Higher Education Coordinating Council

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Higher Education Coordinating Council Releases Recommendations

~Brings together all higher education providers to promote consistent education policy~

TALLAHASSEE—Co Chairs Jon C. Moyle and Marshall M. Criser, III announced today that the Higher Education Coordinating Council (HECC) has submitted its final report that gives recommendations to the Florida Legislature, the State Board of Education, the Board of Governors of the State University System and the Governor on the future direction of higher education in Florida.

Legislation passed in 2010 created the Council. As a body comprised of the heads of Florida’s key postsecondary education delivery sectors, and co-chaired by representatives of the business community, the Higher Education Coordinating Council is a unique, first-of-its-kind creation with the potential to have an effect on educational policy, by redefining the landscape of and interaction between higher education sectors in Florida.

The Council has focused its efforts on exploring ways to achieve a more seamless Pre-K-20 educational system, to promote consistent education policy and articulation processes across all educational systems, to maximize access to a high quality education to all Floridians, and to improve accountability measures across all delivery systems.

In 2011, the Legislature implemented a requirement that the Council submit a report no later than December 31, 2011 outlining its recommendations and specifically include recommendations for consideration by the Legislature during the 2012 session.

The Council has conducted more than a dozen meetings, all webcast and open to the public. Representatives from business and industry were invited to attend and participate in discussions, and presenters have included the Council of 100, The Associated Industries of Florida and The Florida Chamber. In addition, the Council developed a web site that features recordings of past meetings, a meeting schedule, meeting notices and information regarding the ongoing work of the Council.

In July 2011, the Council sought input relative to higher education issues by launching a survey to seek input from education stakeholders including local school districts, education associations, postsecondary schools, Florida colleges, state universities, and independent colleges and universities.

Among the recommendations submitted:

  • The institutions of the State University System need to identify their primary areas of research expertise based on the unique strengths and missions of its individual institutions.
  • The HECC should receive an annual list of prospective programs that are being planned by postsecondary education sectors to increase coordination. The offerings will be guided by comparative cost analyses and employment demand.
  • The educational sectors should be charged with setting goals for increased degree completion, with a particular emphasis on STEM degree production. Incentives should be provided to encourage STEM education.
  • The Legislature should create authority for state colleges and universities to establish and have oversight of their own charter schools preK through 12.
  • The Legislature should align financial aid and grant programs to encourage and accelerate access, graduation, and time-to-degree. The grants should be available for summer sessions.
  • A new funding formula for the State University System and the Florida College System needs to be examined based on performance-based accountability.

The Council also created a single, accessible inventory of all postsecondary programs statewide called FloridaTalentNet. This electronic inventory will be useful for economic development and industry recruitment, among other uses.

The Council will continue its work and will meet again in 2012.

To view the complete report, please see: www.floridahighereducation.org

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