Washington, D.C., Feb. 19, 2013—Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) President Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D., testifies today before the California State Assembly Committee on Higher Education, whose primary jurisdictions include the university, state university, and community college systems; postsecondary education; and student financial aid. Dr. Cooper’s testimony will focus on national trends and efforts in postsecondary education while providing possible reform solutions—replicable and scalable—to help overhaul major issues in the state of higher education in California.
Below are excerpts from Dr. Cooper’s testimony:
“Higher education has made great strides in becoming more inclusive, but current trends threaten to expand opportunity gaps...
The issues facing higher education in the 21st century are real…Given the postsecondary community’s historic record of success in tackling major, intractable problems, the ingenuity needed to address today’s challenges is likely still among us. While the needed change will require a tremendous, collective effort, it must also include both a shift in our attitude and a shift in our approach.
Before the higher education community can come to any substantive agreement about the future of design and outcomes of the postsecondary system, there must be an acknowledgement and shifting in the ‘iron-triangle belief’ [the belief that it is impossible to achieve greater access, improve quality, and reduce costs]. Such a view [iron-triangle] of higher education is limiting, exclusionary, and potentially divisive.”
- Lead an effort to move away from the traditional, one-dimensional iron-triangle framework to higher education.
- Lead the postsecondary community toward a more coherent and comprehensive reform agenda, focusing on teaching and learning, data quality, and financial aid.
- Support the development of instructional technology that incorporates an integrative access and success strategy while coupled with realistic outcomes for select student populations.
- Coordinate productivity and academic quality initiatives supporting college completion among state-wide and institutional completion efforts; also encourage institutional leaders to better articulate and measure student learning and competencies required for good jobs and good lives in the 21st century.
- Include faculty and administrators in the discussions while moving colleges and universities toward a more comprehensive redesign of teaching and learning.
- Encourage the higher education community to strive for greater integration of federal, state, and institutional data systems, as it would provide the best overview of institution-specific and student outcomes.
- View redesign of the financial aid system as an interconnected system that assists students throughout their entire postsecondary experience—enrollment, progress, completion, and post-graduation.
- Continue to fund the California Grant program at a rate that will ensure students’ ability to access and progress through college; over time it will prove to be a wise investment.
- Consider the perspective introduced last week in a white paper —Using a Latino Lens to Reimagine Aid Design and Delivery—that encourages an approach to financial aid redesign using the Latino population as the baseline.
- Address all of the other recommendations in a complementary, integrative fashion.
Dr. Cooper’s testimony is being held today at 1 p.m. PST/4 p.m. EST in the California State Capitol, Room 437. Other speakers scheduled and/or invited to attend include: Julie Bell, director of education programs, National Conference of State Legislatures; Nathan Brostrom, executive vice chancellor, University of California; Dr. Brice Harris, chancellor, California Community Colleges; Dennis Jones, president, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems; Nancy Shulock, executive director, Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy and professor, Sacramento State University; and Dr. Ephraim Smith, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, California State University.
For more information about IHEP, visit the organization’s website at www.ihep.org.