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College and University Associations Issue "Next Steps" for Undergraduate Education

College and University Associations Issue "Next Steps" for Undergra...

September 21, 2006

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE:
Noon, EDT, Thursday, September 21, 2006

CONTACTS:
Tim McDonough, ACE                          Norma Kent, AACC
Tim_mcdonough@ace.nche.edu         nkent@aacc.nche.edu
(202) 939-9365                                  (202) 728-0200, ext. 209

Barry Toiv, AAU                                   Becky Sullivan, NASULGC
Barry_toiv@aau.edu                           RSullivan@nasulgc.org
(202) 408-7500                                  (202) 478-6073 

Susan Chilcott, AASCU                        Roland King, NAICU
chilcotts@aascu.org                             roland@naicu.edu 
(202) 293-7070                                  (202) 785-8866

College and University Associations Issue "Next Steps" for Undergraduate Education

Effort Will Dovetail Reform Work of Congress, Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education, The National Academies and Others

Washington, DC (September 21, 2006)–The six major U.S. associations representing college and university presidents and chancellors today released a letter being sent to higher education institutions outlining the "next steps" on issues related to undergraduate education. 

The letter titled, Addressing the Challenges Facing American Undergraduate Education, is designed to dovetail with President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative and congressional efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, as well as reform work undertaken by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, The National Academies, and the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education, among others.

Endorsing the letter are George R. Boggs, president, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC); Constantine W. Curris, president, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU); David Ward, president, American Council on Education (ACE); Robert M. Berdahl, president, Association of American Universities (AAU); David L. Warren, president, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU); and Peter McPherson, president, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC).

The letter notes that "serious challenges face American higher education and our nation's continued economic competitiveness and security." Among them:

  • Expanding college access to low-income and minority students
  • Keeping college affordable
  • Improving learning by using new knowledge and instructional techniques
  • Preparing secondary students for higher education
  • Increasing accountability for educational outcomes
  • Internationalizing the student experience
  • Increasing opportunities for lifelong education and workforce training

The association leaders recognize that each of these challenges bears directly on undergraduate education. They see their letter as a crucial first step in a process that will not only marshal their own resources but also the collective resources of some 3,500 U.S. colleges and universities to meet these complex challenges. They look forward to a collective engagement of the higher education community with state and federal policy makers.

"We have now seen a variety of very constructive efforts to build on our foundation of strength and improve American higher education. These include the final report of Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings’ Commission on the Future of Higher Education as well as two fine reports—Rising Above the Gathering Storm and Beyond Bias and Barriers—issued by The National Academies," said ACE President David Ward. "The link between higher education and our nation’s global competitiveness has been made in Congress and the federal agencies. This is an opportune time for us to step forward and take advantage of this policy climate change."

"Community colleges are dynamic institutions, constantly changing in an effort to meet the evolving needs of their communities," said AACC President George R. Boggs. "This change will continue, hopefully with the committed support of federal, state, and local governments.  In particular, the nation must do more to help needy students attend and succeed in college.  The price of not doing so will be a dear one to pay."

"Opportunities abound for our universities to make breakthrough contributions in broadening postsecondary access, strengthening elementary and secondary education, and transitioning to the New Economy," said AASCU President Constantine W. Curris. "This letter is a manifestation of AASCU’s commitment to efficiency, effectiveness and transparency."

"As we address the challenges facing American higher education, we are fortunate to have as a foundation colleges and universities that offer an extraordinary variety of quality educational and research experiences without a centralized system that stifles educational innovation," said AAU President Robert M. Berdahl. "We need to strengthen the capacity of higher education to meet its role in sustaining the nation's competitiveness without imposing uniformity. An important contribution of research universities, for example, will be to remain at the forefront of scientific research and scholarship, even as we expand our efforts to adapt undergraduate education to the challenges of the 21st century."

"In this document, we cite seven key areas for attention that other recent examinations of higher education have also identified," said NAICU President David L. Warren. "Addressing these issues will require the best efforts of the nation's colleges and universities, as well as the higher education associations that represent them. Each association brings its own particular strengths to this enterprise, and we will be working cooperatively—whether in concert across all six associations, in smaller groups, or individually. NAICU in particular will be building on the rich compilation of accountability ideas, resources, and examples already available through our 'Colleges, Universities, and Accountability' Web site, and will be developing additional means of communicating clearly and effectively with our institutions' stakeholders. I look forward to reporting on the progress of those efforts in the months ahead."

"The challenges require change.  We’ve done so in the past and are willing to do even more in the future," said NASULGC President Peter McPherson.

