Ms. Sarah A. Flanagan, Vice President for Government Relations and Policy Development, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
- Public Hearing Home
- Access & Retention, Panel of Experts
- Quality & Accountability, Panel of Experts
- Public Testimony, Panels 1 - 3
- Public Testimony, Panels 4 - 6
- Public Testimony, Panels 7 - 8
Synopsis: Attached are two documents that together summarize the key positions of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities on the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The first document is a summary of NAICU's key reauthorization priorities. The second document is our association's answers to the seven Questions for Public Comment that accompanied today's invitation to testify.
In brief, NAICU supports the continuation of the HEA's basic program structure as a proven strategy of effectively addressing the nation's access problem. The federal system of need-based student aid is designed to ensure that all qualified and motivated Americans have the financial means to pursue higher education at the college of their choice. The present configuration of grant, work-study, and loan programs grew out of specific assumptions about access and choice, the responsibilities of students and parents, the partnership of state and federal governments, and the role of colleges and universities. These programs were designed to offer all qualified citizens a chance to advance their minds, skills and economic potential, while also providing for the betterment of society. If the dream of a college education is to remain a possibility for everyone, the federal student aid programs must remain strong.
NAICU also recognizes that questions of accountability could be central during this reauthorization. We recognize that the federal government must set a high standard of appropriate accountability and reasonable oversight, and are willing to work with both Congress and the Administration to ensure that effective measures are in place to maintain public confidence in the current student aid programs.
Independent colleges are proud of the quality education they provide their students. They are accountable to their individual governing boards for policy decisions on mission, educational philosophy, and priorities for the allocation of resources; to local, state and federal governments to insure the proper expenditure of public funds; and to peer review for judgments about whether learning resources and policies are appropriate to meet the stated mission of the institution. The freedom of students to choose from the diversity of colleges and universities is the key to keeping higher education strong. In the end, informed student choice is the most demanding source of accountability for institutions.
About NAICU: NAICU serves as the unified voice of the nation's private colleges and universities. Our nearly 1,000 members reflect the diversity of private, non-profit higher education in the United States. Member institutions include traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, major research universities, church-and faith-based institutions, historically black colleges, single-sex colleges, art institutions, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, business, and other professions.