NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Tuition Not the Only High Cost for College Students

May 15, 2015

Less than $1 million for regulatory compliance, or at least that's what the Department of Education (ED) would have many Americans believe. The truth is obviously far higher. According to American Action Forum (AAF) arithmetic, ED's regulatory burden easily exceeds $3 billion annually.

The government figure is further put to shame when one considers that a single private university in Tennessee, Vanderbilt, spent $150 million in regulatory compliance in 2013.

  • Currently, ED imposes an astounding 93.9 million paperwork burden hours across all levels of the agency. This is the time that students, parents, colleges and universities must spend complying with federal reporting and recordkeeping compliance.
  • In 2006, ED imposed a mere 43.4 million hours of paperwork, and even in 2009, that figure stood at 63.6 million.
  • For perspective, it took seven million hours to build the Empire State Building. These five collections alone are a seven-fold increase over the time it took to build the Empire State Building, but ED reports no cost for these measures.

With record-high levels of red tape, it appears that the agency is doing little to help struggling students and universities who must labor under regulations daily. Thankfully, the U.S. Senate has issued a report that might ignite a reform effort to streamline reporting requirements and tame the regulatory state. 

Source: Chad Miller and Sam Batkins, "What are the Department of Education's Regulatory Burdens?" American Action Forum, May 13, 2015. 


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