Carl Herrn

Herrin Discusses Fate of Higher Ed Reforms at NAFSA Conference

June 29, 2016
By: Christine Hickman

Carl Herrin (President’s Office) recently presented on a panel at the 2016 National Association of Foreign Student Advisors: Association of International Educators conference in Denver, Colo., along with Katey Palumbo (International Programs). Herrin, who has previously served on the staff and committees of NAFSA, was a co-presenter for a panel titled “Policymaking in International Education: the View from Washington” that concerned federal policies that might affect international education.

Herrin was joined by Ilir Zherka, executive director of the Alliance for International Exchange, and Rachel Banks, director of public policy for NAFSA. The panel was moderated by Lisa Heyn, associate director for government relations for the Alliance for International Exchange.

The panel’s presenters said that while the bicameral GOP majority in Congress—the result of the 2014 election—was poised to provide greater stability in the House and Senate, the reality of the outcome was quite the opposite. The small GOP majority in the Senate didn’t prevent filibusters by Democrats, and the polarizing partisanship in the House has effectively prevented agreement on proposed legislation.

With the coming presidential election, and with student debt being a primary concern among younger voters, the spotlight has been placed on the level of dysfunction in Congress and on presidential candidates’ objectives for higher education reform, specifically student loan debt and sexual violence on campus.

As a change in the White House administration (and possibly political parties) is inevitable, the panel warned that the current hostile climate in Washington could possibly get even worse next year, which would mean that few higher education reforms would be enacted. The divisiveness would likely mean that NAFSA and other higher education organizations wouldn’t be able to find bipartisan partners to further their agenda, the panelists said. Catch-all spending could be the only likely outcome.

The conference attracts educational practitioners, most of whom work in higher education international education administration, as international program directors and representatives from international student and scholar advising; study abroad advising, programming, and promotion; international student recruitment; and intensive English language program administration.

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