FACT SHEET: ED Launches Initiative for Low-Income Students to Access New Generation Of Higher Education Providers — from ed.gov


[On 8/16/16], the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is inviting eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships) experiment.

These partnerships will allow students—particularly low-income students—to access federal student aid for the first time to enroll in programs offered by non-traditional training providers, in partnership with colleges and universities, including coding bootcamps, online courses, and employer organizations. The goals of the experiment are to: (1) test new ways of allowing Americans from all backgrounds to access innovative learning and training opportunities that lead to good jobs, but that fall outside the current financial aid system; and (2) strengthen approaches for outcomes-based quality assurance processes that focus on student learning and other outcomes. The experiment aims to promote and measure college access, affordability, and student outcomes.



Obama Administration to Fund Nontraditional Training for Students — from wsj.com
Education Department will give up to $17 million in loans and grants for training at eight entities that aren’t traditional colleges


WASHINGTON—The Obama administration will inject millions of dollars into a group of nontraditional education providers to address a vexing problem: Many Americans are leaving college with debt but without skills the economy needs.

The administration is turning to the private sector for help. In a novel experiment, the Education Department announced Tuesday up to $17 million in loans and grants for students to undergo training at eight entities that aren’t traditional colleges. Most are for-profit companies. They include coding academies such as New York startup Flatiron School and Portland, Ore.-based Epicodus, as well as websites such as Study.com and StraighterLine that provide online courses at reduced costs.

The one that stands out from the group is corporate giant General Electric Co., which won’t receive funds directly but will provide training at one of its jet-engine plants under the program.

The program, called Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships, or Equip, is designed to enable low-income Americans to learn skills in areas where colleges often fall short, such as learning how to write computer code, or using new software to operate high-tech manufacturing equipment to make jet engines.




Can’t Afford Coding Camp? The Feds May Have a Loan for You — from wired.com by Issie Lapowsky


A new Department of Education program focused on skills training aims to address that second part. Announced last year, the so-called Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships program will offer federal student aid to students enrolled at non-traditional institutions like coding bootcamps and skills-training programs.

[On 8/16/16], the Department of Education revealed the eight organizations and educational institutions with programs that will be covered as part of the EQUIP pilot program. For now, the programs are located on both coasts and in Texas. They include bootcamps like The Flatiron School, as well as newly launched training programs from companies like General Electric. The Department of Education chose the programs from dozens of applications, and each organization will partner with an established, accredited college or university. Meanwhile, third-party quality assurance partners have signed up to monitor students’ results.




Feds propose decertifying accreditor of for-profit colleges — from wsj.com by Douglas Belkin


The Education Department on Wednesday recommended that the organization that accredits many of the nation’s for-profit colleges and vocational schools shouldn’t be recognized, a step that could threaten access to nearly $5 billion in federal financial aid for more than 800,000 students.

The decision also has the potential to hasten the consolidation of the for-profit college sector as it could drive out of business many schools that lose access to student loans as well as students leery of attending schools under the regulatory microscope.

The move could mean the sector, already in decline amid tightening federal regulation, “will implode even faster,” said Trace Urdan, managing director at Credit Suisse and a longtime analyst of the for-profit college industry. “There will be significant consolidation ahead, a lot of people will lose their jobs, there will be fewer choices in the market but the schools that do survive will have a sort of double bonus, a clean bill of health and less competition.”


University of Phoenix owner, Apollo Education Group, will be taken private — from nytimes.com by Patricia Cohen and Chad Bray


The troubled for-profit education company that owns the giant University of Phoenix agreed on Monday to be bought for $1.1 billion by a group of investors that includes a private equity firm with close ties to the Obama administration.

The university and its owner, the Apollo Education Group, have been subject to a series of state and federal investigations into allegations of shady recruiting, deceptive advertising and questionable financial aid practices.

In recent years, many for-profit educational institutions that have received billions of dollars in federal aid, including the University of Phoenix, have been pummeled by criticisms that they preyed upon veterans and low-income students, saddling them with outsize student loan debt and subpar instruction.


