Dept of Ed sends mixed signals on for-profit accountability
- The Department of Education is piloting a hybrid nonprofit, for-profit learning model to encourage degree completion and job training, but has appointed a higher education lobbyist, among other organizations, to serve as the quality assurance bodies overseeing program compliance.
- Some higher education experts believe that groups like the American Council on Education cannot be independent reviewers, because of their corporate missions of advocating for college-friendly policy. ACE counts accredited for-profit institutions as members.
- The initiative launches as the department continues to limit federal aid access and marketplace branding in an effort to marginalize schools which have defrauded millions from students who cannot find jobs.
The Department of Education has full autonomy to change the fortunes of institutions and student access at its whim, and some could argue that uneven rulemaking on finance and institutional performance is expediting negative changes in the higher education marketplace. With the new focus on industrial preparation, smaller liberal arts schools with enrollment challenges will have difficulty pairing academic offerings with corporate partners and offering credentials which translate to job preparedness.
Without increased advocacy from presidents, boards and alumni, and perhaps industrial entities, schools face a very clear reality that the federal government could soon limit student aid to struggling institutions in favor of those with stronger outcomes in degree attainment, job placement and low debt default ratios; which could be doomsday for single-sex, minority-serving and smaller private colleges.