- U.S. Department of Education Undersecretary Ted Mitchell says that the incoming Trump administration is the "elephant in the room" on discussion about higher education in comments made during a recent White House event on education innovation held in Washington, DC.
- Mitchell refused to speculate on which policies and programs could be eliminated during a Trump presidency, but charged attendees with the imperative to continue finding better solutions to produce better postgraduate outcomes through technology and credentialing.
- "We innovate because we feel dissatisfied with the way doing things the old way results in ineffective outcomes," Mitchell told attendees, adding that he hoped several programs, like pilot alternative degree partnerships between colleges and private companies, would continue under the new administration.
Considering that most of the Obama Administration's efforts in higher education can be undone in the first few days of a Trump Administration, there is every reason to believe that all of the current initiatives in place could be eliminated in a massive sweep to deregulate and cease federal spending on higher education. And there are few things that college leaders can do about that prospect.
But what campuses should do is to anticipate these changes and consider that many of the grants and funding upon which they've previously depended will be cut off. Now is the time for increased advocacy with state and private foundations to express how higher education could be disrupted under a Trump presidency and why support matters now — perhaps more than it ever has before.