Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, president of Nicholls State University, issued the following statement today in response to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s higher education policy announcement:
“I am delighted with the tone and specifics of Gov. Jindal’s speech on higher education. While the devil is always in the details, especially when an election cycle looms ahead in November 2011, the legislative agenda as presented reflects a real leadership stance.
“While not speaking to every issue, I like funding higher education by role, scope and mission. Currently we fund and reward based on universities growing toward research status. Two- and four-year colleges and universities should be funded and rewarded by their service roles, the success of their partnerships and their performance in serving students.
“Regarding the funding of higher education, it is well time that we balance the requirement of greater efficiency and productivity with operating autonomy. We need greater purchasing autonomy and freedom from state bureaucratic practices.
“I am pleased to see emphasis on charging for credit hours taken and moving against students enrolling in courses that they never intend to complete. Nothing in life is free, and students need to know there is a cost to not taking their studies seriously.
“Finally, focusing on student performance, through enhancements to the GRAD Act of 2010, is most attractive. Rewarding early steps to increase admissions standards deserves attention. Hopefully, Nicholls will be recognized for already raising admissions standards for fall 2010; one full year ahead of state established requirements.
“All in all, the governor’s proposed legislative agenda is a great next step. However, the results of the legislative session and the effort of the administration to fully implement its agenda will be the ‘proof in the pudding!’ Hopefully, politics will not get in the way of recognizing the true value that Louisiana’s two- and four-year colleges and universities represent. They are a true treasure and warrant state support!”