The Rant

My RANT - Innovation or Regulation

May 30, 2023 Eloy Oakley Season 1 Episode 11
The Rant
My RANT - Innovation or Regulation
Show Notes Transcript

This episode wraps up the series of episodes regarding the April 2023 Department of Education proposed changes to the definition of a Third-Party Servicer and changes to the Dear Colleague Letter addressing bundled services and revenue share agreements. This is also My RANT on the OPM industry

Detached audio:

Hi, this is ILO Ortiz. Oakley. Welcome back to the ramp. The podcast where we pull back the curtain and break down the people, the policies, and the politics of our higher education system. The last several episodes have focused on the changes that the Department of Education proposed to the definition of a third party servicer and the changes to the dear colleague letter. Addressing bundled services and revenue share agreements. I hope that you've enjoyed these episodes and I want to thank my guests who gave their insights and their expertise and their passion to this issue. I want to thank Bob Charman. Samir Katari. Claire McCann, Michael Horn, and of course Paul Leblanc, all for taking the time out of their busy schedules to give us their insights and their thoughts about how to better craft federal regulation that balances the need for consumer protection and for innovation. I hope that you can see from those interviews how difficult it is. To balance consumer protection and innovation. Nonetheless, this is the job that the Department of Education has, and while they have not released their final language as of the recording of this episode, Under Secretary Qu has committed to coming onto the show once the final language is out there, and we'll have a chance to talk to him about that final language and how he balanced innovation in consumer protection. I wanna thank the team at the Department of Education, in particular under Secretary Qual. Throughout these last several months, I have personally seen him reach out to several audiences, innovators, consumer protection advocates, students, institutional leaders, people of all backgrounds. although there might not always be agreement, I do want to thank the department for all the work that they've done, and I look forward to seeing the final language in print. And we'll invite the undersecretary back on the show to talk about. That final language and also perhaps get into gainful employment because that has already begun to ramp up, and that'll be a focus of several episodes in the future for the rant. So here's my rant on this issue. As you can see, it is very difficult to balance consumer protection and innovation, but it is something that we need to do in order to provide our learners the very best. Technology, the very best innovation in the way that we deliver education, the way that we support students in their educational journey, but also, Balance their need to have certainty, to have protection. When they sign up for a program, they know what they're getting into. They know that institution X is gonna be providing them the education and the student services that they expect from Institution X. Not being handed off to institution Y without, without any knowledge of what's going on. And we are in this situation because of a failure along the way, a failure in the incentives of for-profit institutions. I think my guest, Bob Sharman put it well when he talked about how not all for-profits. Are bad actors and many started out as good actors. I think a great example is the University of Phoenix. The University of Phoenix, started out wanting to serve students well, and they did. Somewhere along the way, they lost a way, whether that was because their investors were demanding greater profits, whether they needed a greater rate of return or whatever the incentive structure was that made it fall off the rails. And something similar has happened to the OPM industry, particularly those OPMs that are very well known today. Those OPMs that have grown tremendously over the last several years and have openly flaunted their profits, I think they have fallen off the rails, one player in particular who openly is out there talking about the challenges that they face. Because the federal government is trying to regulate the marketplace, and they suddenly speak for the entire marketplace. and they suddenly feel empowered or perhaps suddenly have hubris to pretend that they know what is best for the marketplace. And that's where things begin to fall off the Rails, profits go up. The incentive structure begins to change the people they are hiring to go out and find students to place in programs. The incentive structure begins to break down, and that's where federal regulation is necessary. My guess Michael Horn put it, well, when he said, innovation isn't about just throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping it sticks. It's actually about doing research, doing the work behind what students need, and actually helping them better learn and succeed in their post-secondary journey. Not just making that a secondary part of the business model, but the primary part of the business model. That's true innovation So what do we need in the marketplace? We need the Department of Education to put up guardrails, to actually create transparency. And this isn't just about the innovators. This is about institutional leaders, title four institutions that need to create better transparency and take responsibility for the agreements that they actually sign. My guess Paula LeBlanc put it well, it is a responsibility of the, of the institutions as well, and transparency is not a bad thing. Transparency leads institutions to do the right thing So I hope that you've enjoyed these episodes and I look forward to the department's work and the debates that'll ensue once a department actually puts out its final language around this issue. I know that this has been. To some, an interesting issue to some, a confusing issue, but it is an important issue because it is a marketplace that we live in, and the Department of Education, as well as the innovators and the institutions themselves are part of this marketplace, and it is what creates and sustains and supports innovation in teaching and learning, and the way we think about serving learners and the way we think about democratizing post-secondary education. To Americans of all backgrounds. So I hope you've enjoyed the series of episodes. The next series will be about innovators themselves. I had the chance to spend some days at the recent A S U G S V conference, ran into several innovators. I'll have a chance to talk to them and share those interviews with you. And I'll end with the co-founder herself, Deborah Cuso, to talking about. What led her and her team to partner with ASU and where they go from here. So I hope you join us for those series of episodes. Thank you for joining us on the Rant. If you like this episode, hit the like button. Leave me your comments. Let me know what you thought about this series of episodes and what you'd like to hear in the future. If you like the YouTube channel, subscribe and follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Thanks for joining us on the rant, and we'll see you soon.