Giving Compass' Take:

· Alana Dunagan discusses the most important point in Senator Lamar Alexander's three-part proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act– hold programs accountable for student loan repayments. 

· What are the other two parts of Senator Lamar Alexander's three-part proposal? 

· Here's more on accountability and the Higher Education Act

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) outlined his three-part proposal for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA): simplify the FAFSA, restructure and streamline student loan repayment, and hold programs accountable for student loan defaults.

Holding programs accountable for student loan repayments is, arguably, the most critical part of Sen. Alexander’s proposal. Although federal spending on higher education has expanded access, it has also had an unintended effect. Federal funds are available on a pay-for-enrollment basis: schools receive government-subsidized tuition payments for each course in which a student enrolls, regardless of whether that student successfully completes the course, or whether that course helps them make progress toward a degree. The exclusive focus on enrollment means that federal funds are responsible for keeping programs with low course-completion and dismal graduation rates afloat.

Funding also is not tied directly to a program’s track record of placing students into good jobs, and inevitably, many students end up with debt that they struggle to repay—over a million new defaults every year.

Read the full article about building a new accountability system in the HEA by Alana Dunagan at Christensen Institute.