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ERIC Number: ED529502
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 97
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Higher Education Regulations Study: Final Report
Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance
In the "Higher Education Opportunity Act" of 2008, Congress charged the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance with conducting a review and analysis of regulations affecting higher education to determine the extent to which regulations are overly burdensome and need to be streamlined, improved, or eliminated. Specifically, Congress suggested the Advisory Committee determine which regulations are "duplicative, no longer necessary, inconsistent with other federal regulations, or overly burdensome." Pursuant to this legislative mandate, the Advisory Committee took the following steps: (1) convened two review panels of individuals with relevant experience and knowledge to review the regulations under the "Higher Education Act" (HEA) and make recommendations for streamlining, improvement, or elimination; (2) developed and maintained a website to provide information on HEA regulations, including an area for the community to offer recommendations of regulations in need of streamlining; (3) held two public hearings designed to identify the most burdensome aspects of individual regulations and the overall regulatory system, as well as proposed improvements; (4) designed and conducted an anonymous and confidential web-based survey, which generated over 2,000 responses, to assess the higher education community's perceptions of regulatory burden; (5) specified a set of community-driven perceived problems and proposed solutions for both the individual regulations cited in the study and the overall system of regulation; and (6) validated the perceived problems and proposed solutions with over 100 volunteers from the higher education community. In addition, the Committee conducted numerous meetings, conference calls, and presentations throughout the study to solicit feedback and suggestions on regulatory burden. While extensive, these approaches have limitations, which are outlined in the Conclusions and Recommendations section (pages 47-49). The overarching finding is that the higher education community perceives the regulations under the HEA to be unnecessarily burdensome. More important, the majority view is that the specific regulations cited in the study can be improved without adverse effects on program integrity or student success. This view includes, as well, a strong sense that certain components of the overall, one-size-fits-all system of regulation under the HEA require improvement. Perhaps most important, the majority opinion is that improvements to individual regulations and the system will not only lower regulatory burden without adverse effects, but generate savings that can be used to expand student access and persistence. Based on these findings, the following recommendations are made--one legislative and one regulatory: (1) Congress should direct the Secretary of Education to convene at least two review panels of higher education representatives to provide advice and recommendations on the 15 regulations cited in this report and on the feasibility of alternative approaches to the current system of regulation, including the provision of regulatory relief based on performance indicators. Such panels should be incorporated as routine collaboration during retrospective reviews of regulations; and (2) The Secretary of Education should conduct an immediate review of the 15 regulations cited in this report, including an analysis of the feasibility of implementing the proposed solutions and identifying any adverse effects on program integrity, student success, and cost of compliance. The Advisory Committee strongly supports Executive Order 13563 of January 18, 2011, which states that regulatory systems must be based on the best available science, allow for public participation, and use the most innovative and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. Applying this philosophy and approach to the regulations under the HEA promises rewards for both institutions and students. Appended are: (1) Profile of Survey Respondents; (2) Profile of Regulations Used In Study; (3) Additional Suggestions of Burdensome Regulations by Survey Respondents; (4) Review Panel #1; (5) Review Panel #2; (6) June 25, 2010 Hearing Panelists; (7) September 30, 2011 Hearing Panelists; (8) Letter from ACSFA Chair and Vice Chair; (9) ACSFA Members; (10) ACSFA Staff; and (11) ACSFA Authorizing Legislation. (Contains 22 tables.) [For related report, "Higher Education Regulations Study: Preliminary Findings," see ED524519.
Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. 80 F Street NW Suite 413, Washington, DC 20202-7582. Tel: 202-219-2099; Fax: 202-219-3032; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance