HIGHER EDUCATION ACT REAUTHORIZATION | Senate Seeking Input on Discussion Draft Language, House Releases Principles and Goals

Last week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee released the Higher Education Affordability Act plan which includes highlighting the priorities for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). The committee also released Discussion Draft language of the Higher Education Affordability Act (HEAA). Included in the discussion draft language are several new grant initiatives including an innovation fund that provides grants to minority-serving institutions, including tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Comments are being accepted until August 29, 2014 at 5:00pm EDT and can be sent to HEAA2014@help.senate.gov.

The Discussion Draft focuses on 4 main goals:

  • Increasing college affordability;
  • Helping struggling borrowers;
  • Strengthening accountability; and
  • Improving transparency.

A summary of the Discussion Draft can be found here.

The House Education and Workforce Committee last week also released a white paper on the priorities for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. The white paper outlines the approach the committee will pursue when it introduces a series of bills to reauthorize the law later this year. The approach to the reauthorization will focus on the following principles:

  • Empowering students and families to make informed decisions;
  • Simplifying and improving student aid;
  • Promoting innovation, access, and completion; and
  • Ensuring strong accountability and a limited federal role.

Comments are currently not being accepted on the white paper.

NCAI will continue to keep tribes apprised of any movement on introduction of Higher Education legislation during the remaining months of this session of Congress.

NCAI Contact Information: Cesar Alvarez, Legislative Fellow – calvarez@ncai.org

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