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Senate and House Preparing for Higher Ed Reauthorization

At the end of June, both Senate Democrats and House Republicans began drafting and introducing legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, which was most recently reauthorized in 2008. The proposed bills incorporate various measures designed to hold higher education institutions accountable for rising tuition costs and supplying students with reliable and accurate information regarding student loans, federal student aid, and other relevant data. The two chambers and political parties are tackling the issues using very different strategies, however.

In the House of Representatives, Republicans are working on a piecemeal approach to reauthorize the act. On July 10, three bills were passed by the House on July 24. H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act, would make students enrolled in programs that use competency-based learning systems eligible for federal financial aid. It passed the House on a 414-0 vote. H.R. 4983, Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act, would simplify the quantity of information available to students and their families regarding tuition costs and loan options and repayment plans. This bill also passed the House but by a voice vote. H.R. 4984, Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, would increase counseling for students and their families regarding financial aid options. It passed the House with a 405 to 11 vote.

On June 25, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released a discussion draft for Higher Education Act reauthorization. The Higher Education Affordability Act would take a comprehensive approach to reauthorization. The current draft calls for increases in both accountability measures for colleges and consumer protections for student loan borrowers. It also includes proposed reforms to accreditation that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has described more fully in a separate memo

EDUCAUSE will continue to monitor HEA reauthorization and amendments that could affect its members and will inform members as legislation progresses in both chambers. 

Comments

I'm glad that you, EDUCAUSE, are keeping us updated in regards to this matter. 

If reauthorization will be successfully passed and approved, student's will be very much guided on filing for their loan and financial aid.