Also see:

  • New education department office to crack down on colleges — from wsj.com by Josh Mitchell
    Student Aid Enforcement Unit will focus on schools accused of misconduct
    The Obama administration plans to boost the federal government’s power to investigate and punish colleges accused of deceptive marketing tactics and other misconduct, part of a campaign to address years of student complaints about for-profit institutions.


Also see:

Student Aid Enforcement Unit Formed to protect students, borrowers, taxpayers — from ed.gov on 2/8/16


As part of the Obama Administration’s aggressive action to protect students and taxpayers, the U.S. Department of Education is creating a Student Aid Enforcement Unit to respond more quickly and efficiently to allegations of illegal actions by higher education institutions.

“When Americans invest their time, money and effort to gain new skills, they have a right to expect they’ll actually get an education that leads to a better life for them and their families,” said Acting Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “When that doesn’t happen we all pay the price. So let me be clear: schools looking to cheat students and taxpayers will be held accountable.”



From DSC:
For profits have brought some solid things to the education table…but they’ve also brought some bad practices to the table as well. To some degree, the above items relate to the efforts and influence of the federal government to affect institutions involved in higher education.

Taking this thought into a different direction then…one should think carefully, therefore, when the federal government opens up new efforts to support innovation within higher education — something I support, by the way, as it could facilitate the creation of alternative pathways for learners and it finally enforces some true competition — and therefore a greater emphasis on innovation — within the higher ed landscape. (Yes I realize that there’s some level of competition within institutions of traditional higher education…but historical and current accreditation practices have pretty much kept things looking quite similar across the landscape.)

Institutions of traditional higher education may now be forced to rethink their game plans and strategies as they move forward — something I hope that will positively impact our future students.  Such forces and events should make institutions of traditional higher education more innovative, open to change (where it’s needed), relevant, and responsive to changes in the environment.



Michigan Radio’s Issues & Ale: College Affordability & Access


College affordability is a big issue, from the living rooms of anxious students and parents, to the presidential campaign trail . Over the past ten years, tuition costs have increased more than five times faster than the Consumer Price Index and the average class of 2015 graduate with student-loan debt will have to pay back more than $35,000. Michigan’s students leave college with some of the highest debt levels in the nation .

A recording of the October 27, 2015 event is available here.

Average debt for graduates in Michigan: Just over $35,000


  • Michigan is below national average in # of adults that have a college degree.  Need 300,000 more people to graduate with a college degree just to get up to the national average. (Doing so would add $7 billion to Michigan’s economy BTW.)
  • [Adjusted for inflation] Cost has doubled in 1 generation.
  • [Adjusted for inflation] Since 1975, cost at a public university is up 138%; at private 157%; but wages have only gone up 1.6% (flat lined basically)
  • Can’t work your way through college like your parents or grandparents might have done
  • Rising tuition
  • Rising textbook costs
  • Room and board
  • Need to have a talk about financial literacy; help a student know more about financial aid and what will need to be paid back and when
  • Scholarships, grants, funding
  • Transfer rates are sizable from community colleges
  • Community colleges are often a very good choice for students who are raising children and/or for students who are returning to college later on; can make a very good living on some of the jobs that you can get coming out of a community college
  • Students often don’t know how to advocate for themselves; don’t know how to navigate a campus and the services/resources therein; also don’t take advantage of office hours
  • Michigan State is pushing the idea of “neighborhoods” — like communities in the dorms; easier and less fearful to access services/tutoring/assistance
  • Other choices? Unions/trades such as plumbers; joining the military
  • Ingredients of costs; decreased spending at state level has had a significant impact on rising costs for students
  • …and more.






Per Dan Schuessler, Chief Affordability Officer, Affordable Colleges Foundation:

While the guide covers the basics about what to it expect at a Christian college, it also goes deeper by offering expert interviews from administrators at several universities so that students can get inside look at what it means to attend a Christian institution. We also explored unique and insightful information related to the evolution of online programs at Christian colleges, and how the religious aspects of the education are weaved into online learning. Lastly the guide provides actionable affordability tips, scholarship opportunities, and additional resources.

