Publication Date: October 30, 2013

Posted Date: October 31, 2013

Subject: Open Forum on College Value and Affordability and College Ratings System

FR Type: Notice


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 210 (Wednesday, October 30, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 64930-64931]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-25739]
 
 
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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
 
 
Open Forum on College Value and Affordability and College Ratings 
System
 
AGENCY: Office of the Under Secretary, Department of Education.
 
ACTION: Notice.
 
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SUMMARY: In August 2013, President Barack Obama outlined the 
Administration's plans and proposals for combating rising college costs 
and making college affordable for American families. As part of an 
effort to gather public input about these proposals, and in particular 
the development of a college ratings system, the Department has 
scheduled four open forums around the country. At each open forum, a 
senior Administration official will be present to introduce the themes 
and key questions about the college value and affordability agenda and 
to receive feedback about the development of a college ratings system. 
Forum participants are welcome to share their views on measuring value 
and affordability, and in particular on the metrics and weighting of 
the ratings system.
 
DATES: The open forums will be held:
     Wednesday, November 6, 2013, at The California State 
University-Dominguez Hills, Los Angeles, CA;
     Wednesday, November 13, 2013, at George Mason University, 
Arlington, VA;
     Friday, November 15, 2013, at the University of Northern 
Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA; and
     Thursday, November 21, 2013, at Louisiana State 
University, Baton Rouge, LA.
    All forums are open to the public.
 
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments regarding the Administration's 
proposals by electronic mail or by U.S. Mail, commercial delivery, or 
hand delivery. Submit electronic mail to collegefeedback@ed.gov. If you 
mail or deliver your comments, address them to Josh Henderson, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 7E313, 
Washington, DC 20202-0001.
    Privacy Note: The Department's policy is to make all comments 
received from members of the public available. Therefore, commenters 
should be careful to include in their comments only information that 
they wish to make publicly available.
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information, including information 
about the process for collecting public input, contact: Josh Henderson, 
Office of the Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, 400 
Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 453-7239 or 
by email: josh.henderson@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.
    If you have difficulty understanding English you may request 
language assistance services for Department information that is 
available to the public. These language assistance services are 
available free of charge. If you need more information about 
interpretation or translation services, please call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-
800-872-5327) (TTY: 1-800-437-0833), or email us at: 
Ed.Language.Assistance@ed.gov. Or write to: U.S. Department of 
Education, Information Resource Center, LBJ Education Building, 400 
Maryland Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20202-0001.
 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
 
Background
 
    A higher education is one of the most important investments 
individuals can make in their futures. At the same time, higher 
education has never been more expensive. College tuition keeps rising.
 
[[Page 64931]]
 
The average tuition at a public four-year college has increased by more 
than 250 percent over the past three decades, while incomes for 
families in the middle three quintiles (that is, incomes ranging from 
$27,219 to $115,896) grew by only 7, 14, and 24 percent respectively, 
according to data from the College Board and the U.S. Census. Declining 
state funding has forced students to shoulder a higher proportion of 
college costs, and tuition has almost doubled as a share of public 
college revenues over the past 25 years, growing from 25 percent to 47 
percent, according to data from the State Higher Education Executive 
Officers Association. While a college education remains a worthwhile 
investment overall, the average borrower now graduates with more than 
$26,000 in debt. Only 58 percent of first-time, full-time students who 
began college in 2004 earned a four-year degree within six years. Loan 
default rates are rising, and too many young adults are burdened with 
debt as they seek to start a family, buy a home, launch a business, or 
save for retirement.
    In August 2013, President Obama outlined his agenda for combating 
rising college costs and making college affordable for American 
families. His plan will measure college performance through a new 
ratings system so students and families have the information to select 
schools that provide the best value. After this ratings system is well 
established, Congress can tie Federal student aid to college 
performance so that students maximize their Federal aid at institutions 
providing the best value. The plan will also promote innovation and 
competition by taking down barriers that stand in their way and shining 
a light on the most cutting-edge college practices and new technologies 
for providing high value at low costs. And to help student borrowers 
struggling with their existing debt, the President is committed to 
ensuring that all borrowers who need it can have access to the Pay As 
You Earn plan that caps loan payments at 10 percent of income.
    Additional information on the proposals is available in the ``FACT 
SHEET on the President's Plan to Make College More Affordable: A Better 
Bargain for the Middle Class,'' which is posted online at 
www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/22/fact-sheet-president-s-plan-make-college-more-affordable-better-bargain-.
 
Open Forum Arrangements
 
    Please check for updated information on the forum locations, 
logistics, and other outreach activities, at www.ed.gov. Individuals 
desiring to present comments or feedback at an open forum must register 
by sending an email at least three days prior to the open forum to 
collegefeedback@ed.gov with the subject ``Open Forum Registration.'' It 
is likely that each participant will be limited to five minutes for 
comments. The Department will notify registrants of the location and 
time slot reserved for them. An individual may make only one 
presentation at the open forums. If we receive more registrations than 
we are able to accommodate, the Department reserves the right to reject 
the registration of an entity or individual that is affiliated with an 
entity or individual that is already scheduled to present comments and 
to select among registrants to ensure that a broad range of entities 
and individuals is allowed to present. We will accept walk-in 
registrations for any remaining time slots on a first-come, first-
served basis at the Department's on-site registration table. 
Transcripts from the open forums will be made available on the 
www.ed.gov Web site for public viewing. Speakers may also submit 
written comments. Please see the ADDRESSES section for instructions.
 
Other Feedback
 
    In addition to the open forums, the Department will seek input in a 
variety of venues and formats. During the months of October, November, 
and December 2013, the Department will host town halls and roundtables, 
and it will participate in events organized by other organizations. We 
also encourage the public to submit comments. Please see the ADDRESSES 
section for instructions.
 
Accessible Format
 
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an 
accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact 
disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.
 
Electronic Access to This Document
 
    The official version of this document is the document published in 
the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of 
the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available 
via the Federal Digital System at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you 
can view this document, as well as all other documents of the 
Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable 
Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, 
which is available free at the site. You may also access documents of 
the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article 
search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the 
advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to 
documents published by the Department.
 
    Dated: October 25, 2013.
Martha Kanter,
Under Secretary of Education.
[FR Doc. 2013-25739 Filed 10-29-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P

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