|July 1 Law streamlines college credit transfers, improves graduation outlook|
|Thursday, 05 July 2012 14:20|
by State Sen. Jim Banks
With more jobs requiring college degrees, our state higher education system should support policies that give students more options. However, college credit transfer policies are not items you generally see in headlines or on the evening news. Yet they could play a key role in helping Indiana’s Commission for Higher Education meet its goal of nearly doubling the percentage of Hoosier adults with college degrees by 2025.
According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, a third of U.S. students who receive a bachelor’s degree transfer schools in the course of their undergraduate studies. Many Hoosier transfer students actually begin their college careers at Indiana community colleges, which offer a more accessible gateway to higher education through low-cost degree programs, flexible class schedules and online course alternatives.
Unfortunately, not all universities in Indiana accept transfer credits from other state colleges, forcing students to spend countless hours and thousands of additional tuition dollars to re-take coursework. For many, this means incurring more student loans and accumulating added debt.
That’s why I authored legislation this year that increased the amount of credits students could transfer to a state college. This helpful initiative will give students more flexibility in where and how they earn a post-secondary degree, encourage timely graduation and support the incorporation of community and satellite colleges into Indiana’s higher education system.
Beginning July 1, SEA 182 will establish a comprehensive, statewide numbering system and transfer policy for general education credits at all Indiana public institutions. Encouraging our public universities to work together, embrace change and find innovative ways to integrate all types of students into the 21st-century workforce is needed now more than ever. Ensuring our young people will have the skills necessary to compete in a globally-driven job market should be a top priority.
The world, economy and workplace are changing. Globalization and increased access to technology – paired with the global economic downturn of recent years – have dramatically impacted the structure of business and labor.
Jobs in manufacturing, farming and other industries are declining, while jobs in the new knowledge-based economy require a different set of skills, and thus a highly skilled workforce that can perform them.
Complete College America, a national nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of U.S. college graduates, released discouraging statistics about college achievement throughout the country and in Indiana. According to our state’s data, only 32 of every 100 Hoosier students who enroll in a public college or university will graduate in four years.
Attaining a middle class lifestyle these days increasingly demands some type of post-secondary education, not only to compete for available jobs but also to earn a living and support a family.
I believe keeping things simple with college transfer policies will help Hoosiers become more competitive in an increasingly complex world. The keys to reaching new graduation goals could lie within the community colleges right in our own neighborhoods. My hope is these new credit transfer policies will help Indiana make headlines in the future with tremendous improvement in college graduation rates.
Other articles in State and National
Criminal expungement rights expanded 13 June 2013
Muskies reaching legal size 06 June 2013
Waubee Lake weed on DNR watch list 30 May 2013