The letter stresses the unique ability of the national higher education associations to act as a clearinghouse of information on best practices and other data that can help institutions broaden the scope of ongoing efforts to increase access, enhance accountability, improve links with K-12 education and internationalize the curriculum. But the document also outlines a number of specific initiatives, among them:

  • The associations pledge to strongly support in Congress "the bold recommendation" of the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education to increase the average Pell Grant to 70 percent (from 48 percent in 2004-05) of the average in-state tuition at public four-year colleges and universities over a period of five years.  
  • In early 2007, ACE, in partnership with the Advertising Council and Lumina Foundation for Education, will launch a major three-year national public service campaign to encourage low-income, first-generation students to prepare for college. The "Know How To Go" campaign will use national print and broadcast public service announcements (PSAs) and support an extensive network of community partners to provide assistance to students and families where they live.  
  • To better align high school curricula and graduation requirements with college-readiness standards, ACE, along with several other organizations, is working on the National Diploma Project. This state-based initiative is designed to increase the number of high school graduates who exit secondary school ready to do college-level work without remediation or move smoothly into the workforce or military service.
  • To help America remain competitive in math and science, NASULGC, AASCU, AAU and NAICU (in conjunction with the Council of Independent Colleges and Project Kaleidoscope) will launch a multifaceted initiative to increase the number of science and mathematics teachers prepared by colleges and universities and recommended to states for certification. 
  • On issues related to accountability and student learning, NASULGC and AASCU are developing a voluntary, transparent system of accountability for public four-year institutions. AACC has launched a task force on accountability to examine these issues in the distinctive context of community colleges. AAU is working with its member institutions to develop better information for students and parents about the actual costs incurred to attend an AAU university, the average times to degree and graduation rates, and the post-graduation outcomes of students. NAICU has compiled an extensive database of the variety of ways in which institutions demonstrate accountability to their various stakeholders so that innovative practices can be disseminated. 

The complete content of the letter is available on ACE’s web site.

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.

The American Association of Community Colleges represents the nation’s almost 1,200 regionally accredited community, junior and technical colleges and their 11 million students. Community colleges are the largest and fastest growing sector of higher education, enrolling close to half (45 percent) of all U.S. undergraduates.

The more than 400 members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) extend higher education to all citizens, including those who have been traditionally underrepresented on college campuses, and fulfill the expectations of a public university by working for the public good through education and engagement.

The Association of American Universities is an association of 60 U.S. and two Canadian research universities organized to develop and implement effective national and institutional policies supporting research and scholarship, graduate and professional education, undergraduate education, and public service in research universities.

NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education. With nearly 1,000 member institutions and associations nationwide, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States. NAICU members enroll 85 percent of all students attending private institutions. They include traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, church- and faith-related institutions, historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, single-sex colleges, art institutions, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, business, and other professions

Founded in 1887, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC, A Public University Association), is an association of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and many state public university systems. Its 214 members enroll more than 3.6 million students, award approximately a half-million degrees annually, and have an estimated 20 million alumni.  As the nation’s oldest higher education association, NASULGC is dedicated to excellence in learning, discovery and engagement. For more information visit www.nasulgc.org.

###

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE:
Noon, EDT, Thursday, September 21, 2006

CONTACTS:
Tim McDonough, ACE                          Norma Kent, AACC
Tim_mcdonough@ace.nche.edu         nkent@aacc.nche.edu
(202) 939-9365                                  (202) 728-0200, ext. 209

Barry Toiv, AAU                                   Becky Sullivan, NASULGC
Barry_toiv@aau.edu                           RSullivan@nasulgc.org
(202) 408-7500                                  (202) 478-6073 

Susan Chilcott, AASCU                        Roland King, NAICU
chilcotts@aascu.org                             roland@naicu.edu 
(202) 293-7070                                  (202) 785-8866

College and University Associations Issue "Next Steps" for Undergraduate Education

Effort Will Dovetail Reform Work of Congress, Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education, The National Academies and Others

Washington, DC (September 21, 2006)–The six major U.S. associations representing college and university presidents and chancellors today released a letter being sent to higher education institutions outlining the "next steps" on issues related to undergraduate education. 

The letter titled, Addressing the Challenges Facing American Undergraduate Education, is designed to dovetail with President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative and congressional efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, as well as reform work undertaken by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, The National Academies, and the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education, among others.

Endorsing the letter are George R. Boggs, president, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC); Constantine W. Curris, president, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU); David Ward, president, American Council on Education (ACE); Robert M. Berdahl, president, Association of American Universities (AAU); David L. Warren, president, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU); and Peter McPherson, president, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC).

The letter notes that "serious challenges face American higher education and our nation's continued economic competitiveness and security." Among them:

  • Expanding college access to low-income and minority students
  • Keeping college affordable
  • Improving learning by using new knowledge and instructional techniques
  • Preparing secondary students for higher education
  • Increasing accountability for educational outcomes
  • Internationalizing the student experience
  • Increasing opportunities for lifelong education and workforce training

The association leaders recognize that each of these challenges bears directly on undergraduate education. They see their letter as a crucial first step in a process that will not only marshal their own resources but also the collective resources of some 3,500 U.S. colleges and universities to meet these complex challenges. They look forward to a collective engagement of the higher education community with state and federal policy makers.

"We have now seen a variety of very constructive efforts to build on our foundation of strength and improve American higher education. These include the final report of Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings’ Commission on the Future of Higher Education as well as two fine reports—Rising Above the Gathering Storm and Beyond Bias and Barriers—issued by The National Academies," said ACE President David Ward. "The link between higher education and our nation’s global competitiveness has been made in Congress and the federal agencies. This is an opportune time for us to step forward and take advantage of this policy climate change."

