by Kyle Pffanenstiel
Idaho Public Radio State Capitol Bureau
UI McClure Center
Co-chairs of Gov. Otter’s higher education task force presented recommendations for reform at the House Education Committee Wednesday.
The 12 recommendations include calls for a centralized digital delivery system of classes, expanding online courses at public colleges and improving degree completion by offering moving towards “work-based learning.”
(Photo by Kyle Pffanenstiel)
President of the State Board of Education, Linda Clark, said the recommendations are centered around improving access and affordability to education. She said the committee wants to “look at places where we have kinks and bends,” improve inefficiencies and reinvest the savings into academic programs to increase accessibility.
One way a state-wide digital delivery system could be delivered is through using libraries as education portals, with tutors and people to assist students. These portals would allow students to receive help for classes they earn through an online regents university, but Clark said the plans have not been finalized.
“By increasing direct contact and advising, and increasing access for students, students will be on a better path towards completion,” she said.
The taskforce was created to examine how Idaho could better reach its goal of a 60-percent higher education go-on rate for Idahoans after the state struggled to meet the goal for years. The go-on currently sits at 42 percent, which the task force’s co-chairs believe is caused by issues with affordability and delivery systems.
Most of the cost of going to a traditional college goes to living expenses relating to relocating, President of Idaho Business for Education Bob Lokken, who co-chaired the task force, said to the committee.
“That works for 42 percent of our population. It does not work for the rest,” he said.
He said the recommendations are aimed at providing more flexibility and choice to students in how they receive their education.
“To get to 60 percent, we need to add another 46,000 – roughly two more Boise States… If we got everybody to show up, we couldn’t afford it. The taskforce looked into that and said we had an affordability problem,” Lokken said.
Posted January 17, 2018