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Spare Colleges The Budget Axe


SUSIE GHARIB: Education budgets nationwide are being slashed. That means colleges face layoffs, program cuts and campus closings as they brace for reductions in state money. Tonight`s commentator thinks more emphasis needs to be put on students and learning. He`s Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation.

JAMIE MERISOTIS, PRES., & CEO, LUMINA FOUNDATION: The former CEO of Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) recently told Arizona that its education system isn`t up to the job. Craig Barrett says he`d recommend against building plants in the state because it needs more qualified high school and college graduates. For Arizona and any other state, it`s a sobering message. Without the right competencies and skills, people can`t earn the salaries they need.

So how do we know if the skills and competencies that students receive actually matter, in the workforce and in life? The answer lies in coming to agreement about what students should know and be able to do in order to earn an associates, bachelors or masters degree. This agreement can be achieved through broad adoption of a framework that actually describes these competencies, no matter what the field of study.

The first draft of such a framework has been developed by the Lumina Foundation and it`s called the degree qualifications profile. It uses established research to describe the knowledge and skills degree holders must possess and be able to apply in the real world. This degree profile is now being tested by professors, accrediting agencies and others. It`s a bridge between employers and higher education around the kinds of competencies that make people successful. We`re in a race to keep companies investing and building here at home. The degree profile can help show the way forward. I`m Jamie Merisotis.

Kate Snedeker

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