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Recapping the 2020 Election: What Higher Education Can Expect

Recapping the 2020 Election: What Higher Education Can Expect
WCET (WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies)
Van Davis, Policy and Planning Consultant, WCET
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 significantly impacted higher education, perhaps more than any recent election. Citing her belief that “We must expand our thinking about what education actually is, as well as resist the urge to expect all students to follow the same track,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has presided over a number of educational changes including:


  • significant changes to Title IX regulations,
  • the rollback of gainful employment regulations,
  • changes to borrower defense regulations that increase the burden of proof for borrowers seeking relief,
  • changes to accreditation and state authorization regulations,
  • a new executive order limiting the types of diversity, equity, and inclusion training that can take place at institutions, and
  • changes to the definition of correspondence education, distance education, and regular and substantive interaction.
Alternatively, Brian C. Rosenberg, president emeritus of Macalester College, recently described President Trump as an “epistemological hand grenade” that presents “a challenge to the existence of the university itself.”
So what does higher education have to look forward to under a Joe Biden administration?
The context for higher education reform for 2021-2024
The Biden administration faces a number of significant higher education challenges including the financial impact of the pandemic, racial inequity, college affordability, and the continued need to pass critical higher education legislation such as the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

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