She was warmer on the also good recommendations to simplify the financial aid application process, although careful to say that cutting more subsidies to corporate lenders--oh, sorry, "reviewing and streamlining the entire federal system of student financial aid" is up to Congress.
And she engaged in what Inside Higher Ed called "higher-ed bashing" over the many recommendations for measurement, comprehensive student tracking, and money tied to accountability, suggesting that any college that doesn't want its students ear-tagged is operating from "fear" of scrutiny.
I have no doubt that there are lots of ways colleges can and should save money, nor that they could improve accountability. How much of the cost increases come from the vast expansion in colleges' missions over the past 30 years, the need to add new technologies? How is it that productivity has increased so much everywhere in our economy except for health care and education?
But you're not going to get improved results in our education system from a corporate downsizing mentality. The Bush Administration's record over the past six years should raise some suspicion that they know the true meaning of the word efficiency and can even recognize competence, let alone measure it.
UPDATE: Rep George Miller sez:
"The Bush administration and Republican-controlled Congress, far from addressing the college cost crisis, have actually made it worse. Earlier this year they cut $12 billion out of the federal student aid programs, pushing college further out of reach for American families. Nor have they done anything to boost need-based scholarships for low- and moderate-income students. The Pell Grant scholarship has been frozen for four years, and it is worth over $900 less, in inflation-adjusted terms, than it was 30 years ago. For these reasons, it is hard to take the Bush administration's sudden commitment to college access and affordability seriously.
"Democrats believe that we must act immediately to put college back within reach of all Americans. We have introduced legislation to lower college costs by cutting interest rates in half on college loans for students and parents in the most need. It is time for a new direction for America so that every qualified student who wants a good college education can afford to get one."