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Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee – January 18, 2019, Afternoon session

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Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee – January 18, 2019, Afternoon session


MR. MARTIN: Okay. Welcome back. We’re going to resume. I just want to give you my tentative plan
for the rest of the day. We will be here until 6:30. No. I hope to break at 4:00 and not go past that. I’d hoped to maybe get out a little earlier. But I think we’ll need the time to get to
where we want to be. So I think 4:00 is good. MS. KLEIN: I just have a request from all of our
adoring fans watching online. They were wondering if when we’re referencing
specific items, we could mention the page number. So if that’s not too much trouble. MR. MARTIN: Okay. We’ll try and remember to do that. MS. KLEIN: I’m just passing it along. MR. GARGANO: All right. We’ll start with Jessica. MS. RANUCCI: Sure. There was — I heard a few times mentioned
before lunch that Ed indicates to issue — that it is going to issue a new NPRM for the borrower
defense rule. And that was a bombshell in the legal aid
world. And we have many questions. I was wondering if someone in this room, or
someone wants to come in, who could maybe answer just a couple of them. But I want to give you guys time to —
MS. WEISMAN: If you have specific questions, I’ll
try to address them. If it’s something I don’t know, I will let
you know. But yes, it is true we are working on one
now. MS. RANUCCI: Thank you. I guess, you know, from my perspective, the
borrower defense issues are intimately related with a lot of the issues here because as we’re
all talking about protecting students and it’s on the front end or the back end and
what the after effects might look like are really important to think about what we need
to do at the beginning. So do you — you know, I’m particularly concerned
about the timing of these two rules. Do you have a sense of which NPRM — I’m talking
about the current session or the new borrower defense NPRM might come out first and which
final rule might come out first. MS. WEISMAN: If I were a betting person, which
I’m typically not, I would say that the NPRM for borrower defense would come out first. Obviously there are other clearances we need
to do. And I don’t want to distract from this effort
by taking too much time to discuss that one. But I would anticipate that that one would
be out much sooner. MS. RANUCCI: Sure. And just a blanket statement, I really appreciated
your clarification about the teach-outs. You know, I might start — now that I know
that everything in borrower defense seems to be back on the table, that’s a little bit
concerning. And I think that that might, you know, be
a thing that I’m going to be raising a few times. I’ll try not to beat that drum. But is there anything else you could give
us about what that rule does or doesn’t do versus the language that we’ve seen so we
sort of know where we’re heading? Because I think it is really important. MS. WEISMAN: I’d have to go back and really re-review
and look at what has changed. I can’t think of anything that would seem
like a bombshell, I guess other than what I’ve already delivered today, which I didn’t
expect to be as much of a bombshell as it was. So, surprise there. But I would just remind everybody that because
there is a new NPRM, there will be another opportunity for public comment. And I think that I can say we reacted to the
public comments that we received on the first go around. So being mindful of the comments that we’ve
already received, that shaped very heavily what we were putting out after that. And I think that people will be very pleased
with the newer NPRM compared to where we were on the first one. And I’m really proud to say that I felt we
responded to what we received when I think the criticism we heard was that we weren’t
being responsive to that. I really that we were. MS. RANUCCI: Thank you very much. I genuinely appreciate that. And one final question, which is do you have
any similar announcements regarding gainful employment? MS. WEISMAN: I will just highlight that I was
the negotiator for borrower defense and Mr. Greg Martin was the negotiator for that. So I’ll have to leave that for him. MR. MARTIN: No. We don’t have any additional — any additional
activity on gainful employment. As you know, we issue a notice of proposed
rulemaking and we evaluated the comments as a result of that. We are in the process of preparing and getting
cleared a final rule. So right now, that’s where we are. I'[m not going to put myself at risk by giving
any type of timeframe as to when that might come out. We still expect to issue that. But again, having been with the department
for nearly 30 years, I’ve learned never to give it’ll be by a certain time, spraying
whatever — so I’m not going to do that. But we still are preparing the final rule
as we speak. MS. RANUCCI: Thank you guys very much. MR. MARTIN: Our pleasure. Okay. We’re going to continue with a — David and
I were going over these myriad items in §600, a couple of which we had failed to account
for on the schedule initially. And one of those is §600.20. So we’re going to go to §600.20. I believe that is on page 20. Can someone correct me if I’m wrong? It’s on page 20. §600.2., in subpart (b). This is the notice and application procedures
for establishing — reestablishing, maintaining or expanding institutional eligibility and
certification in a — what most of these changes do as you read through them is sort of a statement
here that obligates the secretary to ensure prompt action is taken with respect to applications. And I think this has to do with criticism
that we have received in the past that applications for eligibility and other types of applications
that need approval by the department have taken more time than perhaps they should have
to go through. So this is just sort of saying that we hear
you about that and that we are making efforts to make certain that that’s done in a more
timely — in a more timely way. And you can see, for instance, we do it there
with initial application. And we do it with application — any application
for changes. So basically that’s what we’re doing here. There is more in (d) notice and application. You’ll see that we have stricken the — stricken
the language reading that an institution that submits notice in accordance with the applicable
paragraph of this section is not required to obtain approval to offer the additional
educational program unless the secretary alerts the institution at least 30 days prior to
the first day of class that the program must be approved for Title IV HEA purposes. If the secretary alerts the institution that
an additional program must be approved, the secretary will treat the notice provided about
the additional program as an application for that program. So we have eliminated that
MR. GARGANO: Just for the record, that’s page
22. MR. MARTIN: And that’s on — correct, that’s on
page 22 of the same rule. MR. MUSSER: Yeah. Just a tiny bit of context around these changes. These are not substantive changes really. The last one that Greg mentioned has at least
some impact. The other ones are just requiring the secretary
to take prompt action and recognizing that it’s one of our responsibilities to deal with
these kinds of applications as soon as possible. §600.2 involves cases where the institution
has to apply and receive approval from the secretary regarding program eligibility. We’re going to go to another section in just
a second in which it’s just reporting, not approval. But this is — we’re recognizing in this section
that we need to take very prompt action to make sure that institutions that have to seek
approval get that approval or get a denial if the secretary’s going to do that as quickly
as possible. The thing that we struck is something that
basically is intended to do the same thing. It’s to say that if the secretary doesn’t
get back to you quickly, then you’re not subject to approval. But the expectation that we’re trying to create
in the department is that we will get this handled quickly. So we don’t believe that the exemption is
necessary. So again, this is just us trying to police
ourselves and make ourselves work faster for you guys at the institutions and for students. MR. GARGANO: Jillian? MS. KLEIN: I just wanted to say it’s great. So I just wanted to say please be prompt. We like prompt. MR. MARTIN: Thank you. MR. MUSSER: Jessica? MR. GARGANO: Jessica? MS. RANUCCI: I’m not sure if I’m reading the language
struck in (b) like. But it seems like the department is maybe
taking away its own authority to stop an application from being automatically approved if there’s
no action. I’m not — I could be reading it wrong. But I just would want to preserve any rights
the department has to stop the approval of a program and make sure that that’s —
MR. MUSSER: It’s the opposite. What it says is that — if we had left it
