The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee held a hearing on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Strengthening Accountability to Protect Students and Taxpayers” in which Members and witnesses discussed current and potential innovations to holding higher education institutions accountable for ensuring their students are receiving high-quality degrees relevant to today’s workforce needs.
Republicans supported the idea that loan repayment rates would be a better measure of student achievement than the cohort default rate. They emphasized the flexibility granted to accreditors to work with more at-risk institutions, yet some regulations hold them back from fully supporting these institutions. Ranking Member Murray was concerned about the varied state authorizations for distance learning, but that they all should focus on quality assurance. In terms of accreditation, she believes that if there is program level accountability, there should additionally be a catch all institutional backstop.
There were also discussions on ensuring CTE and certificate programs have similar accountability measures as robust as the measures for 4-year institutions.