success rate for these students.
Mr. Hinojosa. But tell me, when are the governors and all
of the stakeholders going to believe that investing early in
reading and writing so that children can have a good
understanding of what they read, a good vocabulary so they can
express themselves? Why isn't there more being done and why
aren't the Governors pushing for that? If we know that half of
our students are not graduating, even though the enrollment is
so high, we have a void that has to be filled, and that is
getting children to start reading when they are 1-year-old, 2,
3, and 4-year-olds.
Commissioner Lubbers, Indiana's 21st Century Scholars
Program has been cited as a model for State College aid
programs, promising scholarships to free-and-reduced priced
lunch students in middle school if they graduate from high
school and maintain good grades and stay out of trouble. So, as
Indiana is reducing the State appropriations for this 21st
Century Scholars Program, administrative costs and
scholarships, what is the expected impact on recruiting and
enrolling low-income students into the program?
Ms. Lubbers. Well, the good news is that financial aid is
actually increasing in Indiana, including funding for the 21st
Century Scholars Program, which is a nationally respected
program and one which we want to preserve. We believe it is an
aspirational preparation scholarship program for students. It
has a huge increase in the number of students who are signing
up and going to college. Actually, the college-going population
for the 21st Century Scholars is the highest college-going
population of any right now.
Like the discussion preceding my comments, we are not
getting them to complete at the level we need to, so we are
really focused on interventions for their success. It is an
entitlement program. If they meet their needs, we try to meet
the State's obligation to them. But, not surprisingly, our
financial aid, like every other part of the State's budget, has
suffered some, in this case primarily because we have more
people going to college.
We have put $23 million more into financial aid when we
couldn't put money into anything else, but the number of people
who are showing up at our doors meant that the size of some of
our grants was actually going down. But our commitment to the
21st Century Scholars and those mostly first-generation
college-going students is strong and will remain strong.
Mr. Hinojosa. The Pew Foundation report says that
enrollment in colleges went up 28 percent for minority
students, but I say that we still are not doing a good job in
pre-kindergarten and getting them ready to be able to handle
the assignments and the work that is expected at the college
Chairwoman Foxx. The gentleman's time has expired.
I would like to recognize Dr. Roe for 5 minutes.
Mr. Roe. I thank the chairwoman for recognizing me; and,
first, I want to welcome the students. I see a lot of students
out here. And really this is about them. In not so many years
you are going to be sitting where we are. One of my major
concerns I had, I only have been here 3\1/2\ years in Congress,
but was the affordability of a college education, and let me
sort of explain why that is.
My father was a factory worker, and I was able to graduate
from college, stayed at home, worked my way through school, and
ended up graduating from college with no debt. I then went to
medical school in 3 years. So I know an accelerated program can
work, because I have been through it. And I graduated from
medical school with no debt. And one of the colleges I applied
to, the tuition was more than my father made in a year, so I
clearly wasn't going to go there.
We didn't have access to loans that are available now that
I think put a lot of students in horrific debt. And it is not
unusual to see a student graduate from college--and I get
letters all the time in my office, ``Dr. Roe, I have got
$75,000 in student debt.'' Well, one of my good friends, my
son's best friends, has $300,000 in student debts after
graduating from law school. So it is a huge problem.
On my walk down here today, I saw people lined up around
Financial Services getting ready to go in there. And if we
don't get this right where you can educate people at a
reasonable cost, the rest of that stuff is not going to matter.
I have heard a lot of good ideas, and Mr. Jones pointed out
something I thought was very important, is the price of
failure. That is huge in this country, when we fail and don't
graduate our students. And really the future of our country
relies on us educating our people where it is still affordable.
So I think the things we are doing in Tennessee--and I want
to bring this up just a little bit--is to use our technology
centers. We have 27 technology centers in Tennessee where you
can get technology training. The community colleges, Dr. May,
you make a great point, and a lot of students are now taking
advantage of a much lower cost community college and then going
to the 4-year college and graduating.
I think the other thing that I think Ms. Lubbers brought
out--and I want her to talk about this a little more--is the
education of students, where I know what I can do with my
degree when I graduate. And it is not just getting a degree,
but then can I extrapolate this degree into meaningful
employment. And the meaningful employment numbers I have seen
are, if you graduate from high school, it is worth a half
million dollars more in your lifetime in income; if you
graduate college, it is at least a million dollars more; and if
you have an advanced degree, it is even an exponential number
So, Ms. Lubbers, I want you to again go over those things
in Indiana, because I think our State is doing some of the same
Ms. Lubbers. Thank you.
I know one of the things that we are doing, as you are
doing in Tennessee as well, is performance funding and paying
for what we value at an increasingly higher level. So if we
believe that failure is a problem, then we should incent
completion, and that is one of the things that we incent. If we
believe that you can save money by graduating on time, then we
look at funding on-time graduation at a higher level. So some
of those things that we are doing from a policy standpoint.
From a student or a family standpoint, when you talk about
making decisions about going to college and making smart
decisions, we think that it is important for students to be
able to follow their dream and do those kinds of things in life
that they want to do, but we think it is important that they
understand the implication of the decisions they make and the
likelihood of getting a job, how much debt they have actually
incurred during that time, how long it will take them to pay
So that is why we are committed to really this return on
investment report that will try to align college with the
workforce, with employers. And the good news is we are doing
that better now than ever before. We have the ability through
technology to align the performance in school with the kinds of
jobs that people get, and we are committed to doing that. So I
think this return on investment issue is incredibly important
so that people will make smarter decisions.
Mr. Roe. I think one of things that I looked at--I talked
to some folks in Tennessee last night. In 2001, the tuition at
a 4-year college was $3,100. In 2010, it was $6,000. It doubled
during that time. That is a lot of money. And 80 percent of the
students that leave East Tennessee State University have an
average debt of $21,000. And if you are a teacher, if you go
into law enforcement as a police officer or whatever, at least
in our area, that is a sizable chunk of change.
