May 7, 2019
Partners President Headlines College Communicator Conference

Are college and university leaders open to hearing the facts of rising costs and student debt and taking action to improve college affordability?

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our summer conference kicks off with a keynote on <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#collegeaffordability</a> by <a href="">@JamesToscano</a> from <a href="">@partners4edu</a>. Share your takeaways today using <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ccavadc</a>. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; CCA (@ccavadc) <a href="">June 15, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

In a keynote address to 100 senior college and university administrators at the College Communicators Association of Virginia and DC annual conference held at Norfolk State University, Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust President Dr. James Toscano delivered some sobering news based on national polls on the psyche of the American public regarding higher education and facts about out-of-control college costs and student debt.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Interesting stat from <a href="">@JamesToscano</a> and <a href="">@Gallup</a> 53% of students believe their major will lead to a good job <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ccavadc</a></p>&mdash; Tracy Mason (@traymay5) <a href="">June 15, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

The presentation started out by placing college affordability in the context of other national issues.  “If you believe the rising cost of healthcare in this country is a problem, then raise your hand,” Toscano said to the crowd and a roomful of hands raised. He continued, “I’ve got some news for you: the increase in cost of higher education is twice that of healthcare.” The stats he presented in Virginia on rising costs and student debt tracked with the national outlook.   

The keynote provided administrators with actionable and practical advice to address rising public distrust of higher education and create an environment in which institutions can be more responsive to the needs of students.  Toscano examined gaps, as well as existing best practices, as they relate to:

Administrators at the conference were interested in exploring how the ideas laid out in the presentation could be used in practice.  During the Q&A period, one administrator commented that displaying what students will actually pay, as opposed to sticker prices, would be a great resource to families.

Stay tuned for more details about a new initiative planned for later this summer, when Partners will announce policy and institutional best practices to improve transparency and public participation.