This year’s legislative session starts in April, and CABL will be working with our RESET Louisiana partners PAR and the Committee of 100 on a full legislative agenda. Prior to the session we are highlighting some of the issues we will be focusing on. Here’s a look at higher education.
The good news for higher education is that despite the devastating effects COVID-19 has had on the economy, the state budget has been somewhat insulated thanks to federal dollars, and there are no cuts in the governor’s executive budget. In fact, state colleges and universities are actually in line for a modest increase in investment.
Fortunately, some of those state and federal revenues can be used to help bolster the issues CABL and RESET are focused on this year.
At a time when more than a million Louisiana working-aged adults have a high school diploma or less and the cost of education and training programs have seen significant increases, Louisiana must find new ways to enhance workforce training opportunities for its citizens. RESET supports efforts to expand financial aid for adult learners in credit and non-credit programs leading to high-quality jobs in targeted industry sectors.
Louisiana has set an ambitious goal to increase the number of citizens with postsecondary education credentials to 60% by 2030. But it comes as the cost of earning those credentials is increasingly out of reach for many Louisiana families. RESET supports efforts to address affordability including increased resources for GO Grants, expanded financial aid options, open resource text books, and new education delivery models.
Louisiana is doing much to help students prepare for meaningful careers, but because of data gaps, it is difficult to determine how effective these efforts are in ensuring that students end up with good jobs that strengthen our economy. Louisiana should follow the lead of other states by establishing a uniform system that more efficiently uses data to drive decision making, while strongly protecting student privacy.
We should point out that another important goal in postsecondary education is listed as part of our K-12 education agenda, and that’s to provide greater opportunities for students to receive college credits or credentials while still in high school.
If our goal is truly to raise the educational attainment rate so that 60% of our adult citizens have a valued credential by 2030, we need to get serious about that now. These are among the things we must do if we hope to succeed.