Public Hearing on Reauthorization - March 7, 2003
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Question and Answer Session
MS. FLANAGAN: I think that is the key question, and we struggled with this for ages. I think about if we could just garner all the resources and ideas of this reauthorization, would we ever reach as many people as U. S. News and World Report? I mean, they sell those magazines like crazy. We have problems with some of the ways they measure things, but the bottom line is they do get information out there.
So we don't know the answer. I mean, I was listening this morning to folks who were talking about No Child Left Behind, you know, I'm wondering if the elementary and secondary system has responsibilities to try to get this information out. If there's some sort of thing that we could come out with that's very simple. I was helping a friend whose daughter is looking for college, but I was totally mystified by the process.
The College Board has a great website; you can go through the Bachelor process, you can get an estimate of how much it's going to cost. But how do we get that? It's not what's out there; it's that we have all these trees falling in the forest and nobody hears them. So I think it's going to have to be simple, and I think just like we discovered with the fast foods, it helps when it's shorter. I think the information has to be used when we have to focus on groups with low-income families to find out what information is useful.
MR. BRYANT: Sarah, I think you put your finger on an essential question. Advertising works. And I think one of the things the Federal Government is uniquely suited to do, and that only the Federal Government could do, would be a national advertising initiative along the lines of the Army's "Be all you can be campaign," and the "Army of one campaign," "The Marines are looking for a few good men."
These have almost become cliches in our society, because we see the ads so much. And there's no doubt that they're effective and that the military finds them in a very important way to reach the same population that you'd be talking about, that we're talking about reaching with respect to higher education.
The campaign could focus on benefits of higher education, the availability of student aid, you don't have to be an athlete to get a scholarship, and where you can go for additional information. And I'd be delighted to work with you on it. We think that this is one of our reauthorization recommendations, and we think it's a very important step the Department can use.
MS. FLANAGAN: One other point is that our colleges have to do entrance and exit interviews for student loan recipients. Maybe there's a model there for middle school or high school students, to have entrance and exit exams on what's available.
MR. BRYANT: Thank you very much.