Education Panel Says Higher Degrees Vital

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Education Roundtable on Wednesday endorsed a statewide higher education plan designed to significantly boost the number of Hoosiers receiving degrees after high school. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education plan will push to increase the Hoosier population with a two-year or fouryear college degree from 33.2 percent to 60 percent by 2025.

Teresa Lubbers, head of the Commission for Higher Education, said the plan - called Reaching Higher, Achieving More - is not a new strategic plan.

"This is an evolution of the plan we had been operating under in Indiana since 2008, which was called 'Reaching Higher," she said.

The commission's 2008 plan focused primarily on helping Hoosiers who enroll in college to graduate.

The modified plan would increase efforts to prepare more high school students for postsecondary education and make college entry for adults easier and based on career requirements.

Gov. Mitch Daniels, who co-chairs the Indiana Education Roundtable, an advisory group of business, community and education leaders, said the state's long-term goal to boost degree completion to 60 percent is realistic.

"We can get there if we ramp up everything - not just traditional college, which we're working so hard on - but also helping young people see the opportunities in alternative certifications," Daniels said.

The Commission reports less than a third of college students in a fouryear program and four percent of two-year students graduate on time. The state's plan includes increasing preparation for students as early as kindergarten and ensuring all K-12 students complete pre-college courses. …