"Community colleges are dynamic institutions, constantly changing in an effort to meet the evolving needs of their communities," said AACC President George R. Boggs. "This change will continue, hopefully with the committed support of federal, state, and local governments.  In particular, the nation must do more to help needy students attend and succeed in college.  The price of not doing so will be a dear one to pay."

"Opportunities abound for our universities to make breakthrough contributions in broadening postsecondary access, strengthening elementary and secondary education, and transitioning to the New Economy," said AASCU President Constantine W. Curris. "This letter is a manifestation of AASCU’s commitment to efficiency, effectiveness and transparency."

"As we address the challenges facing American higher education, we are fortunate to have as a foundation colleges and universities that offer an extraordinary variety of quality educational and research experiences without a centralized system that stifles educational innovation," said AAU President Robert M. Berdahl. "We need to strengthen the capacity of higher education to meet its role in sustaining the nation's competitiveness without imposing uniformity. An important contribution of research universities, for example, will be to remain at the forefront of scientific research and scholarship, even as we expand our efforts to adapt undergraduate education to the challenges of the 21st century."

"In this document, we cite seven key areas for attention that other recent examinations of higher education have also identified," said NAICU President David L. Warren. "Addressing these issues will require the best efforts of the nation's colleges and universities, as well as the higher education associations that represent them. Each association brings its own particular strengths to this enterprise, and we will be working cooperatively—whether in concert across all six associations, in smaller groups, or individually. NAICU in particular will be building on the rich compilation of accountability ideas, resources, and examples already available through our 'Colleges, Universities, and Accountability' Web site, and will be developing additional means of communicating clearly and effectively with our institutions' stakeholders. I look forward to reporting on the progress of those efforts in the months ahead."

"The challenges require change.  We’ve done so in the past and are willing to do even more in the future," said NASULGC President Peter McPherson.

The letter stresses the unique ability of the national higher education associations to act as a clearinghouse of information on best practices and other data that can help institutions broaden the scope of ongoing efforts to increase access, enhance accountability, improve links with K-12 education and internationalize the curriculum. But the document also outlines a number of specific initiatives, among them:

  • The associations pledge to strongly support in Congress "the bold recommendation" of the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education to increase the average Pell Grant to 70 percent (from 48 percent in 2004-05) of the average in-state tuition at public four-year colleges and universities over a period of five years.  
  • In early 2007, ACE, in partnership with the Advertising Council and Lumina Foundation for Education, will launch a major three-year national public service campaign to encourage low-income, first-generation students to prepare for college. The "Know How To Go" campaign will use national print and broadcast public service announcements (PSAs) and support an extensive network of community partners to provide assistance to students and families where they live.  
  • To better align high school curricula and graduation requirements with college-readiness standards, ACE, along with several other organizations, is working on the National Diploma Project. This state-based initiative is designed to increase the number of high school graduates who exit secondary school ready to do college-level work without remediation or move smoothly into the workforce or military service.
  • To help America remain competitive in math and science, NASULGC, AASCU, AAU and NAICU (in conjunction with the Council of Independent Colleges and Project Kaleidoscope) will launch a multifaceted initiative to increase the number of science and mathematics teachers prepared by colleges and universities and recommended to states for certification. 
  • On issues related to accountability and student learning, NASULGC and AASCU are developing a voluntary, transparent system of accountability for public four-year institutions. AACC has launched a task force on accountability to examine these issues in the distinctive context of community colleges. AAU is working with its member institutions to develop better information for students and parents about the actual costs incurred to attend an AAU university, the average times to degree and graduation rates, and the post-graduation outcomes of students. NAICU has compiled an extensive database of the variety of ways in which institutions demonstrate accountability to their various stakeholders so that innovative practices can be disseminated. 

The complete content of the letter is available on ACE’s web site.

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.

The American Association of Community Colleges represents the nation’s almost 1,200 regionally accredited community, junior and technical colleges and their 11 million students. Community colleges are the largest and fastest growing sector of higher education, enrolling close to half (45 percent) of all U.S. undergraduates.

The more than 400 members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) extend higher education to all citizens, including those who have been traditionally underrepresented on college campuses, and fulfill the expectations of a public university by working for the public good through education and engagement.

The Association of American Universities is an association of 60 U.S. and two Canadian research universities organized to develop and implement effective national and institutional policies supporting research and scholarship, graduate and professional education, undergraduate education, and public service in research universities.

NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education. With nearly 1,000 member institutions and associations nationwide, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States. NAICU members enroll 85 percent of all students attending private institutions. They include traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, church- and faith-related institutions, historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, single-sex colleges, art institutions, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, business, and other professions

Founded in 1887, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC, A Public University Association), is an association of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and many state public university systems. Its 214 members enroll more than 3.6 million students, award approximately a half-million degrees annually, and have an estimated 20 million alumni.  As the nation’s oldest higher education association, NASULGC is dedicated to excellence in learning, discovery and engagement. For more information visit www.nasulgc.org.

###

September 21, 2006

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National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Views Spellings Commission Final Report as Improved, but Still Problematic

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Views...

August 06, 2006

Mr. Charles Miller, Chairman

Secretary's Commission on the Future of Higher Education

U.S. Department of Education, Room 5E313

400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.