in, what it says is that the institution is not required to obtain approval if the secretary
doesn’t notify them that they need to get the approval. We’re removing that. So that means that they still need our approval
in that case. MS. RANUCCI: Yeah. I guess I was worried about how the second
half interacts. But you understand my broader concern. MR. MUSSER: It’s obligating us to get back to
the institution quickly. Right. Yeah. So basically we — you know, we do this in
practice already and it’s part of the secretary’s role to notify an institution quickly if it
becomes aware that something that they are offering is either ineligible or requires
our approval. So we didn’t feel that this was something
that was necessary for us to do or to have in our regulations. And so, it’s an attempt to simplify. We can come back to it if you want to look
at it further. But I did want to — we wanted to get through
this quickly. I wanted to mention, as we’re going on, since
I don’t see any other cards, that there are a couple of changes in §600.21. So if we can scroll down to that and I’ll
get you a page number quickly. Hold on a sec. Twenty-four. You guys are faster than I am because I’m
on a computer. So —
MR. GARGANO: Page 24. MR. MUSSER: — the requirements under §600.21
are requirements where an institution has to report to the secretary certain things
but is not necessarily required to receive approval by the secretary before offering
something. So we’ve added a couple of reporting requirements. Generally these requirements must be met. The school has to tell us this stuff no later
than 10 days after the change occurs. So it’s not a thing where we’re approving. It’s something where you, the school, makes
the change and then you let us know what you’ve done. And we require all of these things, again,
within 10 days of the change. And these are two things that we’re going
to talk about later. But I just wanted to point your attention
to them now. We’re asking that they report the addition
of a direct assessment program, when they add one, and we’re asking that they report
the establishment of a written arrangement that exceeds 25 percent of a program. So, things to keep in mind as we talk about
those subjects later on. MR. GARGANO: Jillian? MS. KLEIN: Thanks. Regarding the direct assessment program, so
I think what I understood that I read later in here is if it’s a subsequent program that
looks substantively like the one that’s already approved, then we don’t have to get approval. So does there need to be clarification on
here that if it’s a first direct assessment program or a program that looks different
than what’s already been approved, it needs approval? Or do you feel like that’s handled somewhere
else? MR. MUSSER: So the way that we’ve written it,
if you think it needs to be clarified, that’s fine. What we intended was that if we approve it,
you automatically meet this reporting requirement. And we only require approval of essentially
the first one, unless there’s some substantial differences that we’ve outlined. In those cases, yes, you will have to get
approval. For all other direct assessment programs,
only the §600.21 requirement for reporting applies. MS. KLEIN: Maybe I’ll just sort of check myself
against this once we get to the direct assessment. MR. MUSSER: When you get to it. MS. KLEIN: Yeah, yeah. MR. MUSSER: I just wanted to bring your attention
to it — MS. KLEIN: Yeah. MR. MUSSER: — so that we didn’t forget about
it down the road. MS. KLEIN: Yeah. Thanks. MR. MARTIN: Okay. I’d like to move to §600.52. If you’d go there, and I believe that is found
on page 31. I’ll give you a moment to get there. We’re looking at definitions that are applicable
to the eligibility of foreign institutions to participate in the direct loan program. It says FFEL there. But of course that’s direct loan now. A couple of —
MR. MUSSER: We might want to change that. MR. MARTIN: We might want to, yeah, maybe. Do we have everybody’s approval to maybe alter
— MR. MUSSER: We’re going to take that back. MR. MARTIN: Maybe we’re going to take that back
with us and maybe change that. To those of us who’ve been around a long time,
sometimes you just — it’s just automatic, right? In fact, I still say things like certify a
loan. I can’t get it out of my head because it’s
too — I’m too old, even though I know the proper term is originate. So we’re looking at 52 and these are definitions
that again apply to foreign institutions. And I’m going to point out here I think it’s
important to make a distinction because a lot of people get this confused. We’re not talking about study abroad here. We’re talking about foreign institutions. A foreign institution can only participate
in the direct loan program. That’s the only program they’re eligible to
participate in. So we’re not talking about study abroad, neither
are we talking about students who are attending the foreign locations of American institutions. These are truly eligible foreign institutions. We’re not going to name names. So I won’t give an example. If we go over to page 32, you’ll see that
we’re providing definitions. And one of those definitions is of a foreign
institution. A little bit of background, currently students
who are attending a foreign institution are not allowed to have any portion of their education
offered in the United States, none. The only exception is for a PhD program where
it’s necessary for the student to come back to the United States to do research that’s
applicable to the PhD program, and then for a limitation of only one year. So if we’re talking about undergraduate students,
which are the majority of students involved in this, they couldn’t come back to the United
States at all. The original intent of this was that we were
talking about students who have elected to enroll in a foreign institution, presumably
for that experience. If I have enrolled in said foreign institution,
I’m there because I want to go to school there. And the expectation is that I will be going
to school there. It’s one of the reasons why there is a prohibition
— a statutory prohibition on distance for those programs. But there is a regulatory prohibition on them
spending any time in the United States. And we’ve determined — and I think this is
an excellent change, that perhaps saying that there’s 100 percent block on the students
coming back to the United States to take coursework for any purpose is perhaps a little extreme
and that there are some — there are some reasonable situations that you can envision
where it would be appropriate for the student to come back to the United States. So let’s just — before we can take questions,
let’s just look at what those — what we would be allowing here. So we say, you know, the prohibitions there,
it has no written arrangements within the meaning of §668.5 where the institution or
organization is located in the United States for enrolling at the foreign institution to
take more than 25 percent of the courses required for the program from institution located in
the United States. Does not permit students to complete more
than 25 percent of the program by enrolling in an eligible institution in the United States. So what we’d essentially be allowing would
be for these students who are enrolled as eligible students overseas to take 25 percent
of the coursework that’s pertinent to their program in the United States. That’s really all we’re doing here. I think this is a change which would be very
welcomed by foreign institutions as well as the students who attend them. So having said that, we’ll open the floor
for discussion. MR. GARGANO: Jody? MS. FEDER: Yeah. This is an issue that has come up for some
of our institutions who have sought this change because some of our institutions have had
agreements with foreign institutions for their student to do a study abroad program back
in the U.S., for example. And there doesn’t seem to be a very clear
rationale for the past prohibition, or the current prohibition I guess I should say,
on not allowing students attending a foreign institution to take a study abroad year at
a Title IV-eligible institution back in the U.S. So we’re in — we support that. MR. MARTIN: I just want to point out that it is
allowable. Sort of like what Jody said, we do allow students
who are enrolled in foreign institutions to study abroad at other eligible foreign institutions,
just not come back to the United States. Okay. That’s great then. We hope we have support for that. Oh, I’m sorry. MR. GARGANO: Sue? MS. HUPPERT: We talked briefly at a break about
this, about not necessarily the good foreign schools. I’m talking about some of the offshore medical
schools. They have used that hook to try to have a
master’s program with a U.S.-based organization so that then they could have Title IV money. Does this prevent that from happening? MR. MARTIN: I don’t think this — this doesn’t
put any more restrictions on what is currently permissible with respect to — you’re talking
about Caribbean medical schools. There are — and you’re familiar with those
