George Miller Talks SAFRA

Yesterday morning Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chair of the House Education and Labor committee, hosted a blogger breakfast.

Education Sector’s Ben Miller was there, and on The Quick and the Ed he reports:

An especially interesting theme that came up throughout the discussion was taking a closer look at institutions of higher education—especially how they do in terms of providing degrees, keeping students enrolled, and clearer credit transfer opportunities. Miller touched on several ways for this to occur, the largest of which would be a “substantive review of the role of higher education and the financing of higher education,” a process that would also examine how colleges perceive their roles versus what society needs from them.

In addition to taking a closer look at institutions, Miller also suggested that schools receiving lots of federal money from student loans should have an obligation to be more upfront about credit transfer policies in the form of articulation agreements. He said these measures are important so that students in a community college will not suddenly find out that classes they paid for can’t actually be accepted at other schools. “When people are borrowing money they have a right to say ‘what’s going to happen now,'” Miller said.

Miller also raised concerns about institutions of higher education in relation to student debt. He singled out colleges that enroll students that they know will not be able to graduate so that they can “harvest” federal dollars to pay for remedial education. He also expressed worry about schools that get a student to take out a loan to enroll in the fall but provide so little support that the student is gone by Easter. “It’s not a minor problem,” Miller said of the students who borrow but never receive a credential. “It’s a lot of money. It’s a lot of debt, and a lot of incompletes.”

There’s a lot more in the post, so read it.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.