And I don't want the students out there to think--I was
highly motivated by the draft during the Vietnam War, so I want
you to understand that that motivated me a lot to stay in
college. It didn't work out for me. I ended up going anyway.
But that was one of my motivations.
The other thing we did was, and this was done when I was in
college, if you took 12 hours or above, then it was a full
load, and you could take whatever you wanted after that. So I
graduated with extra hours, not because it cost me more but
because there was an incentive for me to do that.
Is there a way to look at that now, where if you take a
full load, not charged by the credit hour, but this is a full
load, if you take more than that it doesn't cost you any more
money. Does anybody want to comment?
Mr. Jones. Yes. More and more States--some States have had
those policies, some institutions. But as we are thinking about
getting students, you only have 12 hours to be a full-time
student to get federal Pell grants, so that is kind of the
default now. So we need to have people thinking about 15 hours.
And so States are doing that, colleges are doing that in the
I did want to point out that your technology centers I
think are an unwritten story. They have a 75 percent graduation
rate and an 85 percent placement rate and compared to other
similar programs that might only have a 15 or 20 percent. So
your State is doing a lot both with Governor Bradesen and
And the technology center model is highly effective. They
go on block schedules, they go on cohorts, they take
attendance, which I think is an underrated strategy, and it is
really a model I think the rest of the country could look at.
Mr. Roe. Thank you. I yield back.
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you, and thank you all for boosting
I do think that, particularly in Ms. Lubbers' response, it
partly answers I believe Mr. Hinojosa's question about why
can't we get more people to get students through. More pay
performance perhaps in the States would help with helping
students with graduation.
I now would like to recognize Ranking Member Miller for--I
recognize Mr. Bishop for 5 minutes.
Mr. Bishop. Thank you very much, and I thank the ranking
member for his indulgence.
I want to just pick up on the point that Dr. Roe just made.
I think it is one that we should look at very carefully, the
choice between flat rate pricing and per credit pricing. I do
think that there is an opportunity there to help students
accelerate. The key would be to have the tipping point or the
equity point for the flat rate pricing versus the per credit
pricing to be relatively closer to the 12 credit number as the
18 credit number, but I think a very good point.
It seems to me that a theme that runs through all of your
testimony is that we need to have two agendas. We need to have
an access agenda, and we need to have a completion agenda. And
right now what is facing students at the public level is per-
FTE funding that is lower than it has been an in a quarter of a
century. I understand that you said the aggregate fund is
higher, but that has I guess to do with the increased volume as
opposed to per-FTE. Mr. Jones, you made comments in your
testimony about the extent to which both full- and part-time
students rely on at least part-time work, if not full-time
One of the things I am very concerned about is here in
Washington we are, in effect, moving in the opposite direction.
Today, the Labor-H Appropriations Subcommittee is going to vote
on the chairman's mark for appropriations for fiscal 2013, and
that mark includes a reduction in the Pell Grant of
approximately $800 per year. It is estimated that that
reduction will render immediately approximately 400,000
students ineligible for Pell, and every other--just the way
Pell works, everybody else that gets a Pell will get a Pell
that is $800 less than what they are getting now.
So my question to each of you is, to what extent do you see
that move on the part of the federal government impacting our
shared concern for both an access agenda and a completion
Mr. Jones, why don't we start with you?
Mr. Jones. Right. And I am not knowledgeable enough to talk
fully about the Pell Grant, except to say this: the Pell Grant
and the student loan program, which serves even many, many more
students, both are extremely important to the access agenda and
have propelled the access agenda and made our freshman classes
But I will say, as you are thinking about reforms both in
student loans and in Pell grants, is that you think about the
progress students make toward completion. To the very point you
made about an access agenda coupled with a success agenda, to
the very point you made about if we can get students thinking
about 15 or 16 credit hours a semester, progressing in a timely
way. Not everybody is going to graduate on time, but more than
a third of them could graduate on time.
So I would like Congress to think about those kinds of
progress measures as you are thinking about very, very precious
resources that you are having to allocate.
Mr. Bishop. I think you are absolutely right.
I am going to let you all answer, but I just want to jump
in. Given the extent to which now even full-time students
depend on work, if we are reducing their Pell, is it reasonable
to assume that their dependence on work will go up and
therefore their time to degree will get longer? Is that a
Mr. Jones. Yes. We put out a report last October called
``Time is the Enemy.'' That was essentially the argument in our
report, is that the longer it takes, the less likely it is
students will graduate.
Mr. Bishop. Thank you.
Ms. Lubbers. Well, I would like to use this as an
opportunity to put a plug in for something that I think you
could help us with, which is the consideration of using Pell in
the summer months. If we talk about trimesters at Purdue and we
talk about accelerated programs, it only makes sense that we
would actually be able to use Pell during the summer months. So
whatever you do with the final amounts of money for Pell, to
preclude people from using Pell in the summer is turning out to
be very problematic in the States.
Mr. Bishop. I am sure you know that we had year-round Pell
in the last higher education reauthorization, but it became a
casualty of our effort to keep the Pell Grant maximum at
Ms. Lubbers. I do understand. And I am just saying that as
we look forward into the 21st century of how students are
actually getting their education, one of the considerations
that I think we should have is what that calendar actually
looks like; and the old agrarian calendar is not the calendar
in which students now go to school.
Mr. Bishop. Let me just raise one last thing. I thought you
made a wonderful point, Ms. Lubbers, about the tightrope
basically between efforts to reduce costs and maintain quality.
And if you--at the end of that tightrope is completion, and a
lot of things that are related to completion cost money. And so
how we work our way through this over the next, you know,
several years is going to be a real challenge, I think, from a
public policy perspective but also from an educational
administrator and faculty and curriculum perspective. And I
hope as we look to cut costs we don't lose sight of the fact
that a lot of what we spend money on is integral to a student's
ability to persist and succeed.
Thank you all for the work you do on behalf of our
I yield back.
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you, Mr. Bishop.
I would like to point out that in the appropriations
process this year the Pell Grants were level funded. There were
no cuts made in Pell Grants.
I would now like to recognize Dr. Bucshon for 5 minutes.
