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In three States also it is the State board of education.
In terms of attaining congressional program objectives, I cannot say that any one pattern of organization has proved clearly superior to the others. Some of the strongest, as well as some of the weakest, State programs, in my judgment, are to be found in each major classification. The trend, however, is in the direction of consolidation with general higher education agencies.
INSTRUCTIONAL EQUIPMENT GRANTS
Going on with the evolution of the facilities commissions, title VI-A of the Higher Education Act of 1965 authorized instructional equipment grants to public and private institutions of higher education. This title contained State commission and State plan provisions similar to those in the Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963.
In every State, except Michigan, the existing facilities commission immediately was given responsibility for title IV. The chairman's State temporarily designated another agency, but very soon thereafter followed suit.
COMPREHENSIVE FACILITIES PLANNING
State facilities commissions were given another responsibility by the Congress in 1966. The Facilities Act was amended to give State commissions responsibility for comprehensive planning to determine the construction needs of institutions of higher education. This amendment was added by the Senate Subcommittee on Education on its own motion. Chairman Wayne Morse of the committee criticized the higher education community at that point rather widely and openly because of the fact they came in and asked for facilities, insisted they needed more physical plant, but were not in a position to submit hard data to support their request, so the committee inserted an amendment providing an annual appropriation of some $4 million as I recall or an authorization rather, and Senator Morse instructed us to get our house in order.
The result of this amendment is that every State now has an academic facilities inventory developed on a compatible basis. This inventory provides the information which the Congress, State legislatures, State higher education agencies, and institutional boards of trustees need for projecting building requirements.
Much emphasis is being placed on the development of management information systems in higher education today. I would point out the facilities inventory is the only element of such a system already on line in all States.
Regardless of the final decision regarding State postsecondary education commissions, we urge that this program be continued. If section 1202 is implemented, certainly this activity is appropriate for the new commissions. If not, we think facilities commissions should be funded to continue it.
EDITING OF FACILITIES DATA
Now, one additional role, Mr. Chairman, by which we sort of came in the back door, and this is editing of facilities data. In 1970, the national center for educational statistics (NCES) approached our As
sociation requesting the assistance of State facilities commissions in the collection and editing of facilities data from the individual institutions. These data were being collected as one part of the higher education general information survey (HEGIS), with which you are familiar.
Because of the near impossibility of executing Federal contracts with the 54 jurisdictions involved, a non-profit corporation was established to enter into the contract with NCES. The result has been to make the facilities data available in much more timely fashion. Both the fall 1970 and 1971 reports were available in preliminary report from before the 1969 report was published by NCES.
NCES elected not to collect facilities data in the fall of 1972. The stated reason was that the facilities inventory manual was being revised. That revision is now completed.
Despite the decision of NCES, the States concluded that they wanted to collect the 1972 facilities inventory on a national basis. Å modest amount of unexpended funds remained under the 1971 NCES contract, and it was extended to cover 1972. The States are now expending considerable money and effort in putting the inventory together.
NCES has announced the tentative decision not to collect facilities data again in the fall of 1973. We very much regret this decision. The national facilities inventory is over 1.2 billion assignable square feet, which would translate into roughly 1.8 billion of gross area, with an estimated replacement cost of over $69 billion. Surely this investment is of sufficient magnitude to merit accounting on an annual basis.
Experience has shown that the inventory does change materially from year to year. For example, between 1970 and 1971, additions to the inventory totaled over 60 million assignable square feet, and over 20 million assignable square feet were removed from the inventory.
CURRENT STATES OF GRANT PROGRAMS
In the continuing resolution, the Congress has provided for the funding of the college construction program this fiscal year at $43 million. The continuing resolution provides $12.5 million for instructional equipment grants under title VI. The administration has indicated and the chairman read from John Ottina's letter that it does not intend to allocate these funds.
We have been collecting data on the pending applications for these funds. Eligible applications already processed for the $43 million in college construction grants would qualify for more than $270 million in Federal funds.
You may be interested in the fact that the States made almost $1.6 billion available for academic facilities in fiscal 1972 and more than $1.5 billion this fiscal year. I need not tell you that State legislatures are hard pressed for funds. Surely this degree of commitment on the part of the States indicates the need for academic facilities. The $43 million under the continuing resolution would do no more than fund a few of the most urgently needed projects.
The situation is similar with respect to title VI. We have more than $20 million in eligible applications, already filed and processed for the $12.5 million.
In keeping with the statute, title VI regulations give priority to applications for the relatively poorer institutions. As a result the
average grant is relatively small. Last year the appropriation of $12.5 million funded 1,107 applications, so the average grant was just over $11,000. The vast majority of the funds go for the purchase of basic instructional equipment as opposed to expensive and sophisticated items.
STATE POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION COMMISSIONS
Now, Mr. Chairman, I come to the relationship of the facilities programs directly to the section 1202 commission. Since Aims McGuinness is the authority and has covered the legislative history of section 1202, I shall not attempt to cover that ground. I do have some comments on the implementation of the section.
The Association of Executive Directors of Higher Education Facilities Commissions has repeatedly expressed its support of the concept of section 1202 commissions. We have formally expressed to the U.S. Office of Education our full cooperation in implementing the section.
I think virtually all elements of the higher education community recognize the need for cooperative planning to meet the needs of students and the society. The Congress was wise in including the whole postsecondary education spectrum in this process.
We have already referred to the fact that a task force in the Office of Education developed an "issue paper" outlining its concepts for the implementation of section 1202. This document was widely distributed to the higher education community, and the higher education community indeed responded with a dramatic volume of comment.
