Yesterday, President Obama released “The President’s Plan for a Strong Middle Class and a Strong America” as a follow up to his State of the Union address on Tuesday. While the President focused on a few higher education messages during his speech, mainly his College Scorecard, his nine-page document released yesterday laid out a plan to seek major changes in the accountability system for higher education by calling for benchmarks for affordability and student outcomes as criteria for receiving federal student financial aid. If realized, regional and national accreditors would become the primary gatekeepers for access to those dollars, which would be based on performance and results. It is not yet clear how the President will achieve his goal of tying federal aid to performance as it is not well defined in his post-SOTU document. We will be following this closely.