Washington, DC 20202

 

 

Dear Mr. Miller: 

As you and the other members of Secretary Spellings' Commission on the Future ofHigher Education near the completion of your report, I wish to take the opportunity to state the views of the NAICU membership, particularly as they relate to some of the draft recommendations. From our several conversations, you likely are aware of these already. 

Overview

First, I want to commend the members of the Commission, not only for your debate of the issues throughout your deliberations, and especially surrounding the various drafts of your report, but also for your consideration of public comment and outside views as the drafts evolved. Both the tone and substance of the report have improved as a result.

There are many elements in the current draft that the NAICU membership can support and even applaud. These include the Commission's emphasis on increasing access; the recognition of the vital role of higher education in contributing both to the public good and to individual enhancement; the need for accountability (although we would emphasize accountability that is "appropriate" to the many stakeholders in higher education); the importance of increasing need-based student financial aid; a heightened awareness for additional resources in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); the call for deregulation of higher education at the federal and state level; the importance of an education which will produce globally literate graduates; and the need to address important policies aimed at international students who wish to study in the United States. 

Student Unit Record DataWhile saluting the Commission's recommendations in these areas, we find others extremely problematic. The first of these has to do with student unit record data. NAICU and its members institutions share a fundamental belief that student and family privacy must be protected. For 30 years, federal privacy laws have allowed schools to release student-specific confidential data only with the written approval of the student. We strongly support those laws. We object to the idea of student-level data on the basis of four key concerns: privacy, security, the law, and existing data. 

  • PRIVACY – Put simply, we do not believe that the price of enrolling in college should be permanent entry into a federal registry, and that has been the driving force behind our opposition to a federal student unit record data system. A centralized national database tracking college students, their academic progress, financial aid information, enrollment, and performance in their careers is profoundly counter to the democratic underpinnings of higher education and American society. We recognize that some people accept the personal privacy compromises of data systems that would collect student information throughout all of one's schooling and beyond. However, our members find this idea chilling. The August 3 draft of your report calls for "non-identifiable data." This seems inconsistent with your desire to collect data on transfer students, and to track labor force outcomes. Finding effective ways to track the progress of individuals, without having their identities known in some originating database, seems highly improbable.
  • SECURITY – We also fear that the existence of such a massive registry will prove irresistible to future demands for ancillary uses of the data, and for additions to the data for non-educational purposes. Assurances are given that modern technology and electronic security practices will keep this most sensitive personal information safe. Yet, with increasing frequency, there are reports of serious breaches in the data levees. No one can say that individual student information collected would be absolutely secure.      
  • THE LAW – In July 2005, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unanimously adopted an amendment to the Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill that would prohibit the Department of Education from using HEA funds for a student unit record data system. This language was not challenged when the full House considered the measure in March of this year. Overwhelmingly, the law reflects American public opinion. In a recent poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, and sponsored by NAICU, Americans agreed by a two to one margin that enough data are already collected at the college and university level, and that reporting individual data is a breach of privacy that could result in abuses of people's personal information.      
  • EXISTING DATA – A wealth of aggregate data are available through IPEDS, and these data have helped guide any number of policy questions. In addition, there are several longitudinal studies conducted by NCES – such as NELS (The National Education Longitudinal Study) and the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study – that capture individual student information for research into student demographic characteristics, program persistence and completion, and post-baccalaureate education and employment. These studies, based on statistically valid samples of students, have been useful in addressing policy questions and do not compromise individual student data. NAICU believes that these studies are capable of providing sufficient data in response to the frequently cited public policy need for information on transfer students and graduation rates.

          Independent colleges and universities strongly support the use of data, including aggregate student measures, to make the college selection process easier for students and their families. However, a federal cradle-to-grave database is not the answer.The vast volume of institutional data that the government already collects should be effectively organized on the underutilized COOL website – which does compare institutions along an array of variables – and then aggressively marketed. This would give families the information they need, while avoiding the serious privacy and security risks posed by a student unit record database. 

Federal Student Financial Aid Programs 

Our second area of concern is the Commission's recommendation to dismantle the current array of federal student financial aid programs, and replace it with something as yet undefined. While we certainly concur with the Commission that the Pell Grant program needs to be substantially increased, those funds should not come from a dismantling of the current programs. Each program serves a vital and proven purpose, and eliminating any will only serve to diminish support for low-income students. Indeed, the Commission's recommendations would have a net negative impact on student aid for the neediest students.

Outcome Measures 

Finally, while the Commission has steered away from specific language about a single test to measure students' performance, we are concerned that the Commission's rationale for outcomes information gives the impression that it is possible to compare one institution with all others. A drive for such comparisons will inevitably lead to the attempt to adopt a single test. Much more relevant would be a system that is voluntary among peer institutions, in which these specific institutions could identify several instruments that they could evaluate as appropriate for comparison among themselves. Independent colleges and universities have been on the forefront of better student assessment with NSSE and CLA, and active in these areas for many years. The rich variety of American institutions of higher education cannot be captured by a single measure. 

I hope that these comments are useful as you develop your final recommendations. I will be attending the Commission meeting on August 10, and will look forward to the Commission's discussion of the third draft of its report. 

Sincerely,

David L. Warren

President

 

Mr. Charles Miller, Chairman

Secretary's Commission on the Future of Higher Education

U.S. Department of Education, Room 5E313

400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.