Mr. Bucshon. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.
I want to put in a plug for Indiana since two of our people
that are testifying today are either currently or previously
involved in Indiana's higher education. We appreciate all of
you being here today.
I usually try to focus on what we can do on the front end
on a lot of these problems, and I agree that we have maybe been
a little bit of a victim of our success, of our goals of
getting everyone into a 4-year college institution. And now, on
the back end, we have a lot of students that have an education
with degrees that don't produce jobs. Nothing against those at
all. But these students now have a lot of debt, and they don't
have any access to the job market because what they are
educated in may or may not produce a degree that allows them to
And as a parent of four children--I have one son who just
finished his freshman year in college, another getting ready to
go. And coming from a family kind of like Dr. Roe's, who my dad
was a coal miner and my mom was a nurse and I am the first
graduate of a 4-year school from my family, I understand the
importance of parental expectations. And let me tell you, my
dad said, you have 4 years to graduate, and he meant it. And I
do think to a certain extent that, as a society, we have
lessened our expectations of our citizens in that respect.
And similar to health care where, unless we get people to
take personal responsibility for their own actions related to
their health care, education is very similar. Unless we get
students and parents to take some responsibility as part of
this overall problem that we have, it is going to be difficult
to solve it.
And so, Ms. Lubbers, I will ask you. I mean, how can you
interact with people at the grade school level and the high
school level to help us educate our students and, probably more
importantly, our parents about what the expectations will be of
their students when they get to college?
My wife and I are college graduates, so we know what the
expectations are. But I think a lot of students going to
college not really understanding what the expectations are, how
simple stuff like if you only take 12-hour credit hours for a
semester it is going to extend your college unless you take 18
in another one.
So the first question is to Ms. Lubbers. In grade school
and high school, can we help?
Ms. Lubbers. Well, we are trying to make certain in Indiana
that people understand the relationship between K-12, higher
education, workforce development is very inextricably linked.
And so we work together. We have an organization in Indiana
called Learn More Indiana, which is basically focused on
working with schools to make sure that students understand at
an early age what it takes to be ready to go to college both
academically and financially. And you can't start too early in
doing that. So we reach all the way down to the grade school in
trying to do that, to make sure that people are starting to
prepare, on both of those levels, academically and financially
prepared to go.
This return on investment report that I mentioned I think
it is going to be very important, too, to make sure that we can
crosswalk the kind of degrees that you get with the workforce
opportunities that exist in Indiana. So it is really by working
together. We have the good fortune in Indiana of having our
superintendent of public instruction, as commissioner myself,
our teachers, our higher education institutions, we are sort of
committed to the same final product at the end, which is the
success of the individual, and we can't have failure anywhere
along the way.
So as was mentioned earlier, you know, reading early in
life, that that is critically important. You can connect those
who don't read to those who don't go to college, and certainly
we have to do a better job with that. But there is no one
answer, but starting early and being consistent in a message of
being academically and financially prepared is important.
Mr. Bucshon. I think it is so important that parents
understand, understand that. I mean, I know what the
expectations are for my kids and my dad did for me, and that
makes a big difference.
I guess the second question along that line is, once
students are in college, I have found--my son is 19 and so
there are a lot of privacy issues with access to his academic
record and his progress in school. Believe it or not, we have
to get his permission to see his grades and other things like
that. And I am not sure I have a problem with that necessarily.
However, since we are footing the bill, you know I guess you
could say, well, if you don't show us, we don't pay.
But my point is, are we doing a good enough job once
students are in college in advising them about, you know, about
not only just the credit hours but the financial impact of not
taking the right courses and how that will have an effect on
you financially. Because students can understand, if I don't do
this, it may take me 5 or 6 years to graduate. But unless you
really put a dollar amount on it, I don't know if that works.
Can we do that? Can we bring that into it?
Anyone want to comment on that?
Dr. May? I think my time has expired, so real briefly.
Mr. May. You know, to comment on that, I think sometimes we
forget that people are in college for a reason today in the
United States. Most people are there because they want a job
and, at the end of it, they want to go to work.
And I think sometimes we confuse the means with the end and
that a college education is a means to get there to improve the
individual, to improve society, and to grow the economy. And I
think sometimes we just talk about that as the end goal when in
reality people want more out of--they want more for themselves,
more for the community, and more for the nation as a whole. And
sometimes I think the numbers we talk about in terms of cost
don't tie directly to the salaries, the jobs, and--that they
will be making as individuals.
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you, Dr. May. And I want to thank
you particularly for pointing out that even people in 4-year
schools are striving to get a job. Too often--I think Mr. Jones
mentioned this--that there is a perception that there is
something called vocational education that is aside from 4-year
schools. That is not true. Everybody is in college pretty much
to get a degree. Yes, they want more, but I mean to get a job.
They want to get a job whether they are in a 4-year school or a
2-year school or a certificate program.
Mr. Miller. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman, for
holding this hearing. I think this is one of the most important
hearings we have had on the issue of the cost of college, and I
want to thank the panel because I think you have brought a
number of recommendations and accomplishments that greatly
enrich this conversation in the Congress.
This committee has been interested in this problem for a
long time on a bipartisan basis, but we haven't made a lot of
progress. But I think you present a very rich environment of
how this can now be accomplished if we rethink how we look at
And I think that we sort of see a confluence of events
taking place, probably driven by the economic downturn but also
by the work of Georgetown that maybe disturbs some of us
liberal arts degree majors and graduates, that 80 percent of
the people who are going to college are going there to get a
job. And that doesn't reduce the responsibility of the other
institutional mandates of institutions of higher education, but
we cannot neglect that.
And when we look at the Chamber of Commerce, it is telling
us that these institutions really have to think about what
service are you providing to your community--that could be the
State or your local community or to the nation.
It goes back to Clayton Christensen, a writer of
disruptors, who asked the question, for what purpose is this
student hiring this college? Is it for a certificate? Is it for
a job? Is it for greater education, advanced degrees? For what
purpose is this community supporting this institution? And I
think that the rethinking that you have proposed in your
testimony today I think is very, very, encouraging.
