STATEHOUSE – Yesterday, State Representative Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) was a guest speaker at a Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) summit in Indianapolis. The informative meeting was a collaborative effort between representatives from Midwestern states to discuss higher education policy initiatives.
“This was a tremendous opportunity, and I was honored to be a part of a multi-state higher education policy discussion,” said Rep. Dermody. “With the important role that higher education plays in our state, we must assess what Indiana is doing, in light of the procedures other states are implementing, and join together to build off of those ideas to improve our education system.”
The MHEC is a non-profit organization established to assist Midwestern states in progressing higher education programs by providing an opportunity for interstate cooperation and resource sharing. The goals of the organization include: strengthening the relationship between higher education and the workplace, increasing postsecondary education opportunities, working to make higher education more affordable and promoting new approaches to improve institutional productivity.
The new law will make various changes to the Frank O’Bannon Grant and 21st Century Scholars Program, encouraging students to maintain a four year graduation pace by basing financial assistance on classes completed rather than classes registered for. It also extends that assistance into the summer months.
HEA 1348 provides that the Commission for Higher Education (CHE) may offer an incentive based award centered on student performance. Additionally, HEA 1348 requires the CHE to develop guidelines pertaining to a four year graduation plan known as a degree-map by Aug. 1, 2013. Once that plan is developed, the law will require that state postsecondary institutions provide a degree-map for each student that enrolls after July 31, 2014.
Another portion of the new law requires the CHE to study and assess the financial costs for postsecondary education students and work to develop new strategies to increase affordability and on-time college completion. The CHE will then submit a report of their findings to the Legislature by Nov. 1, 2013.
“This session, as the General Assembly made strides for our postsecondary education system, we must continue to seek new ways to increase college affordability while promoting on-time graduation,” said Rep. Dermody. “By having some of the Midwest’s higher education experts in one room, this summit provided excellent opportunity to facilitate discussion and generate ideas on how to achieve these goals.”
HEA 1348 will go into effect on July 1, 2013.