because you work with them. There are rules. There are rules that we have currently, and
without going into great detail, that currently restrict what portion of a program can be
offered by a foreign medical school anywhere else but at that school. This provision here is not meant to affect
that in any way. It simply has to do with any foreign institution. As I said, there are other rules that are
applicable to foreign medical schools that would obviously impose more restrictions than
what are here generally for a foreign institution. Right, and as Annmarie was pointing out, a
lot of this has to do with — some of it has to do with, you know, students might want
to come home for the summer and take coursework in the summer. We had schools — there also are a lot of
— there also are a lot of — this was pointed out to me by some Italian schools, like the
American University of Rome. They have a lot of students who are American
students. They’re U.S. citizens who attend that school
because their parents have always lived overseas. And these students have never been in the
United States their entire life. So it could be argued where had them parents
taken them on vacation. But it does give an opportunity for students
to perhaps come back and have some — you now, a little bit of opportunity to study
at an institution of higher education in the country of which they are — in which they
have citizenship. So there’s that too. So I don’t — I’ve looked a lot at foreign
issues, mostly because I’ve had to. And I don’t see any — I don’t personally
see any downside to this at all. MR. GARGANO: Go ahead, Sue. MS. HUPPERT: Just as a follow-up to that, one
of the associations that I work closely with, the Association of Academic Healthcare Centers,
brought this to all our attention a few years ago because, to complete the study, they were
sending their offshore medical school students to a specific state. And they were paying to buy up those clinical
rotation slots. Now, I would argue that that is part of their
education. And so, if they are buying up those slots
for the third and fourth year, I’m wondering if this 25 percent will help us keep them
from doing that and pushing U.S. medical school students out. MR. MARTIN: As I said, this doesn’t affect any
— this doesn’t further — I would say this puts no further constraints on anything that
is already allowable out there. It’s simply — this is a — this is allowing
latitude where none currently exists. That’s what it’s doing. So it’s not affecting — anything that — without
— I don’t know — it’s not within the scope of this committee to go into the rules attendant
to foreign medical schools. But we’re not — we’re not — the situation
you’re talking about there would not — would not be affected either anyway by what this
rule has. MS. MORELLI: Let me see if I — because I just
said — I’m not sure Greg answered your question. Did he? MS. HUPPERT: (Off mic.)
MS. MORELLI: Well, because I’m taking your question
— your concern is that this gives the foreign institutions more latitude or the students
at the foreign institutions more latitude to come over here and take programs or clinical
rotations as part of their program that may take those slots from students at United States
— MR. MARTIN: The AMA —
MS. MORELLI: — medical programs. MS. HUPPERT: Yes. MR. GARGANO: Yeah. I just wanted to see what they —
MS. MORELLI: But it’s — I think your concern
is that the 25 percent would allow maybe those clinical rotations. Is that what your concern is? MR. MARTIN: It —
MS. MORELLI: Okay. You can answer that. But I want to — (cross-talk) —
MR. MARTIN: It doesn’t — yeah — it would not
— it would not affect those. They would still be eligible. They still are allowed to do — the foreign
medical school regulations permit portions of the programs whether clinical — David’s
looking it up. But what is allowed by the — by the — in
the foreign school regulations would not be — would not be constrained by this because
currently as this rule is — as this reads, there’s no portion — there’s no portion of
a program. Students cannot come back to the United States
for any portion of their education. There are different clinical rules in the
foreign school — I mean, in the foreign medical school regs. But this has no effect whatsoever on that,
none whatsoever. MR. GARGANO: All right. Merodie? DR. HANCOCK: I think — and I’m out of my league
a little bit on this. But I know some of my colleagues from New
York have had similar concerns. And I think the concern is could the Department
of Ed look into would this open up an opportunity for foreign medical health sciences programs
to further push down — we already see it happening in our medical schools where we
can’t get affiliation agreements with our local hospitals. It’s alive and well in New York — because
the foreign medical schools have those affiliation agreements. So we have no place to put our med students. So I think the fear is could this open it
up more. And I’m not an expert on it at all. But I think that’s what I hear is there might
be some other research outside this room. MR. MARTIN: Okay. I see — I see what — okay. I think I know what you’re saying now. Would this — would this open up more opportunity
for students to come back from foreign medical —
DR. HANCOCK: (Off mic.)
MR. MARTIN: I’ll tell you what. What I’ll — give me an opportunity to look,
to go back and review the regulation and I might be able to give you a little more — a
little more detail on it. MS. WEISMAN: So my understanding is that when
you’re doing these clinical rotations, that’s not an entire course. It’s a component of a course. So that’s how they’re able to say that they’re
coming here to do the clinical rotation piece because that’s not a course. So this will not change that. There may be other places that could change
that. But this does not do that. The idea behind this was a very student-friendly
kind of piece to be able to say let’s say I am going to study at a foreign institution. But I want to come home for the summer and
I want to go to my local community college and get a couple of classes out of the way
at a less expensive price. I should be able to do that. It’s my education. I’m able to transfer those back to the place
that’s giving me the degree. I want to have that opportunity as an American
who just happens to be here for the summer. Or perhaps I have a health issue and it puts
me in this country while I have my health treatment. But I can go and take distance education courses
here or something at my local university. We want to make sure that we’re allowing students
to have more flexibility in their own education and not limit the students that are here from
getting an education while they are here. MR. GARGANO: Denise, did you want to say something? No? All right. Then it’s David. MR. MUSSER: Okay. There’s a separate regulation that deals with
affiliation agreements for clinical training for foreign medical, veterinary and nursing
schools. That’s in 34 CFR 600.54. It’s a separate requirement that we were not
planning to address in this rulemaking. And frankly, we can’t address if we don’t
have, you know, someone to speak to it from the foreign schools at this time. We can look at it at some other time. But it’s not something that I think we can
add to this one. That — I’ll read what that says. It says notwithstanding 34 CFR 668.5, which
deals with written arrangements, an eligible foreign institution may not enter into written
arrangement under which an ineligible institution or organization provides any portion of one
or more of the eligible programs. And then, there’s a sentence that says for
the purposes of this paragraph, written arrangements do not include affiliation agreements for
the provision of clinical training for foreign medical, veterinary or nursing schools. So that regulation exists. It’s not something that we had put on our
agenda. And it wouldn’t be affected by what we’re
planning to change because this is an exemption. This exemption will be there whether we have
zero percent or 25 percent elsewhere. MR. GARGANO: Go ahead, Greg. MR. MARTIN: Okay. Any other —
DR. HANCOCK: Can we just say, just because I feel
like I need to do this for my colleagues, that I really encourage the Department of
Ed to go back and look at that and realize the supply chain issues that are happening
to our own students in those agreements? MR. MUSSER: Okay. Noted. MR. MARTIN: We will. MR. GARGANO: Sue? MS. HUPPERT: And I’d like to share some information
through — that came through the Association of Academic Healthcare Centers. It specifically references New York. And so, some of our states have been putting
legislation in place to keep them from moving in and doing the same thing. So do I forward that to David or Greg? MR. MARTIN: Scott. MS. HUPPERT: Scott? Thank you. MR. MUSSER: Any other comments on the general
