||The FINISH Act received widespread support from 122 local, state, and national organizations in a recent letter including Results for America, Knowledge Alliance, and Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP). In the letter, the organizations commended the senators for introducing the FINISH Act, “which would leverage the power of evidence and innovation to improve outcomes in higher education.” The full letter is available HERE.
The FINISH Act would:
Authorize Innovation Grants: The legislation amends the Fund for the Improvement of Secondary Education (FIPSE) to allow grant recipients to use a portion of their funds for tiered evidence-based grants to support initiatives that increase access to higher education for high-need students, increase degree attainment, and improve efficiency in our higher education systems. Institutions of higher education would partner with intermediary organizations—a non-profit, school district, SEA, or consortium of groups— in order to qualify for early-phase grants, mid-phase grants, and expansion grants awarded to accomplish these goals.
Encourage Open-Educational Resources: The bill also encourages institutions to make all forms of postsecondary instructional content widely available. Doing so would result in significant cost-savings for students and increased efficiency to institutions of higher education.
Support Efficient and Innovative Uses of Taxpayer Funds Through Pay for Success Initiatives: The bill would allow the Secretary of Education to approve up to five Pay-for-Success (PFS) pilot initiatives each fiscal year, which would allow grant recipients to partner with outside organizations to achieve the goals of federally funded higher education grant programs. In order to receive federal grant dollars, grant recipients must show concrete achievement of measurable outcomes. Pay-for-Success projects would directly result in an increase in public value and social benefit. This approach does not require grant recipients to use a Pay-for-Success model; it merely allows grant recipients to utilize this approach.
Establish Better Evaluation Authority: This bill provides additional evaluation authority by having the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences, on a biennial basis, develop an evaluation plan for these innovation initiatives.
The bill text is available HERE.