Students and their families view attainment of a baccalaureate degree as an important first step in obtaining a decent paying job upon graduation. Given the fact that the costs of pursuing a college education are beyond the financial reach of many families in the United States today, they especially want their investment to produce favorable outcomes for their offspring in the job market.

Unfortunately, not all academic majors are geared toward producing graduates who will be in high demand by employers seeking workers with that level of formal education. According to a new report from the data analytics firm Burning Glass Technology, some vocationally geared majors, such as fitness studies and criminal justice do not fare as well compared to majors in other areas, such as English and gender studies. All too many students may find jobs after graduation, but in the context of their educational background, they are underemployed.

Health care education programs continue to be an exception. A rapidly growing proportion of the population that is age 65 and older, a group characterized by highly significant numbers of individuals who have one or more chronic conditions, means that the demand for health care services will grow. Shortages of physicians and dentists suggest that there will be increased opportunities for graduates of physician assistant and dental hygiene programs, to cite just two examples, to obtain gainful employment in the health sector following graduation. A challenge will be to ensure that high school graduates are prepared adequately in science and mathematics to thrive academically in health science higher education programs. Just as importantly, it will be essential to attract more students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in order to achieve a greater alignment with major demographic changes that the U.S. population is undergoing.

Negotiated Rulemaking For Accreditation And Innovation
The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) announced a negotiated rulemaking on higher education accreditation and innovation, along with three subcommittees to address distance learning and educational innovation, faith-based entities’ participation in Title IV programs and TEACH Grants. A main committee will focus on accreditation while three subcommittees will address these additional issues. The negotiated rulemaking committee will meet three times in 2019: on January 14-16, on February 19-22, and on March 25-28. Each of the three subcommittees also will meet three times, on January 17-18, February 12-13, and March 11-12. The meetings will be held in Washington, DC. Topics to be addressed by the main committee will include:

  • Requirements for accreditors in their oversight of institutions

  • Criteria used by the Secretary to recognize accrediting organizations

  • Simplification of USDE’s recognition of accrediting organizations

  • Clarification of the responsibilities for each member of the “triad” (accreditors, states and USDE)

  • Clarification of permissible arrangements between institutions and others providing an education program

Delayed Publication Of New Regulations For Borrower Defense And Gainful Employment
The USDE also announced that final regulations for borrower defense to repayment will not be published by November 1, 2018. The agency received more than 38,000 comments on its proposed borrower defense rules, indicating that additional time is needed to review the comments. Borrower defense regulations focus on the conditions under which students may obtain relief from federal loans. Additionally, final gainful employment regulations also will not be published by November 1, which means that current gainful employment regulations will remain in effect. These regulations address whether or not students who have borrowed federal money complete programs leading to earnings that enable the students to repay the loans. The missed deadlines for publishing new borrower defense and gainful employment regulations mean that the earliest date either could be implemented will be July 2020.

More Articles from TRENDS October 2018


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An American College of Sports Medicine Survey describes top fitness trends for 2019, with wearable technology being in the first position. Read More