Higher Education News

Increasing Transparency and Accountability for Students

U.S. Department of Education Blog - 8 hours 10 min ago

Higher education remains the most important investment any person can make in their future. In the several months I’ve been at the U.S. Department of Education, I have had a number of conversations with students and families that have inspired me to double down on our commitment to making college more affordable and accessible. A big part of our work toward that goal has been to increase both the quantity and quality of information that students, families, borrowers and the public have about higher education.

Today we are taking another step to increase transparency and accountability. We are releasing a list of colleges and universities that are on what we call Heightened Cash Monitoring. There were about 560 institutions on this list as of March 1. The list has been released to members of the press that requested it, and will be published on the Department website in the coming days and updated on a regular basis.

Heightened Cash Monitoring is a step that our Federal Student Aid office can take with institutions to provide additional oversight for a number of financial or federal compliance issues, some of which may be serious and others that may be less troublesome. Institutions may be on this list for a variety of specific reasons – for example, late financial statements, outstanding liabilities, accreditation issues, concerns about a school’s financial responsibility or possibly severe findings uncovered during a program review. For each institution that is on Heightened Cash Monitoring, we are also providing information as to why.

Heightened Cash Monitoring is not necessarily a red flag to students and taxpayers, but it can serve as a caution light. It means we are watching these institutions more closely to ensure that institutions are using federal student aid in a way that is accountable to both students and taxpayers.

Transparency and accountability are priorities for our entire Administration, and this Department and the Federal Student Aid office are no exceptions. We are taking a thoughtful approach to considering what data and information makes sense to provide publicly. Today’s decision follows our own discussions along with those we have had with multiple stakeholders, including news organizations.

From the start of the Obama Administration, we at the Department of Education have been committed to increasing transparency across the spectrum. We have worked to provide more – and better quality – data, including:

·         More information about K-12 schools and students’ outcomes through school-level assessment data for parents and stakeholders
·         State-specific data profiles to help states develop plans to ensure all children have equitable access to excellent educators
·         Resources we have collected through our Office for Civil Rights, including information to help parents understand the disparities in discipline issues, like how suspensions are administered across students, schools and districts, and a list of higher education institutions with open Title IX sexual violence investigations
·         Our College Scorecard initiative, which provides a snapshot of key details and outcomes at a particular institution for students and families

We also continually release a wealth of information aimed at helping students and families make smart decisions about where to go to college, including a comprehensive set of data about each institution on College Navigator – which contains enrollment, cost, graduation rates, students’ default rates, and campus security information. In addition, the Department already discloses a number of other pieces of information that can point at an institution’s financial health and other accountability metrics, including Default Rates, Clery Act Reports, 90/10 Reports, Foreign Gift and Contract Reports, Financial Responsibility Composite Scores and Final Program Review Determinations. And, of course, we have undertaken a historic effort to increase transparency and accountability for career colleges through our Gainful Employment regulations.

We have made enormous progress in providing information that helps students, families and borrowers. But we know we still have further to go, and we’re committed to pushing for greater transparency. Every single day we take seriously our commitment to doing more for students, and every action falls within that goal.

Ted Mitchell is the Under Secretary of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

Indiana College Presidents Speak Out Against ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Chronicle of Higher Education - 13 hours 2 min ago

At least seven universities have pledged to honor their own nondiscrimination policies. But for presidents, taking a public stance is often a balancing act.

Categories: Higher Education News

Dept. Names More Than 550 Colleges It Has Put Under Extra Financial Scrutiny

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2015 - 10:01pm

"Heightened cash monitoring" requires institutions to pay federal loans and grants out to students before being reimbursed by the Education Department.

Categories: Higher Education News

Reversing a Chief’s Dismissal, as Mississippi May, Is a Delicate Matter

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2015 - 2:57am

If Daniel W. Jones gets his job back as the University of Mississippi's chancellor, he and the board could be in a difficult position.

Categories: Higher Education News

Median Salaries of Higher-Education Professionals, 2014-15

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2015 - 2:57am

The median base salaries of professional staff members on college campuses rose by 2.2 percent.

Categories: Higher Education News

The Week

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2015 - 10:01pm

What you need to know about the past seven days.

Categories: Higher Education News

Furniture Maker and President Develops Raw Ideas Into Results, and Other News About People

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2015 - 10:01pm

Rosanne Somerson, who leads the Rhode Island School of Design, is also the creator of a line of furniture for the dorms.

Categories: Higher Education News

Disparities in New Aid for Athletes Could Alter Dynamics of Recruiting

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2015 - 10:01pm

As colleges prepare to cover players’ full cost of attendance, some wealthy institutions are hampered by what they can spend.

Categories: Higher Education News

Sewanee Taps New Dean of Students; Stanford Gets New Endowment Manager

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2015 - 10:01pm

W. Marichal Gentry, the new dean, is associate vice president for student life at Yale University.

Categories: Higher Education News

Selected New Books on Higher Education

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2015 - 10:01pm

Among the latest books are guides to handling the job of being a provost or a department chair.

Categories: Higher Education News

New Proving Ground for the Presidency: Student Affairs

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2015 - 10:01pm

Want someone in the top job who can handle a crisis and focus on public relations? Look no further.

Categories: Higher Education News

How Sweet Briar's Board Decided to Close the College

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 28, 2015 - 2:55am

Summoned to a meeting in Washington, D.C., the college’s board members looked at the numbers. And they realized there wasn’t a choice.

Categories: Higher Education News

Mississippi Meets the Pitfalls of Running a Medical Center and a University

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 27, 2015 - 2:59am

Managing such vast enterprises can present hidden challenges. The controversial ouster of popular chancellor at the University of Mississippi highlights some of them.

Categories: Higher Education News

Should College Administrators Yak Back?

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 27, 2015 - 2:57am

A recent controversy about posts on Yik Yak at a student-affairs conference raises questions about who on campus is using the anonymous app, and for what.

Categories: Higher Education News

For UVa, a Year of Sorrow, Anger, and Exhaustion

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 27, 2015 - 2:55am

Campus safety. Sexual assault. Race relations. The university can’t seem to avoid any issue roiling higher education.

Categories: Higher Education News

Many Teach Grants Turn Into Loans; Report Asks Department to Find Out Why

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 27, 2015 - 2:55am

The program offers loan forgiveness to prospective teachers who meet certain criteria after graduation. For more than a third of grantees so far, says a new report, that hasn’t worked out.

Categories: Higher Education News

The Chronicle Wins a Series of Honors From Education Writers Association

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 27, 2015 - 2:55am

The association’s National Awards for Education Reporting recognized several major projects published in 2014, including one that won first prize in investigative reporting.

Categories: Higher Education News

Why Colleges Don’t Do More to Rein In Frats

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 27, 2015 - 2:55am

Fraternity houses often feel like no-accountability zones for many reasons. But most of them come back to simple matters of cost and liability.

Categories: Higher Education News

Student-Loan Default Rates Are Easily Gamed. Here's a Better Measure.

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 26, 2015 - 2:55am

A disconnect between repayment, completion, and default exposes a significant flaw in the government’s key metric for colleges' financial accountability.

Categories: Higher Education News

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