ACE Comments on How Campuses Are Using AI and the Role of Government Oversight
September 22, 2023

​On Sept. 6, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued a white paper about the oversight and legislative role of Congress related to the deployment of AI in areas under the HELP Committee’s jurisdiction, including higher education.

The senator sought input from various stakeholders regarding the government's role in regulating the AI industry. In response, ACE President Ted Mitchell submitted comments to Cassidy and HELP Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Sept. 20.

The comments noted that it’s no secret that higher education has been at the forefront of both developing and adopting AI for use on campuses. AI holds great promise for students by offering support in program selection, financial aid information, early disengagement detection, on-demand tutoring, and improved teaching methods. However, safeguarding student privacy is crucial, with existing protections like FERPA needing reinforcement.

As Mitchell explained, many higher education professionals are already seeing AI’s impact on teaching, admissions, curriculum development, and accessibility enhancements, yet also have concerns with academic integrity, which must be addressed. AI also can expand access to education and upskilling opportunities, but there is a need to adapt to changing workforce demands, emphasizing skills and competencies over traditional credentials.

As with any transformative technology, a balance must be struck between harnessing its potential and mitigating risks, Mitchell said. The federal government plays a vital role in nurturing AI’s growth while ensuring it serves the purpose of expanding and enhancing education. The comments made some specific suggestions for what Congress might do, including establishing experimental sites for institutions to test the use of AI in admissions and student support.

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