Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' plan to revamp Title IX regulations could save more than $400 million over the next decade, Education Department analysis obtained by The New York Times reveals. But it would also mean colleges could slash sexual harassment inquiries by 39 percent — and they don't conduct too many investigations to begin with.
As it stands, colleges formally investigate an average of 1.18 sexual harassment allegations each year, department stats show. DeVos' new plans, which are formally unpublished but the Times obtained in August, skew campus policies in favor of those accused of sexual misconduct. They would require schools to only look into allegations that happened on campus and were filed with the correct school officials, slicing the annual average to 0.72 investigations per year, per Education Department analysis. Incidents at off-campus events or anything reported to a dorm residence adviser don't make the cut.
New regulations would also cut investigations at elementary and secondary schools in half, from an average of 3.23 to 1.61 annually per school, the analysis shows. Altogether, it would save the department anywhere from $327 to $408 million in the next 10 years. These financial benefits have "played no role in Secretary DeVos' decision making," a department spokeswoman told the Times. Still, conducting about 300,000 less investigations over 10 years would pay for about one-tenth of the cost of President Trump's new Air Force One fleet — provided Boeing can wait a decade for the first installment.