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Vanderbilt Releases More Information on Elusive Red-Tape Study

Vanderbilt University has released more information about its noted red-tape study, which for months has been trumpeted by some observers as evidence of smothering government regulation in higher education. The Chronicle has repeatedly requested access to the study, which asserts the university spent roughly $150 million to comply with regulations in 2013-14.

The information, released on Friday, takes the form of a fact sheet, a PowerPoint presentation, and a summary that reiterate key points reported by The Chronicle this month. Among them:

  • Of the $150 million in total, $117 million was associated with research conducted by the university.
  • Complying with regulations specific to higher education, including accreditation, cost the university $14 million.
  • Costs related to accreditation amounted to 6 percent of the total.

Vanderbilt’s summary concludes with this caveat: “This effort is not intended and should not be interpreted to be a criticism of the federal government and its oversight of higher education. Federal oversight is critical both to the university as educators and researchers and to students, families, and taxpayers. Nor is this study meant to be the definitive word on regulatory costs at colleges and universities.”

The summary does detail the methodology behind the study, and breaks down how much of the compliance costs are spread over decentralized staff members as opposed to specific offices. View the new information.

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