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Chancellor Zeppos and colleagues call for better higher education regulations

Streamlining and reducing federal regulations for America’s 6,000 colleges and universities, while protecting students and taxpayers, is the aim of a new report released Feb. 12 from the Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education. The task force was co-chaired by Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan and was appointed by a bipartisan group of senators on the Senate education committee.

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (Vanderbilt University)

“I appreciate the senators’ commitment to finding solutions to the challenges America’s colleges and universities face due to the sharp increase in the amount and complexity of government regulation,” Zeppos said. “As higher education administrators continue to work to keep costs down, increase accessibility, and make college more affordable, this task force represents a valuable opportunity to recommend more efficient regulations that will benefit students and families while we maintain responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. It has been a privilege to engage with Chancellor Kirwan and my higher education colleagues in this important endeavor.”

Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., formed the task force in November 2013 to conduct a comprehensive, nonpartisan review of the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations and reporting requirements on colleges and universities. The Senate education committee will hold a hearing to discuss the report’s findings Feb. 24.

“The stack of federal regulations on colleges and universities today, which stretches as tall as I am, is simply the piling up of well-intentioned laws and regulations done without anyone first weeding the garden,” said Senate education committee chairman Alexander. “This report will guide our efforts to weed the garden and allow colleges to spend more of their time and money educating students instead of filling out mountains of paperwork. I thank the members of the task force, chancellors Zeppos and Kirwan, and the American Council on Education for their hard work on this report—and I look forward to discussing their findings in our committee.”

The task force’s objective was to provide specific recommendations on reducing, eliminating or streamlining duplicative, costly or confusing regulations and reporting requirements to Congress and the administration in anticipation of the ninth reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

In addition to Zeppos and Kirwan, task force members include: former Sen. Bill Armstrong, president of Colorado Christian University; Bruce Benson, president of the University of Colorado; Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education; Thomas Chema, president emeritus of Hiram College; Margaret Drugovich, president of Hartwick College; Dana Hoyt, president of Sam Houston State University; Brice Harris, chancellor of the California Community College System; Jonathan Kaplan, CEO of Laureate Online Education; Neil Kerwin, president of American University; J. Michael Locke, former CEO of Rasmussen College; Harold Martin, president of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association; Tom Ross, president of the University of North Carolina; and Bob Templin, president of Northern Virginia Community College.

Download the full report, which was organized by the American Council on Education.