provision? Otherwise we’ll go ahead and move on. Okay. MR. MARTIN: Okay. We’re going to move on then to written agreements. And that is in §668.5. MR. MUSSER: So a different document now. MR. MARTIN: So we’re moving on to general provisions,
§668. Give you a chance to find that. And that’s on —
MR. GARGANO: Page 14. MR. MARTIN: — page 14. MR. MUSSER: And don’t worry about all the redlines
before that. We promise we’ll get back to it. MR. MARTIN: Okay. As you probably — if you’ve reviewed this
already, you should probably know that the revisions that we have proposed here to §668.5
do broaden to a fairly large extent the parameters for establishing written arrangements, especially
with respect to ineligible entities, between eligible and ineligible entities. But I want to start with the changes here
with respect to written arrangements between eligible entities. MR. MUSSER: Can I pause quickly? Sorry, Greg, for interrupting. I just wanted to give some general context
on the rule so that we all understand what we’re dealing with. So outside of §668.5, the expectation is
that the eligible institution provides the entire program in which a student is enrolled
in order for the student to receive Title IV aid. There’s no other provision, except you saw
some references to §668.5 in the Part §600 section. §668.5 deals with cases — and I want — this
is what I wanted to be clear about — cases in which a written arrangement exists for
a different entity other than the eligible institution providing the credential or degree
to provide some of the coursework in the program, to provide some of the instruction and/or
coursework in the program. And the most important thing is there are
lots of occasions where you might be giving transfer credit. That’s not what this is. There are lots of occasions where you might
— a school might have degree completion programs where a student comes in with an associate’s
and they’re earning a bachelor’s degree. That’s also not what this is. This is an occasion where the eligible institution
considers a student to be enrolled at the eligible institution while taking coursework
provided by someone else. And that’s what Greg is going to go through
and explain, the changes to those provisions that we’re making here. MR. MARTIN: So if we — in looking at that, if
we look at what we have under written arrangements between eligible institutions, you’ll note
that, generally speaking, there are no — there are no restrictions on that as far as percentages
are concerned. You can see we describe what that arrangement
is. And, you know, another little bit of context. I found that eligible institutions, when they
execute these agreements, generally refer to them as consortium agreements. And that’s what we’re talking about here. You can have — and we’ll say that agreements
between an eligible and ineligible entity, we’ve referred to in the handbook — and I
think schools colloquially refer to them as contractual arrangements. So I do want to point out that both of those
are under the aegis of written. Both of those are written agreements. They’re considered written agreements. You could argue, as Jeff Baker always did,
that they’re both contracts in a way. But we refer to them collectively as written
agreements. So if you’re thinking, well, what about my
consortium agreement, that is what we’re talking about here, at least with respect to an eligible
to eligible entities. So you can see there are no restrictions there
except that the — except that it meet — the required — the general requirements found
in §668.8. I do direct you to (a)(2) where it says that
if the written arrangement is between two or more eligible institutions that are owned
or controlled by the same individual partnerships or corporations — these are eligible — these
are eligible institutions now that are controlled by the same individual partnership or corporation. The secretary considers the education program
to be eligible if the programs offered by the — if the educational program offered
by the institution that grants the degree meets the requirements in §668.8. Go on to see what we’ve eliminated there. What used — what currently — we currently
require not only that it meet the requirements in §668.8, but that the institution that
grants the degree or certificate provides more than 50 percent of the educational program. So that currently where there is an agreement
between — it would be a consortium agreement between two eligible entities that are affiliated,
the institution providing the degree or granting the degree would have to provide more than
50 percent. That’s been eliminated here. And we can stop and take comments on that. MR. GARGANO: David? MR. SCHEJBAL: Juts some clarification. So let’s suppose that four institutions create
a consortium. And each institution contributes the same
number of online courses so that — and then, there’s two ways for students to get the degree
or two ways that it could be set up. One is that students choose a home institution. And then, so — so I assume that’s okay. MR. MARTIN: Yes, it is okay. MR. SCHEJBAL: And then, my other question is could
those institutions offer a consortial degree or would that consortium now have to be somehow
individually accredited? MR. MARTIN: So you’re talking about — of course
the simplest situation with a consortium is two institutions doing it. But you’re talking about a little more sophisticated
model here. We have numerous institutions. We don’t care if a student — and I’m going
to have Dave like check my words here just to make sure because I’m going out on a limb
here. Dave and I do this to each other all the time. So if — there’s no limitation on the number
of degrees somebody can get. We do require that there be a home institution
and we do require that the student be matriculating in an institution. So if they’re a student at your institution,
you must be providing that student a degree or a certificate credential in order to give
that student the aid. If it turns out that in this consortia that
you’ve put together, these consortia, that the student — it’s the one agreement, right,
consortium, right? I’m forgetting my Latin. So that if that’s the case and the students
are going to get — also get a degree at another institution as a result of this, we don’t
have any problem with that at all. And it wouldn’t require any more that there
be a — that there be a consortium or written agreement that spells out the details of that. MR. SCHEJBAL: No. My question is could the institutions create
a consortial degree. MR. MUSSER: No. MR. GARGANO: No. No. There’s no consortial degree. MR. MUSSER: So you could —
MR. MARTIN: The student’s getting a degree at
the institution that he or she is matriculating at. MR. MUSSER: You could do two things, I think. You could have the student be enrolled in
one of those four institutions and grant the degree from that one, even though — and by
the way, that’s not possible under the current reg. That would only be possible in your four institutions
situation with the edit that we’re making here because in the current rule, the institution
that grants the degree or the certificate has to offer 50 percent of the program. What I heard you say was each of the institutions
is only offering 25 percent. So that is only possible after we make this
regulatory change. But if you did that, assuming we make this
change, then either the student would have to receive the degree from one of the four
eligible institutions or you could be dual-enrolled at all four and all four could confer the
degree simultaneously. MR. MARTIN: Before you — and one more thing I
just want to point out, because we get this problem a lot. When you start to set up these, we give you
a lot of latitude with written agreements and we’re proposing more here. But one of the things is I see that you always
have to bear in mind is that the student must always be enrolled in an eligible program
as a regular student. And we’ve seen this a lot with eligibility
institution — a regular student at an eligible institution. And you’ll see this with like respect to maybe
a community college and a four-year college. They’ve got a joint degree program going on. But I was — I had one where I was dealing
with where the student was enrolled — if they had been — if they had been considered
enrolled and matriculating at both institutions, there wouldn’t have been a problem. But there was a period of time they were taking
coursework at the four-year institution, not considered to be enrolled at the four-year
institution at that time and the coursework that they were taking at that 300 and 400
level was not applicable back to the program they really were enrolled in which was the
associate degree program. And at that point, the student was an ineligible
student. So you have to be careful when you construct
these, maybe a little beyond the scope of what we started with here. But I think it’s important to point that out. MR. SCHEJBAL: Okay. I want to go back to what you just said, David. Do you treat systems differently, even if
