As Congress begins the long process of renewing the Higher Education Act, the leaders of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce published an open letter to higher education “stakeholders” Thursday, asking for suggestions on rewriting the sweeping law governing federal financial aid programs. Representatives are especially interested in a few areas, they wrote: empowering “students as consumers”; simplifying student aid and loans; increasing affordability, accountability and completion; reducing costs; and balancing “the need for accountability with the burden of federal requirements.”
In a statement, the committee’s chairman, Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican, emphasized paring regulations, simplifying financial aid and providing families with better information. Representative George Miller, a California Democrat, said he hoped to focus on the increasing price of higher education, student debt, barriers to completion, and community colleges.
Members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee today called upon students, parents, college leaders, and higher education stakeholders to share their views on policies and amendments that should be included in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
“The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act is no small undertaking,” Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said. “These policies affect families nationwide, and the committee must carefully consider feedback from the public as we develop proposals to strengthen the law. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to eliminate burdensome federal regulations that could lead to increased costs for colleges and students, while also taking steps to simplify federal student aid programs and help families better understand the college investment.”
“Congress will soon be set to rewrite the nation’s higher education policy,” said Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA). “It is my hope that the results of this process will help ensure that all qualified students have access to the quality and affordable higher education they need to succeed in the 21st century. It is also my hope that, in the upcoming committee process, among other things, we thoughtfully and comprehensively address the increasing cost of higher education and the growing debt burden on students, completion barriers for traditional and non-traditional students alike, and strengthening the roles of community colleges.”
In the letter, signed by Chairman Kline, Ranking Member Miller, Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Ranking Member Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), members write:
In preparation for the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the committee will begin exploring proposals to improve postsecondary education in America. To assist us in this process, we are seeking input from students, parents, the higher education community, employers, and other stakeholders on suggested policy changes and amendments to strengthen the law.
As we work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, the committee will explore a wide range of issues affecting students, families, and postsecondary institutions. We are particularly interested in examining ways to:
Empower students as consumers in higher education, Simplify and improve the student aid and loan programs, Increase college accessibility, affordability, and completion, Encourage institutions to reduce costs, Promote innovation to improve access to and delivery of higher education, and
Balance the need for accountability with the burden of federal requirements.