And I think, Dr. May, you have done us a great service when
you are willing to sort of quantify what a more efficient
institution--that doesn't mean a more base institution but a
more efficient institution--whether you are going to graduate
with a degree in humanities or in sciences or in business--it
doesn't matter--what that means to taxpayers and to families
and students paying that cost. I think Louisiana has done a
great service here in willing to put that down. And so I think
that is very, very important.
And, Dr. Jones, you have touched on in your testimony--
well, you have all touched on this subject, including the
Chamber. It is this issue of articulation agreements that can
no longer be allowed just to lay around and you go as slow as
the slowest boat here. I know I have been kind of at this in my
State of California for many years and pitched battles, and
they have made some progress, but it is not comparable to what
we are hearing here today in terms of what has been
accomplished and what is possible.
I have introduced legislation--you referred to it, Mr.
Jones--that I think that by the middle of 2014 States have got
to have these in place. This is a luxury. It is very costly to
taxpayers. It is very costly to students and their families if
you don't have this.
And, Ms. Lubbers, you talked about credit creep. We don't
know quite why it happened. Was it essential? Was it necessary?
Except I know it cost me that much per unit to finance that
credit creep, and I think that has to be looked at again.
I would hope people would support the legislation. I
basically say, do it however you want to do it. Let's just come
up with a system so students can navigate this system in the
most informed, efficient way since they are borrowing money.
When I went to school, we weren't borrowing money.
I would say, Mr. Bucshon, it would have been much better if
we had privacy arrangements so I wouldn't have to bring my
grades home. That would have worked out much better in the
So I just want to thank you very much; and, Madam Chair, I
want to thank you for this hearing. I hope we can continue.
This is really a conversation that is taking place here this
morning about how we can support these efforts by the States,
and there are others that are leading the way on making our
institutions much more responsive to today's economies, to the
needs of our students today.
It is no longer just about the degrees that we have
historically awarded. As you know, it is also about
certificates. It may soon be about badges that you will be
asked to recognize or not recognize, to assign credit to or
assessments to that you don't give, that you don't have control
over. We don't know how that is going to play out.
So this is a very exciting time, but with those cost
factors continuing to creep up, you have focused I think our
attention here. And I hope that we can continue to follow up in
other hearings on many of the issues you have raised. Because I
think you are developing a roadmap of what we should insist
upon if we are going to keep spending taxpayer dollars in these
systems and financing the cost of college for students and for
So thank you very, very much, Madam Chairman, for this
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you, Mr. Miller, for your very fine
comments; and you can count on our continuing to spend time on
Now I would like to recognize Dr. Heck for his comments. We
are blessed with three physicians here this morning asking
questions and another person in the health care field. So we
are very blessed in this area.
Mr. Heck. Thank you, Madam Chair, and I thank all of you
for being here and for your testimony.
I guess the one side of having three doctors is we all very
much know--at least I do--the cost of education. And not to
dissuade the students here, but I am still paying off my
student loans between college and medical school.
Mr. Pattison, in your testimony you talk about the
increased cost of about 72 percent at a 4-year public
university adjusted for inflation; and we heard from Ms.
Lubbers some of the drivers of that cost, like technology,
investment in infrastructure, employee benefits, and support
staff. There are some that have theorized or postulated that as
more financial aid money becomes available, whether it is
through guaranteed student loans or Pell Grants, that that also
is a driver of increasing costs at universities.
Mr. Pattison, or everybody else on the panel, have you seen
any evidence that supports that claim that as more money
becomes available to pay for higher education the cost of
higher education goes up?
Mr. Pattison. Well, what I will say--and I think this is
really an important point as all of this is discussed--is there
are so many factors obviously affecting the cost of education
and tuition increases, but there are very few activities or
ways of financing that create the incentives on the
institutions to be as cost-efficient as possible. And I think
the bottom line is, based on what you heard me say when I laid
out the statistics of the tight budgets in the future,
especially for States, it is unsustainable, in my view, that
colleges and universities will be able to raise tuition at the
rates they have.
So I think something is going to have to come together, and
there some great programs that have been talked to create the
right incentives to focus not just on funding the additional
cost increases but also funding results, completion, and so
Mr. Heck. I appreciate that.
Then, to Ms. Lubbers, I guess I define cost and
affordability maybe a little differently. To me, cost is what
does it cost the university to provide the education.
Affordability is whether or not the student cannot afford the
cost. And so some of the things that you talked about, like
streamlining the ability for transfer credits or decreasing
summer tuition, guaranteeing or trying to secure on-time
graduation, may address the affordability for the student, but
what steps are being taken to control the costs to the
university of providing that education?
Ms. Lubbers. Well, obviously, you have to approach this
from both angles, and we are trying to do that in Indiana as we
are looking at the cost structure itself. And you have
mentioned some of the things that I had talked about that were
drivers of the cost of higher education and to the degree that
we are able to successfully use technology, for example, to
drive down costs. There is some question that in some
institutions where the cost--technology is actually driving up
And so we are asking very, very specific questions about,
you know, when can we reap some benefits from this technology
where we can have academic rigor and costs won't keep going up
with technology? You know, do we need all the expensive
facilities that we are building? Especially at a time in which
many people will be getting their higher education perhaps not
going to an institution any more. So do we keep building?
Because there are some sectors of the market who want that
So at some point you have to say not what do you want but
what do you need. And I think that is where we are getting to
the point right now.
So we are very intentional about looking at the cost
structure and rewarding things that we think are giving the
kind of dividends that we want in Indiana. It is not easy.
Turning it around is tough. But you know from being in health
care many people are talking about higher education in the same
way they talked about health care. Is it the next bubble? And
we need to make sure that it isn't by making sure that we do
address the costs and the value proposition.
Mr. Heck. I appreciate the catch-22 that sometimes
technology causes. Because, like I say, as my daughter was
going to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, she decided to
take on line course which actually came with an additional fee
for taking it on line, which you would think maybe it might be
more cost-effective to the university to not have the person
sitting in a classroom.
