WASHINGTON – Senate education committee ranking member Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and members Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) announced Nov. 18 the formation of a task force to examine burdens on institutions of higher education.
The Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education will conduct a comprehensive review of federal regulations and reporting requirements affecting colleges and universities and make recommendations to reduce and streamline regulations, while protecting students, institutions and taxpayers.
The task force will be co-chaired by Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and William Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland. It will comprise 14 college and university presidents and higher education experts. The American Council on Education will provide organizational assistance.
“The federal government has become one of the greatest obstacles to innovation in higher education,” Alexander said. “The stack of federal regulations on colleges and universities today is not the result of evil doers; it is simply the piling up of well-intentioned laws and regulations without anyone spending an equal amount of time weeding the garden first. This task force will help Congress weed the garden.”
In letters to request participation in the task force, the senators wrote: “Our higher education system remains the best in the world and is often credited for its breadth of choice and commitment to institutional autonomy. Over the past decade, however, Congress and the U.S. Department of Education have added more mandates, reporting requirements and regulations with which institutions must comply.
“This Task Force creates an opportunity to conduct a comprehensive review of federal regulations and reporting requirements affecting colleges and universities and make recommendations to Congress and the administration to streamline and reduce federal regulations, while at the same time maintaining student and taxpayer protections,” they wrote.
Earlier this year, Alexander discussed the creation of the task force with Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin as a means to provide the HELP Committee and Harkin with information and recommendations as part of the ongoing hearings and discussions about the 10th reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.