Higher education leaders react to America’s College Promise

Posted: Saturday, January 10, 2015 12:00 am
By MJ Slaby 812-331-4371 | mslaby@heraldt.com

President Barack Obama unveiled more about his America’s College Promise initiative on Friday, and local community college leaders and a higher education expert shared the following reactions.

Jennie Vaughan, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington:

“Education, from Pre-K to post-secondary, is critical to the success of communities. Data shows that there is less poverty, less crime, and more economic development in those communities where citizens have access to an affordable education, helping them to become prepared to enter the workforce or to continue on toward earning a more affordable bachelor’s degree. … With a capital campaign underway and a 90,000-square-foot building expansion expected to be completed for spring semester 2016, we are confident we can accommodate the influx of students we expect to see if President Obama’s proposal moves forward.”

Tom Snyder, president of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana:

“I fully support this idea. It can be a game changer for our country when it comes to educational attainment. We have ground to make up against other countries, and this is a big first step in doing just that.”

Don Hossler, director of the IU Center for Postsecondary Research:

“This is a laudable goal that is worth serious consideration. … The federal government launched the State Student Incentive Grant Program in the 1970s at a time when few states had a state grant program. Now, almost every state has a state grant program. Thus, this initiative could have a dramatic impact on postsecondary affordability and access.

“There is one caveat that needs to be voiced. Many states are already underfunding their community colleges, which leaves them with inadequate support systems for students and an over-reliance on adjunct faculty. The effects of this initiative might not fully achieve its goals unless states are prepared to provide sufficient funding not only for their share of the tuition but also for the additional staff and faculty that would be required to serve a large increase in additional students.”

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