Dr. May, you mentioned, among other things, the impact of
credit hours. Can you explain what is it that is driving the
increase of credit hours for a degree and whether or not those
credit hours are actually necessary? Is it some way and somehow
an attempt to increase the tuition dollars coming to a
Mr. May. And I think that is kind of a universal challenge
for colleges. Because we kind of have an add-on mentality and
approach as new knowledge and skills and abilities are
introduced. We don't always go back and re-examine the entire
curriculum. What we do is tend to add things on to the end of
the curriculum so that students end up doing more. And while
one course seems relatively minor, it doesn't take long before
it is two and three and four over a period of years.
And so what we have done is make sure the learning outcomes
stay the same. However, go back and reexamine all the courses
that are in the program to make sure that, in fact, one, they
align with the needs of business and industry, they do provide
the skills that lead to jobs, and we do it in such a way,
especially for those students that transfer, that they are not
accumulating additional hours than what they really need.
So I think it is one of many ways in which, as colleges and
States, that we have to look at the cost structure, and that is
a very basic way that pays dividends, improves time to a
degree, reduces time, and cuts the cost to everyone involved in
Mr. Heck. Thank you all again for being here on this
Thank you, Madam Chair. I yield back.
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you, Mr. Heck.
Mr. Thompson. Thank you. I thank the chairwoman for this
very, I think, incredibly important hearing; and thanks to the
witnesses who are here.
I was going to go down one direction until the chairwoman
pointed out all of the health care professionals on the panel,
and I started to have flashbacks from my 30 years of health
care with regulations and what that has done to our health care
system in terms of driving up costs and decreasing access.
And in front of me--I guess I was supposed to ask about
something else, but in front of me there was an article that
was put out by the American Council on Education and
specifically has a lot of different things they have addressed
in terms of the cost of education.
But one had to do with regulation. So I wanted to--that is
where I--the direction I want to go with my questioning. And
specifically--and I want to get your response to this--this
white paper from 2012, from this year, it talks about in recent
years burdens imposed by colleges and universities by federal
regulation have become increasingly complex, onerous, and
And so I guess my question will be whether you agree with
that, disagree with it. It specifically referenced that the
Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 alone added over a
hundred new regulations and a 2011 Congress mandated study
found that 90 percent of senior campus leaders reported the
implementation and administration of regulations under the
Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 were burdensome.
It goes on. It talks about a finding that in 2005 there
were more than 7,000 federal regulations governing colleges and
universities and the number of regulations having grown
exponentially. So my question--I will open this up to the
panel--is do you agree or disagree? Was your experience--is
compliance with federal regulations on our higher education,
has it become complex, onerous, and costly, as this article
We will start with Mr. Pattison.
Mr. Pattison. Well, what I think is important is that what
we keep hearing from colleges and universities and, of course,
through the State groups that we talk to is that every
additional request like that is a burden. Now sometimes there
is a benefit. So it is kind of a cost-benefit analysis.
But what I think is important to remember is there is not a
lot of extra capacity to comply with additional requirements.
And I know it might sound trite to even suggest that money come
with additional requirements, but I do know we continue to hear
a lot of concerns that any additional requirements require
additional administrative capacity that really doesn't exist.
They are just so tight right now, especially because we have
had the recession and tight budgets over the last few years.
Mr. Thompson. So if it is tight capacity, then that has to
be funded somewhere, and that tends to be through tuition. The
cost of compliance has an impact on tuition.
Mr. Pattison. Especially during the last few years, again
because the State support because of the recession has been
Mr. Thompson. Ms. Lubbers?
Ms. Lubbers. These are very complex enterprises, as we
know, so trying to find a way to impact the system needs to be
considered I think primarily at the State level and that the
States are best suited to look at how these enterprises
Different States are different. We have a coordinating
board. Our boards of trustees are primarily for the operations
of the institutions. Some States have boards of regions or
governing boards, and they operate differently in that regard,
and they have more direct authority over what they expect those
institutions to do.
I guess my overall disposition on this issue is that, with
the exception of financial aids that comes through Pell or
Stafford loans or other ways that students receive funding,
primarily this is a straight State-driven enterprise, and it is
best directed at the State level.
Mr. Thompson. Mr. Jones, any thoughts, cost of compliance
on higher education?
Mr. Jones. Well, I agree with Commissioner Lubbers that
principally the money comes from the State level and
principally that is where the responsibility--all the boards of
trustees, the boards of regents are all appointed by governors,
are authorized by the legislature, and that is the primary
I will say from the federal government's responsibility the
two themes I would pick up is, one, more transparency in terms
of information that is reported about students, as I mentioned,
graduation rates for part-time students, for transfer students,
for Pell Grant students.
And the second is this other theme of, historically, for
six decades, the federal government's involvement has been
about access, and that has been extremely successful. And
reasonable expectations about a success agenda--if you are
giving student loan subsidies, if you are giving Pell Grants,
there ought to be reasonable expectations about students'
progress toward timely graduation. I think that that is where
the federal government ought to weigh in as their primary
responsibility because of the money that you are putting out
Mr. Thompson. Dr. May.
Mr. May. You know, almost always regulations are about
preventing something from happening, and as Chairwoman Foxx
said earlier, I think there are often unintended consequences
with that approach. Where we see something that has occurred
somewhere and we want to deal with that issue, but,
unfortunately, we stifle innovation, we increase costs, and
often work against the very things that we wanted to see happen
within our institution. And I would certainly concur.
I think that the States are much closer to what is going on
in terms of how to impact the local economy, how to educate
students and solve their educational needs as well as work
within the workforce needs of the State.
Mr. Thompson. Thank you, Dr. May.
Thank you, Chairwoman.
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you, Mr. Thompson.
And I want to especially tell Ranking Member Miller that I
did not coach any of these witnesses to make those comments at
all. It was all completely on their own. But I thank you very,
very much for it. It just shows the wisdom of the staff in
bringing in these witnesses.
