INDIANA HIGHER ED. NEWS
Indiana higher education board picks new chair, vice chair
INDIANAPOLIS -Indiana's Higher Education Commission has chosen a new slate of leaders to run its 14-member board.
Under the selections announced Thursday, Marilyn Moran-Townsend will take over as chair and Jud Fisher will be the board's new vice chair. Chris LaMothe will serve as the board's secretary.
Moran-Townsend is chairman and CEO of CVC communications in Fort Wayne, while Fisher manages the Muncie-based Ball Brothers Foundation. LaMothe is chairman and CEO of Sherry Laboratories in Daleville.
Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers will continue working with the board.
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Indiana official tells Congress that state is 'ripe' for higher ed reform
By Tim Grimes and Lesley Weidenbener
The Statehouse File
INDIANAPOLIS – The state’s higher education chief told a Congressional committee Wednesday that Indiana’s college and university system is “ripe for reform.”
“The state currently ranks 40th in the nation in post-secondary attainment,” Indiana Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers testified during an appearance before the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training.
“Capitalizing on that need to reform,” she said, the state has adopted a new strategic plan. “Ultimately, our goal is quite straightforward: To ensure that more students complete postsecondary credentials on time and at the lowest possible cost.”
But Lubbers acknowledged the state has done no better in recent years than others in controlling tuition and other college costs.
College tuition in Indiana has increased by nearly 100 percent over the past decade, while Hoosier per-capita personal income has grown by only 27 percent, Lubbers said. Also, Hoosier students borrow an average of $27,000 to finance a college degree and the state’s student loan default rate has increased by 35 percent over the past three years, she said.
Lubbers joined former Indiana Higher Education Commissioner Stan Jones – who now leads the nonprofit group Complete College America – in her appearance at the Capitol, where the committee is looking at ways to control college costs.
The committee was chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, who said that states should lead in the area of education, as opposed to the federal government.
“Our education problems cannot be solved by Washington bureaucrats who work as puppet masters,” Foxx said.
Lubbers told lawmakers that’s just what Indiana is trying to do.
The Indiana General Assembly has given the higher ed commission more authority to oversee how many credits universities require for majors and ordered the agency to issue tuition guidelines each year, she said.
Also, in the past decade, Indiana’s allocation for financial aid has increased by 90 percent, including 4.5 percent during the current budget cycle.
But she told the subcommittee that affordability is also “a function of time spent in remediation.” She said state and university officials are working on ways to make it easier for students to graduate more quickly and spend the least time necessary in the most expensive educational settings.
Jones, who is also a former Indiana state representative, told the Congressional subcommittee Wednesday that the nation has seen record enrollment in recent years but more than half of all college students never receive a degree.
“We have to talk about the price of failure,” Jones said.
In a report distributed to the committee, Jones said data has shown that “time is the enemy of college completion.”
The longer a student spends in college, the less likely he is to graduate.
“To achieve the substantial gains in college completion America must have to compete, we must reinvent American higher education,” Jones said in his report. “To do so, requires significant shared responsibility by all stakeholders, including government. More of the same will not do.”
Tim Grimes is a reporter for TheStathouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students