Alexander: Get Rid of Bad Actors in Higher Ed. Without Overregulating Good Ones

“My goal is to find ways … to get rid of the bad actors, whether for-profit or nonprofit, but without diminishing quality and choices through overregulation.” – Lamar Alexander

Posted on June 24, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, of which he is a member, on federal investment in for-profit institutions of higher education: 

“Right after World War II, the G.I. Bill gave veterans a voucher that they could spend anywhere to complete their education. Some went to high school, some went to private colleges, some went to schools in Europe, some went to the University of Tennessee, and some went to Iowa State. From that has come the current system of grants and loans that allow American college students to choose among about 6,000 autonomous institutions, which most people think is the best system of higher education in the world. Keeping that choice, that autonomy, and the generous grants and loans is an essential part of our higher-education system.  

“Our 6,000 institutions of higher education are already subject to too many cumbersome and redundant regulations if they accept federal grants and loans. They are overregulated because of concerns about bad actors—when we hear stories about bad actors who are stealing money and performing fraud, we rush in with a new set of rules and pile up an increasing volume of regulation. My goal is to find ways in this hearing to get rid of the bad actors, whether for-profit or nonprofit. But we need to be careful that we do not diminish quality and choices through overregulation. 

“I appreciate Secretary Duncan’s leadership on these issues.  I thought his first efforts on dealing with the issue of ‘gainful employment’ would have been like shooting quail with a cannon—you would miss the target and probably hit some innocent people.  I think he’s come up with some pretty good suggestions since then, and look forward to continuing to work with him on these issues.” 

Alexander is a former Secretary of Education and president of the University of Tennessee.


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