Obama is “incentivizing”—not regulating—universities, ed secretary says

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino speaks with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan about the benefits of the Parent University program this morning at the JFK Elementary School in Jamaica Plain. February 6, 2012 (Photo Credit: Don Harney, Mayor's Office)

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said today that the Obama administration isn’t trying to regulate university tuition by linking federal funding to the rate at which college costs increase.

In his state-of-the-union address on January 24th, President Barack Obama proposed that federal financial aid be tied to the pace of tuition increases. Institutions whose tuition rises too quickly would risk losing their eligibility for essential federal financial aid. Obama said, “let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.”

Universities have protested that this is a form of federal intrusion.

Asked after a meeting with a friendly audience of students in Boston whether the government should regulate such costs, Duncan responded, “I don’t think it’s our job to regulate tuition increases. Our job should be to incentivize good behavior.”

U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), who also appeared at the event, said it was time for the United States to shake up its higher-education system in an increasingly competitive global economy.

POSTED BY ON February 6, 2012