Washington, DC 20202

 

 

Dear Mr. Miller: 

As you and the other members of Secretary Spellings' Commission on the Future ofHigher Education near the completion of your report, I wish to take the opportunity to state the views of the NAICU membership, particularly as they relate to some of the draft recommendations. From our several conversations, you likely are aware of these already. 

Overview

First, I want to commend the members of the Commission, not only for your debate of the issues throughout your deliberations, and especially surrounding the various drafts of your report, but also for your consideration of public comment and outside views as the drafts evolved. Both the tone and substance of the report have improved as a result.

There are many elements in the current draft that the NAICU membership can support and even applaud. These include the Commission's emphasis on increasing access; the recognition of the vital role of higher education in contributing both to the public good and to individual enhancement; the need for accountability (although we would emphasize accountability that is "appropriate" to the many stakeholders in higher education); the importance of increasing need-based student financial aid; a heightened awareness for additional resources in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); the call for deregulation of higher education at the federal and state level; the importance of an education which will produce globally literate graduates; and the need to address important policies aimed at international students who wish to study in the United States. 

Student Unit Record DataWhile saluting the Commission's recommendations in these areas, we find others extremely problematic. The first of these has to do with student unit record data. NAICU and its members institutions share a fundamental belief that student and family privacy must be protected. For 30 years, federal privacy laws have allowed schools to release student-specific confidential data only with the written approval of the student. We strongly support those laws. We object to the idea of student-level data on the basis of four key concerns: privacy, security, the law, and existing data. 

  • PRIVACY – Put simply, we do not believe that the price of enrolling in college should be permanent entry into a federal registry, and that has been the driving force behind our opposition to a federal student unit record data system. A centralized national database tracking college students, their academic progress, financial aid information, enrollment, and performance in their careers is profoundly counter to the democratic underpinnings of higher education and American society. We recognize that some people accept the personal privacy compromises of data systems that would collect student information throughout all of one's schooling and beyond. However, our members find this idea chilling. The August 3 draft of your report calls for "non-identifiable data." This seems inconsistent with your desire to collect data on transfer students, and to track labor force outcomes. Finding effective ways to track the progress of individuals, without having their identities known in some originating database, seems highly improbable.
  • SECURITY – We also fear that the existence of such a massive registry will prove irresistible to future demands for ancillary uses of the data, and for additions to the data for non-educational purposes. Assurances are given that modern technology and electronic security practices will keep this most sensitive personal information safe. Yet, with increasing frequency, there are reports of serious breaches in the data levees. No one can say that individual student information collected would be absolutely secure.      
  • THE LAW – In July 2005, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unanimously adopted an amendment to the Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill that would prohibit the Department of Education from using HEA funds for a student unit record data system. This language was not challenged when the full House considered the measure in March of this year. Overwhelmingly, the law reflects American public opinion. In a recent poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, and sponsored by NAICU, Americans agreed by a two to one margin that enough data are already collected at the college and university level, and that reporting individual data is a breach of privacy that could result in abuses of people's personal information.      
  • EXISTING DATA – A wealth of aggregate data are available through IPEDS, and these data have helped guide any number of policy questions. In addition, there are several longitudinal studies conducted by NCES – such as NELS (The National Education Longitudinal Study) and the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study – that capture individual student information for research into student demographic characteristics, program persistence and completion, and post-baccalaureate education and employment. These studies, based on statistically valid samples of students, have been useful in addressing policy questions and do not compromise individual student data. NAICU believes that these studies are capable of providing sufficient data in response to the frequently cited public policy need for information on transfer students and graduation rates.

          Independent colleges and universities strongly support the use of data, including aggregate student measures, to make the college selection process easier for students and their families. However, a federal cradle-to-grave database is not the answer.The vast volume of institutional data that the government already collects should be effectively organized on the underutilized COOL website – which does compare institutions along an array of variables – and then aggressively marketed. This would give families the information they need, while avoiding the serious privacy and security risks posed by a student unit record database. 

Federal Student Financial Aid Programs 

Our second area of concern is the Commission's recommendation to dismantle the current array of federal student financial aid programs, and replace it with something as yet undefined. While we certainly concur with the Commission that the Pell Grant program needs to be substantially increased, those funds should not come from a dismantling of the current programs. Each program serves a vital and proven purpose, and eliminating any will only serve to diminish support for low-income students. Indeed, the Commission's recommendations would have a net negative impact on student aid for the neediest students.

Outcome Measures 

Finally, while the Commission has steered away from specific language about a single test to measure students' performance, we are concerned that the Commission's rationale for outcomes information gives the impression that it is possible to compare one institution with all others. A drive for such comparisons will inevitably lead to the attempt to adopt a single test. Much more relevant would be a system that is voluntary among peer institutions, in which these specific institutions could identify several instruments that they could evaluate as appropriate for comparison among themselves. Independent colleges and universities have been on the forefront of better student assessment with NSSE and CLA, and active in these areas for many years. The rich variety of American institutions of higher education cannot be captured by a single measure. 

I hope that these comments are useful as you develop your final recommendations. I will be attending the Commission meeting on August 10, and will look forward to the Commission's discussion of the third draft of its report. 

