N.Y. Regents Decry Erosion of Public, Private Colleges
A commission appointed by the New York State Board of Regents warned last week of a "developing crisis'' in the state's public and private higher-education systems.
The Regents Commission on Higher Education cited cuts in state funding, tuition hikes, program cuts, and deteriorating facilities in a report that calls for a complete overhaul of the system.
"Higher education is a unique form of renewable energy that powers the knowledge-based industries that are New York's best promise for the future,'' the report states. "In recent years, however ... there has been a progressive erosion of support for higher education and a corresponding deterioration in quality.''
The board of regents established the 18-member panel of education, civic, and business leaders in 1992.
'A Learning Community'
Its report, "Sharing the Challenge,'' makes 35 recommendations, including:
- Making the cost-effectiveness of current and proposed programs a top priority for both public and private institutions.
- Requiring all institutions to develop mission statements and related long-range plans.
- Making better use of resources through collaboration among institutions.
- Improving access by increasing funding for the state's Aid for Part-Time Students program, so that as many eligible students as possible receive the $2,000 awards, and restoring the maximum award under the Tuition Assistance Program to 1990-91 levels.
- Establishing a merit-scholarship program to encourage students in the top 5 percent of New York's high school graduating classes to attend college within the state.
- Bringing together key players to establish joint long-range goals.
- Insuring that all computer networks at educational and cultural institutions are interconnected.
Ultimately, the report notes, the commission "envisions a time when the state's entire system will collectively become a 'virtual university' composed of individual institutions each with its own mission but participating fully in a statewide learning community without boundaries in space or time.''
Although the panel maintains that "higher education has an important role to play in the reform of [K-12] schools,'' it did not issue any specific proposals, other than recommending that higher-education institutions work with schools to increase the number of minority-group members who attend college.
Copies of the report are free from Executive Deputy Commissioner
Thomas E. Sheldon, New York State Education Department, Room 125,
Albany, N.Y. 12234; (518) 474-5836.