The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has released proposed regulation changes which would end discrimination against religious students and faith-based educational institutions.
One of the current rules punishes religious students who have borrowed loans with the Federal Perkins Loan Program by prohibiting them from receiving a deferment of repayment. This prohibition comes into effect if after graduation, they work as volunteers who “give religious instruction, conduct worship services, proselytize or fundraise to support religious activities.” The DOE’s proposed change would delete this provision.
Two other regulations that the DOE is proposing to eliminate prohibit members of religious orders from qualifying for financial assistance under the Federal Work-Study Program and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program.
These proposed rule changes come as a response to the Supreme Court case Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, which was decided in June 2017. The Daily Citizen previously reported on the case, where the court decided that the government cannot single out and exclude churches from state grants just because they are religious institutions. To do so violates the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the constitution.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) issued a comment to the DOE supporting the proposed rule changes. In a statement announcing their endorsement of the changes, ADF said, “Every religious student deserves the opportunity to participate in a neutral student aid program on the same, level playing field as his or her peers. For too long, federal student aid regulations have needlessly discriminated against some religious students and schools simply because of their religious identity. We commend the Department of Education for working to end these unfair and unconstitutional rules, and to thereby ensure that all students can live out their faith freely.”
There are so many reasons why these regulatory changes are needed. Top among them is the liberal bias of most college campuses. According to one study that looked into 40 top universities, Democrat professors outnumber Republican ones 3,623 to 314, or 12 to 1. And don’t forget the professor who resigned from Columbia University because it is on its way towards “full blown communism.”
Examples like these show how solid, faith-based educational institutes are vital to our Republic more now than ever before. Though there is much to bemoan about the liberal monopoly on higher education, we can be thankful the DOE led by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is making it easier for students to have good alternatives and attend faith-based universities.
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