In order to meet the challenges of the 21st century, American higher education must redesign itself through a fundamental transformation in policy, practice and financing. But in doing so, it can neither expect nor rely upon a restoration of past approaches or public support. That was the central message delivered by Patrick M. Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute and the featured speaker at the Bell Policy Center's "Voices of Opportunity" program on Dec. 7.
Suppose there is a river with a strong current that washes people downstream if they fall into it. Upstream is an old bridge with broken railings. You could spend a lot of time and effort pulling everyone who falls into the river to shore. Or you could fix the railings so that fewer people fall into the river in the first place.
At the most recent meeting of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the Bell Policy Center voiced strong concerns about Gov. John Hickenlooper's proposed $30 million in cuts to the state's need-based and work-study financial aid programs in his FY 2012-13 budget request. Such cuts could reduce post-secondary educational opportunity for many low- and middle-income Coloradans.
On a cold, snowy day in Denver, we're glad to see attention focused on the "hot topics" of escalating college costs and student loan debt. We've long pointed out that the rising costs of post-secondary education and the amount of debt incurred by many students represent daunting obstacles to opportunity for low- and middle-income Coloradans.
Two annual reports released by the College Board – and a plan by President Obama unveiled during his speech in Denver – address these important issues.
With Fall comes a noisy, busy season for organizations such as ours – a time that bears witness to our successes and the challenges before all of us. I ask, can you imagine Colorado without the Bell Policy Center?
It still feels like summer, but most of Colorado's kids are already back at school. General Fund is back at school, too, and working harder than ever just to make the grade.
In previous emails we talked about how General Fund is struggling to keep his obligations to college students, Medicaid patients and other Coloradans while revenues are slipping. And we've discussed how he may have to take on more responsibility for roads and bridges.
Can you imagine Colorado without the Bell Policy Center?
Imagine if we hadn't written the seminal report on theTaxpayer's Bill of Rights in 2003, traveled the state to educate and build a coalition in 2004 or played a key role in passing Referendum C in 2005.
More Colorado high school students will be able to get a head start on college thanks to landmark, bipartisan legislation that is on its way to Gov. Bill Ritter.
The "concurrent enrollment" bill, strongly supported by the Bell, will allow high school students to simultaneously complete their diplomas and also earn college credits, certificates or associate's degrees.
The bill should increase participation in higher education, but research also shows that other important outcomes are likely to be lower high school dropout rates and improved school performance.