Response to White Papers

AACS GRC Submits Responses To Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander

On Monday, March 23, 2015, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee Chairman released three staff white papers and requested feedback from the higher education community on issues related to the pending reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.  The issues – Accreditation, (Institutional) Risk Sharing, and Data Collection and Consumer Information, were couched in the form of "Concepts and Proposals" that the HELP Committee were likely to be considering, based upon proposals already introduced or being discussed from both sides of the political spectrum (Democrats, as well as the GOP).

Interested and affected parties – including students, parents and others interested in higher education – were given until last Friday, April 24, 2015 to submit their comments and recommendations, which, as noted by Chairman Alexander, "will be considered during the bipartisan reauthorization process that Senator (Patty) Murray and I will be developing."

Wasting little time the AACS Government Relations Committee began its evaluation of the three white papers, discussed general positions in relation to our overarching 2015 HEA Reauthorization "CARE" Recommendations, and set out to complete the development of responses on behalf of our students and schools.  Ad hoc meetings and a series of conference call resulted in three rather lengthy responses which we are proud to share with you below.

We hope that you will take the time to review our efforts on your behalf, and provide us with your input, as deliberations on these issues are just beginning, and there is always time to revise and extend our remarks as the HEA Reauthorization process moves forward.  And moving forward it is!

On Tuesday, April 28th, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander announced his intent to host a Full Committee Hearing entitled, "Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: The Role of Consumer Information in College Choice" next Wednesday, May 6th. One and possibly as many as two panels of witnesses will be called upon to discuss in greater detail their views on the information outlined in the "Federal Postsecondary Data Transparency and Consumer Information" white paper – with determinations of who will be asked to testify still yet to be determined.

While AACS does not expect to be called upon in this instance, we are prepared to do so if called upon.  If not, Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, and the HELP Committee at the very least have our community's comments and recommendations to refer to. 

Your GRC will be monitoring the hearing upon our return home from the AACS Spring Executive Retreat and will be providing you with a summary of the hearing and the key takeaways in relation to our response.  Stay tuned and we hope to see you this weekend in Phoenix!

Read the Responses Here:


Response to Risk Sharing

Response to Data and Transparency

Response to Higher Education Accrediation