Section 34. It is hereby declared the policy of the commonwealth to provide and ensure an accurate and objective study of the public system of higher education in order to fulfill the goals and purposes of this chapter. Subject to appropriation a benchmark study of the public system of higher education shall be undertaken to determine the strengths and weaknesses of said system and to propose strategies and directions for the board of higher education and the system as a whole to take in order to fulfill its mission more effectively. Said benchmark study shall be conducted by a panel of nationally recognized objective experts in the field of higher education whose members shall be selected by the council, through the consultation with the joint committee on education, the arts and humanities, and the ways and means committees of the house and senate. Said benchmark study shall be filed with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives no later than December first, nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and shall be made available to the public.
The aforementioned study shall be conducted at least every seven years, subject to appropriation.