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tv   Lawmakers College Presidents Discuss Education Policy  CSPAN  August 3, 2021 12:01pm-1:01pm EDT

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view of government. we are funded by the television companies and more. >> the world changed in an instant, but mediacom was ready. internet traffic soared and we never slow down. schools and businesses one virtual, and we powered a new reality. because we are built to keep you ahead. >> mediacom supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> now a conversation from the bipartisan policy center with senator susan collins and jack reed outlining their legislation aimed at making higher education more affordable and accessible. after their remarks, we will hear from college presidents and an education reporter. >> thank you for joining us today, bipartisan policy center event focusing on higher
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education affordability. i am the senior vice president here at the center, and i have the pleasure of working with our financial staff education staff, health policy staff. just since 2007-2008 academic school year, tuition, fees, room and board have increased 20%. these rising prices stem from funding challenges many times at the state and government level. historically, states have been primarily financers of higher education, but state appropriations have declined by nearly 12% per full-time student since 2000, as the states themselves have had to wrestle with medicaid, criminal justice, infrastructure, public health expenditures, among other state priorities, all complicated by the economic recession brought about by the pandemic. today' today's conversation will
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address hesitates and the federal government can act together to chart a more sustainable future that includes access and affordability throughout the higher-education system. in 2020, there was a higher education task force we established here at the bipartisan policy center that was led by a former congressman and chairman of the house education and labor committee, representatives george miller and buck mckeon. -- representative george miller, recommending an annual $5 billion flux bull matching grant to incentivize estates to invest in higher education. today's event also coincides with the release of a brief by the staff entitled "a moderate approach to free college." the brief details the task force's proposal to reimagine the relationship between the federal government and states to finance. it is available on our website.
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with this proposal, every state dollar invested over a three-year rolling average would've been matched by four dollars in federal assistance. we asked national center for higher education system to model this proposal and we found that over 10 years, the program would generate 20-60,000,000,000 dollars in federal and state revenues. the issue brief and the task force's 2020 report are available on the bpc website. we are honored to have senator collins and senator reid join us later in the program to discuss their partnership for affordability and student access act. that proposes a similar pathway for states to maintain or increase their higher education funding. finally, bpc is grateful to build a melinda gates condition for the support of this event and today's issue brief. with that, let me introduce amy loyd, acting assistant secretary and deputy assistant secretary
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for policy and strategic initiatives at the office of -- in the office of career, technical, and adult education at the department of education. she'll provide us with some opening remarks for our discussion today. acting assistant secretary lloyd oversees the office and administers, coordinates programs related to adult education and literacy, career and technical education, and community college. prior to her appointment by president biden, she was vice president at jobs for the future and director of education. we are grateful to the acting secretary for agreeing to join us today and to speak of the biden administration's higher education priorities. with that, i turn it over to you. secretary lloyd: thank you so much pair thank you for inviting me here today to speak with you all. as you all know, president mehta believes deeply in uniting this country. another are so many important
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conversations the bipartisan policy center that bring people together. i know many of the people in this virtual room have spent a lot of time thinking about and working on solutions. and partnering with diverse groups of stakeholders to bring a range of perspectives to it. here at the department of education, we believe tackling the issue of collagen full ability as a goal that we can all get behind. as dr. jill biden says, any country that at -- that out educates us will outcompete us. post secondary karen chills all the morn born for our learners in order to be competitive in our labor markets and help drive our economy as we build back better. we know we need to remove barriers. it's not surprising then that embedded in a nickel component of this administration's build
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back better agenda, is a strategy for higher education that focuses on making college more affordable for students while also building the capacity of institutions to serve those students will. so they have the supports they need to complete their degree and credentials and find a quality job when they graduate. on the access fronts, president biden's american family spun would put an associate degree or certificate and reach for all americans regard this of income by providing them with two years of free committee college. 100 years ago, the high schools rapidly expanded access to secondary education. that laid the groundwork for education and economic growth. today we know the needs of the economy have advanced. americans need and deserve opportunities to build their skills to contribute to the benefits of expanding the economy. i don't have to tell this group that increase educational attainment increases earnings. associate degree workers earn
