Vermont State Colleges System Study
Heavily dependent on tuition revenue and facing unfavorable demographic conditions, the Vermont State College System was facing questions about its long-term financial viability even before the pandemic introduced greater uncertainty. An April 2020 proposal to shutter three of the system’s campuses as a way to right the financial ship was abandoned, but catalyzed action by the legislature to appoint a Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont. As articulated in Act 120, the Select Committee was charged with “address[ing] the urgent needs of the Vermont State Colleges (VSC) and develop[ing] an integrated vision and plan for a high-quality, affordable, and workforce-connected future for public higher education in the state.” To help it develop and put forward recommendations to achieve these goals, the Select Committee contracted with NCHEMS in September 2020, after an RFP process. Over the course of the next several months, NCHEMS reviewed relevant documents, analyzed data from multiple sources, interviewed leaders and stakeholders, participated in virtual focus groups, facilitated meetings of the Select Committee, and drafted and revised reports to be submitted by the Select Committee to the legislature as called for in Act 120.
The Vermont Joint Legislative Fiscal Office served as the contractor for this project, and its website contains relevant documents, recordings of virtual meetings of the Select Committee (which by law were all public), and the data analyses and report drafts that NCHEMS produced on behalf of the Select Committee.
The Select Committee was required to submit three successive drafts to the legislature on an aggressive timeline. For ease, these drafts are linked below.
- An Initial Report of the Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont (Submitted December 4, 2020)
- A Revised Report of the Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont (Submitted February 12, 2020)
- A Final Report of the Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont (Submitted on April 16, 2021)