Rebecca Natow is an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy in the Department of Specialized Programs in Education. Her areas of focus are higher education, educational policy, and qualitative research methods. She has conducted research relating to performance-based funding policies for higher education, developmental education, and postsecondary program implementation. She has also conducted extensive research into the higher education rulemaking process, which involves the creation of regulations that implement and administer federal higher education policy. She is the author of Higher Education Rulemaking: The Politics of Creating Regulatory Policy, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Her dissertation, entitled Making Policy in the United States Department of Education: The Political Process of Federal Rulemaking for Higher Education, received the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Politics of Education Association, and was a finalist for the American Educational Research Association Division J Outstanding Dissertation Award. Dr. Natow received her Ed.D., Ed.M., and M.A. in higher and postsecondary education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Qualitative Research Methods
2023 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist (professional)
"Reexamining the Federal Role in Higher Education" by Dr. Rebecca S. Natow was named a finalist for the 2023 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the category of Education/Academic (non-fiction).
2022 Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award Finalist (professional)
Reexamining the Federal Role in Higher Education, by Dr. Rebecca S. Natow is a finalist for the 2022 Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award. As part of its mission to discover, review, and share the best books from university and independent publishers, Foreword Magazine, Inc. hosts an annual awards program each year. Finalists represent the best books published in 2022.
Winner of Royal Dragonfly Book Awards (professional)
Reexamining the Federal Role in Higher Education: Politics and Policymaking in the Postsecondary Sector by Dr. Rebecca S. Natow placed first in the category of “Politics” and second in the category of “Education” for the 2022 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. The awards honor excellence in all types of literature and book marketing, recognizing creativity and hard work for a comprehensive list of genres in 68 categories.
American Book Fest “Best Book” Award Finalist (professional)
Professor Natow’s book, "Reexamining the Federal Role in Higher Education: Politics and Policymaking in ther Postsecondary Sector," was named a finalist for an American Book Fest “Best Book” Award in the Education category.
Critics’ Choice Book Award (professional)
Reexamining the Federal Role in Higher Education: Politics and Policymaking in the Postsecondary Sector by Dr. Rebecca S. Natow has won a Critics’ Choice Book Award from the American Educational Studies Association (AESA) for 2022. Each year, a committee of AESA members selects a number of titles it regards as outstanding books that may be of interest to those in educational studies. http://www.educationalstudies.org/critics-choice-book-awards.php
Reexamining the Federal Role in Higher Education (professional)
Reexamining the Federal Role in Higher Education (Teachers College Press), a new book by Rebecca Natow, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy, was published on 1/28/2022. Dr. Natow analyzes the activities of specific governmental branches and agencies that affect higher education, the nature of the government’s role in higher education today, and prospects for the future of federal involvement in higher education.
2020 Richard P. Nathan Public Policy Fellow (Rockefeller Institute of Government) (professional)
As one of the Rockefeller Institute of Government's 2020 Richard P. Nathan Public Policy Fellows, Dr. Natow will work on public policy issues in primary and postsecondary education, sustainability, substance abuse, and local government finance and management. The fellowship connects cutting-edge policy expertise to public problems and the policy community that tries to address these problems.
23rd Fórum Nacional do Ensino Superior Particular (FNESP) (professional)
Dr. Rebecca Natow participated in a panel for the 23rd Fórum Nacional do Ensino Superior Particular (FNESP). She discussed the resiliency of institutions of higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum was presented by SEMESP, which represents higher education sponsors of Brazil.
Teachers College of Columbia University: Higher & Postsecondary Education 2013
Ed.D - 2013 Ed.M. - 2008 M.A. - 2006
Georgetown University Law Center: J.D., Law 2000
- Member, American Educational Research Association
- Member, Association for the Study of Higher Education
- NASPA -- Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education
- Northeastern Educational Research Association
Media Appearances (16)
Biden’s student loan debt relief plan B is underway after Supreme Court ruling
New York Daily News print
Dr. Natow was interviewed by several media outlets regarding the Supreme Court’s decision striking down President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness policy, In addition to the New York Daily News she was interviewed by: Diverse – Issues in Higher Education: https://www.diverseeducation.com/leadership-policy/article/15542160/after-scotus-ruling-biden-vows-to-cancel-student-debt-anyway MarketWatch: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-borrowers-need-to-know-now-about-bidens-new-plan-to-cancel-student-debt-b15ccf6b?mod=jillian-berman and Higher Ed Dive: https://www.highereddive.com/news/supreme-court-strikes-down-bidens-student-loan-forgiveness-plan/654412/ She also presented the webinar, “After SCOTUS, What’s Next for Student Loans? An Overview of Negotiated Rulemaking” sponsored by the Association for Education Finance & Policy.
What are the chances Biden extends the student loan pause again?
The Hill online
Regarding an extension of the student loan pause, Dr. Natow said, “I definitely think this is on the table.”
