In a completely unreported meeting between Brigham Young University Idaho (BYU-Idaho) leadership and university faculty and staff, President Kim Clark made a very interesting disclosure. To explain the hiring of an additional secretary, President Clark revealed that his/her assignment was to explore the ramifications of turning down all federal aid for students and the university. BYU-Idaho, located in Rexburg, Idaho, is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There is precedence for this courageous action. At least two other private colleges have fought the fight, and decided to turn down all federal dollars. Both are also founded on Christian principles.
During the 1970â€™s, affirmative action legislation was passed into law by Congress, and was subsequently included in Title IX education regulations. Hillsdale College, located in Spring City, Michigan, refused to sign Assurance of Compliance forms mandated by the federal government under Title IX, even when federal aid to 200 Hillsdale students was threatened. Hillsdale contended that they did not need to submit these forms since it is a private institution, the college itself received no federal aid, and their own non-discrimination policy was stricter than the Title IX specifications.
In 1982, the Sixth District Court of Appeals said Hillsdale was not required to submit the Compliance forms, but also ruled that federal student aid could be cut off even if there was no finding of discrimination by the college.
In 1984, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling in a related case involving Grove City College, of Grove City, Pennsylvania. In Grove City College v. T.H. Bell, Secretary U.S. Department of Education, the Supreme Court found that colleges must comply with federal regulations if their students received any kind of federal student aid, including Pell grants and student loans.
Rather than capitulate to federal blackmail, both Hillsdale College and Grove City College have decided to go it alone, without benefit of government dollars. Instead of relying on government to pay their studentsâ€™ tuition and other expenses, they have found private funding sources to keep costs low and offer their own scholarships and aid. It is unbelievable that parents of students at these colleges are not even allowed to take federal education tax credits or deduct any expenses associated with their studentsâ€™ education.
Dr. John H. Moore makes some interesting observations on the battles these colleges have waged in his piece, “Academic Secession”.
Be sure to read Part II of this post.