In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation that would enact a recommendation by the State Board of Education to make the Master Plan for Higher Education more relevant toward its purpose of providing guidance on postsecondary education issues to the Governor, the General Assembly, and all the institutions of higher education.
The legislation that authorizes the Master Plan for Higher Education was written in 1963, when the Commonwealth faced a rapid increase in the demand for postsecondary education. In response, the Commonwealth expanded the mission and the role of its state colleges, established community colleges and expanded its network of state-related university. The original purpose of the Master Plan was to bring some sense of order and stability to the rapidly expanding system of higher education.
The Commonwealth’s system of higher education is now relatively stable where the roles of each sector of higher education are more clearly defined and the focus of state policy is no longer expanding access to postsecondary education but rather how can state policy maximize its return on its investment while maintaining accessibility to all its citizens who can benefit from such opportunities.
The State Board no longer believes that the current Master Plan for Higher Education can adequately address the current issues and needs of postsecondary education.
This legislation would require the State Board to develop every five years a Master Plan for Higher Education that would:
- Describe the current higher education landscape in the Commonwealth;
- Identify unmet needs and gaps with regard to career fields, geographic and financial access;
- Identify emerging higher education issues and recommend strategies and options designed to address the issues;
- Identify gaps and opportunities for collaboration with basic education, workforce development programs, economic development and other related systems; and,
- Outline a plan for action by the State Board to revise/update its higher education regulations.
Last session, this was HB111. Previous Co-Sponsors included - Bishop, Caltagirone, Carroll, D. Costa, P. Daley, Fabrizio, Frankel, Gibbons, Hanna, Harkins, Kortz, Longietti, Maloney, O'Brien, O'Neill, Parker, Readshaw, Santarsiero, Schlossberg, Thomas, Truitt, Watson, Youngblood