Student Leaders Voice Concerns About Affordability, Professional Development

New Report from National Campus Leadership Council Highlights Need for Improved Federal Policy, and NCLC Partners with Blackboard Inc. to Become a Catalyst for Change

Jul 22, 2015, 15:56 ET from Blackboard Inc. from ,National Campus Leadership Council

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Student body presidents feel high college costs limit career opportunity, yet student leaders are vastly underutilized as stakeholders on and off campus. High college costs price students out of an education or opportunities to develop critical skills in extra-curricular activities and unpaid internships – this all according to a new National Campus Leadership Council (NCLC) report,"Student Aid and Job Readiness," released today in partnership with Blackboard.

Beyond helping policymakers better engage students, the report aims to empower student leaders with greater information about how to improve their efforts to make college affordable and improve career development. NCLC's National Affordability Working Group is already working on recommendations for their peers at colleges around the country. NCLC will use the report to help influence work that they will be doing in the coming year as they strategically explore policy solutions that student leaders can champion.

The report, supported by the Lumina Foundation and Blackboard, highlights student body presidents' perspectives as community leaders and considers how the policymakers can better engage them as stakeholders and advocates. NCLC surveyed student body presidents at more than 250 colleges around the country to understand their perceptions, ideas, and knowledge about financial aid policy and student finances. Following the survey, NCLC conducted roundtable discussions with more than 300 student and business leaders in 15 cities to generate their insights into how current financial aid policies support career development and success in the workplace.

"We heard directly from student leaders and employers in every corner of the country, and they all told us the same thing: higher education is missing the mark on supporting student success after graduation," said Andy MacCracken, NCLC Executive Director. "Student leaders are critical to closing that gap."

As an example, student body presidents named student loan payments the top threat to a student's future financial success. Yet, only a quarter of student body presidents – some of the most engaged and informed students on their campuses – feel knowledgeable about programs like income-based repayment, which helps make student loans manageable, according to the report.

"I hope this report is the beginning of a conversation about improving federal aid with student voices front and center," said Max Cowan, University of Idaho Student Body President. "The report is important because students weren't just the subject of the conversation, but active participants. It lays the groundwork for how to engage students in every part of the policy making process and sets the standard for how to solicit input from local campus and community leaders."

"The education system is clearly not serving the needs of learners today, and that should come as no surprise to any of us," said Katie Blot, senior vice president of corporate strategy and industry relations for Blackboard, who recently participated in an event at the White House in partnership with NCLC, focused on these issues. "So it's time the collective education community – including organizations like Blackboard and NCLC – think of ways we can reimagine how we can make the system better; and it starts with learners like these student body leaders."  

MacCracken presented the report's findings to the higher education community at BbWorld, Blackboard's annual conference, held this year in Washington, D.C. On hand were student body presidents from NCLC's National Affordability Working Group to facilitate discussions with attendees about implications for campus policy and programs.

About NCLC
The National Campus Leadership Council is a national organization that empowers student leaders to influence the public discourse. Launched in January 2012, NCLC works with a broad network of student body presidents and their teams on leadership development and policy advocacy at the campus, state, and national levels. The organization is non-partisan, elevating student leaders as meaningful stakeholders on exigent issues facing young people.

About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard is the world's leading education technology company. We challenge conventional thinking and advance new models of learning in order to reimagine education and make it more accessible, engaging and relevant to the modern-day learner and the institutions that serve them. In partnership with our customers and partners in higher education and K-12, as well as corporations and government agencies around the world, our mission is to help every learner achieve their full potential by inspiring a passion for lifelong learning.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.; National Campus Leadership Council