Possible Data Changes to Higher Education Act Under New Congress


Joel Salmon
Joel Salmon

Independent consultant Joel Salmon has led complex projects for clients in multiple sectors, including higher education. As an analyst for Renaissance Management, Inc., Joel Salmon leveraged his experience with data management to provide counsel to elite universities. Maintaining a professional interest in the role of data in higher education, he stays informed of legislative changes that impact data collection protocols.

It has been nearly two decades since Congress has made any comprehensive changes to the Higher Education Act, which regulates the federal student loan program, accreditation, and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPED). Since 1993, IPED has collected data points on college and university admissions and enrollment, tuition costs, student retention and graduation rates, and institution finances.

The 119th Congress elected in 2018 will be the first power-balanced congress in decades, which may facilitate the passing of a revision to the Higher Education Act. Many members of congress are keen to expand data collection efforts beyond the IPED in order to create a more cohesive picture of student outcomes.

For example, some members put forward several frameworks for a national system that would collect student academic and financial data for several years after graduation. Though stalled since the mid-2000s, upcoming changes in the leadership of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce may lead to progress on these proposals.


An Introduction to the Virtual Classroom


Joel Salmon
Joel Salmon

As part of his work with higher education, Joel Salmon consulted with Ivy League universities on marketing and curricular matters. To stay current in the field, Joel Salmon maintained a professional interest in educational trends and technology, including the virtual classroom concept.

Virtual classrooms allow students in an online environment to interact and collaborate with each other and view common videos or presentations. Several features distinguish this technology:

Ease of access. Participants can log into a MOOC (massive open online course) from anywhere in the world, using services such as Coursera. Registration costs are generally lower than for face-to-face classes.

Any-time usage. After presentation, students can play back the entire class, including audio-visual elements, to watch at a more convenient time, or go back to clarify information they missed.

– Built on traditional formats. Virtual classes are essentially lectures plus supporting material, a method with which students are familiar.

Useful extras. In addition to lectures, teachers can make time for discussions, tutorials, and group work. Network connectivity allows participants to consult outside resources.