Federal Policy on Community Colleges: Presidential Priorities and Policy Tools
Rockefeller Institute online
This blog by Dr. Natow addresses: At a time when community college enrollments have dropped across the nation and in New York and institutions have reduced staff and payroll, it is useful to understand how federal policy has affected community colleges in the past and how federal policy could support community colleges in the future.
Rebecca Natow on politically-infused evidence use
Science for Policy podcast online
Dr. Rebecca Natow was interviewed for the Science for Policy podcast, which is produced by the Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) group. The podcast focused on how policymakers view qualitative research and the use of research in U.S. higher education regulatory policymaking.
‘An Existential Threat’: Experts Talk Impact of Student Loan Forgiveness Ruling
DIVERSE Issues in Higher Education online
Dr. Natow about was interviewed about recent federal court cases that ruled against the Biden administration’s student loan debt forgiveness policy.
Student debt forgiveness is on hold for now—here’s why it’s blocked and what could happen next
CNBC - Make It online
Dr. Natow was interviewed about recent federal court cases that ruled against the Biden administration’s student loan debt forgiveness policy.
Using Colleges' Outcomes to Gauge Risk for Students
Inside Higher Ed online
Professor Natow was quoted at length in the Inside Higher Ed article, "Using Colleges' Outcomes to Gauge Risk for Students," about a possible model for identifying institutions at risk of producing poor student outcomes, with possible implications for financial aid eligibility.
New York's governor shares ambitious new vision for SUNY
Higher Ed Dive online
Rebecca Natow, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy, was interviewed by Higher Ed Dive for an article, "New York’s governor shares ambitious new plan for SUNY." The piece discusses Governor Hochul’s plans to boost SUNY enrollment and designate flagship campuses at Stony Brook and Buffalo. Dr. Natow expressed that the plan to focus some institutions’ missions on specialized fields may not do enough to take account of shifts in the labor market, which may result in declining enrollments if there is decreased labor demand in those fields.
Pandemic-Fueled Confidence for College Presidents
Inside Higher Ed online
This article looks at the publication's 2021 Survey of College and University Presidents. Results found campus leaders more upbeat as they emerge from a year dominated by COVID-19 than they were before the pandemic hit. Dr. Natow said some of the presidents’ confidence may come from studying history: "Higher education institutions in general are actually quite resilient," she explained. "They are much more likely to evolve and adjust to changing environments than they are to go out of business."
Why Haven't More Colleges Closed?
The Chronicle of Higher Education print
This article by Dr. Natow looks at how colleges and universities have complied with Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, and thus far proven themselves resilient in the face of the pandemic.
Rockefeller Institute online
Rockefeller Institute Nathan Fellow Rebecca Natow joins host, Alex Morse, to discuss her latest analysis examining the retirement of US Senator and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Lamar Alexander, the role of the HELP Committee in setting congressional agendas and actions in higher education, and the likely choice for next Senate HELP Committee chair in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
A Democratic-Controlled Senate ‘Will Change Everything’ but ‘Guarantee Nothing’ for Higher Ed
Chronicle of Higher Education print
A Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate spells some good news for the higher-education agenda of President-elect Joseph R. Biden as well as more emergency money for colleges to offset the financial losses of the pandemic. But higher-education leaders shouldn’t expect a wide raft of higher-education legislation to breeze through the chamber, said Rebecca S. Natow, an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at Hofstra University. The filibuster, which allows senators to indefinitely delay a final vote on a bill, is still in place in the Senate, Natow said, and Democrats are unlikely to get the 60 votes needed to limit debate on most bills.
Colleges Adapt to Online Learning
ABC Radio News radio
Rebecca Natow, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, was interviewed by ABC News Radio about the abrupt move to online learning for many college students as a result of the coronavirus crisis. While the transition does pose challenges, students may also find some benefits to taking an online, asynchronous course, including more flexibility and the ability to slow down and replay lectures. The interview was conducted by Hofstra journalism major Jennifer Goldstein ’20, who is completing an internship at ABC News Radio.
The Department of Education Needs a Researcher On Its Rule-Making Panel
Washington Monthly online
This incredibly ambitious rule-making effort includes subcommittees on the TEACH Grant, distance education, and faith-based institutions and has wide-ranging implications for nearly all of American higher education. If all negotiators do not reach consensus on a given topic (the most likely outcome), ED can write regulations as it sees fit. (For more on the process, I highly recommend Rebecca Natow’s great book on negotiated rule-making.)
GOP Seeks to Shift Accountability for Colleges
Inside Higher Education online
“It gets institutions’ attention and it does prompt changes in their campus programming with regard to students to get them more focused on completion,” she said. But some colleges have seen unanticipated consequences, such as increasing standards for admissions or lowering academic standards, Natow said.
