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The Scoop

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State adopts plan to boost college completion

Statement issued Friday:

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s new strategic plan challenges the state’s colleges and universities to focus on college completion and student success. Titled Reaching Higher, Achieving More, the document aims to create more pathways for degree completion, to safeguard college affordability and to ensure academic quality at all levels of Indiana’s postsecondary education system.

“Completing college has become the new passport to prosperity and opportunity for Hoosiers today,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “We seek to establish one of the best and most student-centered higher education systems in the nation, so Indiana graduates are prepared for the future.”

Available at www.che.in.gov, Reaching Higher, Achieving More presents three key challenges:

College Completion: Increase on-time college graduation rates for Hoosier students to at least 50 percent at four-year campuses and 25 percent at two-year campuses by 2018.

Degree Production: Double the number of college degrees and certificates produced currently by 2025 (requires increasing annual degree production from approximately 60,000 degrees to 120,000 degrees).

Education Attainment: Increase higher education attainment of Hoosier adults to 60 percent of Indiana’s population by 2025 (45 percent by 2018).

Indiana ranks 42nd nationally in education attainment with only a third of the state’s adult population completing education beyond high school. Less than a third of Indiana’s four-year college students graduate on time and just over half graduate after six years. Only 4 percent of the state’s two-year college students graduate on time and 12 percent complete within three years.

“The Commission’s strategic plan outlines a clear path to what has always been our No. 1 goal: increasing the personal income of Hoosiers,” said Governor Mitch Daniels. “To do that, we need a highly trained workforce, and that means our higher education system must be affordable, high quality and purposeful in its efforts to dramatically increase the percentage or Hoosiers with a college degree or certificate.”

Reaching Higher, Achieving More charts a course for the work ahead by laying out the state’s higher education priorities in three key areas: completion, productivity and quality. The plan is student-centered to meet the diverse needs of Indiana college students, mission-driven so every postsecondary provider plays a distinct but essential role, and workforce-aligned to ensure the state’s economic competitiveness and lifetime employment for Hoosiers. Reaching Higher, Achieving More features relevant data driving the plan’s strategies, key metrics to track progress, and personal stories from Hoosier students regarding the real challenges and opportunities they face in working to earn a college degree.

“The stakes have never been higher,” said Commission Chair Ken Sendelweck. “Indiana’s future depends on our citizens earning an affordable, high-quality education and that is the cornerstone of Reaching Higher, Achieving More.”

As part of its enabling statute, the Commission for Higher Education (CHE) is responsible for developing and implementing a long range plan for postsecondary education in Indiana. In 2008, CHE adopted the first Reaching Higher strategic plan for Indiana’s higher education system.

Building on the foundation of the original Reaching Higher, CHE began work during 2011 to develop Reaching Higher, Achieving More. Throughout this process, CHE invited key stakeholders to provide comments, suggestions and recommendations while drawing from research and national best practices to inform the plan’s development. The resulting document charts a course for CHE’s work in collaboration with the state’s colleges and universities over the next three to five years.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education is a 14-member public body created in 1971 to define the missions of Indiana’s colleges and universities, plan and coordinate the state’s postsecondary education system, and ensure that Indiana’s higher education system is aligned to meet the needs of students and the state. Learn more online at www.che.in.gov.

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