Banks authors several bills to make higher ed affordable, accountable

State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) has authored several bills he says are aimed at improving affordability and accountability in higher education.

Banks says the overarching goal of his plan is to make college a less expensive option for Hoosier students while ensuring there is more accountability for public investment in higher education.

"College has simply become too costly for many Hoosier families," Banks says. "Improving transparency in the higher education system will allow us to pinpoint where these costs are increasing and hold administrators accountable for changes that negatively affect the students they serve. We can further cut unnecessary expenses by making simple changes to credit transfers between universities, saving students the time and money it takes to replace these classes."

Banks' plans include provisions to:

• Give more independence to regional campuses from their parent schools (SB 98).

• Reduce in-state tuition rates for U.S. military veterans returning from service (SB 177).

• Improve transparency in regard to faculty hiring, tenure and salaries among state institutions (SB 180).

• Enhance credit transferability through a common course numbering system and requiring associate degrees credits to be counted toward a bachelor's degree (SB 182).

• Hold university departments of education more accountable for teachers' understanding of content and instructional methods (SB 406).

• Create more dual college-credit course options for high school students (SB 409).