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$206,000 more than high school graduates over their working careers. what does this mean for the higher education system writ large? a new partnership between states and the federal government, where each level of government bears summer sponsor really for financing these investments -- some responsibility for financing these investments. providing at least 75% of the cost for states and at least 80% [indiscernible] not just in terms of additional and sustained financing, but also to align their higher education systems and to pursue other critical reforms. so we have done the math and it is of particular note during this time of enrollment that community colleges that we know that initiatives that really
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communicate students can attend college tuition free have heart and packs on enrollment. as part of our four lability efforts, we also propose to years of subsidized tuition for students and families earning less than $125,000 at an hbcu, tcu, or msi. doing so will help tackle long-standing inequities in higher education. finally we propose a $1875 increase in the maximum pell grant, which is in a norm's toward the president's commitment to double the pell grant. which benefits students and institutions in all sectors. these proposals combined will put these programs within reach for many more students. all of that is on the access and affordability side. we also want to complement increased access with evidence-based retention strategies. the american families plan
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includes a $62 billion investment to create a new grant program that funds evidence-based red-brown services and student support. particularly targeting underserved students at public and nonprofit institutions. so these wraparound services can range from childcare, to until health services, faculty -- adult health services. i know the theme of today's meeting is federal and state partnerships. another area where we are leaning into a long-term partnership. we -- it would then fall to states and trips to give priority in allocating funds to underserved situations serving low-income students. they would submit an application that describes the allocation, the plan to adopt promising practices, evaluation plans, and an equity audit of
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higher education financing. this investment will ensure more students, especially those from underserved backgrounds, will not only enter but also persist and complete the post secondary credentials we need. i want to pause here to underscore that last point. a dedicated funding stream like this in partnership with state commitments to pursue quality reforms can change the game on college completion. there are a range of interventions that have a large impact on completion that have never been brought to scale. it will allow states and schools to get serious about evaluation and scale and move the ball on the completion agenda and goal we all share. finally, we want to build the operational capacity of institutions, particularly community colleges, to serve our students and connect them to jobs. the american jobs plan also includes both a new communicative training partnerships program, building upon the successes of the previous tax program, to
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increase the capacity of our community college system to deliver a workforce program that leads to a jobs. this will be critical $12 billion investment over five years to ensure those campuses have both the technology and updated facilities they need to serve their students. these capacity building investments will give our committee to colleges the resources they need to train our future workforce. we must seize this opportunity to build the systems that we need to more effectively serve learners and workers. we know the pandemic has exposed , deepened, and widened the inequities that have been long-standing in our education and workforce systems. this plan serves those who need it most, students and school -- in school. students experiencing poverty.
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students were english-language learners, immigrants to our country. students who may be incarcerated or are in reentry following incarceration. students from communities of color. all of these are a focus for us as we urgently work to meet the president's commitment to advancing racial equity. it doubles down on investments in schools and bases those investments in evidence. so this is truly a once in a generation moment we are in right now. with historic investments and opportunities for us to collectively redraw the imagination of our higher education system. we can't just go back to normal in this moment. we must do better for our students. we must restructure our financing systems to make college more affordable. to reduce students' burdens. the closer racial disparities and other equity disparities. but we know we can't do that alone. and we know when to take a close
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partnership with states and institutions to make that call and vision a reality -- that goal and vision a reality. that is where we are all collectively putting our minds together. thanks so much for having me here today. on behalf of the department of education, i really appreciate your leadership in this space. bill: thank you very much, secretary lloyd. i appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to be here this afternoon and share those thoughts with us. at this time, it's going to be my distinct honor to introduce senator susan collins and senator jack reed, and our moderator, danielle douglas-gabriel. i know firsthand how difficult it is for the two senators to spare the time with us, particularly today, with the senate considering the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that i know senator collins particularly had a major hand in crafting. thank you.
