March News & Updates

Policy Update: HEA Recommendations

We are just two full months into 2018, and critical conversations around postsecondary education are moving forward at the federal level. Higher Learning Advocates has continued its efforts to advance common-sense policy reforms designed to improve outcomes, upgrade quality, and build a system of higher learning that is more affordable and responsive to today’s students.

With discussions around renewal of the Higher Education Act continuing, lawmakers in the education committees in both the House and Senate are looking closely at a range of higher education issues. For more information on our policy priorities in HEA, read our recent comments to Senate HELP Committee leaders with detailed recommendations.

Issue in Focus: Accreditation and Quality

Accreditation was on the minds of higher education policy watchers as the National Advisory Committee for Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), a key federal oversight panel, held its winter meetings. Higher Learning Advocates recently released a trio of new 101 resources designed to decode the complexity of accreditation and quality assurance. Our new “Accreditation Glossary” provides a handy resource breaking down some of the key words and terms used during NACIQI meetings and other accreditation debates.

ICYMI: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly of Gainful Employment

The Gainful Employment rule is a federal regulation requiring for-profit institutions and some career and technical programs to meet certain debt-to-earnings ratios of their graduates or lose access to federal financial aid programs. After a recent proposal by the U.S. Department of Education to make substantial changes to the rule, Policy & Advocacy Director Emily Bouck wrote a blog post breaking down “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” of the proposal—highlighting several problems and one unexpected bright spot.

More Higher Learning Advocates News

Education Dive: What approval of the budget deal really means for higher ed
By Shalina Chatlani
“We need to ensure students in economically distressed communities use their federal aid at institutions with the strongest outcomes—not roll back accountability for precisely those schools most likely to fail their students and produce poor outcomes.”

Education Dive: ‘The sky is falling, stuff is tanking!’
by Autumn A. Arnett
“[A]s Julie Peller, executive director of Higher Learning Advocates, pointed out, despite Congress’s best intentions to move away from standardization and other proposals offering some solutions, the vagueness and ambiguity in the bill may lead to little progress — with accreditors afraid to approve out-of-the-box ideas, and schools and systems scared to try them.”

University World News: Republicans seek more transparency in higher education
By Mary Beth Marklein
“Issues of quality, outcomes and accountability are on the forefront of members’ minds in a way they haven’t been before,” said Julie Peller, executive director of Higher Learning Advocates, a non-profit founded in 2016 to advance policy that increases student success.

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Barriers to Starting and Finishing College
In a new special report on adult learners, The Chronicle of Higher Education featured executive director Julie Peller and board member Teresa Lubbers of the Indiana Commission on Higher Education in a forum on how institutions and policymakers can better help adult students complete postsecondary credentials. Download the entire special report by Goldie Blumenstyk.

EdSurge: What’s In? What’s Out? And What’s Likely? Decoding Higher Ed Act Reauthorization
By Alison R. Griffin
“Today’s college student isn’t the same student Virginia Foxx went to school with. And as it turns out, it may not be the student that her staffers went to school with either. According to Higher Learning Advocates, 40 percent of today’s students attend school part-time, more than half work while in college, and a quarter are parents.”