Hearing focuses on ensuring value of higher education
Aug 2023

Hearing focuses on ensuring value of higher education

By Tabitha Whissemore

The House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing Thursday that centered on increasing the value of college for students and taxpayers.

Witnesses and committee members discussed the need for greater transparency in college pricing, the need to protect students from low-quality and high-cost college programs and helping to prevent student debt that’s burdensome to borrowers and taxpayers.

On both sides of the aisle, committee members and witnesses agreed that a college education should lead to a good-paying job.

In opening the hearing, Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) acknowledged that “the purpose of college is to provide value to the consumer.” Now, though, he said there are “outdated measures of quality coupled with virtually zero transparency of value in the postsecondary market.”

“Students and taxpayers are left to navigate an expensive gamble with zero assurance their bet will pay off,” Owens said.

Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, echoed that sentiment during his testimony.

“In higher education, what the government — and therefore the taxpayer — is paying for is enrollment of students. Not employment. Not learning. Not life outcomes,” Horn said. He suggested that federal policy should instead “focus on student outcomes and empower…schools to figure out the best ways to deliver value for students and taxpayers.”


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