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College-Administration Survey Shows Frustration With Regs

Enough already. That's what college officials have to say about federal regulations that require a range of activities, from entrance counseling for financial-aid borrowers to reporting data on campus crime and graduation rates.

Nearly 86 percent of senior executives and office administrators say the regulations in the Higher Education Act are "burdensome" or "very burdensome," according to the preliminary findings of the Higher Education Regulations Study released yesterday.

The critical findings were based on the opinions of 2,000 college officials captured in an online survey and follow-up interviews.

The review was mandated by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which charges the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance with looking at the extent to which regulations are overly burdensome and need to be streamlined, improved, or eliminated.

The perception of survey respondents was that the HEA regulations overlap other state and federal rules and are more burdensome than other federal regulations or those from states and nongovernmental agencies. College officials also lashed out at the scope of the information required to be disclosed and felt there needed to be an overhaul of the regulations.

A majority of those surveyed said that 14 of the 15 regulations selected for review by the committee were "burdensome" or "overly burdensome."

Rather than having general regulations, 83 percent of executives and 73 percent of office administrators said they supported sector-specific regulations. The majority also supported performance-based regulations.

A final report will be delivered to Congress at the end of November.

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