Protecting Students and Taxpayers: The Federal Government’s Failed Regulatory Approach and Steps for Reform
by Hank Brown
American Enterprise Institute
September 30, 2013
When it comes to federal funding of higher education, the government’s approach to quality assurance and consumer protection is a public policy and regulatory failure by almost any measure. For nearly half a century, the federal government has largely outsourced the determination of which colleges and universities are eligible to receive federal taxpayer money—in the form of student grants and loans—to member-based, geographically oriented accrediting agencies. Unfortunately, the current regulatory regime that relies on accrediting agencies fails to accomplish congressional intent (and therefore puts billions of federal tax dollars at risk); interferes with the autonomy and independence of American higher education; and undermines America’s global leadership in higher education by stifling innovation.