Educators See Federal Overreach

Higher education officials urged lawmakers Friday to delay the planned July 1 implementation of Education Department regulations that would expand state authorization requirements and establish a federal definition of "credit hour." Republican and Democratic members of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training seemed to share some of the educators’ concerns about what they characterized as federal overreach into academic affairs.

In the past few weeks, a coalition of higher education groups organized by the American Council on Education first asked the Education Department to rescind these regulations and then urged Representative Virginia Foxx, chair of the subcommittee and a Republican from North Carolina, to either encourage or force the Education Department to delay the implementation date of rules by a year. The rules are part of a package, released in October, that are designed to better ensure the integrity of federal financial aid programs.

Friday’s hearing, entitled “Education Regulations: Federal Overreach into Academic Affairs,” gave college leaders another chance to make their case about the rules’ problems. But several lawmakers took the hearing on a tangent, using the opportunity to reiterate their concerns about the Education Department’s ramped-up scrutiny of for-profit higher education.

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