Whither HEA Reauthorization?
12/10/2019 1:00 PM
12/10/2019 1:45 PM

​​​​​​​​​​The Higher Education Act (HEA), the main law that governs federal financial aid and other higher education programs, is supposed to be renewed every five years. But it was last reauthorized in 2008 and has been running on temporary extensions for the past several years while lawmakers start—then stop—the reauthorization process, only to have to begin again every two years when a new Congress is sworn in. ​

As 2019 draws to a close and Congress prepares to leave DC for its holiday break, American Council on Education (ACE) Senior Vice President Terry W. Hartle and ACE Director of Government Relations Jon Fansmith will provide an overview of the prospects for HEA reauthorization, major issues involved with the legislation, and the implications for colleges and universities.

HEA Reauthorization​ Q&A Session

In addition to this 45-minute webinar presentation about the future of HEA reauthorization, Hartle and Fansmith will hold a 30-minute question-and-answer session on the same topic the next day, December 11, at 2:3​​0 p.m. (ET) exclusively on ACE Engage®, ACE's peer-to-peer online community and learning platform.


This fall, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House Education and​ Labor Committee, introduced a new version of HEA reauthorization legislation, the College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674), which was approved by the committee on October 31 along a party-line vote. At over 1,200 pages, it's a dense, complicated piece of legislation, with a number of provisions that would be beneficial for students and institutions, such as significant increases in student aid and support for institutions that have historically been under-resourced. However, these provisions are offset in parts by intrusive, complicated, or burdensome requirements that will undercut the bill's primary goal to make higher education more affordable. See the letter that ACE sent on behalf of 32 other higher education associations to the House commenting on the legislation by clicking here.

Meanwhile, HEA discussions in the Senate are currently stalled, although Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has attempted to revive the process with a bill containing a handful of changes to the HEA that he released in September. Sen.​​ Alexander and Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) also introduced legislation to simplify the process for applying for federal financial aid. Neither of those efforts have significant support from Democrats and, at present, they appear unlikely to advance.

Webinar Recordings

Recordings of these events  are available on ACE Engage. If you are not currently an ACE Engage user, create a complimentary account​.

Watch Now

Registration is now closed for both the webinar and the Q&A session. Rec​ordings of these events  are available on ACE E​ngage.

Watch the webinar

Watch the Q&A Session(If you are not currently an ACE Engage user, create a complimentary account​.)​