By the year 2030, the Board of Regents wants to double the number of working adults in Louisiana who have a valuable degree or credential. That point was made clear today as it rolled out its 2019 Master Plan legislative package to the House Education Committee.
While Louisiana’s colleges and universities currently produce approximately 40,000 credentials each year, the Board of Regents says it hopes to raise the tally to 85,000 to “meet the needs of a rapidly changing economy.” To achieve this, the board says it will support pieces of legislation aimed at access and affordability for students.
“If higher education is to fulfill its mission of increasing opportunity and social mobility, we must craft a new policy agenda that puts student outcomes first,” says Higher Education Commissioner Kim Hunter Reed. “We must expand opportunity for Louisiana to prosper.”
Among bills included in its legislative package:
• Senate Bill 117, which allows for affordable textbooks through open education resources;
• Senate Bill 194, which provides equitable access to dual enrollment courses to eligible high school junior and seniors;
• Senate Concurrent Resolution 42, which creates the Work-Based Learning Task Force to address workforce shortages and better prepare students for jobs;
• House Bill 294, which allows for increased response rates and broader utility of anonymous sexual assault climate surveys;
• House Bill 562, which updates the proprietary schools law;
• House Bill 576, which ensures cash flow stability for the LA Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) and the LA Library Network (LOUIS) by codifying the authority to carry over interagency transfers and self-generated revenue.
In addition to the bills, Regents is also prioritizing its budget request to lawmakers in an effort to prevent fee increases for students; reduce student costs through initiatives including online electronic resources; support a financial aid program for adult students; fund a TOPS increase as well as need-based aid, like Go Grants; and provide funds for accreditation, specialized units and college access outreach. Currently, House Bill 105 maintains higher education funding at existing levels.