One question being asked in the wake of news that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is slated to become the next President of Purdue University is “how exactly would he run the school”? One way to make that determination is to look at what Daniels has done as Governor when it comes to higher education.
I’ve taken a look at the Governor’s positions on higher education over the years and have the following…
- It is no big secret that Indiana’s colleges and universities have had to live within their means since Daniels took office. His last budget cut university spending by three percent, but provided more dollars for building construction. However, some have argued his cuts, such as the 6 percent cut in 2006, have led to the rising cost of tuition. The Governor did look at privatizing the State Lottery as a way to pay for higher education, but that plan was rejected by the federal government.
- Daniels has questioned the need for departments at colleges and universities to keep increase the amount of credit hours needed to graduate. A law was passed last session requiring Universities to get state permission if they are going to require more than 120 credit hours for a program’s completion. The Governor also signed a bill last session creating a uniform system of numbering for college classes to make it easier for students to know what classes will transfer from one school to another.
- The Governor has taken steps to increase access to college for high school students and older adults. He helped bring Western Governors University to Indiana for older students who want to return to college, but time does not allow them to attend a traditional institution. He has also created an early scholarship program which would allow high school students to attend college in their last year of high school if they have completed all their coursework.
Streamlining Higher Ed Administration
- The Governor consolidated three separate state agencies charged with overseeing public higher education policy, college financial aid and for-profit education. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE), the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI) and the Commission on Proprietary Education (COPE) were all consolidated under a unified higher education agency under the direction of CHE with separate boards for public higher education and proprietary education. The goal was to streamline state services, reduce confusion for Hoosiers and promote greater coordination, clarity and transparency across the higher education sector.