2004-06-25 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Dr. Geraldine ChapeyDr. Geraldine Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Let’s Refuel Our Economic Engine

Education is a driving force in the economy of our city and state. Therefore it is a hot topic in the media, on talk shows, in legislative sessions and at community meetings and forums.

There are two higher education issues which need our attention: the Statewide Master Plan for Higher Education 2004-2012 and the Reauthorization of the Federal Higher Education Act, 2004.

Every eight years, the Board of Regents in collaboration with the Higher Education Community and the Commissioners Advisory Council on Higher Education adopts a Statewide Plan for Higher Education. This provides a vision with specific goals and sets the priorities and limitations for higher education. It is crafted to meet the rising demands for a highly skilled workforce and an informed citizenry in an ever changing and increasingly competitive global technological environment. When it is complete it will serve as a unifying force to bring together all components of the higher education community in New York State.

Over the past two years each of the four segments of Higher Education have been renewed and invigorated by the challenge of adopting a new Master Plan. This opportunity allows them to revisit their current offerings and evaluate their relevance at this point in time. It also provides an opportunity to discuss emerging issues as we look to our future needs. The four segments of higher education include: the State University of New York, the City University of New York, the Independent Colleges of New York and the Proprietary Colleges of New York.

The issues that need to be addressed are: (1) what services should Higher Education provide? (2) how should these services be delivered? (3) how should the education of professionals – doctors, dentists, engineers, attorneys, accountants, journalists, and business executives - be changed? (4) how does technology impact our student achieve-ment at all levels? In addition there are important issues which need discussion such as distance learning, off campus instruction, shortage areas (nurses, pharmacists, teachers), life long learning facilities, faculty, library and research capacity.

Now is the time to get involved. During this summer all four segments of higher education will register their Master Plan. In the Fall, the Regents will issue a comprehensive tentative Statewide Master Plan for Higher Education 2004-2012.

Hearings on the Plan will be conducted. Make your concerns known. Write to Bryan Connell, Director of the Statewide Plan for Higher Education in New York State, State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York 12234. Every letter will be noted.

Since education is a major force in determining our future, all taxpayers, professional educators, parents and community residents should voice their opinions.

The Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act 2004 will be reviewed in the Fall. It was initiated in 1965 to ensure that every academically qualified American would have financial access to college. However, the value of these grants has diminished.

According to the College Board Report the average private sector graduate completes his/ her degree owing approximately $20,000.

The graduate of a public school owes about $16,000.

Graduates of professional schools are in debt for over $35,000.

With the cost of college skyrocketing and student aid remaining stagnant we need to address the fiscal issues. It is important to find fiscally feasible options to the escalating costs.

Contact your Congressman and United States Senators to give them your ideas for reform in financial aid.

Everyone supports Abraham Maslow’s philosophy to encourage each individual to achieve to their maximum potential. Therefore we must provide reasonable access to higher education.

 This article was written in collaboration with Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey.

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