the institutions in those systems are individually accredited? MR. MUSSER: So we don’t treat them any differently. There’s a presumption that the student is
enrolled in at least one of the institutions within that system and that institution is
the eligible institution. Now, the student could bounce around within
the system, and we know that happens often. But again, technically, without this change,
yeah, the student — the student might not be eligible after the 50 percent point was
reached. MR. GARGANO: Jillian? MS. KLEIN: I have a few questions. I’m trying to understand. I’m sorry if I’m unclear where we left off
on here. I’m sorry if I’m skipping ahead because it
seems like some questions have been skipping ahead and not —
MR. MUSSER: We’re still on (a). MS. KLEIN: Oh. MR. MUSSER: Definitely if you have questions about
(c), we should wait on those. Yeah. MR. MARTIN: We will get there. Trust me. MR. GARGANO: Jessica? MS. RANUCCI: Sure. What is another recognized education credential? MR. MUSSER: So that’s an excellent question. There’s no specific definition for that term. But it includes things like a diploma, a certificate,
anything but a degree, other things that the institution and its governance recognized
as a full credential. What it doesn’t include are things like certificates
of completion, things that the institution considers not to be full credentials. But there’s no hard definition about that. We kind of leave it up to the institution
to determine where that line is drawn. Generally, an accrediting agency considers
a recognized credential to be within the scope of what it accredits. Other things that aren’t recognized credentials
are outside the scope of what an accrediting agency accredits. And those are not Title IV-eligible. MS. RANUCCI: So I guess I’m just trying to figure
out whether — what work the addition of that language here is doing, in addition to degree
and certificate in (a)(1). MR. MUSSER: Well, to be clear, that’s just moving
up what was in (i) before, so because we didn’t need the romanettes anymore because we removed
the second romanette. The second romanette was the — is the only
real change here. MR. MARTIN: The first one — well, the first one
is rolled up into the — rolled up. MR. MUSSER: It’s just rolled up into the paragraph. MR. MARTIN: It’s eliminated because it would be
redundant to have it again. There’s no longer (i) and (ii). There’s only (i). So rather — you wouldn’t just put — you
wouldn’t juts put romanette (i) there. You’d move it up. MR. MUSSER: You can blame the drafter, and I have
no idea who it was. But we could have just deleted a few things
and pulled it back up without adding the additional language, and that may have made it simpler. But yeah, sorry. We just rolled it up. The big change is that we’re allowing — sorry. The big change is that we’re allowing someone
other than the degree-granting institution to offer more than 50 percent of the program
here. And we consider this to be a less — a more
minor change because we’ve got two eligible institutions that are otherwise accredited
authorize by their states over which the department has authority. And they’re just trading coursework essentially
and the student is still receiving a degree from one of those institutions at the end
of the day. We noticed a lot of impediments. I’ll give one quick example and then we’ll
move on. But for example, a lot of times we’ve had
cases where schools have come to us and said we want to have like a three-in-one program
where a student takes three years at a community college and then takes one year at the baccalaureate
level and completes the program at the baccalaureate level. And they want to have a consortium agreement. But they can’t do that because the baccalaureate
institution has to offer at least 50 percent under the current rules. And this allows them to have that partnership
in which they are providing — as long as the accrediting agency allows it and the state
allows it, they can provide that full degree. The student can get the baccalaureate degree
and they’re otherwise eligible throughout the entire process. There’s other ways to set up those arrangements. But this gives more flexibility. MR. MARTIN: Moving on? Okay. With that then, we will move down to the next
change which is under (c). This involves written arrangements between
an eligible institution and an ineligible institution or organization. These would be commonly referred to as contractual
arrangements. So you can see we did add under these restrictions
here the ineligible institution or organization must be able to demonstrate experience in
the delivery and assessment of the program or portion of the program they will be contracted
to deliver. So that’s in addition. If we move down to (ii), we’ll see the substance
of the changes that are being proposed here. It might be instructive to look at what is
currently the case so that you can see how that’s proposed to change. So currently, if you look at what’s the language
that’s stricken here, the educational program offered by the institution that grants the
degree or certificate, otherwise satisfies what’s in §668.8 and the ineligible institution
or organization provides 25 percent or less of the educational program. So that’s the current restriction, providing
25 percent or less. And
the other current — currently, it can be 25 percent or less or it can be more than
25 percent, but less than 50 percent, with the approval of the accreditor. So what we’re — what we’re — what we essentially
would be doing here is — just read through all this text — is eliminating those — is
eliminating those restrictions. So the way it’s — the way it’s listed here,
there would be no limitation on the amount of an eligibility program that could be offered
by an ineligible entity. MR. GARGANO: Jillian? MS. KLEIN: I have several questions. So I think to set up this conversation, I
would be really interested in hearing the learnings that have come out of the EQUIP
experiment. And I think this group probably would benefit
from any data that could be shared with us. So you don’t — okay. MR. MUSSER: Sure. So I can speak a little bit to that. And Jillian’s referring to an experiment that
the department began carrying out, or at least initiated back in 2015 in which the department
granted the same basic type of flexibility that’s described in these regulatory changes,
but in a more controlled environment in which an institution did have a partnership with
an otherwise ineligible entity to provide part of the program — to provide more than
50 percent of the program. In the EQUIP experiment, the department also
required a form of quality assurance, a partnership to come into the picture. The department is still performing that experiment,
and we are getting data back from the institutions as well as collecting information from the
institutions and from the quality assurance entities and from the institutions’ partners. There’s not a whole lot that I can tell you
at this point in terms of what we’ve learned from the program, except that there are a
lot of occasions where the institutions at least had identified cases where they were
unable to serve a group of students and provide the skills that the students needed for employment
and that they were able to more adequately address that through their partnerships. What we also found was there was a lot — there
was — it was very difficult for those institutions to actually set up the partnerships in the
way that the EQUIP experiment had set up, partly because of the three-entity partnership
and partly because there was in some cases institutional resistance to the partnership. There were sometimes practical barriers. And it led to several of the entrants no longer
participating. These regulatory changes are not designed
to recreate the EQUIP experiment. And they wouldn’t necessarily exactly resemble
the EQUIP experiment. This is a first attempt by the secretary to
come up with a way that we could do something like EQUIP, but more broadly and in a way
that can actually be implemented by institutions that will help students get the kinds of skills
that they need to enter the workforce and become employed more quickly. MS. KLEIN: Thanks. So my understanding of the purpose of experimental
sites is to test something and then, based on data, sort of propose changes to language. So I guess have concerns that we haven’t learned
much, except that it’s hard for schools to do from that experiment. So I would just continue to use that lens
as we think about what the right way is to support innovation. I would advocate highly for a bare minimum,
something that looks like the quality assurance entity that was built into the EQUIP experiment
because I think the way this is written to me sort of risks diluting what a definition
of an institution of higher education is. I’m not sure if you put a shell around a hundred
percent of somebody else’s program or some other organization’s program that doesn’t
have experience in higher education. I just have questions about sort of what that
