January 26, 2018
The U.S. Senate education committee got into the weeds of higher education policy again Thursday, examining how the federal government could open up innovation by colleges and universities. But the biggest buzzword that emerged from a two-hour hearing -- “guardrails” -- signaled the focus of Democrats and expert witnesses on the quality protections that should come with opening up federal aid to nontraditional providers, as congressional Republicans have proposed doing. The tension over that specific issue reflects a larger divide between the parties that applies to many questions involved in an update of the Higher Education Act.
December 13, 2017
After debating and voting on amendments all day Tuesday, the House education committee advanced to the full chamber on a party-line vote a rewrite of the federal law governing higher education in the U.S. The legislation, called the PROSPER Act, would change accountability for colleges and universities, alter the student financial aid landscape, and loosen restrictions on short-term and for-profit programs.
December 4, 2017
If you have children and plan to put them through college, the tuition checks you will eventually write may add up to the largest expense you will ever face. Picking the right college will be one of the most emotionally complex financial decisions of your life. But if you want to know what your children might earn one day if they pursue a particular major at a certain school, comprehensive data covering all students is not available to you. In fact, it’s illegal to collect it.
November 14, 2017
Over the last year, college and university leaders have grappled with provocateurs who effectively shut down campuses with their appearances and tap deeply into the institutions’ pocketbooks. Administrators have not yet figured out how to handle a speech by white supremacist Richard Spencer, for instance, and those like him, without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on security to monitor possible protests. Though not every controversial speaker will generate a crowd, some campus protests have turned bloody.
September 29, 2017
An Obama administration initiative that provided consumer information on colleges and universities has survived for another year and into the Trump administration. The Department of Education published updated information on the College Scorecard Thursday, including a new feature that allows students to compare data from up to 10 institutions at once. The update is a significant win for proponents of transparency in higher education who have watched Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over recent months delay and water down requirements for the gainful-employment measure.
September 22, 2017
Public scrutiny of how colleges handle sexual assault cases is appropriate. Institutions should be held accountable for safeguarding the rights of complainants and respondents. That these cases are often extremely complicated and challenging does not in any way diminish the need for fair policies.
September 11, 2017
Much of higher education policy focuses on “traditional” college students—those who started college at age 18 after getting dropped off in the family station wagon or minivan, enrolled full-time, and stayed at that institution until graduation. Yet although this is how many policymakers and academics experienced college (I’m no exception), this represents a minority of the current American higher education system. Higher education data systems have often followed this mold, with the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) collecting some key success and financial aid metrics for first-time, full-time students only.
September 7, 2017
As Labor Day wound to a close, college press offices were busy. News had broken over the weekend that the Trump administration planned to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, known as DACA, with a six-month delay to allow Congress time to attempt a legislative fix.
September 6, 2017
UT has been recognized as having one of the nation’s leading initiatives to improve student graduation rates after increasing degree completion by 10 percent over four years. The University is a finalist for the 2017 Project Degree Completion Award, which is awarded by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to institutions who work to improve student success rates. Senior vice provost David Laude said hundreds of people across the University have worked together in the past five years to help students graduate on time.
June 14, 2017
The Department of Education appears to be planning to keep around one of the most high-profile higher ed initiatives of the Obama administration. Department staff are taking steps to update the data feeding the College Scorecard, a tool that allows prospective students to look at measures like the debt burden of an institution's graduates, by September of this year, according to higher ed groups. That would be counted as a victory by proponents of more transparency in higher ed, even though the Scorecard wasn’t among the Obama efforts the Trump administration promised to eliminate.