The authors of a new American Enterprise Institute (AEI) report argue that policymaker’s should rethink the very building blocks of higher education in an effort to modernize the U.S. postsecondary education system.
In a report titled, Untapped Potential: Making the Higher Education Market Work for Students and Taxpayers, Andrew P. Kelly and Kevin James suggest that while policymakers have been focusing on access, they have been ignoring the quality of the education students are accessing. Furthermore, disappointing completion rates, skyrocketing loan default rates, subpar scores on international assessments contribute to the need for major higher education reform. In response, the report outlines the following suggestions for reforming and modernizing the U.S. higher education system:
1.Modernize, but Don’t Expand, the Direct Federal Oversight Role.
Use only two accountability mechanisms: 1) prohibit the worst performing institutions from accessing federal aid and 2) make institutions share in the risk of student loans.
2.Delegate Responsibility, but to New Authorizers.
Authorize a consortia of employers, nonprofit groups, and professional associations to provide direct oversight for academic quality.
3.Expand and Improve Market Accountability.
Collect and publish better data on student outcomes, disaggregated by program; encourage new private financing tools; and cap federal PLUS loans.
For more details, read the full report here.