Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Regulating higher education

For years colleges and universities have participated in federal financial aid programs.  Now some strings are starting to be attached.  As I noted in an earlier post, the higher education community is viewing this development with some concern. 

Today's NYT editorial on the subject illustrates some examples of what might be in store.  The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has drafted a one page shopping sheet (NYT's terminology, not mine) that every school would have to make available showing annual cost (tuition, housing, books, etc. net of scholarships) and how it compares to national averages.  This would be a big step forward; I can tell you from personal experience that one of the hardest items to find on any university's website is the tuition. 

The Department of Education is working on a College Scorecard reporting data on cost, graduation rates, indebtedness, and employment.  This also would help parents and students make more informed decisions. 

Now I am sure there are other ideas out there that I will not be so crazy about, but it strikes me that the cost of providing this information will be modest compared to the benefits. 

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