Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

July 11, 2014

Regulations increase college costs

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” -President Ronald Reagan

The good intentions of the government at all levels can sometimes bring with them hidden costs. Colleges and other institutions for higher learning are not exempt from this trend, and meeting government regulations and expectations is increasing tuition costs at the same time politicians speak out against the rising costs of higher education.

“Appropriate levels of regulation are important,” Central College President Mark Putnam said. However, there are requirements the college must meet that add to its expenses. Tuition covers 90 percent of the college’s costs of operation, so those costs are inevitably passed on to students.

Like any other college, Central is required to meet the same regulations as any other business. These common regulations include those from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor. Colleges must also adhere to Title IX, which addresses equality among students and Title IV, which addresses financial aid. By accepting federal funds, the college submits to federal government regulations and their jurisdictions.

The growing complexity and demands to meet federal standards have made things difficult for colleges like Central. A number of federal agencies (Department of Education, Civil Rights, Department of Justice, etc.) are doing similar work, but require separate reports. In all, colleges and universities report to 28 federal agencies.

“There’s no way of getting around it,” Margaret Tungseth, vice president for finance and administration/treasurer (VPFA) at Central, said.

Federal regulations do not vary based upon the size of the institution. Central College is required to meet the same federal expectations as the University of Iowa, which has more vast resources. Central does not have anyone on staff specifically to handle government compliance; these duties are added to the work performed by employees hired for other tasks.

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