Washington, D.C. — Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) voted today in favor of legislation to repeal two excessive federal regulations affecting colleges and universities. H.R. 2117, The Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act, received bipartisan support in a vote of 303 to 114.
McKeon spoke on the House floor in support of this critical legislation.
“In October of 2010, the Department of Education introduced a regulatory package that aimed to improve the integrity of student financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants and federal student loans. However, the outcome was an introduction of two new burdensome rules, the credit hour and state authorization regulations. Two more prime examples of the current Administration’s overreaching regulatory agenda. I have deep concerns about the impact these regulations will have on college affordability.
“Under the new credit hour regulation, federal student aid would be awarded to students based on the number of credits they take each term with the federal government defining a credit hour. This would discredit and negatively impact the traditional role of colleges and universities. Not only would this undermine colleges and universities but it would also overrule a state’s determination of whether an educational program is a credit hour. In turn, this could lead to students receiving less federal aid or taking a slower path to graduation which results in fewer choices for students looking for postsecondary options to further their education. Overall students should be measured by how much they learn in the classroom instead of how much time they spend in the classroom.
“The State Authorization regulation would impose a one-size fits all approach to America’s higher education community and weaken what is currently a strong and diverse community of institutions, each with their own unique missions. This new management style would result in unnecessary and excessive costs not only on states and universities but as well as the students. Furthermore, it would give states unprecedented authority over private and religious institutions.
“This legislation puts the right foot forward by repealing these burdensome regulations and instead focuses on the student and fosters an environment that enables them to learn and grow in a cost-effective manner. This legislation not only protects the student but also the academic institutions enabling them to focus on the individual by helping them excel in the academic community rather than having to worry about big government and its regulation.”