Colleges and accrediting agencies dodged a bullet this summer as Congress, enacting legislation to renew the Higher Education Act, shielded higher education from the U.S. Education Department’s efforts to step up federal regulation of how accreditors and, by extension, colleges ensure that students are learning. The legislation barred the education secretary from issuing regulations to dictate accreditors’ standards on student learning outcomes.
But as an aide to academe’s chief Congressional defender, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), warned in June, college leaders shouldn’t let themselves think that the shooting has stopped. Congress will next renew the Higher Education Act in five years, David Cleary told a group of college and accrediting officials this summer, and in “the absence of good answers” between now and then about how higher education can prove (and, where lacking, improve) its effectiveness, increased federal intervention is sure to follow. Read full story. (Inside Higher Ed)