Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:51 AM
Recursion (36,547 posts)
President Obama's bold plan to reshape American higher education
Last year, similar language tying federal aid to “value” was explicitly limited to a group of relatively minor aid programs. The Pell grant and loan programs that make up $140 billion in annual aid were excluded. No such restrictions appear here (although the President did refer to only “certain types” of aid in the speech itself.) But the real kicker is at the end: a new, alternative system of accreditation that would provide pathways for higher education models and colleges to receive federal student aid based on performance and results.
The existing accreditation club has been around since the end of the 19th century. It has had an exclusive franchise on determining federal financial aid eligibility since the middle of the 20th century. Opening a new doorway to the Title IV financial aid system would be an enormous change, particularly when coupled with the phrase “higher education models and colleges.” The clear implication is that the higher education models that would eligible for federal financial aid through the alternate accreditation system wouldn’t have to be colleges at all. They could be any providers of higher education that meet standards of “performance and results.”
Shortly after the speech, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten tweeted a response to this proposal, warning that it was a “huge opening for profiteers.” This is exactly wrong. The financial aid profiteering that occurred over the last decade happened because the old accreditation system was left in place. Whatever college that one might think plundered the treasury was a college, duly accredited by a non-profit organization that lacked the wisdom or capacity to prevent plundering. Obama is proposing creating new standards of quality and accountability that don’t exist today. It is an anti-plundering plan.
There is a clearly a great deal of innovation happening in higher education right now. Much of it is happening online, although it would be a mistake to assume that all innovation is technological and vice versa. The upward spiral of college costs isn’t going to be arrested by government price controls. Only intense new competition from high-quality, low-cost providers will create the kind of market pressure needed to change the way colleges spend, teach, and price their services. But that competition will never thrive if innovators are forced by incumbents to adopt expensive, centuries-old organizational models in order to have equal access to financial aid.
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Response to Recursion (Original post)
Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:13 PM
Doctor_J (31,000 posts)
1. More from the web site
"The Obama-Rubio plan to break the higher education accreditation cartel"
Yippee. Can't wait to see Rubio's campaign ads in 2016, featuring Obama.
Here is the key phrase from the OP
Only intense new competition from high-quality, low-cost providers will create the kind of market pressure needed to change the way colleges spend, teach, and price their services.
If you like the US health Care system, you're going to LOVE profit-based education.
Here I thought we buried Reagan a few years back. But no, he's back living in the WH.