Panel: too much competition hurting state colleges

(June 2, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- A panel reviewing the state of higher education in Arkansas says a lack of coordination among colleges and universities is one reason the state is near the bottom in national measures. The Committee on Higher Education released a final draft of its report on higher education yesterday. Among other things, the report recommended creating a powerful new board with authority to reshape the missions of state colleges and control their state funding. The report also recommends a three-tiered college funding system based on enrollment, credit hours completed and passed, and an individual institution's performance. And the report proposes centralized coordination of state-supported schools and uniform minimum course-work standards for easy transfer of college credits. The panel, appointed by Governor Huckabee, criticized a system that it says pits the state's colleges and universities against each other in competition for state dollars and students.