Washington Update

Senate Task Force to Assess Higher Education Regulations and Reporting Requirements

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A Senate-sponsored task force of 14 college and university experts has been formed to make recommendations to “reduce and streamline confusing or costly regulations.” The task force was announced on November 18 by four members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), which oversees higher education and education-related federal regulatory requirements.

“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,” said committee member Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a former Secretary of Education, in a statement. “Let’s face it: the federal government has become one of the greatest obstacles to innovation in higher education…. This task force will help Congress weed the garden.”

The task force is co-chaired by Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos and University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan, and includes 12 other college and university presidents and higher education experts. The American Council on Education will provide organizational assistance. A press release from American University, whose president, Cornelius Kerwin, will also serve on the task force, said the group would come up with specific recommendations to streamline confusing “regulations, legislation and reporting requirements” and “review in detail the extent of all federal reporting and regulatory requirements placed on institutions, including estimates of time and costs associated with that reporting.”

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