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gainful employment rule designed to weed out programs that produce graduates who are overburdened with debt which was repealed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and the borrower defense regulations the Department of Education overhauled earlier this year.Among the problematic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 January 17, 2020 The House of Representatives voted 231-180 to pass a resolution to block Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' new borrower defense rule from going into effect. Read More News January 17, 2020 House Votes to Block Education Department Rule on Borrower Defense News January 13, 2020 The December webinar, “Whither Higher Education Act Reauthorization?” is now archived exclusively on ACE Engage®, ACE’s online community and learning platform. Read More News January 13, 2020 Missed Our Recent Webinar on HEA Reauthorization? No Problem, See It On ACE Engage. News December 13, 2019 Congress gave final approval Dec. 10 to the FUTURE Act, a bill that will restore and make permanent a $255 million per year funding stream for minority serving institutions. Read More News December 13, 2019 Congress Approves FUTURE Act Online Event December 10, 20191:00 PM to 1:45 PM This webinar will provide an overview of the prospects for HEA reauthorization, major issues involved with the legislation, and the implications for colleges and universities. Read More Online Event December 10, 20191:00 PM to 1:45 PM Whither HEA Reauthorization? News December 9, 2019 The Dec. 4 conversation, the first in a monthly series of Public Policy Pop-Ups, was hosted on ACE Engage®, ACE's peer-to-peer online community and learning platform. Read More News December 9, 2019 Public Policy Pop-Ups on ACE Engage Keep Campus Leaders in the Loop News December 9, 2019 The Senate has approved an amendment to the FUTURE Act that would permanently restore $255 million in funding for minority serving institutions and streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Read More News December 9, 2019 Senate Approves Compromise Measure to Extend MSI Funding, Simplify FAFSA News December 2, 2019 ACE is debuting a new feature called the Public Policy Pop-Up on ACE Engage®, ACE’s peer-to-peer online community and learning platform for higher education executives. Read More News December 2, 2019 Introducing Monthly Live Policy Updates on ACE Engage News November 25, 2019 ACE to host a webinar on the upcoming revised Title IX campus sexual assault regulations, and one on ED's proposed expansion of requirements for foreign gift and contract reporting. Read More News November 25, 2019 Coming Soon: ACE Webinars on Final Title IX Rule and Proposed Expansion of Foreign Gift and Contract Reporting Requirements News November 18, 2019 Register now for a Dec. 10 ACE webinar exploring whether the Higher Education Act (HEA) will be reauthorized anytime soon. Read More News November 18, 2019 ACE Webinar: Whither HEA Reauthorization?