SB 108: Concerning implementation of general education core courses at institutions of higher education
Concerning implementation of general education
core courses at institutions of higher education
Senate Bill 10-108
Testimony to the Senate Education Committee
Frank Waterous, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst
The Bell Policy Center
February 17, 2010
My name is Frank Waterous, and I am a senior policy analyst with The Bell Policy Center. The Bell is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and policy organization dedicated to expanding opportunity for all Coloradans.
The Bell Policy Center supports Senate Bill 10-108, "Higher Ed Core Courses." The bill will contribute to increased post-secondary student achievement and success in two important ways, and will help in developing the quality workforce necessary for Colorado's economic strength and competitiveness.
First, the bill would specify the timeframe for implementation of our state's statutorily-required process by which post-secondary students may test out of core courses without having to pay tuition for them. Such an alternative course-credit pathway helps students move toward their academic goals more swiftly and efficiently, thereby enhancing persistence and completion. It also ensures that state financial support for students' programs of study is applied most prudently and effectively. Many students, and especially working adults, have significant life experience and previous education or training through which they have developed proficiency in a variety of core subjects. Our state's requirement for a defined process by which students can demonstrate these course proficiencies through testing is good. Specifying a timeline for the implementation of this process, as Senate Bill 10-108 would do, is even better.
Second, the bill would enable students transferring from nonpublic institutions that have elected to participate in the state's rigorous, well-defined and faculty-led academic review process to receive guaranteed transfer credit for certain core courses they have completed. For a broad range of reasons, many students - including a number of minority, low-income, and adult students - decide to begin their postsecondary studies at nonpublic institutions. By opening the state's guaranteed course transfer program to qualified courses at nonpublic institutions, and by including these courses in statewide agreements for transferability, more students would be supported in completing their degrees. Further, by providing good information about which courses at which nonpublic institutions will receive transfer credit, students will be able to make more informed decisions in the course selection process.
Finally, by helping more post-secondary students complete their degrees, the bill will help strengthen the quality of Colorado's workforce, which is a key factor in our state's economic competitiveness. As a recent report from the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation noted, "educational attainment is the single-most important element in job and income growth," and is one of the chief underpinnings of a strong economy.
In summary, The Bell Policy Center believes that Senate Bill 10-108 will benefit both post-secondary students and our state. We urge you to support the bill, and thank you for the opportunity to share this information with you today.
If you have any questions, or if I can provide further information, please call me at 303-297-0456 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Toward a More Competitive Colorado: Executive Summary on Competitiveness, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Nov 2009.