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2/23/2012 10:26:00 AM
EDITORIAL: New university regulations right

Chronicle-Tribune

The transfer of wealth in our country from private to public institutions now means that public sector workers enjoy higher wages and ever-growing benefits without the inconvenience of having to increase their productivity in order to earn it.

Not so much for their counterparts in the private sector who have fallen behind in wages and benefits compared to government workers, while still having to pay to make government labor ever more prosperous.

No where is this more noticeable than at public colleges and universities — a national phenomena.

The Boston Herald reported Wednesday that the number of six-figure earners working in the University of Massachusetts system ballooned to 2,296 in 2011 — up 82 from the previous year. The top salary was $761,314 for the chancellor of health sciences.

Americans have more than $1 trillion in personal college debt, including that spent on various curricula of questionable value.

Common sense needs have a larger place on campus and the Indiana General Assembly took a small step in that direction by ordering up some procedural changes designed to increase value and affordability.

With college costs exploding — they have more than doubled in the last decade — the Indiana General Assembly is trying to help make things easier for students.

Both the House and Senate have approved legislation that aims to streamline the college credit transfer process by requiring a common course numbering system for all public state universities.

That should make it easier for students to know what credits will transfer, which can be especially helpful for those students taking advantage of Ivy Tech Community College for their first few years to save money with the goal to transfer to a more expensive state university for their major. Along that same line, the bill also requires state-funded institutions to have at least 30 general education credit hours compatible with the curriculum at any state school.

In a contentious legislative session, it was nice to see this“student-friendly” piece of legislation pass with bipartisan support — only two legislators voted against it.

In addition, lawmakers are inching closer to approving a bill aimed at fighting “credit creep” — a priority of Gov. Mitch Daniels. The bill would allow the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to review both new and existing degree programs requiring more than 60 credit hours for an associate’s degree and 120 hours for a bachelor’s degree. While there are obviously some programs that require more extensive study, in numerous cases there has been little justification for why some degrees require higher credit hours. As state financial aid dollars are only available for the amount of time typically needed to earn 120 credit hours, students are often put in a bind.

To keep Indiana attractive to businesses, and therefore fight the dreaded brain drain of students leaving the state after graduation, we should be doing everything we can to make it simpler for Hoosier students to graduate with meaningful degrees and do so on time.

Related Stories:
• College credit transfer bill awaits governor's signature
• EDITORIAL: Transferring credits, lessening debt
• Legislation would streamline Indiana college credit transfer process
• Indiana colleges respond to calls to trim tuition
• EDITORIAL: Stopping credit creep at Hoosier colleges

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


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