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Backgrounder: Facts about Private College and University Affordability and Accessibility

Backgrounder: Facts about Private College and University Affordabil...

October 24, 2006

Facts about Private College and UniversityAffordability and Accessibility

Background for the 2006 College BoardTuition and Student Aid Reports

…………………………………………………………………………………………… 

Trends in Private College Tuition and Fees 

The College Board reports that tuition at private colleges and universities rose by 5.9 percent for2006-07. The inflation-adjusted increase in published tuition and fees at four-year private institutions between 2001-02 and 2006-07 is 11 percent lower than any other five-year increase since 1981. 

The Value of Financial Aid at Private Colleges and Universities 

The College Board also reports that the amount of student aid available grew 8 percent. While theaverage list price for tuition and fees at our institutions this year is $22,218, the average net tuition (published price minus grants and tax benefits) is $13,200--more than 40 percent below the average published tuition. 

Recent statistics from the Department of Education bear out the importance of student aid in keeping private higher education affordable to students from all backgrounds. Eighty-six percent of dependent, full-time undergraduates receive some form of aid. The average annual aid package is $15,900. Seventy-nine percent of these students receive grant aid worth an average of $9,400 a year.  

As a result, students at private institutions are as likely to come from low-income and working families, or racial or ethnic minorities, as students at public four-year universities. Students at private colleges and universities still graduate with a surprisingly similar amount in federal loans as their peers at public institutions. 

Students’ Return on Investment

Seventy-nine percent of students who earn a bachelor’s degree from a private college or university are able to do so in four years or less, compared with 49 percent of graduates at state institutions. 

Students at private institutions are also more likely to be involved on campus and in their communities, and to rate their college experience higher than their state college counterparts. 

Eighty-nine percent of private college graduates report their financial investment was worth it. Nearly 9 in 10 private college seniors say their education strengthened and expanded their writing, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills; critical thinking ability; and expertise in a particular field. 

Cost Drivers at Private Institutions 

This year’s average increase of 5.9 percent reflects extraordinary increases in several cost drivers.Two major revenue streams--endowments and philanthropic giving--continue to make up groundslowly after several years of lost revenue.

  • From 1994-95 to 2004-05, grant aid provided by private colleges increased 150 percent, more than twice the rate of tuition (71 percent).
 
  • Since 2005, the price of utilities has risen 27 percent, according to the Commonfund Institute. This is almost triple the average annual increase over the last four years.
 
  • The median increase for health care costs at colleges was 9 percent in 2005-06, according to the College and University Personnel Association.
 
  • In recent years, annual premiums for many types of insurance, including general liability,property, and worker’s compensation, have commonly increased by double-digit rates. Experts expect property insurance to increase between 10 to 50 percent in 2006, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

 

  • Periodicals and other library materials routinely increase by double-digit rates each year. The Association of Research Libraries reports that between 1986 and 2004, research library expenditures for scholarly journals increased 273 percent.
 
  • The cost of keeping up with innovations in information technology at private colleges anduniversities increased 26 percent in 2005-06, according to Market Data Retrieval. 

 

  • The National Association of College and University Business Officers reports that the average college endowment earned 9.3 percent in 2005. However, when inflation and endowment spending rates are taken into account, the five-year average return of 3.3 percent translates into a decline in endowment earning potential over that time.
 
  • According to the Council for Aid to Education, philanthropic giving to institutions increased by 4.9 percent between 2003-04 and 2004-05. Adjusted for inflation, the increase is 1.6 percent. Corporate giving did not increase and gifts from individuals other than alumni declined.

 Cuts in Federal Student Aid as a Cost Driver 

Congress has not kept funding for student aid in line with inflation, growing family need, or the wave of low-income and first-generation college students who are academically prepared for college. The erosion of federal student aid in the past five years has become an additional strain on college budgets as institutions attempt to fill the gap. Students at private colleges today receive nearly five times as much grant aid from their institutions as from the federal government. 

The maximum Pell Grant hasn’t increased in five years. The constant dollar value of the average Pell Grant declined for the second consecutive year in 2004-05. Because of flat Pell funding and cuts in the federal campus-based aid programs, grant and work-study packages for students have shrunk. This is not the way to make higher education affordable for America’s working families. It is also putting the public good provided by higher education at risk. 

