Study: Regs drive up college costs

Government regulations are driving up the cost of college tuition, according to a new study.

The conservative American Action Forum, which favors fewer regulations, released a report Wednesday that found that as the Department of Education's paperwork burden has grown, so has the cost of a college education.

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"It is clear that regulations play some role in what students ultimately pay for education," wrote Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at AAF and one of the authors of the study.

The report found that the Education Department imposes 85 million hours of paperwork each year, which costs colleges more than an estimated $2.7 billion to comply with.

The largest paperwork requirement for schools is processing financial aid applications, which comprises more than 26 million paperwork hours, according to the study. 

AAF argues that tuition fees have jumped 28 percent over the last decade, in part because of the increasing burden of regulations.

"It is hard to argue that additional regulations are not partially responsible for the rise in college tuition," Batkins wrote. 

Many colleges and universities hire more compliance officers to deal with the additional paperwork, and the cost of their salaries trickles down to the students.

"There are countless factors driving these spikes, but increasingly, legislators and universities have targeted regulations as a primary culprit for rising costs," wrote Batkins.

"Indeed, the Department of Education today imposes more than double the amount of paperwork it did a decade ago, likely increasing the amount of administrative staff colleges and universities need to manage for compliance, and playing a role in higher tuition bills across the country," he added.

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