Last week the House Higher Education Committee spent three days touring institutions and hearing from educators, students, and stakeholders about a range of issues facing higher education including alignment with K-12 and the workforce and serving underrepresented students in higher education.
On Friday the Committee ended its three day tour in Yakima. The focus of the early morning meeting was to hear from institutions and the Washington Student Achievement Council about serving underrepresented student populations in higher education in Washington.
This included a presentation on diversity from the Council and Washington’s two research institutions as well as specific institutional initiatives such as the Press for Completion Grant at Yakima Valley Community College and the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP).
Those sharing their experience and ideas with the Committee emphasized the need for the Legislature to be more aware of the changing and increasing minority population among college-ready students.
The Council also unveiled results of a survey sent to the baccalaureate institutions and community colleges. The survey asked the institutions to describe the funding, capacity and challenges for their diversity programs. According to the survey, the primary challenge to getting minority groups over barriers to success is scarce financial resources, followed by insufficient staff to help students.
The House Higher Education Committee is not expected to meet again until late November when the Legislature convenes for Assembly Days.