We support the call by the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education to increase the maximum Pell Grant to 70 percent of the average cost of in-state tuition at a four-year public university, from the current 33 percent. Such a move by Congress would have the long-term benefits of the G.I. Bill, positioning the nation to safeguard its role as a global economic, scientific, political, and security leader. Private colleges and universities remain dedicated to controlling costs, increasing accessibility, and maintaining quality. Congress needs to keep up its commitment to needy students, their future, and the future of the national interest. 

Institutional Efforts to Enhance Affordability and Control Costs 

All colleges—and their students—face financial pressures. Private institutions are addressing them by implementing innovative affordability and cost-cutting initiatives. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cost control and affordability, because of differences in mission, student population, and fiscal resources. Private colleges are employing a variety of strategies.

  • A small but growing number of private colleges and universities are reducing their sticker prices for tuition and fees.
 
  • Others have locked in the tuition rate for a student’s four- or five-year enrollment. This means that tuition remains the same each year for a student.
 
  • Several are tapping endowment funds to assist low income students: covering tuition, room, and board; eliminating loans; lowering parental contributions; and matching Pell Grants.
 
  • Others offer three-year bachelor’s degree programs, or four-year graduation and employment guarantees.
 
  • • While funds from state tuition savings plans can be used at private colleges throughout the nation many institutions have gone further to develop tuition prepayment plans for future students.

 To control operating expenses, more institutions are: 

  • Entering into consortial arrangements to reduce administrative and academic redundancies, and leverage their purchasing power to obtain lower costs for energy, insurance, information technology, and other services;
 
  • Outsourcing campus services, such as grounds and facilities maintenance, alumni relations operations, residence hall management, billing and other “back office” functions, and bookstores; and
 
  • Turning to environmentally friendly systems to lower energy consumption; streamlining staff; and consolidating offices and programs to enhance efficiency.

 Examples of affordability, cost-saving, and consortial initiatives are posted on the NAICU Web site at www.naicu.edu/news/campusinnovations.asp

###

Facts about Private College and UniversityAffordability and Accessibility

Background for the 2006 College BoardTuition and Student Aid Reports

…………………………………………………………………………………………… 

Trends in Private College Tuition and Fees 

The College Board reports that tuition at private colleges and universities rose by 5.9 percent for2006-07. The inflation-adjusted increase in published tuition and fees at four-year private institutions between 2001-02 and 2006-07 is 11 percent lower than any other five-year increase since 1981. 

The Value of Financial Aid at Private Colleges and Universities 

The College Board also reports that the amount of student aid available grew 8 percent. While theaverage list price for tuition and fees at our institutions this year is $22,218, the average net tuition (published price minus grants and tax benefits) is $13,200--more than 40 percent below the average published tuition. 

Recent statistics from the Department of Education bear out the importance of student aid in keeping private higher education affordable to students from all backgrounds. Eighty-six percent of dependent, full-time undergraduates receive some form of aid. The average annual aid package is $15,900. Seventy-nine percent of these students receive grant aid worth an average of $9,400 a year.  

As a result, students at private institutions are as likely to come from low-income and working families, or racial or ethnic minorities, as students at public four-year universities. Students at private colleges and universities still graduate with a surprisingly similar amount in federal loans as their peers at public institutions. 

Students’ Return on Investment

Seventy-nine percent of students who earn a bachelor’s degree from a private college or university are able to do so in four years or less, compared with 49 percent of graduates at state institutions. 

Students at private institutions are also more likely to be involved on campus and in their communities, and to rate their college experience higher than their state college counterparts. 

Eighty-nine percent of private college graduates report their financial investment was worth it. Nearly 9 in 10 private college seniors say their education strengthened and expanded their writing, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills; critical thinking ability; and expertise in a particular field. 

Cost Drivers at Private Institutions 

This year’s average increase of 5.9 percent reflects extraordinary increases in several cost drivers.Two major revenue streams--endowments and philanthropic giving--continue to make up groundslowly after several years of lost revenue.