Sincerely,

David L. Warren

President

 

August 06, 2006

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American Public Gives Low Marks to Proposed Federal Database of College Students

American Public Gives Low Marks to Proposed Federal Database of Col...

July 07, 2006

Threat to Privacy, Security Risks, and Financial Costs Cited as Factors against a National Student Tracking System

 

Washington, D.C., July 6, 2006—Americans overwhelmingly object to a proposed federal system for tracking each college student’s academic, financial aid, and enrollment information in a central database, according to poll results released today by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

 

A recently released (June 22) draft report by the U.S. Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education calls for the creation of a "national student unit record tracking system" to collect longitudinal data on college students. The proposal comes on the heels of a continued effort by officials at the U.S. Department of Education during the past two years to develop such a system, despite growing concern about invasion of student privacy. Such a system would substantially change the way the federal government collects higher education data. The department currently collects only aggregate data from institutions.

 

The survey found that:

 

  • Sixty-two percent of the respondents oppose the proposed federal data collection effort, while 33 percent support it.
     
  • By a factor of more than two to one (68 percent to 27 percent), Americans think that enough information is already collected at the college and university level. They believe that dredging for more data would be a breach of students’ privacy that could result in the misuse of their personal information.
     
  • Sixty percent of Americans believe that collecting individual student data is costly, intrusive, and does not address a pressing public policy issue. Only 34 percent support the idea.

The survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted June 23-27 by Ipsos Public Affairs. Its margin error is +/- 3.1 percent.

 

As envisioned by supporters of the "student unit record tracking system," student information would be linked to individuals through a unique identifier. Opponents are concerned that the system could potentially be tied to information from the student’s high school and elementary records, and follow the individual into the workforce.

 

"It is ironic that we are considering such an assault on Americans’ privacy and security in the shadow of the Fourth of July, when we celebrate the American values of freedom and choice," said David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

 

Rebecca Thompson, legislative director of the United States Student Association, said, "USSA feels that this is a massive invasion of student privacy. We fear that information in this proposed database could be used for purposes that are unrelated to higher education."

 

"The proposed student unit record database goes against the commission’s own goal of reducing the federal regulatory burden on higher education," said David Shi, president of Furman University.

 

Katherine Will, president of Gettysburg College, added that there is "no compelling need for this database. There is no clear case for public policy that would be informed by the information gathered."

 

Christopher Nelson, president of St. John’s College, called the student unit record database "an Orwellian proposal that would federalize higher education."

 

"What this poll tells us is that the proposal should be DOA. The public is opposed to it, and the House has already shown its opposition in the Higher Education Act. The commission would do well to reconsider its support for this idea," said Loren Anderson, president of Pacific Lutheran University.

 

Ralph Wagoner, president of the Lutheran Educational Conference of North America, said, "Supporters of the proposal say it will promote accountability. However, we are already held accountable through the accrediting process, existing federal and state regulations, our trustees, and, most important, by the marketplace."

 

"This is not a partisan issue," said Rolf Wegenke, president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. "It is a matter of student privacy and the security of personal information."

More Information ...

Threat to Privacy, Security Risks, and Financial Costs Cited as Factors against a National Student Tracking System

 

Washington, D.C., July 6, 2006—Americans overwhelmingly object to a proposed federal system for tracking each college student’s academic, financial aid, and enrollment information in a central database, according to poll results released today by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

 

A recently released (June 22) draft report by the U.S. Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education calls for the creation of a "national student unit record tracking system" to collect longitudinal data on college students. The proposal comes on the heels of a continued effort by officials at the U.S. Department of Education during the past two years to develop such a system, despite growing concern about invasion of student privacy. Such a system would substantially change the way the federal government collects higher education data. The department currently collects only aggregate data from institutions.

 

The survey found that:

 

  • Sixty-two percent of the respondents oppose the proposed federal data collection effort, while 33 percent support it.
     
  • By a factor of more than two to one (68 percent to 27 percent), Americans think that enough information is already collected at the college and university level. They believe that dredging for more data would be a breach of students’ privacy that could result in the misuse of their personal information.
     
  • Sixty percent of Americans believe that collecting individual student data is costly, intrusive, and does not address a pressing public policy issue. Only 34 percent support the idea.

The survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted June 23-27 by Ipsos Public Affairs. Its margin error is +/- 3.1 percent.

 

As envisioned by supporters of the "student unit record tracking system," student information would be linked to individuals through a unique identifier. Opponents are concerned that the system could potentially be tied to information from the student’s high school and elementary records, and follow the individual into the workforce.

 

"It is ironic that we are considering such an assault on Americans’ privacy and security in the shadow of the Fourth of July, when we celebrate the American values of freedom and choice," said David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

 

Rebecca Thompson, legislative director of the United States Student Association, said, "USSA feels that this is a massive invasion of student privacy. We fear that information in this proposed database could be used for purposes that are unrelated to higher education."

 

"The proposed student unit record database goes against the commission’s own goal of reducing the federal regulatory burden on higher education," said David Shi, president of Furman University.

 

Katherine Will, president of Gettysburg College, added that there is "no compelling need for this database. There is no clear case for public policy that would be informed by the information gathered."

