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From Access to Success: Closing the College Achievement Gap

To examine the role that New York State public and private colleges play in student retention, academic achievement and degree completion.

December 14, 2010
10:30 A.M.
Hamilton Hearing Room B, 2nd Floor
Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York

The United States, once the world leader in the percentage of college graduates in the workforce, now ranks twelfth in degree attainment among 25 to 35 year-olds behind Australia, the Russian Federation and South Korea. In a global economy where specialized knowledge and increased skills are required, higher education is not just a desirable goal, it is an economic necessity. Increasing the number of college graduates is a critical element in the effort to expand our economy, create businesses and attract good paying jobs on both a state and national level.

New York State public and private colleges need to be in the forefront of the effort to increase the number of college graduates. The role colleges play in the advisement of students, offering of support services and academic intervention often makes the difference in the academic success of a student. First year college students are particularly vulnerable as they make the critical transition from high school to higher education. The October 2010 American Institutes for Research report found that, from 2003-2008, New York State spent $403 million through appropriations and grants on students who dropped out before their second year of college, a significant financial and human capital loss at a time when New York State can least afford either.

There are existing programs that have proven to be successful in helping at-risk students thrive in the postsecondary academic environment. The Legislature has demonstrated a commitment to helping educationally and economically disadvantaged students not only enroll in college but also obtain their degree with the creation of access programs. In addition to programs and services, it is important to identify how the collection of student data can help assist New York State colleges in tracking student performance and identifying at-risk students earlier. Chapter 100 of the Laws of 2010 authorized a $20.4 million capital expenditure for the establishment of a P-20 longitudinal data system by the State Education Department. The Committee is seeking testimony on what colleges are currently doing in the effort to increase completion rates in New York State, identifying what programs and services are most effective and what needs to be done moving forward.

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation. Fifteen copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Legislature, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Legislative facilities and activities.

Hon. Deborah J. Glick
New York State Assembly Committee on Higher Education


Persons invited to present testimony at the public hearing From Access to Success: Closing the College Achievement Gap under the jurisdiction of the Assembly Higher Education Committee are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and e-mail, mail, or fax it to:

Nathaniel Jenkins
Principal Committee Assistant
Assembly Committee on Higher Education
Alfred E. Smith Building, Suite 1147
Albany, New York 12248
E-mail: jenkinsn@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4881
Fax: (518) 455-4128
I plan to attend the following public hearing examining college achievement.
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