My own view was that the first draft of the issue paper went well beyond the intent of Congress and the plain language of section 1202 in inputting roles and responsibilities to the State postsecondary education commissions. In fairness to my association, I must say that we never took a position on this issue. I suspect that we would have divided rather evenly on the question of whether a strict construction of section 1202 or a more expansive definition of commission role was desirable. In this instance I did appear to wind up on the prevailing side of the issue.
After the field review, a complete redraft of the Issue Paper and several subsequent modifications followed field review. Although this final draft has not been distributed, I have participated in a couple of briefing sessions where it was discussed in detail. I must say that I think that Dr. Phillips and his task force have done a masterful job in accomodating to the wishes of the higher education community, which, I believe, in this case coincide with congressional intent.
The initial review process for the Issue Paper could well be a model for the deveolpment of Federal-State programs. I would hope that the revised draft could be subjected to this same review process, as contemplated by the task force.
The next few points that follow are matters of personal opinion where I speak only for myself. I think the Congress was wise in not mandating the consolidation of State higher education agencies in section 1202. State higher education systems vary so widely that no one pattern of organization is likely to be best for all of the States. The inverse of that is that probably no pattern can be developed which will not create problems in some States.
I am pleased that the Issue Paper strictly construes section 1202 in requiring adequate representation of all elements of postsecondary education. I also endorse the section of the Issue Paper which states that interim recognition, for purposes of section 1202, will not be extended to State agencies which do not meet the requirements of the section.
I might note one possible problem in State implementation of this section. Many State legislatures will have adjourned before Federal regulations could be placed before them for action. Next year is the "off" year for most States with biennial legislative sessions. In States where legislative authorization is required, this fact could result in delay in implementing the section. I know of a couple of Midwestern States at this point where the legislatures are indeed very angry because of the delay which is occurring to this point. Our experience with the Facilities Act, however, demonstrated that most States were able to take interim action pending their legislative sessions.
Although this is not an appropriation committee, I would express the hope that the state postsecondary education commissions can be funded at a meaningful level. Last year a committee of the State higher education executive officers, working with staff of the education commission of the States, estimated the amount needed for basic research and planning activities at $15 million. I would agree that this request is realistic.
We endorse the concept of state postsecondary education commissions. The experience of the facilities commissions has demonstrated the effectiveness of this type of vehicle in bringing together the various elements of the higher education community. We would urge that the revised section 1202 "Issue Paper" be submitted for immediate field review. We would hope that this program can be supported at an adequate appropriation level.
I think also that, regardless of administrative structure, the college construction and instructional equipment programs merit continuing support by the Congress. I also believe that the comprehensive facilities planning program is of sufficient benefit to all concerned with higher education planning that special provision should be made for its continuation.
Mr. O'HARA. Thank you very much, Mr. Wheeler.
Your observations with respect to the experience of the facilities commission have been very interesting and instructive.
Mr. Dellenback, do you have any questions you would like to direct to Mr. Wheeler?
Mr. DELLENBACK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I have a few.
We appreciate your being here, and I agree with the expression of the Chairman, this is the kind of testimony which has been very helpful. You refer to the 1972-73 facility inventory. Do you have any idea of the cost of that for 1973? There has been an indication they do not intend to go forward with it?
Mr. WHEELER. I would say approximately, Congressman Dellenback, $100,000 to the field, that is, States where there are activities in
this regard, and I would say substantially less than this at the National Center for Educational Statistics level; so $150,000 or $200,000, at the moment.
Mr. DELLENBACK. In total?
Mr. WHEELER. Yes.
Mr. DELLENBACK. Is the change that takes place from year to year about commensurate in size to that which you brought forth in testimony? You said between 1970 and 1971 additions to the inventory were about 60 million assignable square feet and 20 million square feet were removed. Is that about what takes place? Have you done this enough to come to the conclusion that it is?
Mr. WHEELER. Actually, we have had data for only two such comparisons. The time series is only 3 years long at this point, and we will soon have the fourth.
Mr. DELLENBACK. You will have the 1972-73 figure?
Mr. WHEELER. Yes.
Mr. DELLENBACK. So what you have is 2 full years, 1970-71, and 1971-72?
Mr. WHEELER. We have three now, and the fourth will soon be added.
Mr. DELLENBACK. Is that about the pattern?
Mr. WHEELER. Yes. We think it is about the pattern.
Mr. DELLENBACK. On page 7 of your testimony you refer to the eligible applications for college construction grants total more than $270 million in Federal funds, and at the most there will be $43 million available. Is that process a complex one? Is it a careful one? Does almost every application get processed and get to this stage? Mr. WHEELER. Almost every application gets processed unless there is something ineligible about the institution, or the application in terms of the law.
Mr. DELLENBACK. So the $270 million figure is not very much of a net figure? It is sort of a gross figure?
Mr. WHEELER. And within that amount the projects are aligned in terms of priorities of need, going back to my initial comments about the criteria growing out of the legislation itself and those added by the States.
Mr. DELLENBACK. What would be in the highest priority of need out of the $270 million? Do you have any idea?
Mr. WHEELER. The institutions that are extremely crowded at this point under the Federal guidelines, and again I think they carry out well the intent of the Congress at the time the act was passed in 1963, giving heavy weight to overcrowding as a result of enrollment growth. So the overcrowded institution still tends to come in first. We are getting emphasis now on renovation projects.
Mr. DELLENBACK. Do you have any idea about how many dollars worth of projects would be in the highest priority? If I interpret your testimony correctly, you are saying that the $270 million in college construction grant applications processed is really an asking figure, that almost any request by any institution is lumped into that? There has been very little of the elimination which has taken place except what you just now alluded to, and apparently it is broken down in categories?