Call to Order and Roll Call
Thefourth meeting of the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, November 8, 2010, at 10:00 AM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Leslie Combs, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Legislative Guest: Representative Arnold Simpson
Guests: Clyde Caudill, Kentucky Association of School Administrators and Jefferson County Public Schools.
Approval of Minutes
††††††††††† The minutes of the September 13, 2010, meeting, were not approved because of a lack of a quorum.
Inclusion of Students with Intellectual Disabilities in Postsecondary Education, University of Kentucky
Mr. Harold Kleinert, Ed.D., Director, Human Development Institute, said the two postsecondary inclusion grants provide tremendous opportunities for students with disabilities who have never been included in higher education. The project also represents a strong national movement in terms of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act amendments of 2008.
Mr. Jeff Bradford, M.S.W., Postsecondary Inclusion Partnership (PIP), said PIPís goal was to support up to 40 students with intellectual disabilities in a postsecondary and inclusive setting. He said alliances have been formed with many institutions such as Fayette County Public Schools, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and many postsecondary institutions. He noted these partnerships were crucial to the success of the program because staff and money are limited. It is important to prove that students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities can excel at high levels if given the opportunity and the right supports.
Mr. Bradford said PIP is funded by the Kentucky Council on Developmental Disabilities, and administered by the University of Kentucky (UKís) Human Development Institute. He noted the new Supported Higher Education Project (SHEP) is funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education. The grant award is for $2.2 million dollars over a period of five years, and will have a statewide focus.
Mr. Bradford said PIP has met its student goals for the first three years. He said many intellectually disabled students can benefit from the college experience, even if they do not graduate. National data from a program in Canada indicated 85 percent more intellectually disabled students obtained a career job after receiving some form of higher education.
Mr. Bradford said PIP uses a process called person-centered planning. He does not believe that there is one program that fits all people with disabilities. There are a variety of educational plans available including: standard degree option, specialized degree option, certificate option, and audit option. Each educational plan includes customized supports such as: individual tutoring, organization and planning, social networking assistance, experiential learning and internships, and assistive technology supports.
Mr. Bradford said evaluation is based on a variety of methods. Ultimately, the goal of the program is for students to obtain employment in a career of their choice. The program also tracks the courses taken and completed, grade point average (for graded courses), work internships completed, college activities joined, and studentsí own perceptions of how they have gained from the postsecondary experience.
Mr. Bradford said students also participate in a self-evaluation. Using a four point Likert scale, new PIP students respond to a brief survey designed to measure satisfaction across learning, self-efficacy, and social domains. He said the surveys will be re-administered annually to assist in evaluating outcomes.
Mr. Bradford said journey mapping is used as a qualitative evaluation tool which uses creative strategies and personal reports from students to capture the data and their feelings from the social service programs. He said six participants in the PIP program will record their impressions through video, internet journaling, and other formats of their choosing to offer a comprehensive view of their individual experiences. Data will be collected three times each semester, and will focus on three areas: academic, social, and personal growth. A combination of closed and open-ended questions will be used to prompt responses in interviews lasting thirty minutes each. He noted in addition to offering a broad analysis of outcomes, journey mapping techniques will allow PIP staff to make immediate adjustments to methods and services offered, based on participant needs. He said student stories can be just as compelling as data.
Dr. Beth Harrison, Ph.D., SHEP, said Kentucky was one of the recipients of a $2.2 million federal grant that twenty five other states also received. She is hoping to work with the partnerships already established in the pilot project and expand the program statewide. She said a major goal of the new grant is to work with institutes of higher education to help them gain recognition as an institute that provides a transition program for students with intellectual disabilities. She noted students would achieve a specialized certificate after a program is completed.
Dr. Harrison said SHEP will support 150 students in inclusive higher education settings using person-centered planning and student-centered teams. She said SHEP will implement individualized certificates and meaningful academic recognition that promotes improved educational and employment outcomes. SHEP will also work to create viable funding streams to sustain project efforts beyond the project funding.
Dr. Harrison said college is more than just class work. Students will be true participants in campus life, and will meaningfully engage in the college culture, ranging from living in a dorm to taking part in study groups, rallies, and student clubs. Whenever possible, natural support through peer mentors and classroom accommodations will be used, changing the college culture to one of inclusiveness where diversity is valued.
The committee heard from Ms. Megan McCormick, who is a successful and active student in the program. Megan was diagnosed with Down syndrome at two weeks old and is a star in the program who is seeking a masterís degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.
Representative Farmer commented that he had known Megan and followed her educational pathway for many years. He was impressed at Meganís progress and is in support of continuing and expanding the program.
Mr. Kleinert said higher education is offering students with intellectual disabilities meaningful careers and the chance to be contributing members of society. He said the Higher Education Act of 2008 was intricate in universities and community colleges nationally applying to administer these types of programs. With the Act, intellectually disabled students became eligible for work studies and federal Pell grants, and this helps society as a whole.
Representative Combs said the potential is there for students with intellectual disabilities to perform and succeed. She noted that Megan has a strong support system in her family and said all students may not have that. She hopes the General Assembly will consider action to promote program support for intellectually disabled students who do not have family support at home.
In response to questions from Senator Kerr, Megan said she selected the Occupational Therapy Assistant degree because one of her friends and mentors had chosen that career. She said the hands-on internship was invaluable to her learning experience.
Senator Winters said he was proud and impressed with Megan. He would like for Megan and the project leaders to keep the committee updated on her achievements when she obtains a job.
In response to questions from Senator Winters, Mr. Kleinert said immediate plans for expansion include UK, Western Kentucky University (WKU), and the Kentucky Community Technical and College System (KCTCS). He said there are several factors to consider in selecting the additional 150 students. The studentsí goals will be a factor and if postsecondary education will help to meet the goal. He said some students benefit from the college experience, while others do better transitioning from a high school program to work.
