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Lubbers delivers final address, outlines need for further changes in higher education

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Alan Mbathi
/
IPB News
Indiana's Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers announced last fall she would step down from her role at the end of the 2022 legislative session.

Indiana's Commissioner for Higher Education gave her final annual address Tuesday, touting the state’s successes, as well as the need for more affordable, accessible and valuable education for students.

Lubbers highlighted some positives for Indiana like the 21st Century Scholars program, the rate of dual credit achievement for high schoolers and efforts to skill up the state's workforce.

But she said it's vital for colleges and universities to prove their value to students, as fewer of them enroll.

"Five years ago, 65 percent of high school students were choosing a higher education pathway. Today, that number is 59 percent," Lubbers said.

Lubbers said the state is working to better understand why enrollment is declining – especially among men, Black and Hispanic Hoosiers. But for now, she said it's crucial for schools to embrace pandemic-spurred flexibility and reduce costs for students.

Lubbers is leaving the commission after the legislative session.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

Jeanie Lindsay