Slowly Revving Up HEA Reauthorization

DC Shuttle …

House hearing on college access. The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on access to higher education as part of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). Much of the discussion was about how to best measure access and the hearing addressed methods that have been successful at improving access. Some of the discussion suggested that measuring access was not adequate, and developing methods to measure outcomes should be prioritized. Committee Chair John Kline (R-MN) said he hopes to produce a reauthorization bill this year through the committee’s work.

Senate hearing on student loan servicing. The Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing on student financial aid in preparation for the HEA reauthorization, though standalone student loan legislation has been introduced, according to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The New America Foundation released a report on graduate student debt, which highlights the percent of disbursements which go toward funding graduate school.

Gainful employment proposal. The U.S. Department of Education posted a notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comment on the administration’s gainful employment proposal. The rule is open for comment until May 27.

Guide to education tax benefits. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators released a guide to help families understand the available options provided by tax credits and deductions.

Guide to reform community college. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) released a guide to transform the community college industry. The guide offers methods to achieve goals in college preparedness, completion of remedial material, and close achievement gaps. Two years ago, the association released a report saying that the industry needed to improve.

Rural students and college. The American Education Research Organization released a report on how rurality affects access to higher education. “The results of this study reveal clear disadvantages in postsecondary attendance, institutional level, selectivity and other indicators resulting simply from living in a non-metropolitan county.”

Aid structure and competency-based education. Inside Higher Ed reports on a research project, Competency Based Education and Federal Student Aid, which says federal aid is not conducive to measurements of competency based education.

Report on small schools and STEM. The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) released a report, Strengthening the STEM Pipeline: The Contributions of Small and Mid-Sized Independent Colleges, that found that small and mid-sized independent institutions are efficient in preparing students for careers and graduate study in STEM fields. The report uses data from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation to examine issues such as students’ persistence to a degree, the time to a bachelor’s degree, and plans for graduate study.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of April 7, 2014.

Founded in 1925, the New England Council is a nonpartisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the New England region. The Council’s mission is to identify and support federal public policies and articulate the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England. For more information, please visit:



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