By a nearly three to one bipartisan margin of 303-114, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the Department of Education’s state authorization and credit hour regulations. The bill–the “Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act” (H.R. 2117)–is sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. The legislation eliminates burdensome federal regulations that impose additional costs on colleges and universities, and that interfere with academic decision-making. The American Council on Education, along with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and several other higher education organizations, expressed strong support for the bill in a recent letter to Congress.
While not rising to the level of a veto threat, the Obama Administration opposes the bill as noted in its Statement of Administration Policy.
The state authorization regulation is also the subject of a pending lawsuit in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Background on the litigation and the state authorization regulation can be found in Bob Eiitel’s blog posts of July 12 and July 20, 2011.