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Campuses prepare to enact GRAD Act

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By Mike Hasten

BATON ROUGE — The Board of Regents today is expected to sign off on Louisiana’s college and university campuses’ plans to improve graduation and retention rates in exchange for higher tuition and increased autonomy in their operations.

The idea comes from the Granting Resources and Autonomy for Diplomas Act approved by the Legislature this year, a move to reward campuses with higher tuition revenues if they work to keep students enrolled long enough to complete degree or certificate programs.

“Students should hopefully see increased focus on their success” by placing more attention to retaining students, said Regents’ Chief of Staff Kim Hunter Reed.

But the GRAD Act also calls for a number of other improvements, like improving relations among university campuses and high schools and community colleges to assure a good base and keeping records of what happens to students when they leave the schools.

All universities and community and technical colleges filed applications to participate in the GRAD Act this year, so students were assessed 5 percent extra in tuition, on top of legislatively approved increases of 3 percent to 5 percent, depending on how close a campus’ tuition is to peer institutions in the South,

Because the plans were not yet approved, the GRAD Act tuition money was put into escrow accounts. Today’s board action clears the way for schools to receive the additional 5 percent tuition increase.

If campuses meet their self-imposed and management board- and Regents-approved goals, they can impose another 5 percent next year and 10 percent increases in succeeding years.

After six years, GRAD Act plans and success rates have to be reviewed and affirmed by an outside panel for continued tuition increases.

A campus that doesn’t meet its goals can’t lower them without legislative approval.

Written by demon53

October 27, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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