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President to President

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President to President
Molly Corbett Broad's weekly email newsletter to higher education leaders.

President to President, May 16-20, 2011

Vol. 12, No. 18

  • Webinar on Higher Education Policy and Regulatory Issues Now Available for Download; Next Event to Focus on Academically Adrift
  • Student Aid Alliance Submits FY 2012 Priorities to Congress
  • New Accreditation Task Force to Meet Next Week
  • Patent Coalition Urges Campus Leaders to Support Reform Legislation
  • Campuses Asked to Complete Higher Education Regulatory Burden Survey

First this week, I would like to thank all of the campuses that joined us Tuesday for our webinar on current federal regulatory and policy issues affecting higher education.

We had a great discussion with Jason Delisle, director of the New America Foundation's Federal Education Budget Project, and Jennifer Blum, partner and vice chair of Drinker Biddle's Government and Regulatory Affairs Practice Group, moderated by ACE Senior Vice President Terry Hartle. Among the topics were the final outcome of the FY 2011 budget negotiations and an update on the FY 2012 budget and appropriations process, as well as the new Department of Education regulations that will take effect July 1. The archive of the webinar is available for purchase here (free for those who attended).

For those of you who would like more information on the disclosure and reporting requirements in the new gainful employment regulation (which has come down in two parts, the first of which is effective July 1), the Department of Education will offer a 90-minute webinar on May 25 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. It will be repeated May 26 at 11:00 a.m. EDT. Advance registration is necessary.

Our next webinar is scheduled for June 15 and will feature a discussion of the recent book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Authors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa will be joined by Gary Rhoades, general secretary of American Association of University Professors, for this event. I will have more details and a registration link for you next week.

David Warren and I, as co-chairs of the Student Aid Alliance, sent a letter to Congress this week outlining the higher education community's FY 2012 appropriations request.

We called for renewed funding for Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Work-Study and other critical programs, some of which were eliminated in the final FY 2011 continuing resolution negotiated and passed in April. Specifics include:

As you'll remember, the House passed an FY 2012 budget resolution in April that sets a limit on appropriations funding at $1.019 trillion, a $31 billion reduction from FY 2011. Last week, the House Appropriations Committee announced its FY 2012 allocations for the 12 appropriations subcommittees. The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education subcommittee received $139.2 billion, $18.2 billion less than in FY 2011. The House plan is to mark up the Labor-HHS-Education bill in subcommittee on July 26 and in the full committee on Aug. 2.

For its part, the Senate has yet to act on the House budget resolution or produce one of its own—much less start on appropriations—for FY 2012, which begins on Oct. 1, 2011. So even if the House sticks to its schedule, the likelihood of completing the process on time is already looking uncertain.

Our newly formed National Task Force on Institutional Accreditation is scheduled to hold its first meeting on May 25 to begin working on recommendations for updating the nation's regional higher education accreditation system.

Panel members include presidents and chancellors from public and private, nonprofit and for-profit, two-year and four-year institutions, along with accrediting agency officials and experts on accreditation. The panel will also solicit advice from outside experts on issues such as the quality and extent of student learning, the rigor of state and federal consumer protection and the many new business models for higher education providers.

The goal is to have a report ready within 18 months. I will keep you updated as the work progresses.

The higher education associations that have been working together on patent reform, including ACE, sent a detailed memorandum to campuses on May 17 urging you to support pending legislation to achieve this end.

The memorandum lists ways in which the pending legislation is an improvement over current law for both universities and the patent system generally, along with a comparison of key provisions in the Senate-passed bill (S. 23) and the bill reported by the House Judiciary Committee (H.R. 1249). The House and Senate bills are substantially the same on most key issues, although the associations are continuing to work with House Judiciary Committee staff on a few remaining concerns in H.R. 1249.

Along with ACE, the participating associations are the Association of American Universities, the Council on Governmental Relations, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of University Technology Managers.

As part of an effort to identify duplicative, obsolete and burdensome higher education regulations, the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance is asking campus leaders and program administrators to participate in a short survey.

The goal of the survey, which was developed with advice from the higher education community, is to collect information on the regulatory burden related to the Higher Education Act.  Campuses are encouraged to participate in the survey in order to demonstrate to Congress and the Department of Education the strength of support for reform and to provide specific recommendations for streamlining and eliminating burdensome regulations.

Campus officials are asked to complete and submit the survey by Monday, June 6.

Molly Corbett Broad
President of ACE