Higher Education

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a campaign town hall meeting in Claremont, New Hampshire August 11, 2015. Reuters

Hillary Clinton’s higher education plan is extensive and expensive. Set aside the fact that simply pumping more money into the system won’t solve quality problems and may well inflate college spending further, no matter how tight the new rules.

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New “unbundled” higher education providers are constrained by the regulatory system’s reliance on the traditional bundled model. Policymakers could use independent authorizers, enable these providers to receive federal aid, establish a market-entry regime, or develop new financing approaches. They also could wait for this emerging market to mature and let consumer demand and competition drive innovation.

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Our current higher education system evaluates the quality of colleges almost entirely on “inputs.” Reforms are needed to change the incentives for existing colleges and challenge their credentialing monopoly.

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States vary greatly on who authorizes higher education institutions, what requirements exist for postsecondary schools regarding inputs and consumer protections, and how long authorization takes. A risk-based approach could be a better way for states to authorize postsecondary institutions.

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Income-share agreements offer students a new financing option.

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AEI’s Andrew P. Kelly, College Board’s Jessica Howell, and Seton Hall University’s Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj host a major research conference that explores college match, featuring eight new studies and analyses.

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Covering an education story today? Here’s the latest from the experts on the AEI education team.

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Conservative policymakers have been an important check on spending, but have largely failed to enunciate their own higher education agenda. An alternative vision should create space for new postsecondary options and ideas, not just address the amount of funding.

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Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) (C) talks with reporters following the weekly Republican caucus luncheon at the US Capitol in Washington June 18, 2013.

Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, will deliver a keynote address on higher education reform, followed by a discussion addressing the opportunities for and obstacles to change.

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Futurists think that traditional colleges are doomed. I think that many institutions can adapt to these new challenges, but only if they’re willing to question the structures and routines that too often go unquestioned.

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College, once a sure ticket to the middle class, is causing a lot of anxiety these days. People are concerned about its cost, about low graduation rates and about the poor employment prospects of some graduates. We’re beginning to see the outlines of two rival approaches to addressing these problems.

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US Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) delivers remarks at the National Review Institute 2015 Ideas Summit in Washington May 1, 2015. Reuters

On many levels, the comparison simply isn’t accurate between Rubio-Warner reforms and Obama’s reckless expansion of income-based loan repayment.

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