  • From 1994-95 to 2004-05, grant aid provided by private colleges increased 150 percent, more than twice the rate of tuition (71 percent).
 
  • Since 2005, the price of utilities has risen 27 percent, according to the Commonfund Institute. This is almost triple the average annual increase over the last four years.
 
  • The median increase for health care costs at colleges was 9 percent in 2005-06, according to the College and University Personnel Association.
 
  • In recent years, annual premiums for many types of insurance, including general liability,property, and worker’s compensation, have commonly increased by double-digit rates. Experts expect property insurance to increase between 10 to 50 percent in 2006, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

 

  • Periodicals and other library materials routinely increase by double-digit rates each year. The Association of Research Libraries reports that between 1986 and 2004, research library expenditures for scholarly journals increased 273 percent.
 
  • The cost of keeping up with innovations in information technology at private colleges anduniversities increased 26 percent in 2005-06, according to Market Data Retrieval. 

 

  • The National Association of College and University Business Officers reports that the average college endowment earned 9.3 percent in 2005. However, when inflation and endowment spending rates are taken into account, the five-year average return of 3.3 percent translates into a decline in endowment earning potential over that time.
 
  • According to the Council for Aid to Education, philanthropic giving to institutions increased by 4.9 percent between 2003-04 and 2004-05. Adjusted for inflation, the increase is 1.6 percent. Corporate giving did not increase and gifts from individuals other than alumni declined.

 Cuts in Federal Student Aid as a Cost Driver 

Congress has not kept funding for student aid in line with inflation, growing family need, or the wave of low-income and first-generation college students who are academically prepared for college. The erosion of federal student aid in the past five years has become an additional strain on college budgets as institutions attempt to fill the gap. Students at private colleges today receive nearly five times as much grant aid from their institutions as from the federal government. 

The maximum Pell Grant hasn’t increased in five years. The constant dollar value of the average Pell Grant declined for the second consecutive year in 2004-05. Because of flat Pell funding and cuts in the federal campus-based aid programs, grant and work-study packages for students have shrunk. This is not the way to make higher education affordable for America’s working families. It is also putting the public good provided by higher education at risk. 

We support the call by the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education to increase the maximum Pell Grant to 70 percent of the average cost of in-state tuition at a four-year public university, from the current 33 percent. Such a move by Congress would have the long-term benefits of the G.I. Bill, positioning the nation to safeguard its role as a global economic, scientific, political, and security leader. Private colleges and universities remain dedicated to controlling costs, increasing accessibility, and maintaining quality. Congress needs to keep up its commitment to needy students, their future, and the future of the national interest. 

Institutional Efforts to Enhance Affordability and Control Costs 

All colleges—and their students—face financial pressures. Private institutions are addressing them by implementing innovative affordability and cost-cutting initiatives. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cost control and affordability, because of differences in mission, student population, and fiscal resources. Private colleges are employing a variety of strategies.

  • A small but growing number of private colleges and universities are reducing their sticker prices for tuition and fees.
 
  • Others have locked in the tuition rate for a student’s four- or five-year enrollment. This means that tuition remains the same each year for a student.
 
  • Several are tapping endowment funds to assist low income students: covering tuition, room, and board; eliminating loans; lowering parental contributions; and matching Pell Grants.
 
  • Others offer three-year bachelor’s degree programs, or four-year graduation and employment guarantees.
 
  • • While funds from state tuition savings plans can be used at private colleges throughout the nation many institutions have gone further to develop tuition prepayment plans for future students.

 To control operating expenses, more institutions are: 

  • Entering into consortial arrangements to reduce administrative and academic redundancies, and leverage their purchasing power to obtain lower costs for energy, insurance, information technology, and other services;
 
  • Outsourcing campus services, such as grounds and facilities maintenance, alumni relations operations, residence hall management, billing and other “back office” functions, and bookstores; and
 
  • Turning to environmentally friendly systems to lower energy consumption; streamlining staff; and consolidating offices and programs to enhance efficiency.

 Examples of affordability, cost-saving, and consortial initiatives are posted on the NAICU Web site at www.naicu.edu/news/campusinnovations.asp

###

October 24, 2006

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Statement by NAICU President David L. Warren on U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings' Speech on the Recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education

Statement by NAICU President David L. Warren on U.S. Education Secr...

