Education Department official describes the administration’s philosophy on accountability in higher education and agrees with fellow panelists on states’ overreliance on federal funding.
BALTIMORE — So far the Trump administration’s take on trying to hold colleges more accountable has relied largely on releasing more public-facing data about their performance at the program level, while also deregulating and dropping sanction-bearing rules from the Obama era.
The U.S. Department of Education’s top higher education official, Diane Auer Jones, the principal deputy under secretary, described this approach on Wednesday at an event held here by Inside Higher Ed on the future of public higher education.
“Our philosophy on accountability is that government has an obligation to make data and information available to consumers. But we don’t think government knows better than an individual what is right for that individual,” she said. “People should know what the outcomes might be so that they borrow responsibly. But somebody who’s interested in philosophy should still pursue philosophy, and somebody who’s interested in welding should pursue welding.”
In May the department updated the College Scorecard, for the first time including preliminary data on student loan debt at the academic program level. More is on the way for the consumer tool created by the Obama administration, Jones said, including annual earnings of graduates one year after college and data on college debt held by parents, such as through Parent PLUS loans.