Regulation and oversight in higher education is important to assuring accountability for federal dollars. In many cases, however, these requirements do not relate to good stewardship, but are imposed solely by virtue of the fact that federal student aid assistance is provided. As a result, complying with the ever-growing array of federal requirements has become extremely costly and time-consuming to colleges and universities.
As but one example of the extent of the problem, the Department of Education’s Consumer Information Disclosures At-a-Glance publication is 37-pages long. “Carol’s Boxes,” a five-foot high stack of cartons containing existing regulations governing higher education, complied by former NAICU staffer Carol Fuller, were used by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to provide visual evidence of the significant regulatory demands on colleges by the Department of Education alone.
It is not a question of the good intentions behind these requirements, but rather that they continue to accumulate with no paring back or review of what is already on the books. Congress should decide what is critical to federal oversight, taxpayers, and higher education consumers, and then limit reporting and related regulatory requirements to those areas.