I would now like to recognize in Congresswoman Biggert from
the great State of Illinois.
Mrs. Biggert. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
And I am sorry that I missed your testimony, because this
is such a very, very important subject, but I just have a
couple of questions that hopefully have not been asked before.
But I wanted to address something that Concordia College
and the University of Illinois are working on, maybe in
partnership, but Concordia a little bit different. What
Concordia is doing is, instead of trying to alleviate the time
that students, as you have been talking about in Indiana like 3
years--but this is for them to offer on-line courses before
students arrive to the university or the college. And I know
that so many times there are so much remedial courses that
students have to take.
And I would just like to know what you think about that,
where Concordia actually is having the on-line course, and the
student receives college credit for it. And I think the
University of Illinois, theirs is not credit, but at least it
avoids another term maybe of college.
Maybe, Dr. May, you could start with that.
Mr. May. Sure. In relation to online, we have seen that the
fastest growing part of our college enrollments over the last
several years. And part of the reason for that we have also
continued to see an increase in the age of students. Our
average student today has been out of high school 8 years when
they enroll. They are trying to balance work, family, job all
together and also the inability to predict accurately a future
in terms of their lives. So online has become very attractive
for those individuals.
And colleges are I think engaged in--and we certainly are
in Louisiana--to really as a response to the needs of students
and to make sure that we have the workforce that is in place to
meet those needs. So it is increasingly important, and we
expect that to continue to be the fastest growing aspect of our
Mrs. Biggert. Ms. Lubbers, maybe you could comment on that
from Indiana. But I think that this really is addressing the
student that really is maybe the traditional student you know
that is just out of high school and could spend time before
that, you know, doing some of the remedial or whatever these
courses would offer.
Ms. Lubbers. Well, what is abundantly clear is that we need
to a better job in however we are doing remediation and that it
hasn't been working the way we are doing it. And working with
Complete College America and other organizations, Indiana is
very committed to the redesign of remediation. It is
devastating to a student when they have to take remediation,
even more so when they don't complete and they never continue
with their work.
So to answer to your question more specifically, I think on
line work is turning out to be very effective. I know our
community college system, ID Tech, is using it with some pre-
courses to get students ready so that they begin.
Stan would offer, I am sure, that to the degree that we can
get students immediately into credit bearing courses and if by
the use of on line and giving them some of that remediation
before they can start credit bearing courses more quickly saves
them time, saves them money, encourages them so they can
continue to keep going.
You know, I think there are lots of different models, and I
think that is a very important model as well as we effectively
use on line to move students, increase their learning, and move
them more quickly.
Mrs. Biggert. Do you, and maybe Mr. Jones, do you think
they should offer just a regular, you know, the first course in
there, what they want their degree in or anything, to do that
on line before they get to school? Or is it just that we should
use it for remedial?
Mr. Jones. Well, I think three quick points. One is that
the most developing effective strategies are blended courses
that maybe have one-half with regular in person teachers and
one-half on line or two-thirds in person and one-third blended
are showing--the researchers are saying that is the best
result, this balance.
Second, almost any community college in the country will
say that 50 percent--this is to your point, Congressman--50
percent of the students that graduated from high school in the
spring start in remedial courses in the fall taking the same
courses. That is where a lot of Latinos and African Americans
are ending up.
And the third point I want to make is it is highly
ineffective. In Texas, 40,000 students at the community college
start in remedial math programs. Three years later, only 15
percent have completed the first math course. And so I think
that the on line learning has a great place as a blended
strategy, and remediation is a great place to do that.
Mrs. Biggert. Mr. Pattison, do you have any comments on
Mr. Pattison. Well, it is interesting that what you have
seen over the years is that before technology allowed online
type of activities there have been many colleges and
universities that bring students early that needed remediation
or made remediation requirements, and it is nice to see that
there is an ability with new technology to try to deal with
that unfortunate issue and hopefully do it in a more cost-
effective way and, frankly, a more convenient way, too.
Mrs. Biggert. This is kind of a basic question, but how do
these colleges that have students know who is going to be in a
remedial program before they get there?
Mr. Jones. The best strategy is their high school. There
are 4 years of record there. Those that have been out longer,
as Joe talks about, they probably need some type of placement.
But remediation at the college level simply is not working. We
need different strategies there, different strategies in high
schools to get them ready for college.
Mrs. Biggert. Thank you. I yield back.
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you, Mrs. Biggert.
I would now like to recognize the ranking member of the
subcommittee for closing comments.
Mr. Hinojosa. I want to thank each of the panelists,
because I agree with those before me that it has been a great
discussion, very interesting, and something that really needs
to be addressed.
Our population in the country is over 310 million, and when
we went into the recession in 2008 many who had had jobs 10, 20
years with their respective employer lost their job. And we
talked about retraining them for the jobs that would be
available, and we found out here in Congress that some 40
percent of all of those who had lost their jobs had a third
grade level of education on literacy in reading, and writing.
So how could you retrain them if they couldn't read?
So several of us have started an Adult Education Caucus
trying to help them out. The appropriators can't see their way
clear to appropriate money to do that.
But I am going to reiterate and say that, Ms. Lubbers, you
hit the nail on the head when you said that early reading plus
writing equals success in school, and that was taught to us by
members of our Education Committee who went to China to find
out how it was that 97 percent of those who started
kindergarten were graduating. And the response they gave us was
that they started reading to those children from the cradle up
to 3 and 4 years of age and that they could read by the time
they were 4 years old. And we don't seem to get it. As smart as
we think we are, we don't get it.
And if we don't correct that, this 310 million may become
400 million, and we will be worse off than what has been shown
by all of your statistics.
So I want to say that I hope that somehow in the report
that we address what countries that have one-fourth of the per
capita income, such as China and India and South Korea, are
graduating over 90 percent of their children and turning out
far, far more college-ready students than we are. So it is not
so much the money but that we raise the priorities as to where
we are going to invest our money, and that is that early
reading plus writing to be successful and college ready.
