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J. Michael Smith, Esq.
President

Michael P. Farris, Esq.
Chairman

Department of Education Seeks to Regulate Higher Education

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations

Melanie Palazzo
Congressional Action Program Director

October 25, 2010

A recently proposed regulation would give the federal Department of Education unprecedented authority over all colleges and universities—even private ones. The proposed regulation, entitled “Program Integrity Issues,” would create new accreditation rules for public and private colleges and universities. It would also allow the federal government to determine what constitutes a “credit hour,” and would require colleges and universities to submit to additional regulation and supervision by state and federal officials.

Before the proposal of this new 87-page regulation, colleges were accredited mostly by independent education councils. There has never been an attempt by the federal government to force states to regulate colleges and universities. Likewise, the federal government has never created a definition of a “credit hour.”

However, the proposed regulation will define terms for every college and university, and require individual states to create agencies that regulate colleges and universities. Every college or university will be required to have “a document issued by a state government agency or state entity that affirms and conveys the authority to the institution to operate educational programs beyond secondary education.”

HSLDA is very concerned that the U.S. Department of Education will use this regulation to control and regulate all higher education. Federal control over the very existence of colleges and universities has never been attempted before this regulation. Additionally, having a federal definition of “credit hour” could easily lead to future regulations that mandate what is taught in colleges and universities. Michael Farris, HSLDA chairman and founder of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, stated, “The regulation that forces states to create new regulatory bureaucracies is blatantly unconstitutional.”

The final regulation will be issued on November 1, 2010.

Action Requested

We urge you to write or email your U.S. representative and senators and let them know your opinion on this rule. Since this proposed regulation will affect all students, not just homeschooled graduates, there is no need to identify yourself as a homeschooler.

You can include some or all of the following in your message. We encourage you to put this into your own words, and maybe share some of your personal experiences:

“I am very concerned about the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed rule that was published on Friday, June 18, 2010, regarding 34 CFR Parts 600, 602, et al., ‘Program Integrity Issues.’ This proposed rule will give the federal government the power to force the states to create new regulatory bureaucracies to regulate colleges and universities. Additionally, the federal government will be empowered to define what constitutes a ‘credit hour,’ and to force colleges and universities to comply with additional regulations. This proposed rule applies even to private and religious colleges and universities.

I urge you to conduct an investigation into this proposed regulation and use all possible means to stop it from being implemented.”

Find the contact information for your elected officials >>

 Other Resources

Heritage Foundation: “Nanny State Goes to College”

Denver Post: “Stop Plan to Put Colleges under Political Supervision”