INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana has lost 25,000 students across all state universities over the past five years.
That’s according to the Fiscal Policy Interim Committee. However, some members are concerned after their annual meeting Tuesday that they didn’t come any closer to figuring out why fewer Hoosiers are going to college.
”The data just isn’t there that we asked for,” State Rep. Gregory W. Porter said.
According to Porter, the Commission of Higher Education’s transparency during Tuesday’s meeting was “disappointing.” He said he’s now calling on the commission to fix it.
”They have been missing in action when it comes to looking at the numbers that we need when it comes to workforce development.” State Rep. Porter said.
Although eight public universities submitted a written report with requested data ahead of the meeting, Porter said Ivy Tech was the only one to give a presentation.
”So everyone else was silent,” Porter said.
”The thing was a mess,” State Rep. Ed DeLaney said. “This committee meeting was ineffectual.”
Delaney said universities were given roughly a month to curate the data requested, and that part of the problem is due to a staffing shortage at the statehouse.
”I don’t want the universities picked on, they were given a pretty harsh demand with very little time, and no prior consistency between them, so they reported in different ways, it couldn’t all be meshed together, and we all suffered the consequences,” Rep. DeLaney said.
”A lot more questions than answers, and that’s okay—it’s gonna be a long-term process,” State Rep. Jeff Thompson, the Ways and Means Committee Chairman, said.
Thompson said universities were not required to present and that the committee will work over the next year before finalizing its recommendations to boost student enrollment to the General Assembly.
”As we’ve learned now, probably additional time would probably be good, and so obviously, we’re going to take some time, and clarify the data, and work on it, and work with the Higher Ed commission, make it all work,” Rep. Thompson said.