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quickly, both senators are in their fifth term. senator collins from maine and senator reed from rhode island to would had the pleasure of working with them and their staff many years ago. since we are talking about affordability, senator collins received her degree from st. lawrence university, we today,, if i understand correctly -- we are today, if i understand correctly, tuition fees, room, and board total $73,000. unbelievable. now, for senator reed, i can't make that comparison. since he is a graduate of the united states military academy at west point, where there is no tuition. but he repaid that schooling with eight years of active-duty service and continues today in service to the country as the chairman of the senate armed services committee. thank you very much.
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there are going to be -- our moderator is danielle douglas-gabriel, and she will moderate the rest of today's event. danielle is a reporter at the washington post, who has written extensively on college affordability and federal higher education policy -- state and federal higher education policy. thank you, senators, for joining us. danielle, turn this over to you. thank you, senators. danielle: thank you so much for joining us today, senators reed and collinsville would what drew you to the issue of college affordability? why did you decide to work together on the issue? >> [laughter] >> before i was selected to the senate, i worked at hudson university in maine. most of the students were first-generation college students. virtually i think it was 85% to
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90% of the students had either student loans or pell grants or work-study systems that enabled them to be there at hudson. and hudson also made a tremendous effort to keep its tuition and other fees more reasonably christ. but even then -- reasonably priced. but even then, i saw the constant tugs and struggles of the students experienced, between getting a job, and going on to complete their education. in many cases, they came from families with no experience in higher education. many times, the parents would say to them, "why are you accumulating all of this debt? why don't you get a job right now?" and it was difficult for them. so one of the very first bills
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that i introduced as a brand-new senator in 1997 was the college affordability act, and it provided a tax break for the interest paid on your student loan debt. >> well, i was very fortunate to go to west point, but my sister and brother, my contemporaries all saw college as a way to go forward in terms of not only their personal careers, but in terms of serving the community. to me, college was just critical. it was a difference between being able to secure a well-paying job that is secure and participating in the community. i must add, too, as a senator to clear born pell, we had a
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legacy in rhode island to commitment to education, and i want to continue that tradition. today, it is even more important in education. we are moving from an industrial age to an age of ideas come of intellectual capital rather than books and water capital. -- mortar capital. college now is not something nice to do. it is essential. when i graduated from high school in 1967, it was a reasonable choice if you wanted to start working at a factory and work your way up and you have a lifetime job instability, etc. -- and stability, etc. but that doesn't exist today. education is even more critical. danielle: how did this act help
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improve the affordability of higher education? >> well, first of all, it builds on the work that susan and i both did in 1998, when we passed the leap act. the state federal partnership to provide support for students, students with financial needs, particularly. it thrived for several years, then in 2010 with the budget debacle, we lost it. we are trying to reconstitute this in the act that would provide federal resources, which we match our local resources, two dollars of federal resources, one dollar of local resources, half the money would have to be committed to a need-based assistance for students. but the other half could be used for innovative approaches. for example, creating different schools together -- bringing difference close together. i think the big thing, too, it would require the states to
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put together a plan that would link their elementary education, their higher education, and the job market. one of the mistakes we've made over the past is we haven't paid enough attention to what kind of students we were producing, other jobs for them, will they move out into successful jobs? that is the essence, i think. >> i think i would just add a couple of comments. senator reed and i worked really hard on this issue for a number of years, as he's mentioned. a good example of the kinds of partnerships that we are talking about can be found in the state of maine. there is for example, in northern maine, where i am originally from, there's an aspirations program. it is a community based program that works with the colleges in northern maine to
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provide internships and assistance to students, so that they see the link between getting the skills and education that they need and the future job that will allow them to stay where they want to be, in northern maine. another example of the kinds of partnerships that our bill would promote can be found in eastern maine committee to college in the students success program. in addition to the problem of making sure that students get the advanced education and skills that they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow, we have a real problem with retention. and a lot of students are ending up in the worst possible situation of not finishing their education, so they do not get the credentials they need, and yet they are burdened with the debt.
