November 16, 2007

Will colleges mitigate tuition increase to avoid being on a watch-list?

Posted in Legislation Affecting Students at 8:36 AM by Joe From Boston

Inside Higher has an interesting article on one aspect of the HEA re-authorization bill currently before the House of Representatives.  Read the excerpt below.  I got a kick out of this one.  🙂

If the Higher Education Act bill that House Democrats introduced late last week did not persuade college leaders that the issue of college prices is and will remain front and center on the federal policy agenda, the House education committee’s consideration of the legislation Wednesday should once and for all.

Lawmakers on the Education and Labor Committee did not complete their work on the measure (H.R. 4137) Wednesday, though they did pass several amendments and reject or withdraw numerous others (detailed below). But their hours of mostly bipartisan discussion about the legislation included warnings from members of both political parties that colleges will face continuing scrutiny of their spending and tuition prices and could face more federal intrusion into their operations — beyond the creation of federal “watch lists” that the bill in question would create — if they don’t get the problem under control.

Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.) proposed an amendment that would have required colleges that appear on the “watch lists” to put in place procedures to cut their costs and slash their federal student aid funds by 10 percent a year if they do not meet certain benchmarks. Castle said he believed the committee’s bill would do “very good things” on the cost issue, but suggested that “more may need to be done.”

The committee’s chairman, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), asked Castle to withdraw the amendment, which he did. But Miller said he found Castle’s amendment to be “very tempting,” and acknowledged the Republican lawmaker’s point that “we haven’t done everything potentially available” to Congress to crack down on rising college costs.

Miller then issued a warning directly to college officials: “I hope the [higher education] community is listening closely on this,” he said, adding that the committee’s work on this bill “is not the end of the story.”

Read the whole article here.  A paid subscription may be required to read the entire article.


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