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Five-Year Plan Targets Minority-Serving Colleges

Five-Year Plan Targets Minority-Serving Colleges
By Charles Dervarics

A five-year management plan adopted by the U.S. Department of Education calls for strengthening Black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges.

As one of several objectives in higher education, the Strategic Plan 2002-2007 seeks improvements for minority-serving institutions, calling them essential in “closing the gap between low-income and minority students and their high-income, non-minority peers” and increasing college opportunity.

As part of the plan, the Education Department said it will improve efforts to help minority-serving institutions in areas such as long-term financial planning, technology, evaluation of effectiveness and technical assistance. These colleges also should work more closely on K-12 improvements, including the new No Child Left Behind Act. In areas such as teacher preparation and professional development, minority-serving colleges can support national efforts and K-12 excellence.

The Bush administration will measure HBCU, HSI and tribal college progress in a variety of ways, with an annual collection of financial and college data. For example, long-range goals call for 99 percent of all minority-serving colleges to have a “positive fiscal balance.” In 1999, however, which is considered the “baseline” year, only 69 percent of colleges had such balance.

Plans call for gradual increases to 79 percent next year, with gains of 5 percentage points each year through 2007.

The Education Department also will evaluate progress of minority-serving colleges toward increased technology capacity, including wireless systems, high-speed Internet connections and a commitment to distance learning.

Outside HBCUs, other higher education objectives for the administration include greater college access for underserved populations and better accountability of colleges and universities.

The new strategic plan will increase reporting requirements for many colleges, particularly minority-serving institutions. In part due to the strategic plan, the Education Department is rolling out a new performance reporting system for colleges participating in the Title III HBCU and Title V HSI programs. The reporting system is the subject of a series of two-day regional meetings that will last through November.

For more information about the Strategic Plan, visit the Web site at .

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