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eastern maine committee college has a wonderful program called the student success program. for first-year students, there's two weeks of intensive tutoring in mathematics and english, then there is the student success center that they can come to, no matter what obstacles they are encountering, to going to school. it might be they don't have money for child care, or to repair a car, or it may be that they need more tutoring, or they need mentoring. this program has helped to improve the retention and completion rate of this immunity college. it's been a real success. danielle: a quick follow-up to our questions about the past act. one of the things that's been a challenge for a lot of states and federal partnerships is one
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states face budget shortfalls. how does your bill account for the possibility of those shortfalls, then another part, the leap program, a very critical program to creating a foundation for scholarships, how do you prevent what happened to the leap program in terms of the appropriations from happening to your legislation, if it were successful? >> well, we both have a lot more seniority now. [laughter] and that certainly helps. my hope is we will be able to keep the funding going. the bill does require as a condition of receiving federal funds that there is maintenance of effort, in other words, you cannot substitute the new money and cut back on the funds.
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i remember years ago, many years ago, having a discussion with the president of st. lawrence university, where i went and learned the shocking figure today from bill hoagland about what the tuition and other expenses from the board etc. are now, $73,000, i mean, that is just outrageous -- and i remember asking this president, i said, i am working really hard to increase pell grants. and i feel like every time i increase pell grants in an attempt to expand access for students, you increase tuition and wipe out the good that i've done with pell grants. and so, this is an issue. this is where we have the maintenance of effort provision in the reed-collins bill.
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>> i think one other aspect of this is there's a much more intense appreciation of the overwhelming course of college and how it inhibits people from many things, taking a job they really want and prepared for, because they have to pay off the debt, being saddled with significant debt for years and years and years, unable to buy a home, because that clouds their credit records. so i think there's more of a sensitivity now to bringing the college course in. in addition to acquiring the states to maintain their efforts. -- requiring the states to maintain the reference. i've been sponsoring legislation that would actually require schools, both public and private, to shoulder some of the burden of the default rate. i think that would act also as
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an incentive for these institutions to ensure that their curriculum prepares their students for real jobs. and that is another aspect i think. there is no one solution to this. but getting this program revived would be critical. and keeping it funded would be also critical. and we will endeavor to do that. we are at a moment now we are both the administration and many if not all of my colleagues understand that without this higher education, effective higher education, we will fall behind the world, both in our economic stands and indeed international -- in our national security sense. >> there is another proposal the bipartisan policy center has been pushing for that i think
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makes a lot of sense. and that is that you would link student loan repayments to income levels. so as you go on into your career and you make more money, the amount that you would pay to pay off your student loan would increase. so that it would be a graduated rate that reflected your career. >> if i could add something also, it is a way of expanding on the introduction that i didn't pay for college -- [laughter] i spent eight years in the united states army, that was away to pay for college. we have to do more of that. we have to create opportunities for young people to go off and pay back through public service, their educations. it's been successful in
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historical contexts and military economies, but it's much more compressive, so if someone goes into -- comprehensive, so if someone goes into teaching, and they work for a certain number of years, they can start receiving the benefits by the reduction of their loans, eventually perhaps all of them. and we've got a situation where we have a better education system, and we have people who can participate in our economy. so that is another aspect of this come the mentor he approached, not just one solution, but multiple solutions. -- complementary approach. not just one solution, but multiple solutions. danielle: it goes beyond free tuition. why is that important to you? >> while i think it is
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important, because from my perspective, a flaw in the pre-community college program is, there may be a student who doesn't want to go to the community college, who instead wants to go to the local university or local arts college -- liberal arts college, or a trade program. and it seems to me that to limit choices, that is why i would prefer to pass the past act -- pass act, increase pell grant's, make them usable year-round. and also, i look at our senate offices, that have student loan forgiveness programs. if you're willing to work for a certain amount of time. building on jack's idea that you
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could expand loan forgiveness and return for a certain time for public service jobs, so that students do not feel that they have to go into a particular field because that is the only way that they can pay off their debt. so i think there are a lot of creative ideas. >> i agree. and i would like to say these ideas become blue mentor -- see these ideas be complementary. let me go back to the ratio. if we can get back to that ratio, students have a better choice of what they want to do. if we can also make community colleges virtually free, that is an option for many people that they would love to take up. we've seen that in rhode island.