 

Christopher Nelson, president of St. John’s College, called the student unit record database "an Orwellian proposal that would federalize higher education."

 

"What this poll tells us is that the proposal should be DOA. The public is opposed to it, and the House has already shown its opposition in the Higher Education Act. The commission would do well to reconsider its support for this idea," said Loren Anderson, president of Pacific Lutheran University.

 

Ralph Wagoner, president of the Lutheran Educational Conference of North America, said, "Supporters of the proposal say it will promote accountability. However, we are already held accountable through the accrediting process, existing federal and state regulations, our trustees, and, most important, by the marketplace."

 

"This is not a partisan issue," said Rolf Wegenke, president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. "It is a matter of student privacy and the security of personal information."

More Information ...

July 07, 2006

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Democracy 101: National Initiative Aims to Get More College Students to the Polls

Democracy 101: National Initiative Aims to Get More College Student...

June 21, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

June 21, 2006 CONTACTS

Tony Pals

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

202-739-0474 (office), 202-288-9333 (mobile), tony@naicu.edu

Heather Berg

American Association of State Colleges and Universities 202-478-4665 (office), bergh@aascu.org  

Democracy 101: National Initiative Aims  to Get More College Students to the Polls  

The National Campus Voter Registration Project launches nonpartisan Web site and guidebook for registering, educating,  and turning out student voters for the 2006 mid-term election  

WASHINGTON, DC—The 2004 presidential election marked a sharp reversal in voting patterns among college students, as they turned out in numbers not seen in 12 years. 

Unprecedented campus mobilization efforts, combined with deep student interest in several hot-button issues, raised turnout among 18- to 24-year-old college students by 11 percentage points over the 2000 presidential election. 

The 2004 election set a high bar for college students and their institutions. In that election, nearly 70 percent of 18- to 24-year-old college students registered to vote. Nearly 60 percent cast a ballot. Almost twice as many college students vote as do 18- to 24-year-olds who do not attend college.  

Observers have asked whether the sharp increase is an anomaly in a long decline in voting rates, or the start of a new upward trend. 

“A renewal in civic awareness and participation has taken hold in higher education in recent years,” said David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and co-chair of the National Campus Voter Registration Project. “In the last two presidential elections, students saw the difference that each individual vote can make. Today’s national issues—terrorism and homeland security, the war in Iraq, the nation’s financial future, and student aid funding—are issues of great concern to this ideologically diverse group. A surge of proactive, coordinated campus voter registration and turnout initiatives, most nonpartisan in nature, motivated millions of students to cast a ballot.  

“As the 2006 election approaches, college and university leaders are not resting on their laurels,” Warren said. “Participation in midterm elections is always lower than in presidential election years. Campus organizers will be focused on topping the 26 percent of students who turned out in 2002.” 

To help accomplish this, the National Campus Voter Registration Project, a joint effort of nearly 50 national higher education associations, is again making resources available to the nation’s 3,700 colleges and universities to aid campus efforts for the 2006 election. The National Campus Voter Registration Project is a nonpartisan, nationwide campaign to register college students, foster learning about the issues and candidates, and motivate students to go to the polls on Election Day. A record number of administrators, faculty, and students turnedto the project’s materials in 2004. 

This month, the National Campus Voter Project is distributing to every campus in the nation Your Vote, Your Voice, a comprehensive guide to developing and implementing a campus-based voter education and participation campaign. It is available online at www.YourVoteYourVoice.org

”Nurturing America's future leaders is the business of America.s colleges and universities,” Warren said. “Our students receive rigorous intellectual training, character development, and exposure to a world rich in new ideas. Just as important to us is fostering a strong sense of civic awareness and commitment in students of all political persuasions to regularly engage inparticipatory democracy.” 

Constantine Curris, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and co-chair of the initiative, added: “The deep commitment of America’s colleges and universities to preparing our students for citizenship has been matched by the energy and seriousness that this generation of college students brings to American civic life.” 

“If our democracy is to be sustained and strengthened, we must continue to educate students about their rights and responsibilities as citizens and foster their engagement in the electoral process,” Curris said.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

June 21, 2006 CONTACTS

Tony Pals

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

202-739-0474 (office), 202-288-9333 (mobile), tony@naicu.edu

Heather Berg

American Association of State Colleges and Universities 202-478-4665 (office), bergh@aascu.org  

Democracy 101: National Initiative Aims  to Get More College Students to the Polls  

The National Campus Voter Registration Project launches nonpartisan Web site and guidebook for registering, educating,  and turning out student voters for the 2006 mid-term election  

WASHINGTON, DC—The 2004 presidential election marked a sharp reversal in voting patterns among college students, as they turned out in numbers not seen in 12 years. 

Unprecedented campus mobilization efforts, combined with deep student interest in several hot-button issues, raised turnout among 18- to 24-year-old college students by 11 percentage points over the 2000 presidential election. 

The 2004 election set a high bar for college students and their institutions. In that election, nearly 70 percent of 18- to 24-year-old college students registered to vote. Nearly 60 percent cast a ballot. Almost twice as many college students vote as do 18- to 24-year-olds who do not attend college.  

Observers have asked whether the sharp increase is an anomaly in a long decline in voting rates, or the start of a new upward trend. 

