Mitch Daniels

Arne Duncan
Courtesy Purdue University

During his visit to Purdue Wednesday as part of his annual “Back to School” bus tour, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wove together the university’s recent initiatives with his own vision for education accessibility and affordability.

Duncan praised recent moves by the university and President Mitch Daniels such as instituting competency-based degrees, planning to open a charter school and offering a freeze on tuition.

Purdue University

Mitch Daniels has tried to make his time as Purdue President about student affordability – so this month in our regular conversation with him, we ask about the plans from three people who’d also like to be president – of the United States.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the former Republican governor doesn’t have rave reviews for education savings plans from the top three contenders for the 2016 Democratic nomination.

Purdue University

One of the watchwords in higher education is “more.” Schools have to be careful what they strive to have more of – and often, what they never meant to accumulate in the first place.

On this month’s conversation with Purdue President Mitch Daniels, we ask about a couple items Purdue wants to have more of: gifts to the university and minority students and faculty members.

By almost any measure, Purdue has struggled to recruit African-Americans to campus – either to teach or to learn.

Senate Finance Committee

In 2005, Mitch Daniels brokered the Major Moves deal -- leasing the Indiana toll-road for $3.8 billion for 75 years.  He told a Senate committee looking for infrastructure improvement ideas Thursday the public-private partnership was a high point of his term.

"It was a great joy of public service to watch literally the dreams of decades, become real.  Project after project of people saying 'that’ll never happen' are in being in Indiana," Daniels said.

Purdue University

Charter schools have been one of the most divisive education issues of the last decade in Indiana education circles. But on today’s monthly conversation with Purdue president Mitch Daniels, he calls criticism of them “rubbish” as he explains why the school needs one to recruit more black students.

As Purdue has recruited more international and out-of-state students to balance out its tuition freezes, imbalances in the student body have emerged. Some of them are attendance-based – there are a lot of Asian students and few African-Americans.

Mark Simons/Purdue University

Purdue University plans to open a charter school in downtown Indianapolis that will focus on the STEM fields -- that’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The concept could eventually spread across the state. Graduates will be guaranteed a spot on the West Lafayette campus.

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels says the current education system in Indiana is not producing enough low-income, first-generation and minority students who are qualified for Purdue.

Wes Jackson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/boilermakerwes/3608649743/

Purdue President Mitch Daniels will ask the school's trustees to extend the school's tuition freeze and allocate 3.5-percent more for salaries in the coming year.

The requests are subject to trustee approval, but Daniels tells WBAA he doesn't expect any roadblocks.

Biggest Increase In The Big Ten?

The salary increase is considerably more than Purdue employees have received in recent years, but there are several conditions.

Flazingo Photos / https://www.flickr.com/photos/124247024@N07/

Purdue has launched a national search for the first chancellor of Purdue University Northwest.

The new institution is a unification of the Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central campuses.

Purdue Trustee Gary Lehman is chairing the search committee, which is made up of faculty and staff from Purdue Calumet, Purdue North Central and other campuses.

He says a proposed salary range for the position has not been determined yet.

Purdue.edu

More than half a dozen university presidents have penned open letters opposing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA.

“I had been watching the law develop and its repercussions over a couple days and I felt personally very strong about it," says DePauw University President Brian Casey. Like most, Casey's letter is personal – addressed as much from the administrator as from the university.

Purdue University

Purdue President Mitch Daniels says Congress can do much to improve the areas of college accessibility and affordability, starting with loosening some federal regulations.

Daniels brought that message to Capitol Hill Tuesday, testifying before the House Subcommittee on Education and Workforce Training.

He says one thing the federal government can do to make it easier for students to attend college is to modernize the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

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