ACE 2024 Legislative and Regulatory Agenda


The American Council on Education (ACE) is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, our strength lies in our diverse membership of more than 1,600 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad.

ACE is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions, public and private. Our members educate two out of every three students in all accredited, degree-granting U.S. institutions.

Division Mission Statement

ACE’s Government Relations and National Engagement division convenes and leads the larger higher education community in policy development and strategy to effectively advocate for and enhance the fundamental principles of higher education. These principles emphasize access and success; the pursuit of knowledge; and the enrichment of the civic, democratic, and economic vibrancy of the United States.


To further this mission, Government Relations and National Engagement has adopted a federal legislative agenda for FY 2024 focused on five key areas:

1.    Access, success, equity, and completion
2.    Strengthening institutions
3.    Institutional autonomy and academic freedom
4.    Quality and accountability
5.    Fostering innovation

Access, Success, Equity, and Completion

ACE works with Congress and the administration to advance policies and advocate for funding that maximizes federal support for all students, with a particular focus on low-income and historically underserved communities. This includes support for:

  • Doubling the Pell Grant to a maximum award of $13,000;
  • Legislation that addresses basic needs (food insecurity for students, student mental health, and other efforts);
  • Legislation to repeal the taxability of scholarship and grant aid, including for Pell Grants;
  • Expansion of student support services, including emergency grants, academic support, and affordable childcare;
  • The DREAM Act (S.365) or other legislative efforts to provide permanent protections for Dreamers—young, undocumented, high-achieving individuals brought to our country as children;
  • Immigration policy supporting international students and scholarly exchanges, including the National Security Innovation Pathway Act and the Paul Simon Study Abroad Act (H.R.4588/ S.2261);
  • Expanding and modernizing employer-provided education assistance (Sec. 127 of the IRS code), and legislation to strengthen the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) for students and parents;
  • Leading and informing the higher education community regarding final Title IX regulations being developed by the U.S. Department of Education;
  • Leading community efforts around proposed regulations for Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and support for student with disabilities, including the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act (AIM-HIGH) Act;
  • Increasing federal support for active-duty military learners and student veteran through legislation such as, the Student Veteran Work Study Modernization Act (H.R.3601), and the VA Work-Study Improvement Act (H.R.3600); and
  • Legislation and regulations to protect the civil rights of all students, faculty, and staff.
Strengthening Institutions

ACE seeks to strengthen the ability of colleges and universities to conduct their educational missions by advocating for federal policies and programs that enhance institutional resources and effectiveness. This includes support for:

  • Increasing funding for programs such as Title III, Title V, and student success grants;
  • Legislation to deepen civic engagement for our students, such as the Building Civic Bridges Act;
  • Legislation to increase opportunities for students to use credit recommendations (i.e., for military experience and apprenticeships);
  • Policies that encourage and support international student and scholarly exchanges for our institutions;
  • Legislation to strengthen HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs in their missions;
  • Legislation to enhance charitable giving incentives and to repeal the endowment tax;
  • Support for efforts to strengthen campus safety and security; and
  • Expansion of federal support for institutional research infrastructure.
Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom

ACE leads the higher education community in defending academic freedom and institutional autonomy on a national level. This includes:

  • Pursuing legislation and regulations that preserve institutional autonomy and academic freedom at the state and federal levels; and
  • Leading the higher education community efforts to oppose federal and state policy actions that threaten academic freedom and institutional autonomy.
Quality and Accountability

ACE works with Congress and the administration to advance legislation and regulations that assist institutions in enhancing quality and reducing costs while ensuring transparency and accountability for how colleges and universities serve students, taxpayers, and their communities. This includes:

  • Working across federal agencies to influence the development of proposed regulations impacting higher education, including the 2023 negotiated rulemaking sessions at the Department of Education;
  • Advancing proposals to improve measures of student success and post-college outcomes, including enactment of the College Transparency Act (H.R.2957/ S.1349);
  • Influencing legislation, regulation, and guidance regarding research security and malign foreign influence, including Section 117 foreign gift reporting and new requirements for foreign partnerships; and
  • Monitoring and engaging with federal policymakers on legislation that impacts college athletics.
Fostering Innovation

ACE promotes policies that enhance academic research, promote innovative practice, allow for greater institutional flexibility, and reduce regulatory and administrative burden. This includes:

  • Supporting legislation that would extend Pell Grant eligibility to short-term programs;  
  • Advocating for increased funding for federal research agencies;
  • Advocating for and supporting federal efforts on campus mental health and telehealth initiatives;
  • Advocating for the College Completion Fund program;
  • Supporting sustainability and efforts to address climate change on our campuses;
  • Supporting the expansion of experimental sites authority at the Department of Education to promote innovative practices at our institutions; and
  • Engaging with Congress and the administration as they develop regulations around artificial intelligence.
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