Higher ed task force gets back to work Friday

The state’s higher education task force will reconvene Friday — for the first time since the end of the 2017 legislative session.

The committee will meet beginning at 9 a.m. Friday at the Stueckle Center at Boise State University’s Albertsons Stadium. Live streaming of the meeting will be available at this link.

Joined by State Board of Education member Linda Clark, Gov. Butch Otter announced his higher education task force days before the 2017 legislative session.

Announced in January by Gov. Butch Otter — and modeled after his 2013 task force on public education — the higher education group is charged with finding ways to improve Idaho’s stagnant college attendance and graduation rates.

Since 2010, political, education and business leaders have touted Idaho’s “60 percent goal;” they want 60 percent of the state’s 25- to 34-year-olds to hold a postsecondary degree or certificate by the year 2020.

But Idaho’s languid college attendance numbers have rendered the 60 percent goal all but unattainable, at least by the 2020 target date. Only 46 percent of the state’s high school class of 2015 enrolled in college within 12 months of high school graduation, down from 52 percent in 2014.

The 36-member task force includes all eight members of the State Board of Education, the presidents of the state’s two- and four-year colleges, six legislators and two student representatives.

On Friday, the entire group will hear presentations from various subcommittees looking at pieces of the higher education puzzle — such as access and affordability and the state’s education funding formula. The group will also hear a presentation from Teresa Lubbers, a member of Indiana’s Commission for Higher Education.

Like what you’re reading? Sign up for our weekly newsletter »

The committee met twice during the 2017 legislative session, but made no recommendations to lawmakers.

In addition to Friday’s meeting, the task force is slated to meet in August and September.

Check in Friday for coverage from the task force meeting.