does to how we understand institutions of higher education. It seems like it could be a vesicle for fraud
for an entity that doesn’t have experience or expertise in administering programs. And then, a couple of nitty things, I guess,
which is one, so on page 16, where number five, where it talks about affirmative approval
from an accreditor. Is that the right place? I think I’m understanding that. Yes, from an accrediting agency. But then, back in the accreditation section,
sorry to jump around, on page 19, I’m reading this to say that if an institution hasn’t
had an issue for three years, they actually don’t need to get approval ahead of time
and they just need to notify their accreditor. So that’s on page I guess 20 of the accreditation
section. It starts on 19 where it says among institutions
that have not been place on show cause, et cetera, the agency requires institutions to
report within 30 days of making a change. And then, on the next page, it says entering
into a written arrangement. So that seems —
MR. MUSSER: We’ll take that back and look at it. I’m not sure if there’s a conflict there. But it sounds like there’s two slightly different
things going on in terms of what we’ve required. So I think we need to look at that with the
accreditation team a little bit. MS. KLEIN: I would also say — sorry, and then
I’ll stop — on page — sorry, back to the original language then on page 15 where it
talks about being able to demonstrate experience. I don’t understand what that means. Maybe we could regulate the definition of
demonstrating experience. I don’t know. So it’d be helpful to sort of understand what
the department’s intention is with that language. And those are probably all my feelings for
now. MR. MARTIN: I should provide — I mean, I think
as we talk about this — and I think there probably will be no dearth of opinions on
where we ought to land with this. But the intent here is to recognize that,
especially with respect to perhaps certificate programs or where industry credentials are
involved, to provide some flexibility to schools, providing an education that’s useful in the
workforce, especially with those programs that are intended to do just that and that
a lot of what might be necessary for an institution to give students that education may be being
offered by these ineligible entities. And you might — as an example, I’ll just
pull one out. Perhaps a labor union that would have the
bulk of experience necessary to teach someone to become a master in a trade. So to allow institutions — to recognize that
fact and to allow institutions greater flexibility to take advantage of those opportunities. So that’s where we’re coming from with proposing
this. But again, we want to hear what you have to
say about it. And if you have alternatives or if you have
guardrails you feel ought to be put around it, we’re interested in hearing what those
are. MR. GARGANO: Okay. So, Leah? DR. MATTHEWS: These contractual arrangements are
attractive, especially for distance ed programs. But with that, I think extends the gatekeeping
function to activities and entities that aren’t subject to accreditation or state oversight. There’s no rules about what are disclosed
to students in the provision of these activities by these entities. And when you’re getting into the range of
50 percent, perhaps without any scrutiny at all, I think that could raise a lot of questions
about quality. DEAC has had questions about that quality. And so, for non-accredited, non-authorized
entities that offer distance ed courses, they can come to us and we’ll do a curriculum assessment. And we’ll look at the development behind it
and its appropriateness for distance ed. And then, we’ll certify them to be able to
partner with our schools as they want. Not having something in place that looks at
maybe some of the foundational aspects of is it appropriate to distance ed, you know,
are the faculty qualified, are there aspects that authenticate the student, authenticate
that they’re doing the work, I think that needs considered if we’re going to this amount
of training. And I don’t know if we’ve reached a point
through EQUIP that we know how that’s being handled and is it being handled well. So again, I think that there are a lot of
questions of monitoring and assuring quality. And again, we’re extending accreditors into
space where we don’t have a whole lot of control over what these non-accredited, non-state-authorized
entities do. And I’ll tell you, in groups that have tried
to come to us for this review, we’ve turned some away because their curriculum isn’t fully
developed. The online system doesn’t seem to work well. We’ve had our curriculum experts that come
to us from either regionally or nationally accredited distance ed look at it as a third
party. And they’ve raised some questions to us as
well. So just I think it’s really, really important
that we think carefully about expanding this into a 50 percent realm and how we have a
process to assure the quality of that learning experience. MR. GARGANO: David Musser? MR. MUSSER: I don’t want to jump in line. I just want to clarify one thing about what
you said. I definitely appreciate all of your comments
there. There is a requirement. It’s not in §668.5. It’s in §668.43(a) and I believe it’s (a)(12). And I brought it up on my phone. So I need to be sure. But yeah, there is a requirement that institutions
disclose all written arrangements under §668.5, including — and I’ll get the language out
to make sure that I’m getting it right — the portion of the educational program that the
institution is giving away to another provider, the name and location of those organizations
and the method of delivery, as well as any additional costs. So there is a current provision to disclose
that information. But a lot of the other things that you’ve
described certainly are things that we want to consider and think about. We do want to be clear that institutions have
to disclose these and they have to disclose them clearly when they exist. It’s not something that they can just try
to push under the rug. MR. GARGANO: David? MR. SCHEJBAL: Let me give you two possible scenarios
and you tell if these would be allowed or not just so I get a better understanding. So imagine a financially challenged, small
liberal arts school that doesn’t have money to hire a bunch of IT faculty, but is in a
market where that’s a hot area. So the school partners with a boot camp, an
IT boot camp and the IT boot camp says, you know, we could do a whole undergraduate degree
for you. And the school says great. Is that okay under this? MR. MARTIN: Yeah. Well, first of all, I want to say that our
intention — we’ve heard a lot about boot camps with respect to this. Our attention — our intention was not to
facilitate boot camps. I do — given your example, if what you see
here was in regulation, would it be possible for, in your case — you talked about a financially
challenged small liberal arts college to say, well, we’re going to essentially have this
ineligible entity offer a hundred percent of our program. Nothing would prohibit that per se, other
than the limitations that were referred to with whatever accreditation agency oversight
exists within this rule. MR. SCHEJBAL: Okay. MR. MUSSER: So they’d have to get the affirmative
approval by the accrediting agency essentially in order to offer that, in order to offer
that program. But otherwise —
MR. MARTIN: Given that, yes. MR. MUSSER: — that would — that would be permitted. MR. SCHEJBAL: Okay, and so, a similar scenario. Same school, but this time, the school wants
to bundle a bunch of a core SARA courses to offer the degree. Okay? MR. MUSSER: The same thing would be true. It might be difficult for that school to — if
the core SARA courses are being offered by various different institutions, technically
that would be a written arrangement between all of those different institutions. And they’d have to list every single one of
the ones that were there. And they’d have to get all of that approved
by the accrediting agency affirmatively. But yes, in general that would be eligible
as well under these proposed rules. MS. FEDER: Yeah. I just wanted to echo some of the concerns
that have been stated around the table. I’m particularly unclear on why have all these
Title IV requirements if we’re then going to allow a hundred percent outsourcing. It seems nonsensical to me. And I’m also kind of wondering, given how
specifically the definition of institution of higher education is written in the statute,
where the statutory authority for this comes from because you’re essentially allowing a
non-Title IV institution to provide a hundred percent of a program when it doesn’t meet
the statutory definition of an institution of higher education. MR. MARTIN: I think — and let me — let me just
say this with respect to the misgivings you may have or parameters you think we should
adopt. We’re willing to hear what those are. So I mean, as you’re thinking about areas
