Public Hearing on Reauthorization - March 7, 2003
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- Public Testimony, Panels 7 - 8
Question and Answer Session
MS. STROUP: If I could, while I have all three of you here, and since you're all sort of covering different spectrums of higher education for us -- one of the issues you raised was articulation. We've been having a lot of discussions with people about things that the government could do to help promote articulation agreements so they are more widespread since more people are entering community colleges that are going to transfer after two years. I'm wondering if you have any suggestions, when you think about that, how it currently works in your world, and then things that you think the Federal Government could do? Because we're struggling to sort out where we fit into the picture, I think, in trying to address that issue.
DR. HUBBARD: We have 40 articulation agreements with community colleges, including the Metropolitan Community Colleges; they were one of our first partners, so we're totally in support of that. And I'm in support of what he suggested about the teacher education programs.
I don't have a clear recommendation, but possibly if the student is going to go on to teacher education, and they receive a grant that they knew would continue on for completion of a Baccalaureate degree, that might encourage them to articulate.
DR. GILES: The community colleges are working very hard on improving the articulation between the two-and-four-year institutions. I know my district is, and we have staff specifically assigned to bring those articulation agreements about that Dean referred to. And we're at a point now where we have, I know it's in excess of, 100 articulation agreements with Missouri and Kansas four-year institutions.
I think it is a matter of the concentration and the involvement of faculty at both levels of two-and-four-year institutions, because after all, that's who has to make the ultimate decision. But there has to be a facilitator there to bring them together, to sit and talk about the issues, and they both, the two-and-the-four-year faculty have their assigned teaching loads and they need that facilitation, and that's what we're providing. What we're finding is, there's much more agreement than people predicted there would be; that there would be this battle between the community college and four-year college, the faculty within specific distance.
We're not finding that; we're finding overall agreement of articulation. I think we owe it to our students, and we owe it to the taxpayers, whether it be paid federal income tax or state income tax.
MR. HUBBARD: Yeah, I would just add that in Kansas, we have pretty good articulation agreements. And it's been reinforced within the last couple of years, because the Board of Regents of the six four-year institutions in Kansas has now also been given the responsibility for coordinating entire higher education system in Kansas. So we're meeting with community college presidents all the time; every time we have a board meeting, we work, we have a lot of collaborative and cooperative arrangements. Articulation 10 years ago, 15 years ago probably, was a problem. I think we've pretty much eliminated articulation as a problem now.
MR. ANDRADE: And following up this point, what are you doing, though, particularly in the area like this, where you have students from more than one state and there is a lot of crossing of state lines? One of the problems we see is those types of students not showing up in state statistics on matriculation. Is there anything that you're doing to actually address student patterns of where students come from and where they go to?
DR. GILES: I can partially address that; that we have been very diligent in following-up with, not only the Missouri institution, but particularly the institutions in Kansas, since we're on the state line. And within the privacy requirements that we have, hoping and getting the cooperation of those four-year colleges and universities to provide us, if we provide the names of our students, they can tell us if they have transferred to their institution.
And I think that is something that, as we put together these massive data systems, that there ought to be a way that that data ought to be provided to institutions to be able to track students. Because, unless they go to a neighboring institution in the past, you can't track those students, so you don't know how accountable you are; you can't follow-up as to what impact you've had on the students, how they're performing at the four-year institutions.
So that is in the longer paper submitted to you by AACC, they address that issue and support that establishment of a data system to provide us that information.
DR. HUBBARD: I would add to that, that that's a much larger issue I suspect that you face frequently and probably here today. But I think articulation, comparing graduation rates, all kinds of data points like that, we'll always have a difficult time with that until we're able to figure out some way to track those across state lines. And probably the only place that it can be done is at the Federal Government.
I'm also chairman of Division One of the NCAA, and the NCAA is very frustrated with the federal calculation graduation rates, because it obviously creates unfair, and as a general rule, is not particularly an accurate assessment of how successful the institution may be doing on academic progress, so we've been struggling with that. But I do think there's probably some opportunities to figure out ways to do that across the national database.
MS. STROUP: Now, Rick, the whole discussion over transfer, and tracking transfers, is becoming more important as people do talk more about graduations and those kinds of issues because you regularly report numbers that don't necessarily reflect the real picture.
DR. HUBBARD: We figure that in our graduating class, somewhere around 30 to 40 percent, would have taken at least one course at a community college. So there's a lot of movement back and forth across the two systems.
MR. ANDRADE: Just before we break, I have one question. And, Dr. Hemenway, in your testimony, you talked about tying the increase of loan limits to increases in the consumer-price index (an inflation-based index) and there was some disagreement on the panel on that proposal.
But I was wondering if you thought that in order to give students the full benefit of a change like that, whether colleges would be willing to also try to keep their tuition increases within those ranges as well?
DR. HUBBARD: Well, I don't think you'll find any, at least public university president that enjoys raising tuition. We raised tuition last year from 2,800 to 3,400, and it ended up on the front page of USA Today because we had a 25-percent increase, but it was only $600. And the only reason that we were involved in raising tuition was that the decline in state funds had taken place previously. I wouldn't say that's the only thing, but that was the primary thing.
I don't think universities enjoy raising tuition. We set aside 20 percent of our tuition increase for those students who are truly most needy, over 2 million dollars worth. But the dilemma that we face is trying to make the budget work; it's a very difficult budget environment. So I think we'd be willing to consider anything, but we'd have to see it as part of a total system that some of our costs are not staying within those figures, too.
DR. HEMENWAY: Let me add just one point to that, Because ours is a good example. Fifty percent roughly, just 50 percent of our money comes from the State, 50 percent from the students.
If the State holds our appropriation flat, then, obviously, tuition is going to have to make up the difference to just keep up with the CPI. So if we're just talking about keeping up with the CPI, we would have to raise tuition at twice the rate of the increase of the CPI.
The current year, for example, the State cut our budget by 10 percent, so we have to add that on top of the tuition again to keep even. And now we just took another cut this last week of 675,000. So there's no way, unless the State keeps up with the CPI, that tuition can stay within the CPI.
DR. GILES: A quick comment from the community college perspective. And I'm sure of the three of us, I have the lowest tuition, but I also have local support. Missouri is one of those states that provides a local tax for community colleges. But it relates to tuition, in that, two years ago, 38 percent of our funds were coming from the State. Right now it's less than 31 percent. I've lost 7 percent in a hundred billion dollar budget; 7 percent of my State aid in two years.
And, of course, I have not been brazen enough to ask in this economic times, an increase in the tax levy from the locals; so that only leaves one source. And even after all of this, as I explained to you, our tuition is only $66 per hour.
MR. ANDRADE: Thank you very much.