Universities Against Regulation… Of Themselves

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

11387694046_f79c7afbea_b_red-tapeAcademics found something they don’t want the government to regulate when they looked in the mirror.

“Last year, for example, the Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education—formed in 2013 at the behest of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and comprised of top university officials from around the country—released a stunning indictment of what it called the ‘jungle of red tape’ produced by the Education Department,” Jenna Ashley Robinson and Jesse Saffron reported on The Pope Center’s web site. “The report cited analysis from George Mason’s Mercatus Center that showed federal higher education mandates increased by 56 percent from 1997-2012.”

“Today, the situation is bleak: There are thousands of pages of federal regulations, and the Education Department has to release ‘guidance’ letters to clarify vague rules once per day, on average, according to the Task Force. Case studies from individual schools reveal just how burdensome compliance can be. One example comes from Vanderbilt University, which recently analyzed its federal compliance costs and found that they accounted for $150 million—or 11 percent—of the university’s 2013 expenditures. (Vanderbilt announced that for each student, those compliance costs ‘equate to approximately $11,000 in additional tuition per year.’)”

Here’s a notion: If we cut both the red tape and the federal funding these universities receive, it would save a lot of aggravation for university presidents and taxpayers alike. It might even inspire universities to cut back on their own bureaucracies.


Photo by CJS*64 “Man with a camera”