With most colleges and universities shut down by the novel coronavirus, some groups representing these institutions are asking the federal government to bail them out. The Senate coronavirus aid package proposes allocating some $14 billion to a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Some assistance is in order, but lawmakers must avoid layering another massive subsidy onto an already dysfunctional system.
The National Association of Scholars has long advocated changes to the Higher Education Act that would force America’s colleges and universities to become worthier recipients of federal financial support. We still believe those changes are necessary. Considering the extraordinary circumstances the country finds itself in, however, here’s what Washington can do right now to help higher ed.
- Regulatory relief. The Education Department, directly and via its accreditation agencies, requires individual colleges and universities to comply with an enormous number of regulations. Schools must employ armies of administrators to keep up with the federal mandates. Many colleges have created entire administrative departments, including Title IX offices and offices of diversity, to ensure they don’t fall afoul of external regulatory requirements.
Read David Randall's full list of recommendations for what Washington can do to help higher education at the Wall Street Journal >