September 26, 2006

We hope Secretary Spellings' important speech marks a step toward engaging the higher education community as full participants in addressing the challenges facing our colleges and universities. NAICU looks forward to working productively with the Education Department in the coming months. We will also be proactively addressing the issues raised by the commission through the higher education community's comprehensive "Next Steps" initiative.

We support many of the commission's recommendations, some of which were cited in the secretary's speech. 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 add the word "appropriate"), the importance of 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 producing globally literate graduates; and the need to address policies relating to the admission of foreign students at U.S. institutions.

Conspicuous by its absence, however, was an endorsement of the commission's specific call for a substantial increase in the maximum Pell Grant – the key form of federal student financial aid for the neediest students. In her prepared remarks, Spellings made a reference to need-based aid, but only mentioned a generic commitment to Pell Grants in response to an audience question.

Also in her speech, the secretary called for reform of the entire financial aid system, which by every implication means the elimination of some student aid programs, resulting in a net loss of aid for the nation’s neediest students. Federal efforts might better be directed toward supporting the proven federal aid programs already in place, not finding ways to dismantle the current array of financial aid programs that have worked amazingly well.

Secretary Spellings, in her third action item, also called for collecting student-level data to create a higher education information system that would provide consumer information to every student. However we are not clear as to why, to accomplish that goal, the system must include information on every student.

Data already collected by the federal government has yielded many high-quality, statistically valid studies that give us illuminating insights into the process – and the shortcomings – as we move students through their higher education experience. We concur that the Department of Education's existing COOL Web site has the potential to be a powerful tool for college choice, and NAICU has had a longstanding proposal in place to work with the department in expanding that resource.

NAICU and its member institutions share a fundamental belief that student and family privacy must be protected, as it has been for more than 30 years under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Guarantees made by Secretary Spellings that individual student information would be fully protected is at odds with the reality of federal databases, which have experienced numerous widely-publicized breaches in recent months. Such a national system for tracking students from high school through college and into the workplace, in order to measure institutional performance, would shift the control of those records from the student to the federal government.

We hope Secretary Spellings' important speech marks a step toward engaging the higher education community as full participants in addressing the challenges facing our colleges and universities. NAICU looks forward to working productively with the Education Department in the coming months. We will also be proactively addressing the issues raised by the commission through the higher education community's comprehensive "Next Steps" initiative.

We support many of the commission's recommendations, some of which were cited in the secretary's speech. 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 add the word "appropriate"), the importance of 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 producing globally literate graduates; and the need to address policies relating to the admission of foreign students at U.S. institutions.

Conspicuous by its absence, however, was an endorsement of the commission's specific call for a substantial increase in the maximum Pell Grant – the key form of federal student financial aid for the neediest students. In her prepared remarks, Spellings made a reference to need-based aid, but only mentioned a generic commitment to Pell Grants in response to an audience question.

Also in her speech, the secretary called for reform of the entire financial aid system, which by every implication means the elimination of some student aid programs, resulting in a net loss of aid for the nation’s neediest students. Federal efforts might better be directed toward supporting the proven federal aid programs already in place, not finding ways to dismantle the current array of financial aid programs that have worked amazingly well.

Secretary Spellings, in her third action item, also called for collecting student-level data to create a higher education information system that would provide consumer information to every student. However we are not clear as to why, to accomplish that goal, the system must include information on every student.

Data already collected by the federal government has yielded many high-quality, statistically valid studies that give us illuminating insights into the process – and the shortcomings – as we move students through their higher education experience. We concur that the Department of Education's existing COOL Web site has the potential to be a powerful tool for college choice, and NAICU has had a longstanding proposal in place to work with the department in expanding that resource.

NAICU and its member institutions share a fundamental belief that student and family privacy must be protected, as it has been for more than 30 years under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Guarantees made by Secretary Spellings that individual student information would be fully protected is at odds with the reality of federal databases, which have experienced numerous widely-publicized breaches in recent months. Such a national system for tracking students from high school through college and into the workplace, in order to measure institutional performance, would shift the control of those records from the student to the federal government.

September 26, 2006

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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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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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