Two of the most important reforms of higher ed are looking a little more likely after some big news this week.
The first is a plan to report information on college graduates’ earnings. To date, proposals to gather and publish this data have been defeated by an unholy alliance of colleges (fearful of new accountability mechanisms) and Republicans (fearful of additional regulation and privacy issues). Yet the latter seem to be coming around to the wisdom of this policy:
[House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor praised a bill introduced by Senators Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, that would enlarge state-level data collection efforts to link graduates’ salaries back to their colleges and majors.
This is important both because it will provide adequate consumer information that allows students to make more informed decisions, and because it will aid in evaluating the effectiveness of colleges (so long as it is done as value added).
The second is an overhaul of the accreditation system. In the state of the union, President Obama stated that he wants to:
…Consider value, affordability, and student outcomes in making determinations about which colleges and universities receive access to federal student aid, either by incorporating measures of value and affordability into the existing accreditation system; or by establishing 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.
This is important because the current accreditation system suppresses innovation and drives up costs.
Given these recent developments, I’m pretty optimistic about 2013.
Photo Credit: The Guardian