The Biden administration will have controlling support in both the House and Senate
Fact: The Biden administration will have controlling support in both the House and Senate.
What does this mean for the Education sector? A lot of potential change.
We hear rumors that Gainful Employment may come back, that community colleges may become free for specific family income levels, and that student debt will be forgiven. Could the 90/10 rule be changed to 85/15? Yes.
Specific regulatory changes haven’t yet been announced, but it isn’t a big leap to assume that the education sector is going to experience sweeping change.
What do we know about Dr. Miguel Cardona, the nominated Secretary of Education? He appears to be an honestly good guy, who has spent most of his life within the public education system.
Dr. Cardona was born in Meriden, Connecticut to Puerto Rican parents. He grew up speaking Spanish as his first language and attended public school, acquiring a Bachelor of Science in Education from Central Connecticut State University and a Master of Science and Doctor of Education from Connecticut University.1
He began his career as a 4th grade teacher in Meriden, later becoming the youngest elementary school principal in the state’s history. He subsequently served as Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning for his local district. In 2019, he became the Commissioner of Education for the state of Connecticut.2
Not much is known about his thoughts on private higher education, but it seems clear his focus is on students and closing any gaps of inequity.
In a pre-Christmas announcement, President-elect Biden said “he will also strive to eliminate long-standing inequities and close racial and socioeconomic opportunity gaps – and expand access to community colleges, training, and public four-year colleges and universities to improve student success and grow a stronger, more prosperous and more inclusive middle class.3
Vice President-elect Harris is no stranger to the education sector. As California’s attorney general, she sued Corinthian Colleges, accusing the school of false and predatory advertising. In 2016 she won a $1.1 billion federal court judgement against now-bankrupt Corinthian.
It is unclear how aggressively the Biden administration will approach the higher education sector, but it stands to reason that significant changes are coming.
While a quality education and equality for all students will be top priorities, money will likely be a driving force for regulatory change. Personal debt is rampant, and our government has spent trillions in 2020, adding to an already high deficit. The Biden administration will be seeking ways to streamline the education sector while improving outcomes. There will be no quick or easy single solution, but likely a wide-spread evolution which could catch some unprepared.
It is advisable to get ahead of potential issues, as many of the rules and regulations already in place will stay or tighten. It’s doubtful that regulations will be rolled back, unless they are deemed antiquated or inefficient by the new administration.
Schools which cover their bases by monitoring their marketing, updating their websites, tracking student engagement/placement and carefully following the rules will avoid many potential issues. Document everything and be able to prove the steps taken to abide by the law and exceed expectations.
1. “Biden To Pick Connecticut Schools Chief Miguel Cardona As Education Secretary”. NPR.org. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
2. Binkley, Collin; Jaffe, Alexandra; Lemire, Jonathan (December 22, 2020). “Biden picks Connecticut schools chief as education secretary”. Associated Press. Retrieved December 22, 2020. “About CSDE–Commissioner”. CT.gov – Connecticut’s Official State Website. Retrieved December 21, 2020. Cardona, Miguel Angel (2011). Sharpening the focus of political will to address achievement disparities. University of Connecticut. OCLC 1196370756.