Bipartisan Legislation Includes New Tiered-Evidence Innovation Fund, Pay for Success Authority, and Expanded Evaluation Authority to Drive Better Outcomes in Higher Education
WASHINGTON, DC – Results for America (RFA) issued the following statement in support of the Fund for Innovation and Success in Higher Education (FINISH) Act, legislation introduced today by U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Todd Young (R-IN), which includes several provisions aimed at using evidence and innovation to improve access to and better outcomes in higher education:
“We are thrilled that Senator Hatch, Senator Bennet, and Senator Young have introduced bipartisan legislation that would leverage the power of evidence and innovation to improve outcomes in higher education,” CEO and Co-Founder Michele Jolin said. “The Fund for Innovation and Success in Higher Education (FINISH) Act would promote innovation in higher education, provide resources for evaluating federal higher education programs, and invest in evidence-based higher education solutions.
More specifically, the legislation would:
- Authorize Innovation Grants: The legislation would amend the existing Fund for the Improvement of Secondary Education to create a new tiered-evidence innovation fund that would allow grant recipients (including institutions of higher education, nonprofits, state and local education agencies, and national service programs) to test, replicate, and scale initiatives that increase access to and promote completion of higher education for high-need students.
- Authorize Pay for Success Projects: The legislation would allow the U.S. Secretary of Education to approve up to five Pay for Success (PFS) pilot initiatives each fiscal year, which would allow grant recipients (including institutions of higher education, state and local governments, or nonprofit intermediaries) to partner with outside organizations to achieve the goals of federally-funded higher education grant programs. In order to receive PFS funds, grantees would need to demonstrate they achieved measurable outcomes.
- Strengthen Evaluation Authority: The legislation provides authority to the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences to set aside up to 1 percent of funds from programs authorized by the Higher Education Act (with the exception of Pell grants) to rigorously and independently evaluate higher education programs. The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the statistics, research and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education that provides independent, nonpartisan scientific research to help educators, parents and policymakers make informed decisions.
- Encourage Open-Educational Resources: The legislation also encourages institutions of higher education to make all forms of postsecondary instructional content widely available. Doing so could result in significant cost-savings for students and increased efficiency to institutions of higher education.
More information about this bill here.
Results for America was proud to work with Senators Hatch, Bennet, and Young on the evidence provisions in their bill, and with more than 80 local, state, and national organizations to support this legislation. Several of the provisions included in the Fund for Innovation and Success in Higher Education (FINISH) Act were included in the Moneyball for Higher Education reports Results for America released in January 2018.
About Results for America
Results for America is helping decision-makers at all levels of government harness the power of evidence and data to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Our mission is to make investing in what works the “new normal,” so that when policymakers make decisions, they start by seeking the best evidence and data available, then use what they find to get better results.
Contact: Jeremy Ayers