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National Advisory Council on Postsecondary Education Access

CSG Takes Lead Role In Push for College Readiness

James Applegate (left), senior vice-president for program development for the Lumina Foundation, discussed strategies to improve postsecondary education access as Kris Larson, supervisor for the Alternative Education/Safety Nets program at Duval County Public Schools in Florida listened.
The Council of State Governments (CSG) has launched a national campaign to increase the number of high school students who are academically prepared for college after graduation. The National Advisory Council on Postsecondary Education Access held its inaugural meeting in Stuart, Fla., Sept 23-25, 2009, with work anticipated to continue through 2010.
The advisory council is comprised of senior staff from some of the nation’s most highly respected educational organizations. Its mission is to assist CSG in creating a series of policy solutions manuals to educate state legislators and executive branch officials about the benefits of providing a seamless transition from high school to postsecondary education through a variety of rigorous curricular programs and to advance policies necessary for implementation.  Additionally, policymakers will be informed of how state policy can provide a pathway to support students, including those who are at risk of or have become high school dropouts. 
“We believe that every student who has the ability and desire to enroll in college should have the opportunity to do so,” said Pam Goins, director of education policy at CSG. “However, our educational leaders are in agreement that far too many students are graduating from high school unprepared for postsecondary education.”  Goins points out that more than 40 percent of students entering community colleges and 20 percent of students enrolled at four-year universities are required to take at least one remedial course.
Educational experts predict that over the next 15 years the U.S. will face a severe shortage in the number of workers with bachelor's degrees or higher. By some estimates, the U.S. faces a degree deficit of more than 15 million by 2025.  Some of the top education philanthropic organizations have made postsecondary success a top priority. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has set an ambitious goal of 80 percent of high school students graduate college-ready, with a focus on low-income and minority young people. Similarly, the Lumina Foundation has set a goal to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025
“CSG believes that state policymakers must be part of the solution to improving access to and success in postsecondary education, and the first step to increase access must be to improve the readiness level of high school graduates,” Goins said.

The Advisory Council is expected to consider numerous policy and programmatic strategies, including increased academic rigor through greater access to Advanced Placement and dual credit courses, International Baccalaureate programs, improved teacher education and professional development, and the creation of seamless transitions from high school to college through P-16/20 councils and other innovative governance models. The Advisory Council’s recommendations will be disseminated to state policymakers through a series of policy guides and at regional and state policy summits.

Members of the advisory council include :
The National Advisory Council on Postsecondary Education Access is funded through a grant from the 21st Century Foundation with additional support from the National Education Association and Darden Restaurants.