The Lumina Foundation has recently issued a report urging new priorities for federal higher education policy. The President and CEO Jaimie Merisotis wrote in his op-ed in Roll Call (May 29, 2014) that in the past the federal government has worked to promote equitable access to postsecondary education – and that this “continues to be critical on Capitol Hill, especially for low-income, minority and other underserved populations.” However, he believes that to do this right, the federal government must take a lead in “supporting innovative practices at institutions of higher education and other quality postsecondary education providers.” At the same time, “Congress must help ensure that postsecondary education is affordable.” And, even most importantly (and perhaps the most controversial for us in academia), Merisotis says, “federal policy must assure the quality of credentials in terms of student learning.”
You can download the full report here (12 pages) – or the two-page summary here. In short, Lumina’s report is to prompt discussion on how higher education “needs to change” to raise up and emphasize those federal policies that ensure that change by the following priorities:
- encourage and reward innovation, by supporting the creation and expansion of transparent pathways to high-quality degrees and other credentials;
- help manage affordability in partnership with states so to ensure that postsecondary education is affordable to all who need it, and
- objectively measure success based on student achievement, thus assuring the quality of credentials and providers in terms of student learning (not just seat time or the institution’s general reputation).
The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has close connections with the Lumina Foundation (in fact, Dr. Jim Applegate, a UK professor served as Vice President of Strategic Impact at Lumina up until just this year). So, this report is likely built on ideas from – and resounds well with – policy makers here in Kentucky.