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Issue Position: Education - Hulshof's Plan for Higher Education

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Issue Position: Education - Hulshof's Plan for Higher Education

Since announcing his candidacy for governor, Kenny Hulshof has consistently talked about the importance his administration will place upon higher education. Kenny understands that education is one of the best investments we can make to bolster our state's economy.

Missouri's higher education system is currently ranked 47th in the country when it comes to funding. Kenny Hulshof is vowing to change that. He will ensure that every Missourian has the opportunity to gain a world-class education right here in our state. His plan will also ensure a stable source of funding for colleges and universities along with the accountability that Missouri's taxpayers demand.

I. Increased needs-based scholarships

In the past four years, state funding for needs-based college scholarships has increased nearly four fold. In 2004, the state appropriated just $25 million. That has since been increased to nearly $100 million. Kenny Hulshof will continue this trend by expanding eligibility and increasing scholarship amounts. He will also designate a portion of the funding for math and science scholarships.

II. World-class education available in biotechnology, engineering, math and chemistry

If Missouri's economy is to thrive in the 21st Century, it will require a workforce skilled in the areas of biotechnology, math, chemistry, and engineering.

In order to enhance training in these vital areas, Kenny will establish the Missouri Prosperity Initiative. This public/private partnership will fortify current degree programs in these disciplines, as well as assist in creating new programs.

State contributions will be leveraged by requiring a 2-to-1 match from businesses and philanthropic interests.

Within this same fund, Kenny will create the Missouri Eminent Scholars Endowment Fund. This money will help attract world-class researchers to Missouri. These researchers will then attract millions of dollars in federal research grants and increased potential for new business start-ups within the state.

III. Higher ed funding formula

Under the Hulshof plan, Missouri's public colleges and universities will be able to better plan in advance with a clear and certain funding formula.

Starting in 2011, Kenny will increase the state's investment in higher education to the rate of inflation plus two percent. This will be an aggressive, yet affordable, way for Missouri to match the investment neighboring states are making in higher education.

This level of investment would have lead to better funding for Missouri colleges in seven of the past nine years.

IV. Transparent and Accountable

With increased funding comes additional accountability to taxpayers. The Hulshof Plan will require public colleges and universities to provide information for an annual Missouri Higher Education Accountability and Performance Report. This report is modeled after a similar account published by the University of Texas System.

This information will be beneficial to lawmakers as they make appropriations decisions. It will also benefit students and parents as they seek to make informed decisions on where to go to school.

Hulshof's Plan for K-12 Education

To compete for the jobs of the 21st century, we must match Missouri's strong work ethic with quality education and job training. Kenny Hulshof has a plan to equip students with the skills to compete in the new economy.

1,500 New High-Caliber Math and Science Teachers in Missouri Schools

Missouri's workforce is changing and new jobs often require advanced skills in math and science. Kenny Hulshof has a plan to help Missouri elementary, middle and high school students gain the skills necessary to acquire a good job. As governor, Kenny will work to attract 1,500 new math and science teachers to our state by offering an incentive of $3,000 to every new math and science teacher who demonstrates excellence in their field. At a cost of $4.5 million, these teachers will help prepare Missouri students for the 21st century economy.

Affordable Access to Technical Schools and Community Colleges

Missourians benefit from a statewide network of effective and affordable technical schools and community colleges. Yet, there are many Missourians who, for financial or other reasons, cannot attend these institutions. In many cases, a worker might not be able to afford relocation to a community with a school or college that offers a program relevant to their needs.

Kenny believes that every Missourian who possesses the willingness to work and a desire to learn should be given every opportunity to succeed. He will work with the leaders of Missouri's technical schools and colleges to create online classes in every career field these institutions serve. He will work with the same schools and colleges to ensure that credits are easily transferred from one state school to another. In his first year in office, Kenny will invest $5 million in targeted funding to establish these programs and will continue to fund these programs until Missourians have online opportunities in all degree areas.

Missouri Fast Track

Kenny understands that entrepreneurs and large employers will not invest in our state unless they are assured that the workforce is skilled. To that end, Kenny will further boost training by creating Missouri Fast Track, a pre-employment training program designed to create groups of ready-to-hire employees.

Similar programs in states across the nation have proven highly successful. Georgia Quick Start, for example, has delivered on almost 5,200 start-up projects over 40 years, creating more than 600,000 new jobs for the state. That's an average of more than 15,000 new jobs every year.

Kenny will launch Missouri Fast Track by investing $10 million in state funds that will attract these quality jobs to our state. As a result of Kenny's plan, tens of thousands of Missourians will be well-positioned to acquire new, higher-paying jobs. Success like that seen in Georgia will ensure that the program pays for itself.

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