US: 'Emergency' data request raises suspicion

Stymied in its efforts to alter federal laws and regulations to make it easier for students to transfer academic credits from one institution to another, the US Education Department plans an "emergency" survey of federal Pell Grant recipients that seems designed to build a case that changes are necessary, reports Inside Higher Ed. The request has agitated some higher education officials, who questioned both the premise and the purpose of the department's information expedition.

The department announced in a notice in the Federal Register that it had sought emergency authority from the White House Office of Management and Budget to spend $375,000 to survey Pell recipients who transferred from one college to another from 2004-05 to 2005-06 about their experiences in trying to transfer academic credits between institutions.

Participants, who would receive $50 each for answering the department's questions, will be asked about how many courses they sought to transfer from their original institution to the next, how many were accepted and rejected for transfer, and how much it cost them, and how much any "extra courses" cost them, in dollars and delayed graduation.

Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site