Anticipating and Addressing Challenges With Technology in Developmental Education
Colleges and universities in the United States are increasingly integrating technology into developmental education programs, which are designed to bring underprepared students up to college level. The uptick in tools used to address challenges with developmental education arrives both in response to state policy mandates as well as institutions’ own desire to improve student outcomes and conserve resources.
Event Appearances (2)
Tips to Engage Students and Anticipate Challenges
Transition to Online Teaching: How to Engage Students and Anticipate Challenges https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B_gfjyAlHc&feature=youtu.be
A Better Future Is Possible - closing keynote address
40th annual conference of the Long Island Council of Student Personnel Administrators (LICSPA) https://www.licspa.org/conference/keynote2
Research Grants (1)
The Influence of Federal Policy on State Authorization for Higher Education
State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
Title IV of the Higher Education Act makes state authorization a requirement for institutions to receive funds through federal student financial aid programs. This endows states with an important role as one third of the so-called Program Integrity Triad charged with maintaining educational quality for institutions receiving funds under Title IV. Criticism of this state oversight and the proliferation of distance education programs led the federal government to initiate a series of regulatory reforms on state authorization in recent years. The implementation of those regulations during a shifting political context led to policy change, confusion, and other difficulties for states, institutions, and students. Despite the great influence the federal government has had on state-level policies and practices regarding institutional authorization, little is known about how states respond to those federal policies. This multi-case study of five states’ experiences with federal policies on state authorization will examine: (1) how state authorizers have implemented their responsibilities under Title IV of the Higher Education Act and related regulations; (2) how states have learned about and responded to changes in federal policies on state authorization; and (3) how states have addressed challenges encountered when responding to federal policies on state authorization.
Higher Education Policy Implications of President Biden’s First 100 DaysRockefeller Institute of Government
"President Biden did not shy away from immediately setting the course of his presidency, issuing significant executive orders and initiating legislative actions, including Day One executive orders to reverse many policies of the Trump administration and delivering the massive economic stimulus package of the American Rescue Plan. "Biden’s first few months as president offered important implications for higher education, too, while other federal policy interventions championed by various advocates have not yet occurred. This blog post provides an assessment of the higher education-related policies, proposals, and appointments that occurred in the first 100 days of the Biden administration and offers a perspective on those that might yet come."
The Importance of Congressional Leadership for Higher Education PolicyRockefeller Institute of Government
"With the retirement of Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will be selecting a new chair for the 117th Congress. This congressional leadership position will help steer the fate of federal higher education policy for years to come."
Implications of the 2020 Presidential Election for Federal Higher Education PolicyRockefeller Institute of Government
This is Dr. Natow's first blog for the Rockefeller Institute of Government as part of her Richard P. Nathan Policy Fellowship. The blog is about implications of the 2020 presidential election for higher education policy.
Moving Online; Maintaining Excellencenews.hofstra.edu
Now that classes have moved online at Hofstra University and at colleges and universities throughout the nation, Rebecca Natow, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, has advice for college students with questions about the transition. Ironically, Dr. Natow coauthored an article in 2019, “Technology Use in Developmental Education: Experiences, Challenges, and Rationales,” for the Community College Journal of Research and Practice. She has also posted about online education on Twitter.
Research Use and Politics in the Federal Higher Education Rulemaking ProcessEducational Policy
2020 This case study examined how research has been used in the federal higher education rulemaking process, through which the U.S. Department of Education implements programs under the Higher Education Act. Findings indicate that in this high-conflict policymaking process, politics infuses various forms of research use to create several overlapping categories of use (political-instrumental, political-conceptual, and political-imposed) that existing typologies of research use omit.
The use of triangulation in qualitative studies employing elite interviewsQualitative Research
2020 Elite interviews provide valuable information from perspectives of power and privilege. However, the information elites provide may be biased or inaccurate, and researchers must be knowledgeable about the elites they interview. Therefore, the use of triangulation in studies using elite interviews is crucial. T
Performance-based funding for higher education: how well does neoliberal theory capture neoliberal practice?Higher Education
2019 Neoliberal theories—whether the new public management, principal-agent theory, or performance management—have provided the rationale for sweeping reforms in the governance and operation of higher education. This paper expands our understanding of neoliberal theory and practice by examining a leading neoliberal reform: performance-based funding (PBF) for higher education in the USA, Europe, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere.
Technology Use in Developmental Education: Experiences, Challenges, and RationalesCommunity College Journal of Research and Practice
2019 As community colleges increasingly integrate technology into developmental education, it becomes important to understand how technology is used in these programs, what challenges institutions have encountered relating to technology, and what considerations institutional leaders take into account when deciding whether and how to integrate technology in developmental education.
Performance Funding as Neoliberal PolicyInternational Higher Education
2019 Performance funding, a leading example of neoliberal policy making, involves funding institutions not on enrollments but on outcomes such as graduation. This article examines intended and unintended impacts of performance funding and obstacles to making it work effectively. It includes policy recommendations to help institutions better respond to performance funding.