Obama Moves To Control Colleges

Filed Under (The HELL You Say!) by admin on 04-11-2010

Now that the Obama administration has moved to dominate the student loan market, the federal government appears ready to begin dictating what can be taught in colleges and universities increasingly dependent upon government funding to pay their escalating costs.

What the government funds, the government controls is a fundamental rule of politics that appears to have been behind Obama’s move to push banks and private sources of funding out of the higher education loan market.

Obama takes over student loan market

In February 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported an Obama administration plan to make the government the sole provider of federal loans, pushing private lenders, including banks, out of the market.

The Obama administration typically promised the government takeover of student loans would save money by ending subsidies to banks, resulting in an estimated $47.5 billion over the next decade to bolster the Pell Grant program for low-income students.

At that time, Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, told the Wall Street Journal a move to all-government lending would be “one of the biggest changes in the history of federal aid to college students.”

Last week, the Journal reported the tuition and room-and-board costs of higher education and the amount government funding of student loans have increased in tandem.

Obama has increased spending on student aid by nearly 50 percent, to $145 billion.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Pell Grants has gone up.

In the school year 2009-2010, the federal government gave out $28.2 billion in Pell Grants, almost $10 billion than the previous years.

As noted, higher education costs have gone up in tandem.

From 2000 to 2010, tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities rose an average of 5.6 percent a year for adjusted inflation.

At public four-year institutions, the average cost including room and board is $16,140, while at private colleges, room and board costs an average of $36,993.

Meanwhile, state appropriations for higher education declined 5 percent per student in 2009-2010 over the previous year.

Clearly, while state budgets remain strapped, colleges and universities have found in the Obama administration a partner ready and willing to finance the increasing costs of higher education.

Obama administration moves to control higher education

Perhaps now we know why the Obama administration was so enthusiastic to take over the higher education student loan market.

On Nov. 1, the Department of Education will have new regulations in place mandating U.S. private higher-education institutions must follow federal guidelines to be accredited, warns Bill Armstrong, the former Republican U.S. senator from Colorado who is now president of Colorado Christian University.

“The idea is so startling, and so at odds with the concept of academic freedom and the fundamentals of American liberty, that it’s tempting to dismiss it as one of those classic ‘it can’t happen here’ scenarios,” Armstrong wrote. “But the danger is all too real, and one that I and many of my colleagues believe is the greatest threat to academic freedom in our lifetime.”

Under the present system, an independent, non-political accreditation process inspects both public and private institutions, Armstrong noted.

“The system, a network of six regional and national bodies, objectively measures whether an institution has maintained high academic standards,” he continued. “A classic example is the requirement that professors hold the appropriate degrees to teach in a particular discipline.”

But under the new mandate, a government panel will take into account public complaints and objections to the institution’s curriculum and content.

“Under the principle of ‘adverse action,’ the state would have the power to deny an institution’s accreditation because of those negative findings, or because they may (theoretically) challenge some element of state policy,” Armstrong warned.

“Religious and faith-based institutions are especially vulnerable because they are ideological and often countercultural,” he continued. “For example, a Christian university could come under scrutiny for offering a survey on the history of man-woman marriage without giving ‘equal time’ to the other side. It could run afoul of the state for offering courses on intelligent design theory, which is critical of the conventional wisdom on evolution.

Armstrong cautioned that there are an estimated 6,000 private institutions targeted for government control under the new Department of Education rules.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jerome R. Corsi received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science in 1972. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling books THE OBAMA NATION: LEFTIST POLITICS AND THE CULT OF PERSONALITY and the co-author of UNFIT FOR COMMAND: SWIFT BOAT VETERANS SPEAK OUT AGAINST JOHN KERRY. He is also the author of AMERICA FOR SALE, THE LATE GREAT U.S.A., and WHY ISRAEL CAN’T WAIT. Currently, Dr. Corsi is a Senior Managing Director in the Financial Services Group at Gilford Securities as well as a senior staff writer for WorldNetDaily.com.


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