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by on September 10, 2013

PUBLIC POLICY AND HIGHER EDUCATION

A MONTHLY REVIEW OF KEY AND TRENDING ISSUES

SEPTEMBER 2013

 


The intent of this blog is to provide NASPA Region-II readers with updates associated with current and emerging issues of public policy that are of interest to institutions of higher education, especially in regard to the NASPA Public Policy Agenda priorities.

Student success and college completion
Issues related to undocumented students
Cost of and funding for higher education, including related accountability efforts
Campus Safety and Security

 Links are provided to related websites and on-line articles (when available) but the reader should not assume these to be the only such resources.    If you have any ideas for topics, please contact Region II Public Policy Rep Thomas Grace at thomas.grace@nyu.edu.


 NEXT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CASE HEADED TO SUPREME COURT?

The American Council on Education, along with 48 higher education associations, is urging the Supreme Court to consider a case that challenges Michigan’s 2006 constitutional amendment placing restrictions on the consideration of race in college admissions decisions.   A group called the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (commonly known by the acronym BAMN)  has brought a suit challenging the constitutionality of the Michigan amendment on the grounds that states that bar public colleges and universities from considering race in admissions are unconstitutionally squelching the political rights of minority citizens.   ACE and the other college associations are essentially endorsing the “spirit” of the challenge brought by BAMN while trying not to suggest that the voters in a respective state can’t decide certain issues….

From Inside Higher Ed:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/09/03/higher-education-groups-enter-another-supreme-court-case-about-race-and-admissions

 

 

IDEAS ON THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACT (HEOA)

With the law set to expire at the end of 2013, congress has begun the long process of renewing the Higher Education Act (HEA), the sweeping law governing federal financial aid programs as well as many other aspects of higher education.   The American Council on Education and a group of 38 other higher education associations have submitted suggestions for rewriting the HEOA, urging legislators to consider the following set of issues:

  • College access, persistence and completion;
  • Better information for consumers;
  • Student loan programs;
  • Accreditation and appropriate oversight;
  • College affordability and cost reduction;
  • Innovation to benefit students;
  • Federal regulatory burden; and
  • Special focus programs.

From The American Council on Education:

http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Higher-Ed-Groups-Offer-Ideas-on-the-Higher-Education-Act.aspx

 

PRESIDENT’S  CALL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION TO BE MORE ACCOUNTABLE AND AFFORDABLE

According to a statement released by the White House, colleges need to demonstrate the value of their product with hard numbers or lawmakers will try to do it for them.    That possibility is coming closer as President Obama has joined the call for policymakers to implement performance-based funding for higher education.   The sweeping, ambitious proposal by President Obama seeks to tie all federal financial aid programs to a rating system of colleges on affordability, student completion rates and the earnings of graduates. The U.S. Department of Education will hold public hearings to develop the ratings before fall 2015.  President Obama said he wants the new strings attached to federal money by 2018. “We are going to deliver on a promise we made last year, which is colleges that keep their tuition down and are providing high-quality education are the ones that are going to see their taxpayer funding go up,” Obama told students at the State University of New York at Buffalo. “It is time to stop subsidizing schools that are not producing good results, and reward schools that deliver for American students and our future”…

 

From the White House:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/22/fact-sheet-president-s-plan-make-college-more-affordable-better-bargain-  

 

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR REDUCING STUDENT DEBT BY CUTTING BACK THE NUMBER OF YEARS FOR LAW SCHOOL – SHOULD OTHER PROGRAMS ALSO CONSIDER?

During a question-and-answer session at a SUNY Binghamton stop on his higher education policy bus tour, Obama expressed his support for cutting back on the number of years it takes to acquire a law degree as one way to reduce student debt.   “This is probably controversial to say, but what the heck, I’m in my second term so I can say it,” Obama said …“I believe, for example, that law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three years because [….] in the first two years young people are learning in the classroom.”  In the third year, he said, “they’d be better off clerking or practicing in a firm, even if they weren’t getting paid that much. But that step alone would reduce the cost for the student.”  The remarks apparently were made off-the-cuff, and no further details were available from the White House. But experts said the notion – although not new itself, as American law schools were two-year endeavors through the 19th century – is gaining traction….

