Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bills focus on improved efficiency, student success

Faced with a continued revenue shortfall, legislators have introduced a number of bills to promote cost efficiencies in higher education and improve student success. Many of these bills would impact the workload of the public colleges and universities, the HECB successor agency, and the public schools. However, most specify the additional work should be carried out within existing resources.
Student Auditing Committees
HB 2478 would create a seven-member student auditing committee at each four-year higher education institution to review at least one major institutional project annually; identify programs, practices, and processes that could be improved; and make recommendations to achieve cost reductions. The committees would be required to consult with the staff of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee and HECB successor for guidance on choosing appropriate projects, methodology, and presentation of information.
Completing a Baccalaureate Degree in Three Years
SB 6029 would amend the Launch Year Act by adding a requirement that all public high schools inform students and their families about opportunities to complete a baccalaureate degree in three years. The bill would require each higher education institution to publicize information on accelerated bachelor’s degree programs and any additional opportunities to complete a bachelor’s degree within three years and to provide this information to the HECB successor agency for distribution to OSPI.
Financial Aid Counseling Curriculum
SB 6121 would require the HECB or its successor to provide an online financial aid counseling curriculum to higher education institutions that includes an explanation of State Need Grant program rules; information on campus and private scholarships and work-study opportunities; an overview of student loan options (including the consequences of default); an overview of financial literacy; and average salaries for a wide range of jobs. Institutions would be required to take reasonable steps to ensure each State Need Grant recipient participates and completes the counseling.
Quarterly Academic Advising for Students
HB 2436 would direct higher education institutions to require students to meet with an academic adviser at least once per quarter to ensure they remain on track to complete a degree or certificate.  The student’s goals, degree program requirements and academic progress would be reviewed during the advising sessions.   
Financial Literacy as a High School Graduation Requirement
HB 2268 would require Washington high school students to successfully complete a half-credit course in financial literacy to qualify for graduation. The course would cover concepts such as saving, credit, insurance, inflation, and household budgeting.  The requirement would not add to the total number of credits students must have for graduation.
Requiring School Districts to Provide Remedial Postsecondary Education
SB 6438 would require school districts, under certain circumstances, to provide remedial education for recent high school graduates or pay the cost of providing state-supported remedial education for those students. Average instructional costs for remediation would be established and reports from public higher education institutions would be provided annually showing the number of students enrolled and the types of remedial courses taken. School districts would have the option of conducting remedial courses themselves or paying for the cost. The act would be applicable to students who earned their high school diplomas within three years of enrolling in remedial courses.
Creating Laboratory School Partnerships
 SB 6348 would create laboratory school partnerships that bring together Washington's institutions of higher education and low-achieving public schools to collaborate and implement plans to accelerate student achievement and deepen the knowledge and skills of educators. The synergy of the collaboration is expected to advance educator preparation and student learning practices within both the public school and higher education systems.

No comments:

Post a Comment