Owens Co-Sponsors the Change of Ownership and Conversion Improvement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) co-sponsored Rep. Fred Keller’s (PA-12) Change of Ownership and Conversion Improvement Act, legislation to ensure that institutions of higher education that are interested in changing ownership or converting from for-profit to nonprofit or public status are not slowed down by the U.S. Department of Education’s broken application process.

“Education is the greatest gift we can provide to the next generation of Americans, and supporting our nation’s higher education institutions should be a top priority.” Said Rep. Owens. “I’m a proud co-sponsor of Congressman Keller’s Change of Ownership and Conversion Improvement Act to increase accountability and add transparency in the Department of Education’s change of ownership and conversion to nonprofit status evaluations.”

Specifically, the Change of Ownership and Conversion Improvement Act would:

  • Shift the burden of processing applications from taxpayers to institutions by requiring the institution to pay an administrative fee when applying. The Department of Education will use these fees to hire staff to reduce the application processing time.
  • Create numerous safeguards to ensure that any application for a conversion is rigorously evaluated. Specifically, it requires all sales to be at or below fair market value and that any transaction involving an insider to be approved by an independent committee of directors for the institution.
  • Prohibit institutions from advertising as a nonprofit until after the Department has approved the transaction.
  • Require any institution that has recently converted to be subject to a five-year monitoring period and pay a fee to the Department and the IRS to fund monitoring costs.

The bill’s full text is available here.


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