I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts on how States
and institutions can do more to rein in college costs and make
higher education more affordable for our students and for
adults. I look forward to working with you and other key
stakeholders in the higher education community to address all
of the issues covered here today.
And, with that, I yield back.
Chairwoman Foxx. Thank you, Mr. Hinojosa.
I want to thank again our distinguished panel of witnesses
for taking time to testify before the subcommittee today. As
you heard and you heard Mr. Miller say and all of us say on
both sides of the aisle, this was a very good hearing, and we
appreciate your taking the time to do this. I am very, very
grateful to you for all of the comments that you shared with
I would like to make just a couple of comments based on
something Mr. Hinojosa said as well as build on some things you
It is not the money. I am so glad to hear Mr. Hinojosa say
that. We spend an awful lot of money on education in this
country, and we are not getting the results we should be
getting. And so I am glad to hear that as a bipartisan feeling,
also, because that is not what we always hear. I think it is a
matter of priorities, and I think it is a matter of
accountability, and it is a matter of pay for performance, and
many other things that you have mentioned.
I am reminded every time I hear a panel like this of
something that former Governor Bob Scott said when he was head
of the community college system and I was a community college
president. He met with the presidents and said to us--this was
back in the 1990s, early 1990s--he said, folks, I can no longer
go to the general assembly and say we are doing the Lord's
work; now give us more money. He said, we have to prove that we
are getting results.
Well, I thought that, you know, nirvana was going to come a
long time ago and that we were going to start having to show
results across the board. I did that when I was a community
college president. I could prove that the money I was spending
was being well spent. But we haven't moved as far along in that
direction in higher education as I thought we would at that
Somebody pointed out, but you all didn't make it explicit,
that, right now, only 25 percent of the students in college are
in 4-year residential situations. So most of the time, though,
people are thinking that is the model. And that isn't the model
that we need to be dealing with, and we have to change the
mindset of a lot of people. And you all have brought out some
of those issues today, but I think it needs to be explicitly
On the issue of remediation, I not only was a community
college president, but I helped set up remediation programs at
Appalachian State University, and I know how those things work,
also. If we will stop paying for remediation, if we will stop
paying the elementary and secondary schools, Mr. Hinojosa, when
they don't do their jobs, then I think we will see a
difference. Appalachian State University decided to put in what
we call developmental math because they had students taking 4-
hour math courses four times and not being able to pass them.
That was very expensive for Appalachian State University. That
got the attention of the math department. So they decided in
self-interest to offer a remedial course to get the students up
Again, when it becomes efficient and it becomes worth their
while, many of the colleges and universities will do these
You haven't touched today very much on programs in the high
schools. I am a huge proponent of dual enrollment, both for
community college credit as well as university credit. Again,
Appalachian State University did this back in the 1960s and
'70s for high school students, some high school students
graduating with as many as 24 hours of college credit.
We need to be doing more of all of those things to bring
down the cost. We know the answers, I think, in many cases.
Because you all showed the models that are out there. Now I
think the challenge to us is how do we offer incentives, not--I
don't want us to do more regulatory sticks, but how do we offer
incentives or how do we help people see that it is in their
self-interest to be doing the kinds of things that you are
pointing out that are being done. And I do think you have
brought--all four of you have brought great ideas to us today,
and I want to thank you for it.
One other comment that I didn't make. You talked about the
72 percent increase in tuition or, in the case of Indiana, 100
percent. At the same time nationally that tuition is going up
72 percent, the average income of Americans has gone up only 34
percent, and so there is a huge gap there. And I don't think
the higher education community has been willing to deal with
that reality in the past. Because we all want our children to
have great educations. We all want that. And too many times, as
Governor Scott said, you know the higher education community
has been asking for a blank check, basically. We can't continue
to do that. So we have to figure out a way, as Mr. Hinojosa
said, I think how do we get a better return on the money that
we are spending in this area and taking from hardworking
So thank you all again for being here. I want to thank all
of the members of the committee for coming and the meeting is
[Questions submitted for the record and their responses
Ms. Lubbers' Response to Questions Submitted for the Record
CHAIRMAN JOHN KLINE
1. Providing better information to Hoosier students about the value
of higher education and associated smart decisions about academic and
financial preparation has been integrated into our strategic plan and
our outreach efforts. Working with our K-12 colleagues and our higher
education partners, we have coordinated our efforts to make certain
students and families understand the implications of decisions they
make about school and career choices. To that end, we have implemented
a College Cost Estimator that allows them to compare the net cost of
college versus the published cost. While the federal government has
required higher education institutions to publish net cost data, our
tool provides much more information to students and allows them to use
it in a user-friendly, comparative way. We are in the process of
expanding on this outreach to include a more comprehensive Return on
Investment Calculator that will highlight institutional performance and
characteristics as well as information designed to assist students in
making better decisions. It's clear that finding the right fit for a
college is directly tied to affordability/debt, completion and career
The federal government's role in the oversight of higher education
is limited, but there are certainly areas where there is an appropriate
and important involvement. Working with the states to provide up to
date data on financial aid, institutional quality and workforce trends
is one important way. Just last week the U.S. Department of Education
released its Financial Aid Shopping Sheet and is seeking voluntary use
of the document among postsecondary institutions. Future iterations of
the document might include information about the employment outcomes of
students, as well as average earnings by the institutions' graduates.
Likewise, the whorl of data points about affordability and quality begs
for improved aggregation, accessibility and transparency. States
efforts should be complemented by a federal repository that allows for
comparison of key data points, including better information on part-
time and adult students. Mark Kantrowitz of FinAid.org released on
August 1 a useful policy statement (Who Graduates College with Six-
Figure Student Loan Debt?), in which he makes some cogent and specific
recommendations for federal action. ``The U.S. Department of Education
should track and publish more information about student loan debt, such
as college-specific delinquency, deferment and forbearance rates,
repayment plan utilization and average debt at graduation figures
(disaggregated by degree level).'' Indiana supports well-reasoned
measure that would augment the federal government's role in supporting
informational transparency on these very complex issues.
