WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 10, 2013 – Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN), and Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) today introduced the Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2637). Building on bipartisan legislation that passed the House last year, H.R. 2637 will repeal three unnecessary federal regulations that restrict choice and opportunity in higher education: the gainful employment regulation, the state authorization regulation, and the federal credit hour regulation. Rep. Foxx said, “These regulations are stifling pioneering institutions at a time when forward-thinking solutions are desperately needed. The Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act will remove the threat gainful employment, state authorization, and federal credit hour regulations pose to student choice, innovative schools, and an American economy that stands to benefit from responsive higher learning institutions. Republicans and Democrats should toss these bad ideas aside and work together to strengthen higher education for students and taxpayers while maintaining the flexibility and choice that set American colleges and universities apart.” “Members on both sides of the aisle have repeatedly expressed concerns these so-called ‘program integrity’ regulations could limit education and job training opportunities for millions of students,” Chairman Kline said. “Even federal courts have weighed in, striking down portions of the state authorization and gainful employment regulations – yet the administration continues to press forward with these ill-conceived regulations. Enough is enough. The Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act will eliminate the onerous gainful employment, state authorization, and credit hour regulations once and for all, and prevent the Department of Education from piling more burdensome regulations on higher education institutions.” “We need a highly-skilled workforce capable of competing in a global economy. As I have said many times before, the Department of Education’s suggested approach on gainful employment will disproportionally harm nontraditional and lower-income students. To me, it is misguided and would cut-off the ability of millions of student to afford school and job-training based on a formula of projected future earnings,” said Rep. Hastings. “The Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act will take the necessary legislative action to eliminate these burdensome regulations.” The Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act will:
- Permanently repeal the gainful employment regulation, which would levy reporting burdens on community colleges and proprietary schools and force administrators to seek federal approval before creating new programs.
- Permanently repeal the state authorization regulation, which forces states to follow federal requirements when deciding whether to grant an institution – including those offering online education programs – permission to operate within the state.
- Permanently repeal the credit hour regulation, which establishes a federal definition of a credit hour, providing the government increased control over institutions’ academic affairs.
- Amend the incentive compensation regulation to ensure third party service providers are allowed to enter into tuition sharing agreements with nonprofit colleges and universities to aid in the development of distance education platforms.
- Prohibit the Department of Education from issuing additional higher education regulations in several of these areas until after Congress reauthorizes the Higher Education Act.
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