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April 28, 2016

New plan aims to strengthen Missouri’s higher education system
Blueprint for Higher Education focuses on five goals

Increasing educational attainment in Missouri and strengthening the state’s higher education system is the focus of a new plan released this week by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Preparing Missourians to Succeed: A Blueprint for Higher Education will guide the work of the board and the Missouri Department of Higher Education for the next five years.

The board is responsible for developing a coordinated plan for higher education in Missouri. A 36-member steering committee assisted the board and the department with the development of the plan. The last plan was adopted in 2008.

“More Missourians than ever before have a college degree or certificate, but we must continue our efforts to increase higher education attainment in our state,” said Brian Fogle, chair of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. “Students who complete a postsecondary education program benefit from more employment opportunities, increased earning power and a greater connection to their community.”

Currently, about 50.6 percent of working-age adults in the state have a two- or four-year degree or professional certificate. By 2018, approximately 60 percent of the jobs in Missouri will require a postsecondary credential.

The new coordinated plan includes five goals:

  • Attainment: Missouri will increase the proportion of working-age adults with high-quality, affordable postsecondary credentials to 60 percent by 2025.
  • Affordability: Missouri will rank among the 10 most affordable states in which to obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2025.
  • Quality: Missouri will produce graduates with high quality postsecondary degrees and certificates that are valuable and relevant to individuals, employers, communities and the state.
  • Research and innovation: Missouri will be a top 10 state for investment in academic research by 2025.
  • Investment, advocacy and partnerships: Missouri will promote greater investment in a culture of postsecondary education through increased advocacy and powerful partnerships with education, business, government and communities.

The plan is based on a set of guiding principles adopted by the board last year. The principles address:

  • The responsibility of higher education to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a global economy and instill in them a commitment to lifelong learning and social responsibility.

  • The growing need for more Missourians to access, afford and complete postsecondary education at a higher education institution that best fits their educational needs, goals and potential.

  • The importance of basic and applied research and the creation of knowledge to solve problems as essential functions of the state’s higher education institutions.

  • The value of higher education as a private benefit that contributes to personal enrichment and prosperity and a public good, essential to increased economic opportunity and civic engagement.

“Higher education is a benefit to every citizen of Missouri – those who attend college and those who don’t,” Fogle said. “A knowledgeable and skilled workforce contributes to a strong economy and improves the quality of life for all Missourians.”

For more information about the plan, visit www.dhe.mo.gov/blueprint.