November 11, 2009

Progressive White Paper on Education Calls for Nationwide College Customer Ombuds Program

The Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, has released a white paper on accountability in higher education, "Putting the Customer First in College." The author, Louis Soares, argues that the Department of Education should create a central Office of Consumer Protection in Higher Education. Most of the work would fall to 10 regional "college customer ombudsmen." As advocates for students, these regional Ombuds would:
  • Ensure higher education institutions practices are in keeping with the College Customer Bill of Rights.
  • Work with state officials, regional accrediting bodies, and student and parent organizations to ensure that data gathered are useful to inform customer choice.
  • Review and comment on actions by state and accrediting bodies as pertains to promoting “truth in education” transparency.
  • Help to disseminate information about changes in federal, state and accrediting body regulations.
  • Conduct studies to evaluate the effectiveness of customer-friendly data in making college choices.
  • Refer individuals with questions regarding education provider practices to the appropriate authorities: federal, state and accrediting body.
  • Monitor complaints regarding education provider practices to spot trends that can improve customer information.
Some higher education officials are skeptical of a proposal that would add another layer of bureaucracy and impose excessive information demands on colleges and universities. (Center for American Progress White Paper; Inside Higher Ed. Hat tip to Lee Twyman.)

No comments:

Post a Comment