Coordinating Board for Higher Education Holds December Meeting

Joined by presidents and chancellors representing Missouri postsecondary institutions, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) recently convened its December meeting at the Rickman Center in Jefferson City.

Among a full agenda, the board adopted a policy to ensure a uniform approach to address disputes between higher education institutions. Senate Bill 389, which became law in August of this year, gives the Commissioner of Higher Education authority to resolve disputes between public institutions involving jurisdictional boundaries or the use of state resources. The policy, as approved by the board, sets forth the process for such dispute resolution. The process will be initiated only after reasonable informal attempts to resolve the dispute have failed, as determined by the CBHE.

A draft policy addressing the Higher Education Student Funding Act – another provision of SB 389 and often referred to as tuition stabilization – was also presented to the board. The policy outlines procedures by which the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) will address waiver requests for institutions that exceed certain statutory limits relating to tuition increases. After a brief period for review and comment, the draft policy will be brought before the board for final approval.

Work continues on implementation of all SB 389 provisions. A detailed status report of the items requiring action by the Missouri Department of Higher Education is regularly updated and made available on the MDHE Website.

The meeting also provided opportunity for the continued exchange of ideas for the board’s coordinated plan, which by statute requires the CBHE to identify higher education needs in the state. The developing plan is structured around three strategic challenges: 1) Barriers to access, 2) Preparing engaged citizens for a global workforce, and 3) Diversifying, increasing and maximizing resources. Following further work by the coordinated plan advisory committee, as well as a feedback and review process for presidents, chancellors, and the higher education community, the coordinated plan will appear again on the agenda for the board’s February, 2008 meeting. In addition, the plan will emphasize the importance of technology and innovation, performance of historical underrepresented populations, and effective use of data.

Representatives from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) also met with the CBHE to review the roles, responsibilities, and statutory relationship between the CBHE/MDHE and MOHELA. A report of market share was presented, as well as discussion surrounding the borrower benefits associated with MOHELA student loans utilizing the MDHE as the guaranty agency.

The meeting was the first for Doris Carter, who was recently appointed to the board by Governor Matt Blunt for a term to expire in June of 2012. She brings over 40 years of expertise in education to her position with the CBHE. Having first served the St. Louis Public Schools in the classroom for over two decades, she later became an elementary school administrator within the same district. Ms. Carter is a member of numerous civic and community service organizations. Her appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

The CBHE meets five times per year at locations throughout the state. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 7, 2008, at ITT Technical Institute of Earth City in St. Louis. Board books and official meeting minutes may be found on at http://www.dhe.mo.gov/cbheindex.html.