A recent study published by the Education Sector and the American Enterprise Institute, “The Truth Behind Higher Education Disclosure Laws,” took a look at the rates at which 152 four-year colleges and universities complied with five new disclosure requirements under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA). The study reviewed graduation rates for students receiving Pell grants, credit transfer policies, employment and graduate school placement rates, textbook prices, and disclosures related to private student loans. The net results were shortcomings in the reporting of data, challenges in locating information on web sites, or otherwise obtaining information.
Of course part of the challenge is the multiplicity of reporting and regulatory requirements that get added upon institutions each time the Higher Education Act is reauthorized. Given the disclosure requirements are conditions of an institution’s program participation agreement for Title IV aid, there is risk to an institution should the U.S. Department of Education seek an audit or program review. Compliance officers and others charged with implementation of new laws are well-served to review the study as well as the status of their own institution’s disclosures.