“A renewal in civic awareness and participation has taken hold in higher education in recent years,” said David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and co-chair of the National Campus Voter Registration Project. “In the last two presidential elections, students saw the difference that each individual vote can make. Today’s national issues—terrorism and homeland security, the war in Iraq, the nation’s financial future, and student aid funding—are issues of great concern to this ideologically diverse group. A surge of proactive, coordinated campus voter registration and turnout initiatives, most nonpartisan in nature, motivated millions of students to cast a ballot.  

“As the 2006 election approaches, college and university leaders are not resting on their laurels,” Warren said. “Participation in midterm elections is always lower than in presidential election years. Campus organizers will be focused on topping the 26 percent of students who turned out in 2002.” 

To help accomplish this, the National Campus Voter Registration Project, a joint effort of nearly 50 national higher education associations, is again making resources available to the nation’s 3,700 colleges and universities to aid campus efforts for the 2006 election. The National Campus Voter Registration Project is a nonpartisan, nationwide campaign to register college students, foster learning about the issues and candidates, and motivate students to go to the polls on Election Day. A record number of administrators, faculty, and students turnedto the project’s materials in 2004. 

This month, the National Campus Voter Project is distributing to every campus in the nation Your Vote, Your Voice, a comprehensive guide to developing and implementing a campus-based voter education and participation campaign. It is available online at www.YourVoteYourVoice.org

”Nurturing America's future leaders is the business of America.s colleges and universities,” Warren said. “Our students receive rigorous intellectual training, character development, and exposure to a world rich in new ideas. Just as important to us is fostering a strong sense of civic awareness and commitment in students of all political persuasions to regularly engage inparticipatory democracy.” 

Constantine Curris, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and co-chair of the initiative, added: “The deep commitment of America’s colleges and universities to preparing our students for citizenship has been matched by the energy and seriousness that this generation of college students brings to American civic life.” 

“If our democracy is to be sustained and strengthened, we must continue to educate students about their rights and responsibilities as citizens and foster their engagement in the electoral process,” Curris said.

 

June 21, 2006

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Statement by NAICU President David L. Warren on the Higher Education Act Bill Passed Today by the House of Representatives

Statement by NAICU President David L. Warren on the Higher Educatio...

March 30, 2006

(By a vote of 221 to 199, the House of Representatives today passed the Higher Education Act (HEA), H.R. 609. The bill moves on to the Senate.)

We appreciate the willingness of Chairman Buck McKeon and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to listen to the concerns of America’s private colleges and universities. The bill passed by the House today is a marked improvement over the one that came out of committee.

While the bill is not perfect, the progress made has opened the way for us to work together with Mr. McKeon and his Democratic counterpart Rep. Miller to seek further improvements in the legislation.

While flaws remain, significant improvements were made to the bill over the past week. The Republican Leadership agreed to support two amendments that (1) addressed our major policy problems with transfer of credit; (2) fully struck the states as accreditors language; and (3) removed the most egregious, but not all, enforcement mechanisms for federal price controls, although aspects of the reporting requirements that are troublesome still remain.

Although we do not endorse the bill, those improvements allowed NAICU to remove its vigorous opposition to the bill on the House floor.

In the past week, independent colleges around the nation voiced a number of concerns about the House bill. Principal among our concerns were provisions we believe establish inappropriate federal control over a private college's responsibility to set its own prices, and those that would allow states to become accreditors.

America's private colleges play an essential role in ensuring the diversity of choice that is the strength of American higher education. We look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats to safeguard the diversity and quality of private higher education, by ensuring appropriate accountability to federal taxpayers without imposing inappropriate federal or state control.

(By a vote of 221 to 199, the House of Representatives today passed the Higher Education Act (HEA), H.R. 609. The bill moves on to the Senate.)

We appreciate the willingness of Chairman Buck McKeon and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to listen to the concerns of America’s private colleges and universities. The bill passed by the House today is a marked improvement over the one that came out of committee.

While the bill is not perfect, the progress made has opened the way for us to work together with Mr. McKeon and his Democratic counterpart Rep. Miller to seek further improvements in the legislation.

While flaws remain, significant improvements were made to the bill over the past week. The Republican Leadership agreed to support two amendments that (1) addressed our major policy problems with transfer of credit; (2) fully struck the states as accreditors language; and (3) removed the most egregious, but not all, enforcement mechanisms for federal price controls, although aspects of the reporting requirements that are troublesome still remain.

Although we do not endorse the bill, those improvements allowed NAICU to remove its vigorous opposition to the bill on the House floor.

In the past week, independent colleges around the nation voiced a number of concerns about the House bill. Principal among our concerns were provisions we believe establish inappropriate federal control over a private college's responsibility to set its own prices, and those that would allow states to become accreditors.

America's private colleges play an essential role in ensuring the diversity of choice that is the strength of American higher education. We look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats to safeguard the diversity and quality of private higher education, by ensuring appropriate accountability to federal taxpayers without imposing inappropriate federal or state control.

March 30, 2006

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About the items posted on the NAICU site: News items, features, and opinion pieces posted on this site from sources outside NAICU do not necessarily reflect the position of the association or its members. Rather, this content reflects the diversity of issues and views that are shaping American higher education.

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