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Negotiated Rulemaking Presents Opportunity to Strengthen Accountability in Higher Education

The Department of Education needs to bolster the program integrity triad in order to protect students and public dollars.

As the U.S. Department of Education announces its intent to establish another negotiated rulemaking committee, Arnold Ventures is reiterating our call to improve accountability in higher education and strengthen the program integrity triad, which incorporates oversight by states, accrediting agencies, and the U.S. Department of Education. 

Unfortunately, this triad has too often failed to achieve its goals of consumer protection, academic quality and integrity, and rigorous oversight of public dollars. As a result, our nation faces a crisis of accountability in higher education as colleges and universities across the country fail on their promise to students and taxpayers alike: 

  • Fewer than two-thirds of bachelor’s degree-seeking students graduate within six years. 
  • Only one-third of students at two-year schools graduate within three years. 
  • More than 7 million borrowers are in default on their loans. 
  • Students in hundreds of postsecondary programs graduate no better off than they would have been with just a high school diploma.

These results are unacceptable. Our higher education system must do better. 

That’s why Arnold Ventures is recommending the Education Department use this upcoming rulemaking as an opportunity to implement reforms that will help ensure students get a fair shake and institutions fulfill their end of the bargain in exchange for tens of billions of dollars in federal postsecondary education funds every year. These reforms include: 

  • Improving the effectiveness of accreditors’ standards and practices 
  • Updating the accreditor recognition process 
  • Permitting states to enforce their laws and protect their residents 
  • Strengthening third-party servicer regulations 
  • Improving reporting on distance education

Read our letter and full list of recommendations here.