Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and others have introduced legislation in Congress to install fire sprinklers in all campus residence halls.
But their efforts have been unsuccessful.
The fire sprinkler legislation would provide $100 million in matching federal funds to encourage universities to install sprinkler systems.
Opponents of the bill argue that fire regulations should be left to state governments, and universities should retain autonomy from the federal government.
Some states have instituted mandatory sprinkler requirements for all universities after a residence hall fire claimed the lives of students.
New Jersey legislation now requires all universities to install sprinkler heads in key places after a Seton Hall University had a fire that killed three students and injured 58 others in 2000.
Jeff Landry, Seton Hall associate director of housing and residential life, said the university now has sprinkler heads installed in all bedrooms, bathrooms, closets and hallways on campus.
"Parents and students feel better about the school and people certainly are more comfortable here," Landry said.
But New Jersey is one of the few states to have sprinkler requirements at all.