Bill Would Address Evaluation, Transparency of Experimental Sites

October 16, 2018

Senator Todd Young, an Indiana Republican, announced legislation Monday that would lay out requirements for the Education Department to collect data and regularly publish results of experimental initiatives.

The Higher Education Act gives the department authority to temporarily waive requirements for Title IV federal student aid programs to run initiatives known as experimental sites. The idea is that the experimental sites will allow the department and lawmakers to assess new policy ideas. Current initiatives include the Second Chance Pell program, which allows incarcerated students to access Pell Grants in more than 60 correctional institutions across the country. But experts have said recently launched experimental sites are not being rigorously evaluated.

The bill, dubbed the Innovation Zone Act, is co-sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, as well as Maggie Hassan, a New Hampshire Democrat, and Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat. It would also require a review of ongoing experiments. And it would direct the department to give colleges and members of the public opportunities to suggest new experiments.

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