House Democrats Begin the HEA Reauthorization Process (Again) October 16, 2019 Section 1 ContentHouse Democrats on Tuesday introduced the latest legislative proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), the law that governs federal financial aid and other higher education programs, as well as relevant rules and regulations.First signed into law in 1965, the HEA is supposed to be renewed every five years. The last reauthorization was in 2008, and it 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.This latest bill is based on a 2018 measure Democrats introduced in the last Congress when they were in the minority, the Aim Higher Act (H.R. 6543). At 1,100-plus pages, the new iteration—known as the College Affordability Act—is a substantial rewriting and expansion of the HEA. As is typical in a bill this large, it has both good and bad provisions, as well as provisions that are difficult to fully evaluate at this point. The legislation is significantly more generous than current programs for students and borrowers, increasing funding levels for Pell Grants, TRIO, and GEAR UP and making loans more affordable. It proposes reviving the Perkins Loan Program—which expired in 2017—restructuring the Federal Work-Study and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant programs, and re-establishing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program on more stable footing. And as we move closer toward the 2020 election, it would enact a federal-state partnership to make community colleges free, a high-profile issue for most Democrats in the presidential primary race.The bill also would address some of the Obama-era rules and regulations that have been under fire in the Trump administration, including restoring the gainful employment rule designed to weed out programs that produce graduates who are overburdened with debt which was repealed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and the borrower defense regulations the Department of Education overhauled earlier this year.Among the problematic provisions, the bill would dramatically increase the federal intrusion into, and micromanagement of, colleges and universities. Proposals such as federalizing accreditation and dictating new positions that must be filled on a campus represent a heavy-handed approach to federal policy. How other aspects of the bill would work—and whether they are positive or negative for students and institutions—are unclear. For example, simplifying the structure of student loans and paring down the number of loan programs from seven to two may be a good idea, but there are not enough details to know who will be harmed or left out, and how these changes will impact all borrowers. As ACE Senior Vice President Terry Hartle told Inside Higher Ed today, House Democrats will have to grapple with how to pay for the bill as well as controversy over the bigger federal role in higher education that it signals. They also will have to deal with the Senate. HEA discussions in that chamber are currently stalled, although Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate education committee, has attempted to revive the process with a bill containing a handful of changes to the HEA that he released last month. Inside Higher Ed pointed out similarities between elements of the House bill and Alexander’s measure, including proposals to streamline the FAFSA, lift the ban on federal aid for incarcerated students, and open Pell Grant eligibility to short-term higher ed programs. For more details, ACE has prepared a summary of both the House bill and Alexander’s legislation. Section 2 Content Section 3 Content Section 4 Content Section 5 Content Section 6 Content Button Content Rail Content 1Related ContentShort Summary of the College Affordability ActSummary of the Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019 Rail Content 2 Rail Content 3 Related News December 2, 2022 ACE this week joined the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, and seven other higher education associations in launching a task force. Read More News December 2, 2022 ACE, Higher Ed Groups Launch Task Force to Improve Student Aid Offers and Price Transparency Podcast November 21, 2022 Terry Hartle and Jon Fansmith talk about what the midterm elections mean for higher education policy in the lame-duck session and beyond. Read More Podcast November 21, 2022 Midterm Election Aftermath News November 4, 2022 The Department of Education released final regulations on targeted student debt relief programs on Oct. 31, hitting the Nov. 1 deadline to meet an implementation date of July 1, 2023. Read More News November 4, 2022 Education Department Issues Final Rules on Student Debt Relief, Other Programs Podcast October 13, 2022 Nasser Paydar, assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the Department of Education, joins the hosts to talk about what the department is doing to improve access and affordability for college students. Read More Podcast October 13, 2022 Nasser Paydar Talks Mental Health, Student Debt Relief, and Other Priorities for the Education Dept. Podcast September 29, 2022 Jon Fansmith and Terry Hartle are back to give their predictions for what Congress will dive into this fall before they adjourn ahead of midterm elections, including a continuing resolution to fund the government through the end of the year. Read More Podcast September 29, 2022 Higher Ed Policy Predictions for the Fall News September 19, 2022 Despite the increasingly difficult voting processes in a number of states in the wake of the 2020 election, students are voting in numbers like never before. Read More News September 19, 2022 How Colleges Can (and Can’t) Support 2022 Campaign Activities on Campus and Help Students Vote Podcast September 15, 2022 Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the NASFAA, helps break down what the Biden administration's student loan forgiveness plan means for borrowers, institutions, parents, and the higher ed community as a whole. Read More Podcast September 15, 2022 Breaking Down Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness Plan News September 12, 2022 The groups thank the department for its efforts to provide greater flexibility and urge additional clarity and flexibility to help colleges and universities fulfill the promise of the law. Read More News September 12, 2022 ACE, Other Groups Comment on Education Department Title IX Draft Rule News August 31, 2022 The student loan repayment pause has made data measuring the share of borrowers who default on their debts nearly meaningless. Federal policymakers and institutions need new ways to measure how well borrowers are prepared for success in the labor market. Read More News August 31, 2022 Measuring Student Loan Default Today News August 30, 2022 The Biden administration last week released the final version of regulations aiming to strengthen the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Read More News August 30, 2022 Final DACA Regulations Released by Biden Administration Statement We applaud this action by the Biden administration to preserve and fortify the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Read More Statement Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Final DACA Regulations Statement August 24, 2022 President Biden’s decision to cancel student loan debt for millions of borrowers is the right move at the right time, but to avoid forcing current and future students into the same debt morass, we must modernize the federal student loan program. Read More Statement August 24, 2022 Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on President Biden’s Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Announcement News August 19, 2022 With the fall semester about to begin, the Biden administration is getting the word out to campuses on two key topics: Preparing for the latest phase of COVID-19 and the new challenge of monkeypox, and taking advantage of changes to PSLF ahead of Oct. 31. Read More News August 19, 2022 Back to School Prep: Monkeypox, COVID, Public Service Loan Forgiveness for Your Campus News August 15, 2022 ACE and 23 other higher ed groups submitted comments to the Education Department on draft rules to enhance protections for defrauded borrowers, improve Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and make other revisions to student loan discharge regulations. Read More News August 15, 2022 ACE, Associations Offer Recommendations for Final Student Loan Forgiveness Regulations News July 20, 2022 The House has passed two bills that seek to address the growing mental health crisis on college campuses: the Enhancing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Through Campus Planning Act and the Campus Prevention and Recovery Services for Students Act. Read More News July 20, 2022 House Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Address Student Mental Health Podcast July 14, 2022 ACE's Anne Meehan and Peter McDonough talk about what the newly proposed Title IX regulations mean for college campuses and the effort to address and prevent sex-based discrimination. Read More Podcast July 14, 2022 New Proposed Title IX Regulations are Here. Now What? Video July 12, 2022 ACE and the Department of Education partnered to host a webinar on July 12 that will help campus leaders learn more about the temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. 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Read More News June 27, 2022 Education Department Proposes New Title IX Regulations on Campus Sexual Assault, Expands Protections for LGBTQ+ Students Podcast June 2, 2022 With the midterm elections looming, what are voters thinking about the value of college? Kristen Soltis Anderson joins the podcast to talk about the American public's perception of higher education. Read More Podcast June 2, 2022 Do Americans Value Higher Education?