STRATEGIC INITIATIVE SUMMIT: STATE NEEDS MORE BACCALAUREATE GRADS
2/15/2008 - Jackson, Miss.
On Wednesday, February 13, approximately 300 university representatives, community and business leaders, IHL Board members, and executive office staff gathered at Jackson's TelCom Center for a Strategic Initiative Summit focused on increasing the number Baccalaureate graduates of even higher quality in the state.
Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust, led the morning session with a discussion of the serious national need for improved quality in higher education for all students and expanded opportunities for minority and low-income students.
State Economist and IHL Assistant Commissioner for Planning and Research Dr. Phil Pepper then provided a detailed analysis of how higher education benefits the state economically. For every state dollar invested in education, he explained, the state loses 29 cents on high school dropouts, gains 21 cents on high school graduates, gains 49 cents on citizens with some college education, and gains $1.13 on baccalaureate graduates. "The most effective economic development tool in the state of Mississippi is the education of its people," said Dr. Pepper.
IHL Assistant Commissioner for Community and Junior College Relations Dr. Reginald Sykes offered Summit participants a look at the "pool of potential," noting that universities in the state can improve the transfer rate by creating a culture of transfer, reducing barriers to transfer, and offering more need-based aid, among other things.
Mississippi Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Thomas C. Meredith delivered the luncheon keynote address, in which he outlined three shifts that have impacted higher education in recent years and challenged Summit participants to make sure that every university student is successful in completing their degree.