Liberty University's Falwell says he's leading a higher ed task force for Trump

Plans to reduce 'overreaching regulation'

Jerry Falwell Jr. will lead a higher education task force at the request of President Trump, the Liberty University president told multiple media outlets this week.

Details about the size, scope, and mission of the task force have not been formally announced. Falwell told the Chronicle of Higher Education that the task force will be charged with recommending changes to the Department of Education's policies and procedures that will reduce "overreaching regulation" and micromanagement.

In a phone interview with the Washington Post, Falwell said he has a "whole list of concerns," adding,"We think many regulations published in the last decade need to be rolled back."

One report estimates U.S. colleges spend $27 billion per year on compliance

Falwell also told the Chronicle that Trump had previously invited him to be Education Secretary, but Falwell declined so that he could keep his role at Liberty. He praised Trump's nominee, Betsy DeVos, and said the task force will support her.

College and university presidents have called for some deregulation in recent years, the Post reports. A 2015 report by the American Council on Education concluded that regulations snare colleges and universities in "a jungle of red tape," estimating the cost of compliance to be more than $100,000 annually at some universities.

Falwell is no stranger to alternative approaches to higher education. Liberty University has the second largest online program in the United States. The institution launched its distance learning program in 1985, when it mailed lectures on videotape to students (Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/31; Pulliam Bailey/Anderson, Washington Post, 1/31). 

Could the future of higher ed be found at Liberty University?

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