AACRAO and the National Student Clearinghouse meet to discuss common interests

February 4, 2019
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Group of 10 people poses for a picture near the new AACRAO building's elevator entrance AACRAO and the National Student Clearinghouse have long been important partners in helping institutions comply with federal regulations and on other significant higher education initiatives. 

So when the executive teams of both organizations arranged to meet to discuss issues of shared concern, the agenda quickly grew in breadth and depth. On January 11, 2019, leaders from the two organizations held a strategic meeting addressing a wide range of topics and projects in various stages of ideation and execution. Below are a few highlights of this meeting.

SIS Initiative
One area of common interest surfaced around enrollment reporting compliance and SIS platforms. 

“As we experienced recently, when the Department of Education changed reporting requirements, we worked with the AACRAO membership on enacting those changes,” said V. Shelby Stanfield, Director, Service Innovation Networks at the Clearinghouse. (* Read more about this arm of the Clearinghouse below.)

Additionally, some systems used within higher education do not easily account for rapidly changing education models, such as evolving education delivery and learning consumption modes, integrated degrees programs (i.e., coterminous bachelor and masters programs), and consortium agreements where a learner is attending multiple institutions at once.

“This educational experimentation has to be managed in enrollment because it affects how registrars record learners’ learning and how compliance reporting feeds into full-time/part-time classifications,” Stanfield said. “The way learner records end up being stored in the SIS may not be aligned with how learners are actually engaged with their education.”

For this initiative, institutions experiencing challenges along these lines will be invited to a future forum to examine the issues holistically and proactively to create roadmaps for how we may best prepare for future compliance reporting requirements in light of teaching and learning innovation.

“We’ll look for ways the Clearinghouse can continue to assist institutions with challenges faced with enrollment reporting, where common needs can be presented with a collective voice to software providers as proposed enhancements to their platforms, and to establish proven practices regarding compliance regulations that can be shared among institutions,” Stanfield said. “Going forward we’ll have structures in place to identify, assess, and roll out future enhancements should there be other types of changes down the line.”

AACRAO and Clearinghouse attendees discussed the progress of the AACRAO Veterans Workgroup, an important area on ongoing joint efforts. Learn more and sign up here for updates. 

FERPA and HR 3774
The Clearinghouse is a strong supporter of reverse transfer of credit for purposes of recognizing learner achievements and in AACRAO’s efforts to guide reverse transfer legislation and advocate for making reverse transfer credit exchange a permitted use under FERPA (H.R. 3774). Learn more here.

Comprehensive Learner Record
The Clearinghouse and AACRAO continue to be strong supporters of the Comprehensive Learner Record. The Clearinghouse is developing a learner academic portal, called Myhub, as a platform to support institutions’ comprehensive learner records. Myhub provides the learner with access to an aggregated view of their academic records and educational achievements. Learn more about AACRAO’s Comprehensive Learner Record initiative.

XML/EDI Crosswalk
Electronic transcript exchange has hit a “plateau,” Stanfield observed -- because of the incompatibility of two of the most common data formats: XML and EDI.

“As it is now we have dependency in that you have to receive electronic documents in the same format in which they are sent,” Stanfield said.

The goal is to develop a crosswalk solution so institutions can send electronic documents in their preferred format and independently receive electronic documents their preferred format -- XML, EDI, or any future format. Creating this independence between sending and receiving formats will provide greater flexibility in the adoption of electronic data processing and reignite interest in investing in such automation. The Clearinghouse is currently doing a technical feasibility study on considerations when building the infrastructure, and has asked for the expertise of AACRAO’s SPEEDE Committee.

The Clearinghouse is working with AACRAO and others in the higher education community to develop a coherent, collective response to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Looking to the future
AACRAO deeply values the important relationship with the Clearinghouse and, through that strategic partnership, helps to better understand and serve the needs of its members. The Clearinghouse has long been a proud sponsor of many AACRAO initiatives and meetings, including several events at the upcoming 2019 AACRAO Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

* The National Student Clearinghouse’s Service Innovation Networks collaborates with the higher education community in the following ways:
identifies and evaluates new education service opportunities; 
aids in needs analysis and requirements determination; 
assists with developing communication and adoption strategies, as well as issue identification and resolution; 
advances the development, adoption, and support for services, such as the Clearinghouse Reverse Transfer course/grade/credit exchange service; the academic portal, Myhub; new compliance reporting opportunities, such as Veterans Benefits; as well as Data Exchange Services, such as SPEEDE, ETX, and USA-Connect; and
participates in initiatives to study, assess, and evaluate the feasibility, desirability, and applicability of new and emerging technologies aimed at supporting education and workforce communities and lifelong learners. 


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