Commencing in August 2020, the Board of Trustees undertook to review and revise the VSCS’s Strategic Priorities. The Board subsequently adopted the following priorities at its October 16, 2020 board meeting:
VSCS STRATEGIC PRIORITIES
“For the benefit of Vermont, the Vermont State Colleges system provides affordable, high quality, student-centered, and accessible education, fully integrating professional, liberal, and career study, consistent with student aspirations and regional and state needs.”
VSCS Strategic Priorities
The Board’s Strategic Priorities for the system articulate the VSCS’s mission and role in providing public postsecondary education in Vermont. The Board is committed to achieving success acting as a fully-integrated system that achieves financial stability in a responsible and sustainable way and ensures equitable access to and completion of a quality post-secondary education for all Vermonters, including those who have been marginalized or underrepresented historically.
Affordability: In the VSCS, affordability means that cost and debt are not access barriers for students. Affordability is thus relative to both tuition cost and Vermont student/family income, and to the post-graduation earnings needed for debt repayment.
Success on affordability will be measured by:
- A reduction in the total cost of attendance for students and families; and
- An increase in the number of students from low and middle-income backgrounds accessing and succeeding in VSCS programs; and
- A manageable debt load for students relative to their current family income and future earning potential.
Accessibility: In the VSCS, accessibility means that all Vermont students (including adult learners) will have a supported pathway to meet their educational goals, regardless of their financial means, rural geography, college readiness, or technology/broadband internet access.
Success on accessibility will be measured by:
- Increased access to VSCS programs regardless of race/ethnicity, age, educational attainment of parents, prior educational experience, family status, or place of residence; and;
- Students receiving the academic, advising and other supports necessary to succeed in their VSCS programs as measured by their retention, persistence and graduation; and
- The VSCS having a meaningful presence across Vermont, especially in rural areas regardless of historical access points, which includes providing economic and cultural support to its host communities.
Quality and Relevance: In the VSCS, relevance and quality of academic programs are understood in terms of student and state expectations of value both qualitatively and quantitatively. For students, expectations of value include the ability to pursue their chosen educational path, a positive “return on investment” in the cost of pursuing a particular program relative to expected earnings, successful preparation for external evaluations such as licensure exams, and preparation for lifelong career and personal success in our global 21st century. For Vermont, expectations of value include quality VSCS programs that are aligned with state workforce needs and that are offered in a fiscally responsible manner, delivered in ways relevant to today’s students’ and employers’ needs.
Success on quality will be measured by:
- The ability of VSCS graduates to meet externally-recognized measures of achievement (i.e. licensure exam success rates) and their preparation to compete in the global workforce; and
- Consistency of high-quality education and instruction provided by the VSCS across the system; and
- External recognition (including accreditation) of the quality of VSCS programs.
Success on relevance will be measured by:
- Development of degree paths that are highly relevant to student goals and expectations of value in a career;
- Offering programs and credentials that meet Vermont’s workforce needs; and
- Delivering programs and credentials flexibly in a modality that meets student needs and expectations.