What is Obama’s higher education legacy?

Higher education thought leaders argue that the Obama Administration’s legacy found its success in the reversal of its initial initiatives.

The College Scorecard, Pell Grants and gap widening, funding help that went slightly awry—if you ask higher education thought leaders, they’ll probably argue that the Obama Administration initially set out to take a top-down, almost Big Brother-esque hand in reforming higher education; and when that faced opposition from the right and the left alike, performed a reversal in tactics that may have done some good.

“Many of the most positive aspects of the Administration’s higher-education policy legacy have actually been reversals of policies proposed—and in some cases enacted—by the same officials,” pens Autumn A. Arnett, a writer for The Atlantic. “The Administration has retreated from the College Scorecard it touted unrelentingly, which was presented as the answer to the nation’s college-affordability crisis.”

According to Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) President Emerita Carol Schneider, in an interview with Arnett, “the Obama Administration’s biggest failure was not in any policy it implemented, but in its failure to capitalize on a huge opportunity to enact meaningful education reform: ‘The big reform that we needed in higher ed would have put learning outcomes [as] the drivers. Instead, we ended up with a more technocratic approach to competency-based learning that I think is not going to be as fruitful as it could have been…’”

[For the K-12 version of this story, click here]

Below, the editors of eCampus News have compiled a brief outline of the Obama Administration’s most notable and/or controversial higher education initiatives pulled from reputable sources of information; but we’d like to know: What do you believe will be Obama’s legacy for higher education? Leave your comment in the section below and/or take our poll here:

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