From Inside Higher Ed:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/08/26/president-obama-calls-cutting-year-law-school

 

ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA) 

Congress continues to debate immigration reform.   August 15th marks the one-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  While not granting a formal path to legalization and/or citizenship, DACA provides an opportunity for a segment of the undocumented immigrant population to remain in the country without fear of deportation, to apply for work permits, and increases options for economic and social incorporation into the American society.   A recent study of

DACA recipients by Roberto G. Gonzales, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Veronica Terriquez, University of Southern California, found that DACA does not address the constant threat of deportation still facing the families of that segment which does benefit from DACA….

From the Immigration Policy Center:

http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/issues/DREAM-Act

 

 

CONSEQUENCES FOR ON-LINE SPEECH

Former Georgia Southern University student Caleb Jamaal Clemmons was arrested in February after telling his followers on Tumblr that “i plan on shooting up georgia southern. pass this around to see the affect it has. to see if i get arrested.”  Although the police found no evidence that Clemmons intended to act on the threat, he was arrested only a few hours after the post, held in jail for six months and banned by the courts from using any form of social media for the five years.  Clemmons’ experience is not unique.  A number of students have faced criminal charges resulting from their online posts:  A Texas teenager served five months in prison for joking on Facebook that he planned to “shoot up a kindergarten,” a British man was sentenced to four years for inciting a riot that never erupted, and a Massachusetts high school student was arrested after uploading song lyrics that referenced the Boston Marathon bombing.

“The travesty of all of this is that people — especially young people — don’t understand their digital interactions create tremendous legal consequences,” said Bradley Shear, a Bethesda, Md.-based lawyer who specializes in social media and Internet law. Should colleges be doing more to educate students on the potential consequences of on-line behavior…

From Inside Higher Ed:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/08/26/social-media-education-absent-orientation-sessions-despite-new-arrests#ixzz2e1R6oyVd

MAKING SENSE OF THE SYSTEM: FINANCIAL AID FOR THE 21ST-CENTURY STUDENT

A white paper, “Making Sense of the System: Financial Aid for the 21st-Century Student”, outlines 13 federal policy recommendations for improving the financial aid system so that more students can attend and succeed in college, and ultimately earn valuable postsecondary degrees and credentials.  The paper is part of the Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery project—an initiative supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—that seeks to shift the national conversation on federal financial aid toward ideas that will make college more affordable, while giving students the support and encouragement they need to earn their degree or credential; and seed the field with innovative policies that can make that happen.  The report can be accessed at:

From the Institute for Higher Education Policy Study:

http://www.ihep.org/assets/files/publications/m-r/reimagining-aid-design-and-delivery-final-january-2013.pdf

SOME COLLEGES ARE CHANGING BENEFITS IN WAKE OF NEW HEALTH-CARE LAW

According to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, many colleges expect their expenses to rise after new federal requirements for employers under President Obama’s signature health-care law take effect, and some institutions are preparing for the new policy by changing their benefit plans to shift more costs to employees.   Among the 430 colleges and 23 higher-education systems that completed an online survey conducted by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, 27 percent said they had increased the share of premium costs that employees must pay in 2013, in preparation for the law, and 17 percent said they had increased the share of costs that employees must pay for coverage of their dependents…

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

http://chronicle.com/article/Many-Colleges-Change-Benefits/140849/

AREA OF STUDY MATTERS WHEN IT COMES TO SALARIES FOR COLLEGE GRADUATES

To many students and their families, attending college is an investment in their career and economic future.  But some graduates are learning that certain majors result in far greater career and financial opportunities than others.  A research study conducted in five states (Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia) found that several factors influence earnings…

From American Institutes for Research:   http://www.air.org/reportsproducts/index.cfm?fa=viewContent&content_id=2731

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