The Innovation Dilemma Facing Betsy DeVos

No one can accuse Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of inaction. Just within the past few weeks, her Department of Education announced the overhaul of two major Obama-era regulations. The next stage of DeVos’ agenda will review several of the rules governing which higher education institutions and programs are eligible for federal funding, with an eye … Continue reading “The Innovation Dilemma Facing Betsy DeVos”


Can More Information Help Students Avoid College Debt?

The Department of Education is poised to replace Obama-era regulations on for-profit colleges and universities with more broad-based transparency measures. On August 10, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos revealed her plan to fully repeal the “gainful employment” regulations that required for-profit colleges to publish information on their graduates’ student debt levels and post-graduation earnings. Under the … Continue reading “Can More Information Help Students Avoid College Debt?”


The New Head of the Office for Civil Rights Charts a Very Different Course

Last month, the Senate voted to confirm Kenneth L. Marcus as assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education. The vote was 50-46, with not one Democrat supporting him—a point I will return to presently. In that position, he will head up the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). This is the second … Continue reading “The New Head of the Office for Civil Rights Charts a Very Different Course”


Carnegie Classifications—What’s All the Fuss?

“Dartmouth falls out of an exclusive group,” declared a 2016 headline in The Washington Post just days after the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education released its 2015 classifications that moved Dartmouth College from the R-1 (that is, Research 1) to the R-2 (Research 2) category. “A Key Survey Indicates that Dartmouth May Be … Continue reading “Carnegie Classifications—What’s All the Fuss?”


Faculty Accountability Is Terrible—Even Students Have Better Standards

I became interested in academic accountability within the university because I had no choice: the lack of accountability I experienced at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington obligated me to act. I had become embroiled in a situation where I was morally bound to report wrongdoing. But I had no idea that being a … Continue reading “Faculty Accountability Is Terrible—Even Students Have Better Standards”


How to Stop Student Aid from Driving Up Tuition

The Department of Education’s method for awarding college students financial aid has many perverse effects. It contributes to rising tuition, keeps students in the dark about their aid eligibility for too long, gives some colleges unfair special treatment, and does not incentivize colleges to improve. But a small tweak would address those problems: replacing the … Continue reading “How to Stop Student Aid from Driving Up Tuition”


The Skills Gap: Employers Expect More Than What College Grads Offer

National surveys have consistently found that businesses have difficulty finding employees with the right skills. Even among college graduates searching for work, employers have found them lacking employable skills. Research that examines how college graduates transition into the workforce has intensified since the 1990s when researchers connected graduates’ career success with the quality of their … Continue reading “The Skills Gap: Employers Expect More Than What College Grads Offer”


Master’s Degrees in Janitorial Science?

There has been mounting evidence that the financial payoff from the traditional bachelor’s degree is declining, particularly for men. For example, Census Bureau data suggest that, from 2005 to 2016, the average earnings differential for male workers holding bachelor’s degrees compared with those holding high school diplomas fell from $39,440 to $37,653 (in 2016 dollars)—at … Continue reading “Master’s Degrees in Janitorial Science?”


The Furor Over Student Loan Forgiveness

Once again, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has kicked the hornet’s nest, this time by changing the rules for deciding if a student will be relieved of his or her obligation to repay federal college loans. The way our higher education finance system works, the federal government makes it easy for students to borrow money for … Continue reading “The Furor Over Student Loan Forgiveness”


Secretary DeVos Begins to Rectify the Title IX Mistake

It is very rare for a federal agency to admit having made a mistake and rarer still for the secretary of a cabinet department to announce a U-turn in policy in a heavily publicized speech. But that is exactly what Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos did on September 7. Speaking at George Mason University, Secretary … Continue reading “Secretary DeVos Begins to Rectify the Title IX Mistake”