A former Department of Education (DOE) official warned that a new Biden administration regulatory agenda could adversely affect religious colleges and universities that participate in the federal student loan program, The Washington Examiner reported.
The Biden administration announced last week it intends to revisit DOE regulations on accreditation, student loan deferments, distance education, and other issues, according to Inside Higher Ed.
"Anybody who attends a faith-based institution should be very concerned about what the department might do," Bob Eitel, co-founder and president of the Defense of Freedom Institute, told the Washington Examiner.
The Trump administration strived to protect religious colleges and universities from accrediting agencies that forced them to adopt curriculum requirements that violated their religious beliefs, Eitel said.
Eitel expects the Biden administration to roll back those protections "because these issues bleed into their priorities regarding gender identity and the rights of transgender students and individuals."
Without those protections, religious colleges and universities that object to certain requirements from their accrediting agency on religious grounds could be disqualified from Title IV funding, the federal financial aid program that requires participating institutions to be accredited in order for their students to receive federal student loans, The Examiner noted.
A disqualification from Title IV could be disastrous, Eitel said, describing the federal student loan program as the "lifeblood" of institutions.
"The issue here historically has been that accreditation agencies often will require faith-based schools to adhere to accreditation requirements that are based in diversity, equity, and inclusion or affirmative action, or directly implicate issues of LGBTQ rights in a way that contradicts the faith or the teachings of that faith-based institution," Eitel said.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.