WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, M.D. (TN-01) made the following statement on the House floor in support of H.R. 2117 – Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act:
“I rise today in support of the Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act. This bipartisan legislation will prevent the Department of Education from defining a credit hour, something that is best left to our institutions of higher learning. It will also block a cumbersome new rule that would require states to use federally-set, one-size-fits-all criteria to regulate higher education. If these two rules were allowed to go into effect, they would create tremendous new burdens and additional cost for students.
“The exploding cost of higher education is already putting the opportunity for a college diploma out of reach for too many Americans. Last year, tuition and fees at a public, four-year schools increased by 8.3 percent. More regulations will lead to more administrative staff, and ultimately larger tuition hikes.
“The average debt of a college graduate today is roughly $22,000. When I went to medical school in 1967, I was able to work my way through and graduate with no debt. That is unheard of today. Now, students go so far into debt that they end up paying for their education for the rest of their lives.
“There is much that can be done to improve access to higher education and lower its cost. Issuing new regulations, however, takes us in the opposite direction.”