The Senate Committee on Education and Career Development is considering a package of bills aimed at making public universities and colleges more affordable.
State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) introduced six bills this week proposing a variety of measures including increasing dual credit course offerings, holding teachers more accountable for understanding their class materials and boosting transparency in university hirings.
Banks says institutions that receive state funding need to be more open about how they spend those dollars.
“Even though the percent is less today of what the state funds of their total budget, Hoosier taxpayers still provide billions of dollars every couple of years to our universities to build buildings, and as Hoosiers we should expect more out of that investment than perhaps we’re getting.”
Senate appropriations committee chairman Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), who also sits on the Senate Education Committee, says he needs time to more closely consider Banks’ proposals, but warns against the state getting too involved in university affairs.
“I think we’ve always got to keep in mind that the state shouldn’t be running the universities,” he says. “We need to leave that to the professionals, and if we want to have some policies in place, the state is going to have to share in the cost of implementing those policies.”
Four of Banks’ bills have been referred to the Senate Education Committee. The remaining two have not been assigned.
Bills Proposed by State Sen. Jim Banks on College Affordability
Explanations according to State Sen. Banks
- SB 98: Give more independence to regional campuses from their parent schools.
- SB 177: Reduce in-state tuition rates for U.S. military veterans returning from service.
- SB 180: Improve transparency in regard to faculty hiring, tenure and salaries among state institutions.
- SB 182: Enhance credit transferability through a common course numbering system and requiring associate degrees credits to be counted toward a bachelor’s degree.
- SB 406: Hold university departments of education more accountable for teachers’ understanding of content and instructional methods.
- SB 409: Create more dual college-credit course options for high school students.