A new session of the General Assembly gets underway this week and the man slated to take over as the leader of the State Senate is talking up the importance of higher education. Senator Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), who will become President Pro Tem, says higher education is very important and must not experience further budget cuts.

Senator Charlie Shields Shields is also concerned with the number of students who fail to graduate. According to Shields, the attrition rate is about 50 percent. This is on top of the fact the number of students advancing from high school to university, community college, or trade school is not as high as many would like it to be.

Shields says education must be more affordable, claiming that by taking money out of the system and forcing students and parents to pay, the number of people enrolling in higher education will not increase. He adds higher education is a long-term investment that pays dividends because an educated workforce drives the economy.

Download/Listen: Steve Walsh report (:60 MP3)