Each year, state legislatures consider policy proposals with implications for higher education across both public and private institutions. This year, 46 states have convened (or will convene) for their 2018 sessions. AGB is tracking a number of issues that have an impact on higher education governance and leadership:
- As public perception of higher education continues to decline, state policymakers maintain a focus on affordability and accountability for educational quality, and they are connecting these issues to performance funding, free college proposals, and state master plans/public agendas for higher education.
- Tensions over campus climate, civility, and free speech continue to be hot-button issues in legislative sessions. 2017 included many bills on free speech, sexual assault, guns on campus, and other issues related to campus climate as the culture wars moved to college campuses. These issues affect both public and private institutions. We certainly will see further debate on these issues in state legislatures this year.
- An uncertain federal landscape-particularly the tax reforms instituted by Congress at the end of 2017 and the continued debate over DACA-will greatly affect states' abilities to plan for the future. As a result, investments in higher education and state financial aid programs could face pressure, especially as many states set budgets.
AGB will continue to track state policy proposals and engage in efforts to strengthen effective governance and support public and private institutions that are accountable to their constituencies and stakeholders.