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our governor did that before the federal initiative. but, the point is, we have many different aspects, we have to make them complementary. so that a young person can decide they want to go directly to college, or they want to years in community college, and they can afford to do both. then we have to make sure that our efforts are leading to real skills that can be used in the workplace. and one of the things i think we've missed over the years is -- we sort of have a supply model when it comes to education. we've always been turning out teachers. we've always been turning out this type of student, etc. i think we all have to be sensitive to what are the jobs of the future? what skills will they require? how can we ensure that all students have a fair chance at good work?
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and that means, and part of our legislation ties into notches higher education -- not just higher education, but the workplace. the notion of federal participation, we cross that great divide -- crossed that great divide in 1965 when we said we are going to contribute to the higher education of americans. >> i just want to add a comment to what jack said, because i think it is so critically important. and that is, in my state and his state, we've seen a lot of factories close, and people who thought they were going to have lights on jobs be displaced in our paper mills, our textile mills that used to exist, shoe factories that are gone. and we need to help re-skill people.
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there are programs that allowed individuals with federal assistance to go back and learn a new trade, and community colleges have been absolutely critical in that area, but so have our university systems. that is really important. often times, when you talk about college, the focus is someone coming out of high school. it may be someone who's been in the workforce for a number of years, has been displaced, now needs a new skill for the jobs of the future. danielle: one of the important things is how all these programs and ideas and policies have to work together. wondering, outside of affordability, what areas do you see as a priority for higher education into the coming years? >> well, again, higher education has to indeed anticipate the
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changing marketplace and the changing technologies and adjuster programs for those changes. and they have to do it in collaboration with elementary, secondary education, because one of the problems that we have particularly when it comes to community colleges, many of the students apply without basic literary and numerical schools that you expect a highschooler to have. the state has a much more fundamental responsibility for elementary and secondary. we assume a greater role at the federal. but it has to be integrated. as i said initially, integrated also into the jobs of the future. and the future seems to be with us today. i mean, it is -- the change is so dramatic, that we have to
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continue 20 to pick that. -- continue to anticipate that. that is the way colleges can be very helpful. >> i agree with jack on that. i think we need a much closer relationship between academia and employers. and to make sure that we do understand, what are the skills that are needed? the university of maine's engineering department, which is truly exceptional, always is going out to employers and saying, what do you need from our engineers? i remember at one point, there was a plant in southern maine where they said, we need people who understand process engineering, so the university went out and hired a professor who can teach process engineering.
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that is the kind of collaboration that helps ensure that the graduates of our academic institutions have the skills that will allow them to get good jobs right on. i also think we need more apprenticeship programs. i'm a big believer in apprenticeship programs. i think those can be extremely valuable. and they work best when there is collaboration between the employers, it may be the equipment manufacturers and the academic institutions. danielle: various states across the political spectrum really buying into the idea that there is a role for states to play in higher education, to the benefit of the economy. how confident are either of you
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about the possibility to get good state by in -- buy in for the pass act to create a stronger state federal partnership? >> well, i think there's a very high probability of that. first of all, getting two dollars for every one dollar makes common sense to most people. that is part of our legislation. but also, i think they do understand, governments particularly, that they are any global condition for jobs, for good companies coming into their states. and when you look at the decisions companies are making, a lot of it is based upon the quality of the workers in that particular state. the skills susan mentioned are not just college skills, they are mechanical skills, manual skills.
