President’s Letter September 2021
Dear NASASPS Members,
As Fall & football season are soon upon us, I am settling into the second quarter as the new NASASPS President. I wanted to say what an honor it is to be part of incredible group of talent and knowledge.
For those of you who have not visited our NASASPS website lately, I would encourage you to do so at www.nasasps.org as you will find updated information on each of our current Board members and a host of resources and information for members. In the meantime, please take a minute to read what the Board is doing now.
Recently, NASASPS members represented state regulators through several outreach opportunities including serving as a panelist for the National Governors Association’s roundtable on human trafficking and attending the NC-SARA SPE webinar. Our mission is to ensure that state regulators and NASASPS continue to be a voice in higher education, therefore we encourage you to share notable events though the list-serve (by labeling the communication “OUTREACH” in the subject line & providing (in the body of the email) a brief description of the event and some key takeaways & contact information so other members can benefit vicariously and/or reach out to the author of the email to discuss further). Also, feel free to forward any relevant conference dates, and we will try to send a representative from the membership. The Board has developed a PowerPoint slide deck and standard presentation materials for member use to help share information about NASASPS at other conferences and meetings. We encourage you to reach out for these materials if you are attending or presenting at a conference or convening.
At this time, the Board has elected to pause the quarterly call with the U.S. Department of Education. We are working to develop a strong contact within the new administration so that we are prepared to reach out when topics warrant communication with our members.
Recently, there has been a flurry of communication and outreach efforts related to the 21st Century Guidelines. NASASPS solicited comments and questions from its members who represent both state regulators and state portal entity directors. Assisted by our former Board Member, Rhesa Rudolph, we have prepared a chart with the questions that were posed and the input that was received from thirteen states. Based on the information collected though list-serve and outreach discussion with other stakeholders, our Board elected to submit the following statement on the 21st Century Guidelines proposed by SARA:
The National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private Schools’ (NASASPS) mission is to improve and promote effective state regulation of private postsecondary education. NASASPS’ goals include promoting best practices and advocating for quality private postsecondary options for students.
The introduction of the 21st Century Guidelines may result in best practices and validate quality private postsecondary options. However, replacement of the current C-RAC Guidelines with the proposed 21st Century Guidelines may require state portal entities and potentially state regulators to make changes in administrative rules, oversight processes, and oversight expectations. States must be involved in the development and implementation of new guidelines. As it appears that States were minimally involved, NASASPS recommends NC-SARA evaluate the process for the adoption of the new guidelines and incorporate additional State involvement in the development and implementation.
As this continues to be a hot topic, NC-SARA will have a session at the NASASPS Fall conference in October to answer regulator questions about the new guidelines. In the meantime, we understand that NC-SARA has considered the input it received and will be delaying the vote to implement the guidelines immediately so that it can convene a working group (including state regulators & other stakeholders) to further discuss issues identified in the comments to the guidelines. If you or your state has not yet provided your input, the Fall conference should provide another opportunity to do so.
NASASPS Conference Updates
Our Fall conference:
The 2021 NASASPS Fall Conference will be held virtually on October 13-14, 2021. Our Vice President Cam Maeyaert, who leads the Conference Planning Committee, has planned a fantastic agenda with her committee members. Our theme is “Times, they are a-changin’: Navigating Transitions”. The conference aims to provide practical tools and ideas to deal with the changes our sector is facing. We have decided to expand this Fall conference to include all stakeholders (schools, accreditors, etc.) since we were unable to convene last year’s Spring conference in New Orleans due to the pandemic. The topics and discussions will be timely and relevant for all, and we will provide sessions or break out groups for regulators only to increase our opportunity to replicate the essence of a smaller “regulator only” setting and to provide virtual networking opportunities. Please register and join us for this virtual conference if you have not already done so. Registration and the preliminary agenda are available at https://nasasps.org/event-calendarevent-calendar/annual-conference/. You will not want to miss the content or the special activities and teasers we are providing to prepare you for our in person convening we are planning for this Spring, April 24-27, 2022, in New Orleans. We are all keeping the residents of New Orleans and everyone that has been impacted by Hurricane Ida in our thoughts.
NASASPS Committee Updates
Earlier this spring/summer, we solicited new committee members. We realize that we are all busier than ever before so the Board would like to express its appreciation to all who have volunteered to serve on one or more of our committees. Your participation in committees, conferences, activities, and list-serve communication is essential to provide the resources and voices we need to keep NASASPS thriving. The following is a brief update on our current committees:
Multi-state School Closure Committee
Committee Chair: John Ware, Executive Director, Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools
Several years ago, NASASPS formed a committee to assist state regulators with multi-state closures of private postsecondary institutions. We have learned a great deal by working together to address challenging closures such as Corinthian Colleges, ITT Technical Institutes, and so many others. We have gleaned new tools and strategies by sharing tactics and strategies to better prepare state regulators who often struggle with closure issues relating to student impacts and outcomes, coordination with US DOE, accrediting agencies and other involved entities, and retrieval of student records. Coordinating our efforts and sharing information and knowledge has and will continue to enhance opportunities for successful, timely, and more consistent resolution of closure issues as we continue to evolve and develop best practices.
The committee’s objectives include the following:
The purpose is to continue to build the resources we have cultivated. Therefore, the committee will continue to develop a framework for gathering information that will be useful to state regulators as they process school closures. Facilitating communication among state regulators about multi-state school closures is critical, therefore, the committee will seek to expand opportunities for direct communication among state regulators at NASASPS workshops and conferences.
If you have any suggestions to benefit the work of this committee or would like to participate as a committee member, please e-mail Jodie Markey.
Distance Education Committee
Committee Chair: Sam Loftin, Director of Consumer Protection, Washington Student Achievement Council
NASASPS has convened a distance education committee to assist in developing best practices that state regulators can use to guide them when assessing institutions offering programs by distance education or other “non-traditional” delivery modes. This committee will continue to address how state authorization agency laws, regulations, and policies can evolve to measure these programs differently than on-ground programs.
Policy Ad Hoc Committee
Committee Chair: Laura Vieth, Associate Executive Director, Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC)
The Policy Committee Chair will be reaching out to policy members to develop the focus and schedule for the emerging Policy Committee.
The creation of the Policy Ad Hoc Committee came as a result of the NASASPS board reviewing its strategic plan and recognizing that oftentimes state regulators do not have a voice in the policies that affect us and the institutions we regulate. As part of our revised strategic plan, one of our goals is to “Establish NASASPS as the national voice advocating on the behalf of state regulators.” The Policy Ad Hoc Committee is tasked with monitoring policy developments and emerging issues in postsecondary education.
Our next webinar this November will feature “Three U.S. Post-COVID Legislative, Regulatory, and Higher Education Recommendations: Future Considerations for Policy, Compliance, Accreditation, and Curricula”. Please sign up for our next Webinar through the following link: