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Hillman to testify in Congressional hearing on strengthening accountability in higher education

April 02, 2019

UW-Madison’s Nicholas Hillman will be delivering testimony to the House Education & Labor Committee’s subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment on Wednesday, April 8, in Washington, D.C.

This meeting, which begins at 8 a.m. CDT, is the second of five hearings related to the reauthorizing of the Higher Education Act. This hearing is titled, “Strengthening Accountability in Higher Education to Better Serve Students and Taxpayers.”

Hillman is an associate professor with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and director of the university’s Student Success Through Applied Research (SSTAR) Lab.

Hillman will be on a panel of witnesses and will be given five minutes to present oral testimony.

Nick Hillman
Much of Hillman’s research centers on the topic of educational equity and looking at ways to give more people a fair shot at both accessing, and succeeding in, college. Hillman inspects these issues through a financial lens, examining how states distribute their funds, including where they decide to locate colleges and universities. His work also examines state “performance-based funding” models that reward or penalize colleges based in part on the numbers of students they graduate or regain from year to year.

On the federal side, he also studies the funding of higher education, mainly as it relates to student loan debt and repayment. He has examined the potential impact of federal “risk-sharing” proposals designed to hold colleges more accountable for the loan repayment outcomes of their former students. Hillman also is currently researching the importance of geography for college opportunity and “education deserts” — communities across the country where there are few public alternatives nearby for place-bound students to enroll in college.

The five hearings on higher education marks the formal launch of efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) in 116th Congress. A joint announcement from chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and ranking member Virginia Foxx (NC-05) reflected the Committee’s shared intention to host a thoughtful and open exchange of ideas for improving America’s higher education system.

The five hearings are:

• The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach

• Strengthening Accountability in Higher Education to Better Serve Students and Taxpayers

• The Cost of Non-Completion: Improving Student Outcomes in Higher Education

• Engines of Economic Mobility: The Critical Role of Community Colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions in Preparing Students for Success

• Innovation to Improve Equity: Exploring High-Quality Pathways to a College Degree

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