Ball State University President Jo Ann Gora offers her insights on the following question:
- What is the number one change you would like to see in Indiana’s higher education system that would help serve students better?
Indiana has a strong system of higher education, with a well-balanced set of educational options that meet a wide range of needs. Hoosier families need to know what it takes, both academically and financially, to take full advantage of these opportunities.
For Indiana to contribute to the nation’s economic recovery, we need to produce high-ability graduates who can make an immediate impact upon earning their college degrees. The trend of colleges and universities increasing admission standards will continue, so students must commit themselves—beginning their first semester in high school—and earn an Academic Honors Diploma.
By increasing admission standards at Ball State, we are attracting brighter students. Through our emphasis on immersive learning, these students see the connection between rigorous academic course work and applying it to benefit Indiana companies and communities. Through those deep relationships, our students stay in college, earn their degrees, and, in many cases, flourish in the companies and communities that they connected with at Ball State.
The job market in the 21st century is changing, and having a college degree is necessary to compete. For some time, one of the most compelling arguments has been the comparison of lifetime salaries. On average, career earnings for those who hold a college degree are about $1 million more than those who have only a high school diploma.
This disparity will become even more striking as we continue to adapt to global competition. Jobs that require only a high school diploma will continue to evaporate. I’d like to see more communication about the inextricable link between higher education and a sustainable livelihood today and in the future.
Families should view higher education as an investment and seek financial advice from the best sources. A recent study indicated that more than half of Hoosier families overestimate the cost of college. Parents should review not only the costs but also the scholarships and aid that are available. I think most families will see higher education not only as accessible but also as a sound financial choice.