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you know, we do a lot of ship building up an way -- up in our way, and they can't find enough welders and good machinists. lifelong careers in these companies pay would they also need engineers, etc. every government i know is out there trying to desperately attract the kind of investment that they need. one of the biggest factors is, show mary education system. -- show me your education system. show me her workforce, show me we've got. -- show me your workforce, show me what you've got. saying this is going to help you be more competitive in a very competitive global economy. >> i agree. there is intense competition amongst states to get these investments, to get these employees, to get skilled trades people, and i think that
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they will be very interested in our proposal, but also, we've already talked to many of the players in the state of maine about the past act, -- pss act -- the pass act, they are supportive of it, they liked the old leap program and they were disappointed when the funding stopped. and they would like to see a similar cooperative program be revived. i think the pass act is even better. danielle: i thought it was important that both of you mentioned the role of industry. and businesses, and having a seat at the table and thinking about how to further help the development of the workforce. what in your mind should that look like, in thinking about a federal approach to it? how do you get businesses and
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industry at the table for issues of workforce readiness? >> i found them to be eager to come to the table. very eager, because i live in a state where the northern two thirds of the state has lost a lot of population, particularly young people. and so, employers are very eager to keep those young people. and to reskill older workers to meet the jobs that they have. and part of it is doing more raising of awareness of the job opportunities that exist. and what a student needs to do in order to take advantage of those opportunities. the welders are a great example.
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we have the same shortage in my state. i remember years ago, securing funding for a community college in northern maine that started a precision machine. they to this day have a 100% placement rate. everybody who goes through that program. i went to an apprenticeship program that trained people in the logging industry. and that had cooperation from a community college, from equipment manufacturers, from logging contractors. and it was just a great example of where everyone came to the table and developed this program to train people for good jobs. and also taught them how to do those jobs safely. and that was obviously in
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everyone's interest. so i think there will be great enthusiasm from employers, for the practical matter that they are desperate in many places to get skilled workers and employees to have the potential to really contribute to their organization. >> i think susan is exactly right. we have an example in rhode island where a big simmering producer collaborated with -- submarine producer collaborated with the rhode island college and the school system to create a training center, where individuals go learn welding, under the supervision of people who are at the committee to college, and then go right onto the work floor at electric boat. a huge need, it is filling the
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demand of industry, and it is filling the demand for these young students to get a good, long-term job. and i think more local leaders are beginning to recognize that based on the success here, we started another sort of incubator in northern rhode island, not focused on those skills, but focus on skills more for the financial services industry. because we have a major fidelity institution there. angela colleges -- and to the colleges are working together. not just the committee colleges, but the four-year colleges. that is beginning to sink through to local leaders. i think our efforts can help stimulate that even more. danielle: thank you both so much for joining us today. i really appreciate you giving us more of your time. we are hoping our audience will stick with us, and join us for a lively discussion with our panelists coming up right now. please feel free to submit questions, so that we can get
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our panelists' points of view on all his ideas. thank you. all right, guys, thanks again for sticking with us. joining us today, we have dr. shanna l. jackson, the president of nashville state community college. we also have with us dr. wayne lewis jr., the president of houghton college. and michele streeter, associate director of policy and advocacy at the institute for college access and success. thank you all for joining us today. dr. jackson, let's start with you, the cost of attending public colleges has almost doubled in the last 20 years. how should states in the federal government address college affordability? -- affordability issues? >> i think tennessee is a great model to look at. when i look at our tuition rate for community colleges and technical colleges, and the last 10 years, it's only increased
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4%. since tennessee promise which went statewide, we leveraged a 1% increase -- we have averaged a 1% increase in the last five years. i think we have a very good model and tennessee with a strong commitment from our state to have these programs first for traditional age students, then in 2018, under the governor, we started a tennessee reconnect program for our adult students. how it works is the last dollars scholarship. so students are required to fill out scholarships. that's made tennessee one of the top eight. for students taking advantage of the money that was made available to them. we also have other programs like the hopes got -- like
