NACAC Outlines its Priorities for the Next Secretary of Education

Michael Rose
Arlington, VA (Jan. 25, 2017) — The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) issued the following statement today in advance of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education:

With the growing importance of a postsecondary credential in today’s economy, it is critical that the federal government continues to invest in our nation’s public schools and their capacity to produce students who are college- and career-ready. After the 2008 recession, most states cut funding to both K-12 and postsecondary education—cuts from which many state educational systems have yet to recover. If the federal government follows suit, our nation’s students, and the businesses that rely on a well-educated and well-trained workforce, will suffer.

Before the HELP Committee votes on whether to confirm Ms. DeVos, NACAC urges committee members to consider the following priorities for education:

Education Funding
As a matter of national priority, it is critical that the federal government reinforce a significant re-investment in public education, both at the K-12 and postsecondary levels. Diverting public funds from public education perpetuates inequities and reduces accountability for the use of taxpayer funds. Moreover, federal support is critical to bolstering state and local initiatives to support areas of need, such as school counseling.

Need-Based Financial Aid for Postsecondary Education
Research consistently shows that need-based financial aid is an essential component of college access, retention, and success. Ensuring that federal need-based financial aid keeps pace with inflation is a critical step in ensuring that our nation's civic, social, and economic institutions remain strong. Diverting funding from need-based aid programs to fill budget gaps in other programs is not a matter of good public policy for education.

Protecting Students and Taxpayers
There has been unprecedented fraud and abuse in the federal student loan programs over the past 15 years, though regulatory changes were implemented over the past eight years in an attempt to correct this course. The administration must fulfill its obligation to protect students and taxpayers from waste and fraud at the hands of unscrupulous institutions, many of which have a history of defrauding both the federal government and students out of billions of dollars.

Civil Rights and Education
Based on our core principles, NACAC believes that sound educational policy includes measures that allow students to realize their educational goals free from unjust policies and practices. Undocumented, LGBT, and other students face obstacles—often on a daily basis—that other students may not. It is critical that these students receive protection and support from the federal government.

Research affirms the educational value of diversity. However, only by maintaining equitable funding policies and supporting policies and practices that promote college access and success for under-represented populations will we be able to realize the full educational benefits of a diverse population.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded in 1937, is an organization of more than 16,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education. NACAC is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the NACAC Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP).

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