ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

Completion, Quality, Affordability Front and Center in the Hoosier State

December 4, 2012 by Armand B. Alacbay

Indiana commissioner for higher education Teresa Lubbers has recently been meeting with educators statewide to stress the importance of promoting student success and college completion.  "More Hoosiers than ever recognize that a college credential is needed to ensure opportunity and prosperity," Lubbers said.  The state’s higher education coordinating body has made boosting attainment one of its primary goals.

For years, ACTA has worked with higher education leaders in Indiana, including Governor Mitch Daniels, to promote similar objectives—for the past two years, ACTA has been a part of the Indiana Trustees Academy program.  Earlier this year, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education unveiled its “Reaching Higher, Achieving More” strategic plan, a comprehensive initiative to improve student completion—with a statewide goal of 60% college attainment by 2025—while maintaining college affordability.  Yet unique to Indiana’s plan is also a commitment to uphold “a standard of academic quality that ensures Indiana’s college credentials are universally recognized for their rigor and value.”

Part of how Indiana is emphasizing academic quality is by insisting that its institutions target student learning outcomes by academic program, and adopt nationally-recognized benchmarks to measure student learning. Additionally, in recent years, Indiana modified its performance funding model to incentivize student completion, and not just enrollment—and the Commission’s plan indicates that the state will refine the formula more to promote on-time four-year completion.

Indiana has exactly the right goals in mind: keeping a college education accessible, while improving academic quality.  If the tempo of the state’s efforts is any indication, the Hoosier State can be a model for other public higher education systems.

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