State Relations

September 5, 2007

British Columbia Tackles Higher Education Reform

Tell me if these higher education issues sound familiar?

  • Lowest production of baccalaureate degrees in the nation at the same time it has the highest post-secondary education credentials in the country.
  • Insufficient public funding for research.
  • Mission creep among comprehensive institutions and two year schools.
  • Lack of consistent accountability measures to assess higher education performance.
  • Tuition that is either too high (student perspective) or too low (institutional perspective) and not enough financial aid.

While you might recognize these as challenges currently facing the state of Washington, they are actually drawn from a recent comprehensive study of British Columbia’s higher education system.  Known in the province as Campus 2020, the report which was released this past April represents the first comprehensive look at B.C. higher education in 45 years.

Similar to Washington Learns (although it focuses only on the higher education system), Campus 2020 makes more than 50 separate recommendations for improving post secondary education and establishes several ambitious targets for the year 2020 including having B.C. achieve the highest level of participation in higher education per capita in Canada.

So far, reaction from the higher education and political communities has been mostly positive.  As you might expect, success will eventually come down to how much additional funding the province can commit to the effort.