State Report Card on Higher Education Supports North Dakota Policy Efforts
BISMARCK, N.D. - As state policy leaders work to address the affordability of public higher education in North Dakota, a state-by-state report card released today gives the state a letter grade "F" in affordability, thus supporting the need to address this issue. With the exception of California, all states received an "F" in affordability.
Measuring Up 2008, a report by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, provides the organization's perspective on the progress of the nation and all 50 states in providing Americans education and training beyond high school and through the bachelor's degree level.
"This report underscores the urgency to address specific issues identified by the Interim Higher Education Committee, the Roundtable on Higher Education, the State Board of Higher Education and the P - 16 Education Task Force," said Richie Smith, president of the State Board of Higher Education. "‘Measuring Up' tells us that state higher education policy leaders are headed in the right direction, and it emphasizes the need to be even more diligent in our pursuit of improvement."
"Measuring Up 2008 and other reports of this nature help state higher education policy leaders frame our discussions about the strengths and challenges of higher education in North Dakota," said Jon Backes, SBHE vice president. "The ‘Measuring Up' findings tell us that we are focusing on the right issues, such as improving affordability and access to higher education by minority populations."
"The 2009-11 University System budget request approved by the State Board of Higher Education includes an additional $14 million for needs-based financial aid grants beyond the $6 million budgeted in the current biennium," said Bill Goetz, chancellor of the North Dakota University System. "Board and system officials are encouraged by Gov. Hoeven's ACT-ND plan, which budgets $40 million for needs-based financial aid, $20 million beyond the total requested by the board. The governor recognizes the seriousness of this situation, and we appreciate his aggressive response as a way to begin remedying this situation. Board and system officials also recognize higher education's responsibility to do everything we can to help keep college affordable."
Efforts to improve college access were stepped up in September 2008 when the NDUS launched the College Access Challenge Grant Program. Targeted at low-income and minority populations, this national program focuses on increasing the number of students prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
According to Measuring Up 2008, North Dakota does well in several areas, such as providing college opportunities for students by age 19 and the number of certificates and degrees awarded compared to the number of students enrolled. State policy leaders have identified and continue to work on a number of additional key issues that create roadblocks to success, such as student preparation for college and the workplace and college completion rates.