[Paleopsych] CHE: (Lamar) Congress Should Not Impose Cost Controls on Colleges, Senate Republican Says

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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.]

    [45]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 ([62]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
    to do."

    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:
      * [63]Harvard's President Wonders Aloud About Women in Science and
        Math (1/28/2005)
      * [64]Report Blames Federal Student Aid for Rising Tuition and Urges
        Elimination of Aid Programs (1/26/2005)
      * [65]Public Colleges See a 10% Rise in Tuition for 2004-5
      * [66]College Groups Displeased With Higher-Education Legislation
      * [67]Plan to Punish Big Increases in Tuition Is Dropped (3/12/2004)
      * [68]A House Divided Over Tuition-Control Bill (1/23/2004)
      * [69]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
   63. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v51/i21/21a01201.htm
   64. http://chronicle.com/daily/2005/01/2005012602n.htm
   65. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v51/i10/10a00101.htm
   66. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v50/i40/40a01901.htm
   67. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v50/i27/27a00101.htm
   68. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v50/i20/20a02702.htm
   69. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i34/34a02901.htm

E-mail me if you have problems getting the referenced articles.

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