ADEA Washington Update

House Lays Down the Marker for HEA Reauthorization

(Legislation, House, Education, Department of Education, Financial Aid, Gainful Employment, Graduate Students, Higher Education) Permanent link   All Posts

HouseHEAEarlier this year, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, promised to release legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). Her bill is called the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, H.R. 4508. The Congressional Budget Office is expected to score the bill before Congress breaks for the year but no additional action is expected this year.

HEA, first passed in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, it was primarily crafted to establish financial aid for college-bound students. The law also supported the increase in educational resources associated with colleges and universities. Over the years, the act has undergone several reauthorizations that give lawmakers opportunities to add or subtract its provisions according to the changing needs of the nation’s students. Republican Members of Congress are ready to put their own stamp on the HEA, which technically expired in 2013 and was last reauthorized in 2008.

Following are selected provisions of interest to academic dental institutions; more information can be found in the Committee’s bill summary. It would:

  • Simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Streamlines Student Aid programs into one grant program, one loan program and one Work-Study program.
  • Reduce repayment options to one standard 10-year plan and one income-based repayment plan.
  • Change the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), but grandfathers in anyone who is currently in school (at least during their current course of study or until 2024).
  • Reduce the amount graduate and professional students can borrow each academic year to $28,500.
  • Increase institutional risk-sharing tied to student completion, which would mean that colleges would be on the hook for portions of federal loans that students do not repay.
  • Repeal federal gainful-employment regulations, which set a threshold for borrowers' ability to pay off loans for-profit programs and for vocational ones at community colleges and other public and private institutions.
  • Add graduation-rate requirements to federal grants for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions.
  • Remove several regulations, including restrictions on regulations for for-profit colleges now and into the future by preventing the Department of Education from taking some future actions to rein in vocational programs.
  • On sexual assault, the bill seeks to encourage more due process in how colleges treat both accusers and the accused. The bill would also modify the Jeanne Clery Act, which governs how colleges report campus crime, by allowing colleges to suspend judiciary proceedings while criminal investigations are ongoing while also letting colleges establish their own standards of evidence.

This is the first step in a process that will lead to reauthorization of the HEA.  Please watch for future Washington Updates and Action Alerts to stay informed of its progress.

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