Mr. Kleinart said the program hopes to add two to three sites per year over the five years. He said mechanisms need to be developed, in conjunction with vocational rehabilitation, to ensure the infrastructure of the program is maintained after the five year grant period is over.
Mr. Kleinart said they are working on an electronic web-based book of success stories. He assured Senator Winters that success stories, such as Meganís, would be shared with all school districts across the state.
Dr. Malkanthie McCormick, M.D., Parent/Advocate said students with intellectual disabilities do not often take a full course load in college. She would like the General Assembly to study the issue of students losing their Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) funds if they cannot complete a regular class schedule. Research shows that intellectually disabled students perform better taking two courses a semester. She feels they should not lose their KEES money for this reason.
Representative Riner said Kentucky taxpayers are getting a bargain for this program. He noted the only other school to offer something similar, is Landmark College in Vermont, and the tuition is more there than to attend Harvard.
Status Report On Independent Colleges and Universities
Dr. Gary Cox, President, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AIKCU), said House Bill 1 (enacted in Regular Session 1997) and Senate Bill 1 (enacted in Regular Session 2010) has given the opportunity for independent colleges to be significant participants in postsecondary education. He said AIKCU is the tenth component of Kentuckyís postsecondary education system. There are 20 independent, nonprofit colleges and universities, all which are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). He noted AIKCU schools meet the same rigorous quality standards as Kentuckyís public colleges and universities.
Dr. Cox said AIKCU schools are composed of 33,000 students. He said 75 percent are Kentucky residents. They provide critical choices and access to postsecondary success. He said 70 percent of AIKCU students who graduate do so in four years.
Dr. Cox said AIKCU universities are very diverse. There is a mix of traditional campuses, extended sites, KCTCS and business partnerships, and distance learning. He said admissions standards range from open admissions to highly selective. He noted 23 percent are adult students, with about ten percent of students being minorities. Forty percent of undergraduates receive federal Pell grants.
Dr. Cox said AIKCU universities enroll twenty percent of KCTCS transfers. AIKCU produces one-fourth of new public school teachers annually. One-third of teachers have at least one credential from an AIKCU institution. He said AIKCU universities produce 20 percent of Kentucky bachelorís degrees in nursing and 20 percent of all Kentucky Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) science and math bachelorís degrees. They do not offer the engineering program.
Dr. Cox said enrollment has increased at AIKCU universities from 2000 through 2010. There has been a 39 percent increase in total annual degrees. He said AIKCU promotes timely degree completion. He said about 40 percent of AIKCU students graduate in four years. He said students are called who are not attending class to solve any problems that may be prohibiting them from being in class.
Dr. Cox said AIKCU is very cost effective. He said their tuitions on average are 35 percent less than private colleges across the country, and 25 percent less than the southern average. He noted student financial aid is important to AIKCU students. The College Access Program (CAP) and federal Pell grants are critically underfunded. He said the institutions provide $160 million in financial aid to students. The average loan debt of students is generally less for Kentucky private college students. Kentuckyís investment in AIKCU students is less than five percent of total postsecondary spending.
Dr. Cox said AIKCU institutions are good stewards of their resources. He said institutions do not have any long term debt, except in extreme circumstances. He commended the university presidents and their ability to be tremendous fundraisers. He said the recent investments of $300 million in new facilities had no Commonwealth funds invested. AIKCU institutions depend largely on the strengths of their Presidents to be successful. He said faculty is very involved in the implementation of Senate Bill 1.
In response to questions from Representative Simpson, Dr. Cox said transfers from KCTCS into AIKCU have not been previously counted in the completion rate. This is currently being changed in the data collection system. Dr. Cox noted that AIKCU participates in the state data system, which is very unusual for private colleges. He said AIKCU is striving for higher graduation rates.
Dr. Cox does not know the percentage of students who require remediation in the private colleges, but will try to find out. He noted remediation is a significant problem in private institutions as with public universities. He said remediation is expensive to the institution as well as the student.
Dr. Cox said AIKCU institutions are at capacity, but growing. He said for-profit institutions are impacting enrollments, particularly the institutions that are not SACS accredited. He said AIKCU needs to do more to reach out to adults.
In response to a question from Representative Riner, Dr. Cox said some of the private institutions partner to offer Reserve Office Training Corps (ROTC) credit. He said the University of Cumberlands is in partnership with Eastern Kentucky University and several Centre students are involved with the University of Kentucky.
Senator Winters said military science is offered and Campbellsville University has applied for a freestanding program from the Department for Defense. He said the only alternative is for private colleges to partner with established institutions until the Department for Defense rules favorably on establishing new programs. He also commented that most students attend private colleges based on proximity to their homes and therefore the ACT scores of these students are not much different than a nearby public school.
In response to a question from Senator Winters, Ms. Jo Carole Ellis, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, said the CAP money runs out in March every year and KTG funds were depleted in April. There is more demand for financial aid than money available.
Representative Richards said he attended Kentucky Wesleyan College because the school was affiliated with his church. He said the private colleges are entrepreneurial and market themselves nicely. They fill niches and serve a great need in the Commonwealth.
In response to questions from Representative Simpson, Dr. Cox said the accreditation process for the Southern region (SAKS) is the toughest of the six regional accreditation associations. He noted many for-profit schools are nationally accredited, and do not have to meet the same standards as the regional accreditor. He feels there is little oversight for proprietary schools. Dr. Cox said some states require the same level of accreditation for an out-of-state institution as they do the in-state institutions. He said proprietary schools have access to more resources because they are for-profit. He said private colleges struggle with marketing campaigns.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 11:45 AM.