Now that the drama over USF Polytechnic is behind us (at least for now,) higher education officials are back to focusing on less showy things…like helping more Florida students to graduate successfully and get good-paying jobs.
That last part is the mission of Florida College Access Network (Florida C.A.N.) They’ve issued “A Call for Leadership” that urges state leaders not to focus on bright shiny objects (like proposed Texas reforms that don’t seem likely to take place even there).
(Full disclosure: Florida C.A.N. is a financial supporter of StateImpact Florida. As part of our agreement, they exercise no influence over what we report or how we report it.)
Florida C.A.N. has four short-term suggestions for improving the number of students successfully getting college and university degrees:
- Give incentives for post-secondary training for Floridians who are unemployed or who are returning veterans.
- Provide low-cost and flexible mechanisms for working adults who have previously earned some college credits, but have no degree to return to college to earn credentials and/or degrees. The most current Census data shows over two million Florida residents fit into this category, making up 22% of the working-age population in the state.
- Create incentives for businesses to develop tuition reimbursement programs to encourage their employees to earn degrees. By improving the skills and abilities of those who are currently employed, employers can support their workers in becoming more dynamic and thereby position their businesses to respond to the talent demands of the future economy.
- Request that all college and university presidents submit their ideas for improving higher education. Recommendations should include ideas for incorporating incentives for colleges and universities to graduate more students with quality degrees and credentials, student incentives for course and program completion, new delivery models for increasing capacity for serving students, and ideas around business practices that can produce savings to graduate more students.
P.S. There’s a cool chart from them showing one big issue for low-income kids wanting to go through college — in-state public tuition has doubled while the merit-based Bright Futures scholarship doesn’t cover as much of the cost.