Federal Policy & Reform
At EWA’s forum on the 2016 election outcome, a panel of experts discuss the future of pre-K-12 education policy with members of the media.
- David Cleary, Office of Senator Lamar Alexander
- Vic Klatt, Penn Hill Group
- Alyson Klein, Education Week
- Bethany Little, EducationCounsel
- Erik Robelen, Education Writers Association
At EWA’s forum on the 2016 election outcome, a panel of experts discuss the future of higher education policy with members of the media.
- Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation
- Kevin Carey, New America
- David Cleary, Office of Senator Lamar Alexander
- Terry Hartle, American Council on Education
- Kenneth Terrell, Education Writers Association
With colleges and universities under increased pressure to ensure that more students earn degrees without amassing mountains of debt, journalists are at the forefront in examining how these institutions measure up. But there’s one major obstacle that both colleges and reporters share when it comes to making sense of how well these schools are meeting their goals: insufficient data.
The best data are often the hardest to parse. Sure, a neat snapshot of three or four variables is easy on the eyes, but to really dig deep and find important and surprising trends, you’ll probably have to wade through dozens of variables.
Or in the College Scorecard’s case, 2,000 variables.
Two numbers haunt the college landscape: $1.3 trillion and 40 percent.
The first is the ever-increasing debt Americans are shouldering to pay off the cost of a degree. But a growing chorus of experts believes that extraordinary sum obscures another crisis: For many, those debts wouldn’t be as devastating had they earned a degree. But only 40 percent of Americans complete a bachelor’s degree in four years.
The upshot is that millions of Americans earning meager wages are on the hook for thousands of dollars with almost nothing to show for it.
“There’s a lot of talk about the student debt crisis and I’m going to tell you that I don’t think there really is a student debt crisis,” said Debbie Cochrane, vice president at The Institute for College Access and Success. “What there are are multiple student debt crises.”
During the Democratic presidential primaries, the debate was over whether to make public colleges tuition-free or debt-free for students. Now that Democrat Hillary Clinton has picked up the tuition-free banner, how might her proposal affect higher education? Meanwhile, Republican nominee Donald Trump has suggested he might change the federal government’s role in lending to students altogether. Experts address what the candidates’ ideas could mean for colleges and students.
What will it take for the federal government to provide American Indian and Alaskan Native students with the schooling and services they’ve long been promised?
The Obama administration is rolling out an experimental program that will allow employers and training programs to partner with accredited universities to teach students work-related skills. This pilot will enable students to receive federal financial aid for programs such as coding boot camps that typically are ineligible for these funds.
In June, the U.S. Department of Education released a 530-page set of proposed regulations on the topic of ‘defense to repayment.’ Although this sounds like an obscure topic (and reading the document is no picnic!), these proposed rules, if adopted, could allow students to be able to have their student loan debt forgiven if colleges misrepresented themselves to students. The Department of Education is currently working through this process forformer Corinthian Colleges students, and tens of thousands more students could be eligible under the proposed rules.
For education reporters, coming up with fresh ideas for back-to-school stories is an annual ritual. And if you’re balancing the K-12 and higher education beats, it can be an even bigger challenge.
The election of Republican Donald Trump is sure to reshape federal policy for education in significant ways, from prekindergarten to college, especially coupled with the GOP’s retaining control of Congress.
Although Trump spent relatively little time on education in his campaign, he did highlight the issue from time to time, from his sharp criticism of the Common Core and high student debt loads to proposing a plan to significantly expand school choice. And Congress has a long to-do list, including reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Now that the White House race has narrowed to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, how is education playing out as an issue in the campaign? Will it prove an important fault line between the Democratic and Republican candidates? Will Trump offer any details to contrast with Clinton’s extensive set of proposals from early childhood to higher education? What are the potential implications for schools and colleges depending on who wins the White House? Also, what other races this fall should be on the radar of journalists, whether elections for Congress, state legislatures, or governor?
In 2015, the Senate committee that oversees education held a hearing on ways colleges could help students amass less debt. With postsecondary debt hovering at around $1.3 trillion, any little bit can help.
If you haven’t yet heard of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the use of race as a factor in college admissions, you may have at least seen the #BeckyWithTheBadGrades buzz on Twitter and wondered what it meant.
Though it is in part a reference to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” sensation, the hashtag has more to do with higher education than pop culture.
Does Federal Aid Drive College Tuition? The “greedy colleges” thesis conflicts with how nonprofit universities decide on admissions and pricing.
The first total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire continental United States in 38 years will occur on August 21, 2017. Don’t expect reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) anytime before then.
The HEA expired at the end of 2013 and it’s likely nothing will happen with it in an election year or soon thereafter, agreed a panel of journalists discussing key higher education issues and the 2016 presidential election, at the Education Writers Association National Seminar in Boston in May.
The stereotypes of the financially struggling college students are well-known. They live on ramen, share an apartment or house with several roommates, and work part-time for money to buy beer. They get summer jobs to cover college tuition and expenses. And they come from middle- and upper-class families, so if they do struggle sometimes to pay the bills, that scarcity is hip and cool.
An affordable college education. Politicians and bus stop ads promise it, students and parents dream of it. But can anyone define it?
Authors of one data-rich report tried their best to bring this vague yet crucial concept into focus by answering a simple question: What percent of your income would you need to pay to go to college in each state?
Last month, The Washington Post ran a front-page profile about Edwin Ordoñez: a high school valedictorian who swam across the Rio Grande with his father at age 9. Now he has protection from deportation and is choosing between admissions and scholarship offers from Emory, Williams and Princeton.