Potter addresses big influx of college students

A presentation was made on Utah’s Capitol Hill on Thursday as Representative Val Potter from Cache Valley gave information to his colleagues on higher education – zeroing in on enrollment, graduation rates and current and future needs. Potter took a few minutes from his busy schedule to be on KVNU’s For the People program on Thursday.

“I invited the Chairman of the Regents, Dan Campbell, also the Associate Commissioner Spencer Jenkins and also the Commissioner Dave Buhler. (They) were able to come and talk with us about what’s happening in higher education.

“I’m on the Higher Education Appropriations Committee and for the last two weeks we’ve been meeting regularly to talk about the overall big picture of higher education,” said Potter.

“We’ve had presentations from all of the higher education institutions, four-year institutions, two-year colleges and also the technical colleges. So we talked about all of that.”

The focus of the three individuals who joined Potter at the Majority Caucus meeting was primarily four-year education and where things are headed with Utah State University and the other major colleges. He said over the next 10 years, universities in northern Utah are perhaps looking at an increase as high as 60,000 students.

“That’s going to be a real challenge. Those are the projections with the growth of Utah. That’s the projection of students getting into higher education (and) it’s a phenomenal number. It’s shocking and you look at the universities right now, we certainly can’t handle that kind of numbers.”

So they have been talking about how to address this projection in terms of appropriations and building needs. Potter said the thing that they kept coming back to is that change has to happen as they cannot build enough over the next decade to meet the needs. Other areas to look at might involve off-campus locations or online education without sacrificing the level of education.

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