President Benson part of national task force taking on regulations

Group begins work with lawmakers on streamlining costly, confusing requirements
By Staff

CU President Bruce Benson was among the national higher education leaders and lawmakers who took part in the first meeting of a new bipartisan task force, one charged with working to streamline federal regulations affecting U.S. colleges and universities.

The Higher Education Regulatory Task Force met Feb. 12 at the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C.

The task force was convened by Senate education committee ranking member Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and committee members Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.; Richard Burr, R-N.C.; and Michael Bennet, D-Colo. The group consists of college presidents and chancellors representing a variety of institutions; Sen. Bennet urged Benson to participate.

Alexander has said the pending reauthorization of the Higher Education Act presents an opportunity for congressional leaders to reconsider the regulatory burden of costly, sometimes confusing requirements. The task force aims to make recommendations for reducing and streamlining regulations.

President Benson met with Sen. Bennet and senior staff from Sen. Alexander's office before last week’s meeting to discusses their priorities for the task force. They hope the recommendations would consist of a detailed list of top reforms that Congress and the Department of Education could pursue.

“I hope we can cut a lot of the bureaucracy and red tape, much like what we have done over the past six years at CU,” Benson said.

The task force meeting featured 12 of the 14 task force members and representatives from a number of higher education associations with expertise in the education regulatory landscape. The group is being staffed by the American Council on Education (ACE).

At the meeting, representatives from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) provided summaries of regulatory issues they hear most about from their members. Some of the top challenges repeated by many of these groups included complying with the Clery Act, Return of Title IV funds, statute of limitations for Ed audits, accreditation, “mission creep” and IRS concerns related to the Forms 990 and 1098-T.

The task force is scheduled to meet again June 6 in Washington. Initial recommendations are scheduled to be presented to senators in the summer, followed by a third meeting of the task force in the fall. Final recommendations would be made late this year or in early 2015.

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