Some of the most informative meetings I sit on are the Higher Ed Appropriations meetings. Our chair, Sen. Steve Urquhart, has focused our attention so far this session on innovations in the field of higher ed. Presentations from national leaders in the field have been very interesting. Additionally, as we’ve turned our attention to some of the innovations the institutions in our state are involved in, it’s also been very gratifying to see how much they are on the right track.
Ten things I learned in Higher Ed today:
1. A $10 Million increase in budget would compensate for only 60% of the anticipated enrollment growth in the upcoming year.
2. Enrollment growth has not been funded since 2004.
3. The UCAT system enrolls almost 43,000 students: 9,411 secondary students and 32,081 post-secondary students.
4. UCAT boasts completion rates of 86%, licensure rates of 97%, and job placement rates at 75%. Impressive.
5. UVU is the 4th largest, open admissions, public, 4 year institution in the nation.
6. The enrollment at UVU in 2011 was 33,395 and by 2020 they anticipate enrollment of 46,000.
7. The state of Utah ranks 3rd in the nation in degrees awarded as per state expenditure.
8. Utah State has 385 courses available online and 380 courses offered through Interactive Video Conferencing.
9. Throughout the state the focus is on innovation, online learning, extending learning opportunities by maximizing summer, weekend, and evening courses, online textbooks, and building and reinforcing the unique and distinctive missions of each institution.
10. Even with all the innovations being explored and advanced, the traditional university is still indispensable.
11. (A bonus) We have some of the best institutions of higher education in the nation right here in our backyard.
I aso had the chance to join Sen. Weiler and Rep. Nielson as we ate lunch in the Capitol rotunda with some folks from our area who were here today for “Democracy Day on the Hill.” We had a great conversation and judging from their interest and passion for the issues I fully expect to see them continue their involvement.