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Higher Ed Commissioner Stresses Funding Needs To U.S. Senate

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Photo: Elliott P (Flickr)

A U.S. Senate committee today heard testimony from education leaders from across the nation.

Indiana’s commissioner for higher education today went before a U.S. Senate committee where she stressed the importance of funding higher education and explained the state’s plan to boost college degree attainment.

The testimony was part of a two-hour hearing, where senators heard from education leaders on state funding for education, loan repayment, college affordability and simplifying the aid application system.

In her testimony, Teresa Lubbers stressed the value of Indiana’s performance-based appropriations for state colleges.

“It’s important to pay for what you value,” she said. “In Indiana, we value more degrees, more students graduating on time, more at-risk students graduating, more high-impact degrees.

Lubbers says costs are escalating unnecessarily as students take more than four years to complete their degree. She says the Indiana commission is now working with state colleges and universities on a campaign to urge students to take at least 15 credits per semester.

“Indiana State University now alerts students who are falling short of meeting the state’s new credit completion requirements—offering them free summer tuition and discounted housing so they can catch up,” Lubbers said.

Other states are taking the same approach.

“If you look at the history of how debt is accumulated, a student may be doing this in years two, three, four, but five and heaven forbid six is where they take a larger chunk because you have used all of your other resources,” University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler said during his testimony.

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