of this that give you pause, we would also ask that you think of possible solutions to
that that we could put into the regulations because we — leadership really wants to — has
made it clear to me that they really want to hear what you have to say with respect
to that. Regarding the eligibility, I think — even
though — even though the coursework would be offered by potentially — the way these
rules are proposed, by the ineligible entity, it would still be the eligible entity offering
the program and offering the degree or certificate or other credential that would be — that
the student would be receiving. But I understand what you’re saying, that
yes, given these rules, would it be possible for that ineligible entity to essentially
provide the content for the whole program. Yes. MS. FEDER: I just also wanted to add — I mean,
I understand the desire to be innovative and to adapt to a changing educational landscape. But I think part of my concern about the statutory
authority question is that I’m not sure that a regulation is the appropriate way to go
about this, especially when Congress is actively considering reauthorizing the Higher Education
Act and this is really — is something that should be Congress’ purview, not a regulatory
action. MS. MORELLI: Okay. So basically your concerns are about the definition
of higher education. And I think that the department’s perspective
in putting this out there is that it can — it would be allowed because it does say provide. And I think they’re looking at providing to
be broader than the rest of you might have thought providing was. But I certainly will take your concerns back
and take another look at the statutory piece of this. MR. GARGANO: David Musser? MR. MUSSER: Yeah. So I know I’m interrupting a bunch of times,
and I apologize for that. But as we go on with this discussion, and
we’re very — we’re sensitive to these concerns that you guys are bringing up. Like I said, this is the first attempt. And the attempt is designed to try to find
ways to help students get access to the skills that they need to be employed in the workforce. And leadership at the department shares your
concerns about having, for example, degree programs that are a hundred percent offered
by outside providers. And, you know, we thought about that. We thought, you know, this may be a way that
maybe that can work. But if you guys think that some constraints
are needed so that, for example, certificate programs or other kinds of recognized credentials
that are shorter and that help students get into the workforce more quickly, if that’s
something that you think is more appropriate, we’re open to that too. We’re open to frankly a lot of different ways
of achieving that objective, of getting students the kind of training that is directly connected
with the workforce that is harder to achieve when there isn’t that direct connection between
students and actual workforce kinds of programs. So if there are, you know, ways that we could
constrain this further, ways that we could, you know, focus on the things that are most
helpful as opposed to, you know, leaving it broad, we’re open to that. MR. MARTIN: I would add to that, if — and I just
— I pose this question rhetorically. If a hundred percent happens to be a — you
know, you’re saying the entirety of this program being offered. Is there a — is there another percentage
you would consider or advocate for that you think would provide more — that would maybe
provide more latitude than what’s currently available but not be a hundred percent? I ask that of everybody, not just Jody. MR. GARGANO: So Gregory, just an observation. There’s a lot of discussion on this. And so, evidently there’s some feelings on
this. So maybe you would want to measure whether
or not they feel that this needs a rethink and perhaps they would be able to provide
that, what they feel that they could live with because it seems like there’s a lot of
pushback. MR. MARTIN: Yeah. I mean, I think we could take the temperature
of whether or not people — how to word it. Do people have — I mean, is there general
— I mean, a couple of questions I would want to ask. And I don’t know how we’d put this into
that context. But is there general support for more latitude
than currently exists in regulation today, right? That’s one thing I would ask. If so, is there any — what is the feeling
— what is the general feeling about what we’ve proposed, which would of course allow
a hundred percent? And then, if there’s support for more latitude
but not a hundred percent, what would that be? And maybe if we have some — Tony’s idea,
if we have some ideas that come up about what that might be, we could take a temperature
as to see where you stand on that. I don’t know right now we’ve had any real
proposals from the floor or any ideas that we could go on. We’ve got ours and what’s currently in existence. So tell me what you think. MS. MORELLI: Oh, I just wanted — I think people
— there’s quite a few — I understand what you’re saying, Tony. But I think there’s quite a few people with
their placards up and they probably — MR. MARTIN: — some ideas, yeah. MS. MORELLI: — should at least get their ideas
out or their — ideas or concerns out on the floor so then everybody can hear them before
we do that. MS. RANUCCI: Thank you. When I — you know, I don’t know how many
of you besides Jillian were in the meeting on Wednesday, I guess. But there is clearly public concern about
this rulemaking. And it’s not just me. There’s lots of people out there. And I think that I would ask the department
to seriously reconsider what is happening here. I think this is the exact sort of thing that
is undermining people’s — you know, Annmarie, you talked about how you really want us to
come in with good faith. And you guys have been some wonderful in talking
to us. And I really think that this is a proposal
that really puts at risk people’s belief in what the department is trying to do here. I think, you know, we have a pilot program. We don’t have much evidence from it. I haven’t heard — you know, I’d like to hear
from the department specifically what your goals are. And absent hearing that, it just really comes
across, if this was not your intent, is a way to just like hyper-deregulate this space
and allow new actors to come in, in a way that really wouldn’t protect students. And I think, you know, maybe that’s not what’s
happening. But I think this is open certainly to that
interpretation. And I guess I’d ask you guys — you know,
we can talk more. I want to hear everybody’s thoughts — but
to come back with a more specific reason for what it is you’re trying to do what you’re
trying to do so we can work together to figure out how to get there because I really think
this is off the deep end. MS. MARTINEZ: Thanks. I share a lot of the concerns that have already
been articulated. So I don’t want to necessarily repeat them. But I also see this as opening up sort of
possibly a hole or vacuum in regulation and oversight that would open up more consumers
to a really high risk of fraud and low quality programs through this mechanism. So I also would request that the department
consider rethinking the approach here. MR. GARGANO: Jillian? Merodie? DR. HANCOCK: Having been present at two universities
that were participants in the EQUIP program, I’d encourage us not to use that as a basis
for any findings because I don’t think we realistically have any out of there, due to
a number of reasons and a little bit of a check and the egg of trying to figure out
regulation as we go with that program. So I think your point’s well taken, that that,
while maybe good-intended to get an external program up, didn’t come out perhaps — you
know, wasn’t thought through enough maybe at the front end to do that. I find myself torn in this as well. And I think the idea of maybe looking at it
separately from some of the micro credentialing, the certificates and pieces like that, versus
the gestalt of the degree. And I share those feelings in a time when
so many people are questioning the value of a degree, that — and again, I think I’m a
little bit at the same place. I feel like a broken record here, that we’re
looking at accreditors at the same time as we’re looking at loosening some of these other
degrees — or not degrees. I should say controls. And so, if they all loosen together, what
happens? So I would encourage the same thing. I think this is one where we risk the entire
process as being perceived as bad because of just the public feeling around — you know,
this one, as you guys know, has gotten more heat than a whole lot of your other changes. So my thought would be to go with — and sort
of a new idea from the floor because I think, David, you mentioned it — to look maybe at
a micro — like break it up. So maybe if certificate’s easy to do. But by the time you get to a four-year degree
or even a two-year degree, that the university or the approved institutions stands for something
there, more than we signed an agreement. MR. MUSSER: So are you suggesting like a credit
