[Paleopsych] CHE: (Lamar) Congress Should Not Impose Cost Controls on Colleges, Senate Republican Says
checker at panix.com
Wed Feb 2 21:56:09 UTC 2005
Congress Should Not Impose Cost Controls on Colleges, Senate Republican Says
News bulletin from the Chronicle of Higher Education, 5.2.2
[Hooray for Lamar. I've long thought him the best Presidential candidate
whose changes of getting elected were greater than minuscule. Note esp.
what he said about Larry Summers.]
By KELLY FIELD
In a far-ranging speech delivered on Tuesday, Sen. Lamar Alexander, a
Tennessee Republican and former U.S. secretary of education, spoke out
against price controls and political correctness on college campuses.
"The idea of price controls from Washington for colleges and
universities is a bad idea," Senator Alexander said at the annual
meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and
Universities. "It's a bad idea because what has made our system of
higher education superior is autonomy and choice."
The association, known as Naicu, strongly opposes price controls and
last year lobbied against legislation proposed by Rep. Howard P.
(Buck) McKeon, a California Republican, that would have punished
colleges for large tuition increases (The Chronicle, October 17,
2003). Mr. McKeon withdrew that bill in March -- citing efforts by
colleges to curb costs -- but later included provisions establishing
institutional reporting requirements in another bill proposed as part
of Congress's work to renew the Higher Education Act.
Under that bill, which House Republicans are expected to reintroduce
soon, colleges that increased their tuition and other costs of
attendance by more than twice the rate of inflation for three
consecutive years would be required to provide the government with an
explanation of the jumps. In addition, the colleges would have to
outline the steps that they planned to take to slow the rate of the
If colleges failed to comply with that plan for two years, the
institutions would be placed on a government watch list and would have
to provide the department with a detailed accounting of all of their
costs and expenditures, which would be made public. In addition, the
Education Department's inspector general would be allowed to audit
those colleges "to determine the cause of the institution[s']
failure," the bill states.
While Mr. Alexander supported colleges on price controls, he chastised
them for their double-talk on diversity, suggesting that some colleges
have become intolerant of unpopular views. As evidence, he cited
recent attacks on the president of Harvard University, Lawrence
Summers, for his comments on women in math and science. Mr. Summers
was vilified by some academics for suggesting that one reason fewer
women make it to the top in mathematics and science may be because of
innate differences of ability from men.
Colleges and universities "get a little obnoxious sometimes in their
self-righteousness," said Mr. Alexander. "Institutions that preach
diversity and then don't allow diverse questions to be asked are not
doing a very good job of what I think colleges and universities ought
Meanwhile, Mr. Alexander urged colleges to combat the view "that every
time we increase Pell grants, tuition increases." That theory was
advanced by a recent report by the Cato Institute, a conservative
think tank, that concluded that increased student aid has driven up
college tuition by increasing enrollment. The report recommended
phasing out federal assistance to higher education over a 12-year
Finally, Mr. Alexander vowed to work with his colleagues to reduce
delays in processing visa applications for foreign students and
"We're going do our best in Congress over the next year," he said, "to
try to put a focus on whatever the federal government can do to make
it easier for foreign students and researchers to come here."
Background articles from The Chronicle:
* Harvard's President Wonders Aloud About Women in Science and
* Report Blames Federal Student Aid for Rising Tuition and Urges
Elimination of Aid Programs (1/26/2005)
* Public Colleges See a 10% Rise in Tuition for 2004-5
* College Groups Displeased With Higher-Education Legislation
* Plan to Punish Big Increases in Tuition Is Dropped (3/12/2004)
* A House Divided Over Tuition-Control Bill (1/23/2004)
* High Stakes on Tuition: Colleges Must Control It or Face Stiff
Penalties, Key Congressman Says (5/2/2003)
45. mailto:Kelly.Field at chronicle.com
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