New Scorecard Site to Replace Ratings System. The White House unveiled a new and improved College Scorecard website, which is intended to replace the ratings system that the administration had proposed, the now-abandoned Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS). The site displays data for colleges, including graduation rates and earnings, and is intended to be mobile-friendly. The site has already drawn criticism, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education, though most of the information is already available through other sources.
HEA Due for Fall Debate, But Many Doubt it will Gain Momentum. The understanding in Washington was that reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) would not be considered until after reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). With Congress beginning its fall agenda, it is looking less optimistic that HEA reauthorization will be completed. ESEA bills have passed the House and Senate and are awaiting conference, but the bills are a long way apart and will need considerable changes. It will be very difficult for the conference committee to agree on language that could pass both chambers, never mind language that would then be approved by the president, so it seems that the ESEA debate will drag on into the fall with no guarantee of ultimate success. That clouds the water for HEA reform, which might need to be completed by the end of the year if it is to avoid the presidential election cycle. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has held seven hearings this year on reauthorization: one on student outcomes, one on campus sexual assault, one on innovation, one on accreditation, one on affordability, one on risk sharing, and one on consumer information. The Committee will likely schedule more in the coming months.
ESEA Conference on Congressional Calendar. The House and Senate have appointed members to a conference committee to hash out differences between their versions of ESEA reauthorization. The House passed the Student Success Act in July, while the Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act the same month. Edweek put together a summary of the differences in the bills and current law.
House Hearing on Campus Sexual Assault. The House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training held a hearing on campus sexual assault. The subcommittee has held multiple hearings this year on higher education issues, under the leadership of Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC). Full committee Chair John Kline (R-MN) has said he aims to have a draft HEA reauthorization bill before the committee this fall. He is eager to draft a comprehensive approach before he retires at the end of this congressional session.
Obama Appoints Panel to Move Forward with Free Community College Plan. President Obama appointed a panel to lead his push for free community college. The College Promise Advisory Board will be led by Jill Biden, former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer and Martha Kanter, a professor of higher education at New York University.
We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of Sept. 14, 2015. Founded in 1925, the New England Council is a nonpartisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the New England region. The Council’s mission is to identify and support federal public policies and articulate the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.