Higher Education: Time for Reflection & Action
Education is the engine that drives the economy
of New York State. Two higher education issues currently on
the horizon are of great interest to all New Yorkers. They
are the Statewide Master Plan for Higher Education, 2004--2012,
and the Reauthorization of the federal Higher Education Act
Statewide Master Plan for Higher Education
In collaboration with
the Higher Education Community and the Commissioner’s Advisory Council on Higher Education,
the Board of Regents—every eight years—adopts a
Statewide Plan for Higher Education, setting in place a vision
with the goals, objectives, priorities and limitations for
higher education. It is designed to meet the rising demands
for highly skilled workers, informed citizens, problem solvers
and decision makers in an increasingly competitive and changing
global technological society.
The Master Plan document
will serve as a unifying force to bring together all aspects
of higher education in New York State. The Board of Regents
is committed to retaining New York’s historic place
as a world class leader for excellence in education, attracting
and developing renowned international scholars in the sciences,
medicine, law and the arts as well as preparing their own
residents for success in the 21st century.
During the past two
years, each of the four segments of Higher Education—The State University of New York,
The City University of New York, Independent Colleges of New
York and Proprietary Colleges of New York—have been energized
by the challenge of developing a new Master Plan and have been
vigorously engaged in a study of their current offerings and
of emerging issues related to our State.
Discussions have centered
around such questions as: “What services should higher institutions provide
for the State’s residents, workplace, workforce and communities?”; “How
should these services be delivered?”; “How should
the education of professionals—doctors, engineers, dentists,
attorneys, accountants, journalists and business executives—be
changed?” “How does technology impact on student
achievement in elementary, secondary, post secondary and professional
Key issues currently under review are Distance
Learning, off campus instruction, liberal arts, sciences, intellectual
contributions to society, access for the disabled shortage
areas (nurses, pharmacists, teachers, educational administrators),
social and ethical values, research, life long learning facilities,
faculty, library capacity, and institutional effectiveness.
One area of concern for teachers and administrators, PreK-12,
is that of narrowing the gap between teacher preparation in
higher education institutions and actual practice in school
During the summer each of the four segments of
higher education will have registered their Master Plan. By
the fall 2004 the Regents will issue a comprehensive tentative
Statewide Plan for Higher Education, 2004--2012. Hearings on
the Plan will be conducted at that time.
You are invited now to
get involved in shaping the future of the education of all
New Yorkers. You are encouraged, as groups or as individuals,
to make your thoughts and concerns about higher education
known by writing to: Byron Connell, Director of the Statewide
Plan for Higher Education in New York State, State Education
Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York 12234.
Every correspondence on this topic will be carefully read
Since education is the engine that drives the
economy and the future of New York State, all taxpayers, professional
educators and parents should have a voice in shaping higher
education policies and practices for the next twelve years.
the Higher Education Act—2004
“How can we afford college?” is
a hot button topic among parents and young people. With escalating
tuition costs and stagnant student aid many students are burdened
by unmanageable loans. Students and parents are making hard
Today, according to
the College Board Report, the average private sector graduate
leaves campus owing approximately $20,000—with the
public school grads owing about $16,000. Grads of professional
school frequently incur debt in excess of $35,000.
If college is the gateway to the American dream
and a necessity for America to contribute its leadership among
world powers, it is important for us to consider fiscally feasible
solutions to the debt burden. Investing in higher education
will strengthen the future of our country.
of Higher Education Act is scheduled to be reviewed in the
fall of 2004. Initiated in 1965 this act was designed to
permit every academically qualified American to have financial
access to college. In the 1970’s,
for example, the Pell grants took care of a good part of the
tuition at higher education institutions but that percentage
has diminished. The value of the grants have declined significantly.
Supporters of reform
in financial aid for higher education are urged—in groups or individually—to
make known to their Congressman and United States Senators
their support for changes—prior to the vote on the Reauthorization.
Now is the time to act. All of us want every New Yorker to
become all that he/she is capable of being as citizens of this
great country—so we must provide reasonable access to
Dr. Geraldine Chapey is a Regent of the University
of the State of New York.