Another somewhat related resource:


The Kalamazoo Promise
A program whereby qualified students of the Kalamazoo Public Schools (Kalamazoo, MI, USA) can get up to 100% of their college tuition paid for them.  Recently this program was expanded to include 15 other private liberal arts colleges.




Starbucks to provide free college education to thousands of workers — from nytimes.com by Richard Perez-Penaju


Starbucks will provide a free online college education to thousands of its workers, without requiring that they remain with the company, through an unusual arrangement with Arizona State University, the company and the university will announce on Monday.


EducationDive has some solid comments and advice, however, re: the fine print here –> Highly praised Starbucks program requires large upfront tuition payments first








From DSC:
Match the needs of your institution with your donors’ passions!

In thinking about how to get the funding necessary to accomplish things, it seems to me that more people would give more of their resources if they knew what the specific needs were at a particular school, college, and/or university. This is where Web-based solutions could play a new, important role (and serve as another example of using technology strategically).

I was reminded of this possibility during a recent conversation with a faculty member from our Music Department.  First, some background. My mother was/still is a piano teacher. My folks met due to music and my dad has sung throughout his lifetime.  My siblings have each played 1 or more instruments.  Music has been something that has been extremely positive for my folks’ marriage and was always heard throughout our home.  (Not to mention that music can turn a bad day around for me.)

You can see where music was important to our family, to me…I have a passion for music.  So when I heard of a need that our Music Department had, I was ready to get my wallet out on the spot.  

I wonder how many more people would be struck like this if they only knew what the specific opportunities to contribute/make a difference were.

See below for some
related resources
on this topic.






Also see:


Addendum on 9/12/13:


The Coming Crossroads in Higher Education: Remarks of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association Annual Meeting, July 9, 2013 — from distance-educator.com with thanks going out to Mr. John Shank for Scooping this item.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

But I would also make the case to you today that higher education is approaching a crossroads, where leaders will be asked to choose between incremental and transformational change.

Polls show that three out of four Americans believe—and I quote—”to get ahead in life these days, it is necessary to get a college education.” At the same time, three in four Americans also believe that college today is too expensive for most people to afford. That fundamental gap—between aspirations and opportunity—is one we must close.

I believe that higher education is at a crossroads because our current model of student and institutional aid is ultimately unsustainable. It is incapable of meeting the bipartisan goal that President Obama articulated four years ago—that America will again lead the world in college attainment by 2020.

Speaking in broad-brush terms, I believe we will see two ideas take hold in response to these threats to higher education.

The first response is that the system of state and federal institutional grants and loans will start to shift more toward a performance-based and outcomes-based system than is the case today—and one that does more to reward innovation.

The federal government currently provides more than $175 billion a year to postsecondary institutions and students through grants, loans, and direct school support. But together we must do a better job of defining and linking aid to satisfactory academic progress, meaningful institutional performance, and student learning outcomes.

We absolutely must continue to invest in higher education. But we must also use taxpayer dollars more wisely.

This shift in the direction of performance-based funding is already underway.

Further evidence of the policy shift underway is that many states—including Indiana, Tennessee, Oregon, and Missouri—are moving in bipartisan fashion to incorporate elements of performance-based funding in higher education.

Now, if the first response to the challenges of cost, completion, and accountability is likely to be more performance-based funding and new incentives for innovation, a second response is likely to be a leveraging of educational technology to increase student learning as well as institutional performance and productivity.

We still have a lot to learn and perfect about online learning, MOOCs, simulations and gaming, and other uses of educational technology. But there is no question that a digital revolution is already underway in higher education. And its vast potential has only begun to be tapped.

From DSC:
I hear a lot about resistance to change; in fact, as I come from the tech side of the academic house, I experience it on an ongoing basis. 

But I do wonder if the pace of change within higher education might accelerate when more of that $175 billion a year starts flowing elsewhere…?






From DSC:
When I see this type of graphic, I can:



Trends in College Pricing for 2012


Also see:


My thanks to Academic Impressions for the resources/updates

© 2017 | Daniel Christian