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Comptroller Lauds TN ‘Complete College Act’

Press release from the Office of the Comptroller of Tennessee; May 17, 2012:

Implementation of the Complete College Act of 2010 is going well, although there are steps that should be taken to improve the process, according to a report released today by the Comptroller’s Division of State Audit.

Auditors examined the efforts of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and the Tennessee Board of Regents in implementing the law.

Under the law, public community colleges and universities are supposed to create “transfer pathways” – that is, blocks of class credits that are guaranteed to transfer from one higher education institution to another.

However, through the end of last year, transfer pathways had been created to accommodate only 23 majors.

The report recommends that transfer pathways be created for all available college majors, or else the Tennessee General Assembly may want to consider exempting some particularly challenging majors from the provisions of the law. The report also suggests that colleges and universities should place more emphasis on publicizing the available transfer pathways on their web sites.

The new law also requires funding for colleges and universities to be based on a formula that includes factors such as the number of students who graduate, as opposed to the number of students who enroll.

The report suggests that the Tennessee Higher Education Commission needs to provide more detail about what types of data higher education institutions need to submit in order to take advantage of the funding formula. Also, the report says those institutions should take additional steps to verify that the data they provide is accurate.

The law calls for the elimination of unnecessary redundancies in academic program offerings. The report recommends that the Tennessee Higher Education Commission be vigilant in ensuring redundancies are eliminated. If unneeded programs are not eliminated, the report says the General Assembly may wish to transfer authority for eliminating those programs from the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

“I am pleased that progress has been made, but this report clearly illustrates that there is more work to be done,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “I hope the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee Board of Trustees will continue their efforts to implement these recommendations in order to make sure the law is put into practice in the manner in which our state legislators intended it to be.”

To view the report online, go to http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/repository/SA/pa11055.pdf

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