We track broad policy trends, but do not advocate our agenda, in the legislative precincts of the US federal government. There is plenty of work to do in technical, management, safety and sustainability standards for the emergent #SmartCampus. Education policy is a space crowded with “market incumbents”, so to say, as some of the related links below should reveal. Sorting through the Orwellian fog, we see the broad contours of emergent legislation that will likely have some affect on the flow of money to the physical characteristics of our cities-within-cities.
On May 7th, Senate bill S 2791 – A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide grants for institutions of higher education to prevent substance abuse, and for other purposes — was logged into the US Senate’s legislative calendar.
A summary is now in progress and will be posted at this link: Congress.GOV
Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform: Prosper Act
December 1, 2017
We see how other industries apply technical and business standards to meet their organizational goals so it is natural for us to ask about the degree to which adoption of privately developed consensus standards accredited by the American National Standards Institute would be an effective tool for driving down the cost of higher education in the United States. Education — about 4 percent of gross domestic product — is an industry which, arguably, is built upon a foundation standards and related accreditation enterprise. A baccalaureate degree is, after all, a standard.
Even as the legislative activity on revising/reauthorizing the Higher Education Act of 1965 is already in motion* we see three related developments that might enlighten understanding about how standards support regulation, and how regulation determines cost:
- Release of a February 2015 report by the Health, Labor and Pensions Committee titled: “Recalibrating Regulations of Colleges and Universities”
- The July 2015 launch by the International Standards Organization of a standards project which will provide a foundation for regulators in the education industry in other nations– ISO 21001 Educational organizations and management systems. South Korea is global Secretariat. The United States is not participating in the development of this standard.
- In January 2016 the White House Office of Management of Budget revised OMB CIRCULAR A-119 – Federal Participation in Consensus Standards which directs all federal agencies to use privately developed standards before undertaking writing standards of their own.
Much has happened since 1965:
- In 1985 the ISO 9000 suite of standards began rolling out in many industries that had revenue streams originating in other nations.
- The National Technology Transfer & Advancement Act — the parent legislation for many industries to develop their own standards (rather than standards written by the federal government) — was passed in 1996.
- The number of organizations accredited by the American National Standards Institute as accredited standards developers for documents suitable for incorporation by reference by federal, state and local agencies has grown steadily.
December 1, 2017 Update from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce: (Click here)
The parent legislation for the US higher education industry is the Higher Education Act of 1965; available in its entirety at this link:
AN ACT: To strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.
It was not until the National Technology Transfer & Advancement Act of 1995 and the issuance of Office of Management & Budget Circular A-119: Federal Participation in Consensus Standards shortly thereafter that the October 7, 1998 reauthorization of the 1965 parent legislation that we first see requirements to use voluntary consensus standards accredited by the American National Standards Institute for financial management.
AN ACT: To extend the authorization of programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.
The sections of interest to us are highlighted below:
‘‘SEC. 143. ADMINISTRATIVE SIMPLIFICATION OF STUDENT AID DELIVERY.
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the student aid delivery system, the Secretary and the Chief Operating Officer shall encourage and participate in the establishment of voluntary consensus standards and requirements for the electronic transmission of information necessary for the administration of programs under title IV.
‘‘(b) PARTICIPATION IN STANDARD SETTING ORGANIZATIONS.— ‘‘(1) The Chief Operating Officer shall participate in the activities of standard setting organizations in carrying out the provisions of this section. ‘‘(2) The Chief Operating Officer shall encourage higher education groups seeking to develop common forms, standards, and procedures in support of the delivery of Federal student financial assistance to conduct these activities within a standard setting organization. ‘‘(3) The Chief Operating Officer may pay necessary dues and fees associated with participating in standard setting organizations pursuant to this subsection.
‘‘(c) ADOPTION OF VOLUNTARY CONSENSUS STANDARDS.—Except with respect to the common financial reporting form under section 483(a), the Secretary shall consider adopting voluntary consensus standards agreed to by the organization described in subsection (b) for transactions required under title IV, and common data elements for such transactions, to enable information to be exchanged electronically between systems administered by the Department and among participants in the Federal student aid delivery system.
‘‘(d) USE OF CLEARINGHOUSES.—Nothing in this section shall restrict the ability of participating institutions and lenders from using a clearinghouse or servicer to comply with the standards for the exchange of information established under this section.
‘‘(e) DATA SECURITY.—Any entity that maintains or transmits information under a transaction covered by this section shall maintain reasonable and appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards— ‘‘(1) to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the information; and ‘‘(2) to protect against any reasonably anticipated security threats, or unauthorized uses or disclosures of the information.
‘‘(f ) DEFINITIONS.—
‘‘(1) CLEARINGHOUSE.—The term ‘clearinghouse’ means a public or private entity that processes or facilitates the processing of nonstandard data elements into data elements conforming to standards adopted under this section.
‘‘(2) STANDARD SETTING ORGANIZATION.—The term ‘standard setting organization’ means an organization that— ‘‘(A) is accredited by the American National Standards Institute; ‘‘(B) develops standards for information transactions, data elements, or any other standard that is necessary to, or will facilitate, the implementation of this section; and ‘‘(C) is open to the participation of the various entities engaged in the delivery of Federal student financial assistance.
‘‘(3) VOLUNTARY CONSENSUS STANDARD.—The term ‘voluntary consensus standard’ means a standard developed or used by a standard setting organization described in paragraph (2).’’. (b) REPEAL OF OLD GENERAL PROVISIONS.—Title XII (20 U.S.C. 1141 et seq.) is repealed. PUBLIC LAW 105–244—OCT. 7, 1998 112 STAT. 1617 (c) REPEAL OF TITLE IV DEFINITION.—Section 481 (20 U.S.C. 1088) is amended— (1) by striking subsections (a), (b), and (c); and (2) by redesignating subsections (d) through (f ) as subsections (a) through (c), respectively.
We provide a link to an overview of the American National Standards Institute in the link below.
* Originally posted May 2016