2. Not surprisingly, there were mixed reviews when performance
funding was introduced. While some concerns remain, by reaching out to
the institutions and building our metrics around mission
differentiation we have been able to sustain and increase performance
funding. We are in the process of refining our formula to pay for what
we value: completion, efficiency, affordability and a focus on at-risk
students and STEM degrees. Again, we have done this in concert with our
institutional partners. We have built strong legislative support and
are committed to performance funding whether there are new dollars,
flat funding or reductions in higher education.
CHAIRWOMAN VIRGINIA FOXX
1. Indiana students borrow an average of $27,000 to finance a
college degree and tuition has increased over 100% in the past decade.
It is against this backdrop and the low per capita personal income of
Hoosiers that we recognized the need to step up our efforts to tackle
the affordability issue. At the same time that we're telling people
they need postsecondary credentials we need to ensure that the goal is
2. While change is hard and we are asking our institutions to adapt
to new realities, we have worked to overcome resistance by partnering
with faculty members and school leaders. For example, when we stepped
up our transfer efforts, we did so through a faculty led process that
resulted in the seamless transfer of 85 courses throughout the system.
Likewise, as we work to institute a 30 credit general education core,
we are working to develop it based on the core competencies identified
Moving to a performance funding system has been challenging,
especially in trying to fairly recognize the unique roles of our
institutions--community colleges, research institutions and four year
comprehensive teaching schools. This task has been made easier by
integrating our formula into our higher education strategic plan that
is focused on completion, productivity and quality.
REPRESENTATIVE LOU BARLETTA
1. The work of improving educational outcomes and quality will be
done in great measure at the institutional level. At our commission, we
establish policies that are focused on student success, affordability,
quality and productivity. In that regard, we drive our funding around
those metrics. We also have an important role in providing clear
information on the value of higher education, including institutional
quality, financial aid and borrowing, career choices and workforce
needs. Any new law or regulation from the federal or state government
should be considered through the lens of improving student opportunity
Dr. May's Response to Questions Submitted for the Record
CHAIRWOMAN VIRGINIA FOXX
Can you discuss what led Louisiana to recognize they had problems
in making college affordable for your students?
Like much of the nation, Louisiana faces a mismatch between the
skills of the workforce and the needs of employers. Today, most
employers are looking for individuals that have some education beyond
high school and less than a bachelor's degree.
One of the primary barriers to accessing higher education is cost.
Yet, declining state budgets have caused states to place an
increasingly larger burden on students. Following this trend, Louisiana
has witnessed reduced state funding and increased student tuition.
As a state, we realized that simply shifting the burden from the
state to students was unacceptable. Therefore, as a state, we began in-
depth policy discussions to identify ways to serve more students while
driving down the cost per student.
The story of Aeisha Ross is an example of the reason why we focused
on reducing costs. As a single mother with a mortgage payment, living
on food stamps, and up to three part-time jobs, she struggled to meet
the needs of her family. One day, she mumbled to herself, ``I hate my
life.'' With this statement, she resolved to make a better life for her
and her family.
She soon realized that the only way out of her life situation was
to get a good paying job. The only way to get a good paying job was to
get more education and training. She then made the decision that
changed her life. She enrolled in the process technology program at
SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Today, Aeisha earns a six figure income as a control room operator
for Shell's Onshore Gas Group. She cites that an affordable and
accessible education was the key to not only a great paying job, but a
Therefore, despite budget challenges, the Louisiana Community &
Technical College System is still the most affordable option for the
first two years of higher education. We are pleased to continue
offering quality programming throughout the state at a relative bargain
compared to other institutions but we will not stand still. We will
continue to improve in dual enrollment focusing on high school
students, developmental education to prepare students for college level
work, college transfer to feed into four-year colleges and universities
and workforce training to provide the skills Louisiana requires to
Did you encounter any resistance from institutions when Louisiana
began to discuss higher education reforms? How did you appease the
concerns of the faculty? What benefits have students and institutions
realized since enacting the reforms put forward by Louisiana? How is
the state working to ensure institutions receive the support they need
to implement this initiative?
As I stated in my previous testimony, we firmly believe that
Louisiana's community and technical colleges have no needs. That being
said, students have needs, employers have needs, communities have
needs, and states have needs. Higher education is the primary means by
which many of these needs are addressed.
With this philosophy, faculty at both two-year and four-year
institutions have proven themselves to be the key to developing
solutions that improve educational quality while reducing cost.
Certainly every member of our faculty and staff are aware of the
economic difficulties faced by Louisiana since 2008. By engaging all of
our human resources to find workable solutions, we have reduced overall
costs per student while improving educational quality. The strategies
we utilized to achieve this goal included improving student transfer
and articulation, reducing the hours needed to earn a degree, and,
perhaps most importantly, aligning instructional programs with
workforce needs to ensure that graduates can earn a sustainable and
As we have focused on keeping college affordable, we have had to
make some important and sometimes difficult program decisions. Over the
past four years, Louisiana's community and technical colleges have
closed over 700 programs and have added approximately a 150 new
programs. The programs that were eliminated did not lead to good paying
jobs in today's economy. The new programs that were initiated all lead
to good paying jobs that align with employer needs.
The only way the state of Louisiana can ensure strong financial
support for higher education is through job growth and economic
development. The strong support demonstrated toward community and
technical colleges by Governor Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana
legislature is evidence of their commitment to improved access,
success, and program quality.
REPRESENTATIVE LOU BARLETTA
It is important to hold all institutions of higher education
(public, private, and for-profit) to high standards. However, all too
often our regulations and laws are written to prevent and subsequently
penalize behavior of our institutions. What ways do you believe the
federal government and states could incentivize local institutions of
higher education to improve educational outcomes and increase the
quality of higher education in our country without adding costs to the
federal or state governments?
With the exception of programs designed to improve student access,
such as the Pell Grant Program, most laws, regulations, and policies
are best implemented at the state level and local levels. As policies
move to the national level, the likelihood of producing unintended
consequences is increased.
[Whereupon, at 11:44 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]