Higher Education Act and Department of Education

The Issue

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The U.S. Department of Education (ED) administers most federal student financial aid, collects data on the nation's colleges and universities, and administers many of the federal higher education policies created by Congress. It also enforces laws regarding privacy, civil rights, and other issues for institutions that accept federal funds.

The primary law through which ED administers these programs is the Higher Education Act (HEA), first passed in 1965. Since then, HEA has been rewritten eight separate times. The current HEA was set to expire at the end of 2013 but was extended while Congress works on the next reauthorization. Among the issues that will likely be debated in the upcoming reauthorization are affordability and college costs; access, persistence, and completion; better information for consumers; student loan programs; accreditation and oversight; innovation; campus safety, and the burden of federal regulations. ACE works with Congress and the administration on an ongoing basis to ensure the views of our members are reflected in policy discussions and during the reauthorization process.

Our Work
Comments and Memo on ED's Section 117 Information Collection Request
Comments and Memo on ED's Section 117 Information Collection Request
Comments to the Education Department on the proposed Information Collection Request on Sec. 117 of the Higher Education Act, “Disclosures of Foreign Gifts.”
Education Department Releases Final Rules on Accreditation, State Authorization
Education Department Releases Final Rules on Accreditation, State Authorization
The Education Department has published its final regulations on accreditation and state authorization distance education, the result of a negotiated rulemaking session earlier this year.
Summary of the College Affordability Act
Summary of the College Affordability Act
A summary of the College Affordability Act, the House bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.
Letter to the House on the College Affordability Act
Letter to the House on the College Affordability Act
Letter to the House Committee on Education and Labor on the College Affordability Act, a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.
House Committee Approves HEA Legislation; Future of Bill Is Uncertain
House Committee Approves HEA Legislation; Future of Bill Is Uncertain
The House Education and Labor Committee voted to pass a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, the primary law that governs the relationship between the federal government, colleges and universities, and students.
Education Department Releases Final Rules on Accreditation, State Authorization
Education Department Releases Final Rules on Accreditation, State Authorization
The Education Department has published its final regulations on accreditation and state authorization distance education, the result of a negotiated rulemaking session earlier this year.
ACE, Other Associations Respond to House HEA Reauthorization Bill
ACE, Other Associations Respond to House HEA Reauthorization Bill
ACE and 32 other higher education associations today sent a letter to the leaders of the House Education and Labor Committee outlining areas of support and concern with the College Affordability Act.
Overview of Section 117 Foreign Gift and Contract Reporting
Overview of Section 117 Foreign Gift and Contract Reporting
Talking points on foreign gift and contract reporting requirements under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act.
ED Announces Plans to Expand Collection of Information on Foreign Gifts and Contracts
ED Announces Plans to Expand Collection of Information on Foreign Gifts and Contracts
As Congress and federal security agencies raise concerns about foreign influence at colleges and universities, campuses have had an increasing number of questions about the foreign gift and contract reporting requirements.
Summary of the Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019
Summary of the Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019
The Student Aid Improvement Act was introduced in the Senate by Lamar Alexander, chair of the HELP Committee, to address some of the issues involved in reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
House Democrats Begin the HEA Reauthorization Process (Again)
House Democrats Begin the HEA Reauthorization Process (Again)
House Democrats have introduced the latest legislative proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, the law that governs federal financial aid and other higher education programs, as well as relevant rules and regulations.
ED Announces Plans to Expand Collection of Information on Foreign Gifts and Contracts
ED Announces Plans to Expand Collection of Information on Foreign Gifts and Contracts
As Congress and federal security agencies raise concerns about foreign influence at colleges and universities, campuses have had an increasing number of questions about the foreign gift and contract reporting requirements.
Education Department Releases Final Borrower Defense Rules
Education Department Releases Final Borrower Defense Rules
The Department of Education has released its final regulation on borrower defense to repayment, which cancels Direct Loans for students whose institutions misled them.
Trump Administration Announces Easier Path to Student Loan Forgiveness for Disabled Veterans
Trump Administration Announces Easier Path to Student Loan Forgiveness for Disabled Veterans
ACE President Ted Mitchell applauded the announcement and urged the administration to address other loan cancellation problems.
Letter to the Department of Education on Impact of State Authorization Rule Change on California Students
Letter to the Department of Education on Impact of State Authorization Rule Change on California Students
​ACE sent this letter to Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding a rule change that threatens to leave an estimated 80,000 California students without financial aid.
ACE, Higher Education Groups Ask Lawmakers to Prioritize Graduate Education
ACE, Higher Education Groups Ask Lawmakers to Prioritize Graduate Education
ACE joined a coalition of more than 30 higher education groups in a letter to congressional leaders June 15, urging them to make graduate students a priority in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Letter to Education Department on Foreign Gift Reporting Requirements
Letter to Education Department on Foreign Gift Reporting Requirements
Letter to Mitchell M. Zais regarding the agency's reply​ to requests for clarification on Section 117 of the Higher Education Act.
ACE, Associations Reiterate Request for Clarification of Foreign Gift Reporting Requirements
ACE, Associations Reiterate Request for Clarification of Foreign Gift Reporting Requirements
ACE and other higher education associations have for the third time in seven months sent a letter asking the Department of Education to clarify the reporting requirements for foreign gifts.
Department of Education Repeals Gainful Employment Regulations
Department of Education Repeals Gainful Employment Regulations
​​The Education Department has rescinded the Obama-era gainful employment regulations, which penalized some programs that graduated students with too much debt. ACE and other groups advocated against repeal.
Statement of ACE Senior Vice President Terry W. Hartle on Repeal of Gainful Employment Regulations
Statement of ACE Senior Vice President Terry W. Hartle on Repeal of Gainful Employment Regulations
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on June 28 issued the final repeal of regulations crafted by the Obama administration to hold low-quality career education programs accountable.
Letter to Education Department on Foreign Gift Reporting Requirements
Letter to Education Department on Foreign Gift Reporting Requirements
Letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seeking clarification of Section 117 of the Higher Education Act.​​​​
Congressional Hearings Look at Accountability, Priorities for Higher Ed
Congressional Hearings Look at Accountability, Priorities for Higher Ed
The Senate HELP Committee held the latest in a series of panels on issues that will be addressed in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, while Education Secretary DeVos visited the House Committee on Education and Labor to discuss priorities.
Testimony to Senate HELP Committee on Addressing Campus Sexual Assault
Testimony to Senate HELP Committee on Addressing Campus Sexual Assault
Anne Meehan, director of Government Relations at ACE, delivered testimony April 2 to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee at a hearing on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Addressing Campus Sexual Assault and Ensuring Stude...