More government intrusion

This time it is the Department of Education that would seem to be overstepping its bounds.

Thanks to their vigilence, we will today learn the identities of the most expensive colleges and universities in the United States, based upon data that the colleges and universities are required to file with the federal government.  This information, although apparently “fairly complex”, is of assistance to students and their parents when making decisions as to where to go to school.

So far, so good.  But, it is what else the Department of Education does with this information that is troublesome.

Under federal law, colleges with the fastest-rising published tuitions and net prices — about 530 — will now have to explain to Education Department officials why their costs went up and what steps they’ll take to reduce them. [emphasis supplied]

I am sorry, but, personally, I question by what right the federal government thinks it can demand that any college explain why their costs have risen, much less explain what they will do about rising costs.  If students do not want to attend a particular school because they deem it too expensive, that is their right.  If their are enough of those students, then the school either changes its pricing policies, or, risks losing income.

Doesn’t the federal government have better things to do with your money?

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. GdavidH on June 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    This form of gov’t being built in this country wants everything to be equal. How dare one college cost more than another, especially since they all compete for the same funds made available for federal student?loans.
    Are hospitals next?

  2. sammy22 on June 30, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I’d like to hear from the people who have children in college or about to go to college.

  3. winnie888 on June 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I assume this includes private institutions?? Why is it any of the government’s business what a private college charges?? I can understand state schools because federal financial aid is granted to those students who meet the criteria to receive it.
    It all comes down to shopping for the cheapest price if you have to pay out of pocket for your child’s college education and expense is an issue for you.? If young people so pumped up to go to a college they can’t afford & commit to hundreds of thousands of dollars in college loans, then I guess they’ll have to bite it and pay for it for the rest of their lives.? Here’s hoping they choose a course of study that results in a job at the end of the rainbow.

  4. Political Entropy on June 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Even though many of these institutions are government recognized “not for profit” corporations, does that mean the gov can just demand whatever it wants from them? I’d honestly like to see if there is a legal obligation for the schools to report this requested information.

  5. sammy22 on July 1, 2011 at 12:17 am

    “Shopping around for the cheapest price”? I thought there was an admission process that had to do with qualifications. You mean that all one needs is to have the money and one gets into whatever college/university one wants?

  6. winnie888 on July 1, 2011 at 6:39 am

    No, sammy22…once one knows that they meet admissions criteria one can shop for the school that meets their needs and takes their family’s income into account.? It’s not exactly rocket science.

  7. Plainvillian on July 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

    This should surprise?? Wasn’t there a recent SWAT team raid conducted by the Dept. of Education in Stockton, CA over unpaid student loans?? Shotguns, handcuffed citizens, and shattered doors are not intrusive?? Are we ever going to rein in bureaucratic excesses?

  8. Law-AbidingCitizen on July 1, 2011 at 8:23 am

    And, just who does the Department of Education educate? The information that is? publishing and what it has done in the past makes it more like a department of information.
    But, hey, don’t we already have a department that does that sort of thing?? Sam Clements, a/k/a Mark Twain, would have been right in his element with a pithy remark about too much information and data used inappropriately. “Lies, damn lies and statistics.”

  9. mathlady on July 1, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the federal government had to do this kind of reporting to the citizens who provide them with the money they spend? If, every time the federal budget increased, they had to explain “why their costs went up and what steps they?ll take to reduce them.” What a laugh! That we might expect this govt. to actually even try to reduce costs!

  10. GdavidH on July 1, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Sammy, I have twins starting as freshmen this August, at two very different schools, both private. We did a very intense admissions effort that started early last fall and they both got accepted to their first school of choice. They also both got scholarships and small subsidized loans, need based and merit based, covering about 2/3 of the cost. The total amount of federal loans available to the student for the first year is $5500 and.??The remainder must be financed through a PLUS loan, by the parents. Loans are only available to students, with a parent as cosigner, if the parents credit does not qualify the parents to borrow, or if the student is independant.?Hmmm, isn’t that intersting? Deferring repayment until after graduation is also not always an option. …..Or…
    Needless to say, the federal monies available are limited and it is competative between the schools as to how much aid they are able to offer, regardless of the price of the education. What keeps the schools?in the running to attract the best students is the fact that they compete with each other by…

  11. winnie888 on July 1, 2011 at 10:52 am

    mathlady:? amen to that.? it would be refreshing if they had to justify their increases.

  12. GdavidH on July 1, 2011 at 10:55 am

    ….Oops, got cut off.

    Anyway…They compete by attracting the best students with scholarships from their giant bundles of cash. The U.S. gov’t has no right to interfere in that aspect of the business of higher education.

    Example….The University of Rochester is costing us less than what friends of ours are paying for state schools CCSU and Southern.

    And Winnie, It sure seems like rocket science to me sometimes.

  13. Murphy on July 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    News Release from the office of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
    “We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity”…”You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to..TOTAL GOVERNMENT CONTROL”

  14. Jim Vicevich on July 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Murphy… Too funny.Can’t stop laughing cause it’st true. And agree with Winnie agreeing with mathlady. So far the SOS’s favorite comment.

  15. sammy22 on July 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I thought the subject was anything but funny. But then it might be just me.

  16. gillie28 on July 3, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Interesting post and comments.? Don’t understand how it is constitutional for a private college or university to have to justify prices to the government under any cicrumstances except fraud or other related criminal activity.?

    Having said that, and off-topic, I think?some?expensive universities are overrated.? So much depends on the course teacher(s), and many tenured professors are entrenched and often out of touch with the real world (why I wanted to be an academic when younger :).?

    If a family doesn’t have enough money to pay outright for a child’s undergraduate education (graduates should be supporting themselves) then do 2 years at a community college.? Get all the basics under the belt – credits are transferred and the degree conferred will be from the final 2 years.? Also, if offspring doesn’t have an academic aptitude, or a passion for a specific subject/career, take more practical steps: technical high schools, learn a trade.? They’ll earn far more than any teacher that’s for sure!!!!? My lecture for the day.

  17. sammy22 on July 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Good lecture. I liked the constructive critique.

  18. Tim-in-Alabama on July 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I think the government bureaucrats should find someone among their own ranks to send the questionnaires. For some strange reason, the more money poured into “higher” education, the more it costs and the lower the quality. Since some commenters here insist on proposals if one comments on a post, I shall provide my solution. Whip college regents, boards, presidents – anyone within arm’s reach – with a belt until they get costs under control. If they cry, then whip ’em for crying.

  19. TomL on July 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Tim you mean a little tough love

  20. Tim-in-Alabama on July 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    The time for tough love is over. I’m leaning toward mean hate … but that could be the sunburn talking.

  21. kateinmaine on July 5, 2011 at 11:23 am

    pardon me for illustrating the obvious:? department of ed should look at cost escalation relative to union annexation of higher education. . .ah, clarity.

  22. winnie888 on July 7, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Woo & hoo, Kate…thanks for separating the pepper from the fly poo!


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