Missouris Board of Higher Education Tackles Student Challenges

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COLUMBIA - Missouri's Coordinating Board for Higher Education met Thursday at the 3rd annual Governing Board Forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities in higher education for the future.

The conference brings local governing board members together to discuss topics of mutual interest such as affordable tuition, removing barriers to college completion, and meeting the region's workforce needs with college graduates.

Secretary for the Coordinating Board for Higher Education Brian Fogle said these challenges can be met, while keeping budgets intact, and dollars in the students pockets.

"Public funding, as a percent of total budgets, has declined dramatically in the last 20-30 years. Universities and colleges are always looking at ways, how can we enhance revenues, enhance the student experience, and do it more cost-effectively," Fogle said. 

Another major issue of the conference was degree completion.

"We have a big goal in the state, we will 60 percent degree attainment, both either in certificates, or 2 year or 4 year degree by 2025. Right now, we are at 38 percent, so we still have a long way to go to get there," Fogle said. 

The Missouri Department of Higher Education serves more than 408,000 students through 13 public four-year universities, 19 public two-year colleges, one public two-year technical college, 25 independent colleges and universities and 150 proprietary and private career schools.

Editor's note: The title of Brian Fogle has been changed from Commissioner to Secretary for the Board.