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NC-SARA Submits Comments to Department of Education on Higher Education Priorities

Updated by mbooth@nc-sara.org on Thu, 07/01/2021 - 15:40

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Education offering insight into higher education issues that the Department may wish to consider as part of the 2021-2022 negotiated rulemaking session.

In the letter, NC-SARA President and CEO Lori Williams highlighted three priority areas for consideration, including:

  • Strengthening the Triad to ensure enhanced collaboration, engagement, and communication among states, accreditors, the Department of Education, and other trusted higher education partners;
  • Identifying Standard Financial Measures that Better Reflect Institutions’ Financial Health, addressing longstanding concerns with the validity and merit of the federal Financial Responsibility Composite Score; and
  • Strengthening Distance Education Quality Assurance Reviews by recognizing and embracing new 21st Century Distance Education Guidelines designed to help support accreditors’ review of distance education program quality.

In the letter, Williams writes:

Since I became president of NC-SARA in 2019, I have striven for greater transparency and openness in NC-SARA’s policy review and revision, regularly seeking input from all of SARA’s stakeholders including our state members, the four regional higher education compacts (MHEC, SREB, NEBHE, WICHE), participating institutions, and consumer advocacy groups that elevate the needs of the students our participating institutions serve. We hope our insights can be valuable to the Department as you determine the priority issues and topics that will be discussed in the months and years ahead. We ask you to consider NC-SARA a participant, resource, and constructive partner in this endeavor, and for the Department to continue to support the work of NC-SARA in the future.

NC-SARA will closely monitor the Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking process, and the issues raised therein, and provide periodic updates as relevant discussions emerge.