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the hopes lottery program and the last dollars scholarship. so we have a model that is working. it was a bipartisan effort led by the governor. it is a commitment from the tennessee board of regents, which our technical incommunicable at his or under, to keep the tuition fee very low, so that we are able to continue to approach students programs'. we actually have a lottery endowment from lottery ticket sales that fund our tennessee promise program. so we are keeping up with the opportunity to keep this going for years and years and tennessee -- in tennessee. the endowment is well over $3 million but averages about $30 million a year that we are putting toward our programs. i think tennessee is a great state to look at, at how we can make this affordable and keep
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rates low, because we are working together to make sure that families and students can continue to go on with their education. danielle: i will open it up to any of the other panelists, if you have any ideas to share on this issue as well. >> i would share, to her point, states have really moved forward in developing these types of programs. the incredible opportunity i believe we have now is there is share division, bipartisan vision around the importance of increasing higher education attainment, a shared understanding that earning degrees and earning credentials is absolutely essential in this economy for young people and not so young people. where i think we will have to have additional conversation is where is the appropriate balance
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between the federal and state relationships, as we move forward? because one, estates have developed some really innovative programs, i think we want to be really careful with any federal approach or any federal policy moving forward that it aligns with the good work that states have been doing and doesn't require that space have to go back and reinvent the wheel. the other reality that we have to discuss is that states have varying decrees of resources to take on something or to make long-term commitments to funding new programs. states are on very different financial situations. so that has to be a part of the consideration as well, but the federal investment is actually essential. but i believe there has to be as well enough latitude to permit states to continue with the great work that they've started.
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>> it's really critical at the state perspective. i'm happy to zoom out for just a minute and talk about where we see the federal government's role here. as dr. lewis said, there's kind of an unprecedented window right now on bipartisan concessions on the need to invest more in higher education, affordability, and addressing the equity gap and completion rates. how we took advantage of this window, there is certainly no magic bullet to address college affordability. when we talk about affordability, i think it is also really important to say we are not just talking about the cost of college and the cost of tuition, but we are also talking about what needs to happen to provide more equitable access in general to a high-quality, affordable college option. enter put resources toward not just getting students enrolled or getting a student in the door, but also toward getting degree completion or whatever the student is seeking. i think a foundational piece of whatever a new partnership is
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between the federal government and states has to be to inject new federal funding into public colleges and we talk so much i think about public colleges because they do enrolled more than three quarters of undergrads. that is a high percentage. we have to also bring states back to the funding table and reverse the trend of investment. all of this needs to be undertaken with a really explicit focus on closing the racial and economic equity gaps that we've seen persist in college completion rates. so we are not yet reducing tuition costs, we need to reduce direct costs, all of the net costs that go toward a college degree, reducing debt burdens, but also looking more holistically at, what kind of direct coordinated partnerships do we want to build here? there is currently no statutory official funding partnership between the federal government and states for higher education.
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where can we deploy the resources of the federal government? they have the funding power, they have the spending power. i'm sure we will talk more about that later. and state governments also have a really important role to play, and they know their constituents and their residents better than the federal government ever could. so i think that holistic approach is really what is needed to move the needle on not just affordability, but when we sit affordability, we are talking about equity and completion. i also just want to say the work partnership is really important for the conversation again, recognizing there is an across state's system, recognizing the federal government has certain things to bring to the table, but we really need to be intentional about bringing states to the table as well. >> i think michelle hit on something i want to make sure that i echo, that tennessee promise really is an equality program.