limit on when these kinds of — more than 50 percent could be offered or a year limit
or something like that? DR. HANCOCK: Yeah. Probably a percentage. And I run into the students. I do all the time run into this. So I want to open it up some. I just really want to make sure that, at the
end of the day, students are holding that degree from an approved institution stands
for something and that we know what that is. MR. GARGANO: All right. Jillian? MS. KLEIN: So Merodie said sort of what I was
going to say too, is just that I think we need to remember what’s happening in the accreditation
proposed changes where, I think as it’s proposed now, you just have to — an accrediting agency
just has to accredit one institution. So I think there’s a lot of moving pieces
here, to your point. And, you know, I think there’s concern about
sort of how all of these changes at the same time really can risk the whole infrastructure. My question to the department — and I don’t
know, Leah, if you can — it’s not fair that I put you on the spot so much to be like the
one accreditor voice here. But I would be interested also to know any
data around how many institutions are already at the 50 percent point where they’ve had
to request approval from their accreditor and the department for written agreements
with other entities. MR. MUSSER: Unfortunately, the department doesn’t
collect specific data. We collect data on institutions that have
in general written arrangements to a certain point. But we don’t have numbers on number of programs. So I mean, we can look. I can go back to our folks in FSA and see
how many people — there’s a box that you check if you have a program above a certain
proportion. And we can pull the number of institutions. But that’s all we can do. We can’t look at programs or numbers of students. MS. KLEIN: Yeah. I mean, I think that would be useful just
as another data point for us to understand what the existing need or interest is in this
and how many folks are already taking advantage. Or that’s — I didn’t mean that pejoratively
— taking part in the flexibilities that are already allowed within the existing regulatory
language. So I think that would be useful. MR. MUSSER: Okay. MR. SCHEJBAL: So I think — you guys correct me
if I’m wrong. But I think the problem you’re trying to solve
here is one where there’s broad public frustration that higher ed isn’t providing the kind of
workforce programming that it should, right? So I get that. I do think that the example of a small school
that’s struggling, sort of outsourcing a lot of stuff because it can make money on it,
is real. And it also does something else for that school. It allows that school to do an end run around
faculty governance processes. So I wonder if it’s — and like Merodie I’m
sort of struggling whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. But I wonder if maybe another percentage way
to look at this is not necessarily percentage of individual curriculum or individual program,
but percentage of the number of programs that the institution offers. And here’s why I’m saying that. I can imagine this for particular institutions
become a slippery slope real quick, right? So imagine a school. It’s offering one program, not great. But now, it can essentially buy a dozen new
programs with no faculty oversight and resell those under its brand using federal dollars. I assume that we don’t want that. So somewhere you’ve got to kind of do the
guardrail thing. I don’t know what the right number is obviously,
but — MR. MUSSER: Again, a clarification, just to be
sure that I can restate it. You’re proposing that if the department were
to allow a percentage beyond 50 percent to be offered through a written arrangement through
an ineligible entity, that you would limit the number of programs at a given institution
that were able to do that. MR. SCHEJBAL: Yes, correct. MR. MUSSER: Okay. MR. SCHEJBAL: To some number. MR. MUSSER: Some number, yeah. MR. SCHEJBAL: I have no idea what —
MR. MUSSER: Yeah. That’s always the hard part. But the suggestion is taken. Thank you. MR. GARGANO: Annmarie? MS. WEISMAN: so I need to step out to see one
of the other committees before we end the day. And I just didn’t want to step out in a way
that looked like I was like, okay, I’m done with this. It’s great conversation. And I really appreciate — especially as we
get very specific feedback such as this. I definitely am hearing Jessica and Jody and
others and I’m hearing the concerns. And I appreciate you raising them in the way
that you did in a very constructive way. It’s very helpful to us. I also — I do especially appreciate when
you can come up with ideas such as that one that gives us something very concrete to kind
of react to and say, okay, that gives us an idea that we hadn’t had before. So it may not happen today. This is a very important topic and we recognize
that. You hit it right on the head when you said
about the idea of getting people out into the workforce. So think about it and kind of maybe guide
that discussion in that way. It’s very true that I am really interested
in achieving consensus on the full committee. And so, the work that you do here is really
important because your recommendations can help us to get there. And so, one of the things that you’re tasked
with is kind of hashing out some of these details in a way that you can sit and exchange
ideas. You don’t have to get there today on everything. So it may be that you go back to your constituents
and you come up with some new ideas together as you brainstorm. And, you know, maybe you need a little time. As I can tell you, it’s hard to think of everything
on the fly, especially when you’ve been doing it for a couple of days in a row. So again, I have to step out. But I just didn’t want it to seem as if I
was not interested in more of your conversation. I definitely am and I’ll certainly check in
with Greg later to get more of the flavor of kind of how this went, as well as the other
topics that I wasn’t able to be here for. But since I won’t see you before you all leave,
I just wanted to thank you again for your hard work and to let you know that I’ll be
joining you again where I can for your next couple of days when you’re with us, and to
definitely have safe travels home. MR. MARTIN: take a break, Tony? MR. GARGANO: I was going to say it’s 2:30-ish. Did you want to take a 15- or 10-minute break? Keep your tags up if you’re going to comment. MR. MARTIN: We can do one more —
MS. WEISMAN: Amanda wanted to say something for
kind of more on the record before I left. So I just —
MR. MARTIN: Oh, go ahead. MS. MARTINEZ: So sitting here, I have a lot of
comments. But I’ll keep it succinct, to the point. I think the goal that the secretary of the
Department of Education is making here is, as what I heard — and you can correct me
if I’m wrong — but from what I’m hearing is that they’re trying to fill a skills gap. And they’re trying to do this by a creative
way. This was the solution that was come up forth. And I don’t think that this is the solution
to fill that need of filling the skills gap. I think this goes deeper. This is a conversation that needs to be had
at a — to me, at a national level debate. And it’s very important. It is a true need that there is a skills gap
and there’s this isolation between higher education and what’s going on in the workforce
currently as it’s constantly changing in our environment today and even in our generation. And I definitely think that this is a deeper
issue where employers, educators, institutions, agencies, the public need to work together
to provide those skills and to provide those solutions and different ideas. I think that this is a fix that may work in
some other sector. But higher education is too unique and too
important. And the unintended consequences are too high,
especially for students. The basis for this solution seems questionable
and this seems like a great business model. I don’t think that this is the correct lens
that we should be looking for. And I’m 100 percent certain that without data
— I don’t need — I don’t really think I need data. I can already probably create or try to have
some predictions that if students did — if this was — if this was to happen, if this
was to pass and students went to a school that they were paying for something, they
would come out with probably not even fulfilling that skills gap. They may be really confused about what their
education or their degree is actually worth. Is 25 percent worth for this school, for this
certification, with this degree? It’s not the right lens, in my opinion, like
the basis of what the goal and the solution is. I don’t think they connect well, especially
for this space. And I would highly suggest to go back to the
drawing board and really ask who are you serving. MR. GARGANO: Thank you. Did you want to take your break now or do you want — all right. So we’ll take a 15-minute break, Greg. Ten of? Thank you.

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