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Homeland Security Tops List of Critical Higher Education Policy Issues

Homeland Security Tops List of Critical Higher Education Policy Issues


Homeland security and affirmative action are at the top of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges’ (AGB) list of 10 public-policy issues that higher education leaders will need to address in the next two years.

Published biennially, “Ten Public Policy Issues for Higher Education in 2003 and 2004” is distributed to AGB-member chief executives and governing board chairs, senior institutional officials, governors and their education aides, state and national officials responsible for setting higher education policy, and all members of Congress.

The list, compiled by national higher education and public policy experts, includes these issues:

• homeland security

• affirmative action

• deteriorating economic and

fiscal environment

• surging numbers of diverse


• rapid tuition increases

• reauthorization of the Higher

Education Act

• federal tax policy

• assessment and accountability

• scientific research

• intercollegiate athletics

“This is the seventh in AGB’s biennial series summarizing federal and state public-policy issues affecting higher education, and it arrives in the midst of what may be the most tumultuous times in our lives for the nation and the academy,” says AGB President Richard T. Ingram.

“Budget crunches, war in Iraq, homeland security demands, soaring enrollments — a near ‘perfect storm’ of challenges — demand new advocacy efforts from trustees.”

Ingram added that policy challenges of past decades were no less vexing or consequential than those identified by the current AGB effort. “What is different now is that the tax structures of our states are outdated and no longer meet the needs of our citizens. In one way or another, most of the issues cited in our paper are affected by uncertain fiscal policies, and the outcome of federal and state tax policy will directly affect the capacities of colleges and universities to sustain their public missions.”

According to Ingram, the appropriate response is greater advocacy by trustees and governing boards.

“Higher education needs more of it,” he says, “trustee by trustee, board by board and institution by institution. Trustee influence at the state and federal levels can be very powerful if it is coordinated and executed strategically.”

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges is a nonprofit higher education association whose primary membership consists of governing, coordinating, and other boards of public and private colleges and universities.

For more information visit the organization’s Web site at .

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