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it is for everyone who is eligible. but it doesn't address the issues of equity. even though tuition and fees are covered, we know there are additional financial barriers that are textbooks, transportation, and all of the holistic support services. i thought both senators did a great job of addressing that there is work to consider with just tuition and fees. we certainly are looking to raise education retainment. putting people on a pathway to economic mobility in closing the gaps physical. danielle: back to the idea of state this assessments, we are at a point where we are seeing states increasing their appropriations to higher education systems. as far as looking at the overall arching trend, we are not really back to pre-recessionary levels writ large. what are some of the factors that are contributing to the decline in state investment?
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and how do you think we start to really address this in a meaningful and sustainable way? >> you know, i intentionally do not use the language this investment -- this investment. -- disinvestment. states have really difficult decisions to make. it is rarely, if ever the case, that a state is saying, i'm going to not fund higher education because i'm going to take those dollars and put them in a wasteful place. it's much more often the case that states are making incredibly difficult decisions about how to use finite resources amongst a lot of different allocation possibilities, with all of them being incredibly important. with that said, i think it is incumbent upon us as advocates for higher education, and i would say as president of a private college, that private
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colleges have a major role to play in this as well. if we didn't have the graduates of private colleges, we'd be talking about a much different situation, in times of attainment. while not as large. as those advocates, it is important that we are clear about the value added for investment in our students, and our people, because that is truly what we are talking about. we are talking about investing in our students, in our citizens, investing in our future and making it very clear that dollars invested in higher education are not about propping up the budget of institutions, but they are about investing in the education and the skill development that our citizens need to continue to move our states forward. danielle: you raise a really important point about the idea of investing in students rather
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than propping up the budgets. i think it is part of a messaging disconnect for some of the public. how do you really drilled at home to the american taxpayer, when the costs continued to rise and there is some disconnect they cannot wrap their mind around? what as college presidents do you do to tell people to understand -- help people to understand that you are about educating the students and that is your ultimate mission more than anything else? >> i can talk about national states. one of the things that we have started saying is, completion is not enough. we've had this conversation about completion, retention, persistence. let post completion success is what our college will be measuring. -- but post completion success is what our college will be measuring. did we prepare them for their career and how are they doing in that career?
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we start to tell the story of the graduate and their success. in my opinion, that is the value. that is we want to work with to get our students and our employers being able to tell the success story of a college graduate. often, when you just tell a high school student, even sometimes a low-key adult, you should go back to school, it will help you in the future, it is shortsighted for them, because they are feeling that their basic needs are being met and what they need to do right then. but when you think about creating access, focusing on completion, yes, holistic supports to get them there, that is not the end goal. the end goal is economic normality, to complete may be for your credential -- a four year credential and go into the workforce. that is something we are focusing on in nashville, to really learn our graduates and
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to get our employers to be talking about what is the value of education -- about what the value of education really is. >> president jackson is spot on. it is our response ability first and foremost to connect the dots with the taxpayers. and to help them see very clearly the value in investing in students and post secondary education. and walking across the stage, receiving the diploma, an incredible look of the schmidt worthy of the celebrations that we give it, but we have to talk about what comes next. we are investing in students completing these programs. this is where it leads them in their lives. this is where it leads them in their careers. we have to be able to provide that. the other piece that i think the public and the taxpayer expects we have some skin in the game.
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at the president of an institution, i do have a responsibility to think about controlling costs. to recognize the costs for higher education right now are astronomical. i think students, rightfully so expect us to be really intentional in controlling that cost and wherever possible providing differentiated tuition, providing scholarship opportunities. reducing costs to teutons -- to students. other than just increasing tuition. that is our responsibility, and we have to come to the table with strategies in hand. >> it's fascinating. the american families plan represented two things.
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how in mind are they similar, do they differ? what did they leave out? >> both would do a lot of good in creating a statutory framework for any relationship between states and the federal government to fund higher education. that is critical as the policy goals they are looking to achieve.


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