Troubled Colleges: Become an Experimental Site

December, 2013

Washington -- Many colleges are discovering that the high tuition, high (merit) aid, high student-debt model of enrollment management may have run its course. In a previous post, I suggested colleges that want to move away from this model should contact the U.S. Department of Education with an alternative, to be tested under the so-called "experimental sites" authority of the Secretary.

Since that post, the Department has published an invitation in the federal register for colleges to make applications to be designated experimental sites.

Colleges often complain about the high cost of regulatory compliance. A good application might also provide a way for colleges to explore, with the Department's cooperation, regulatory relief as a trade-off for serving more of the students the Department is supposedly assisting through its programs.

Perhaps a college or university already has an enrollment management model that complements the goals of the Department's programs (rather than contradicts them) and has reason to believe it would be scalable, as a model for more institutions. The Department should be eager to approve such a model as an experimental site.