House Republicans to Unveil HEA Reauthorization Proposal

House Republicans are expected to unveil this week a comprehensive bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, which governs the nation's student financial aid system, reported The Wall Street Journal. The proposal will be the first movement on reauthorization since the House passed a set of piecemeal measures several years ago.

Under the forthcoming legislation, online schools would no longer be required to seek state-level authorization in every state where they have students. The bill would also eliminate the "gainful employment" regulations and the 90-10 rule that caps at 90 percent the total amount of revenue an institution can receive from Title IV aid funds, according to the newspaper.

Additionally, the legislation would simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and set a cap on the amount graduate students and parents of undergraduates could borrow to cover tuition and living expenses, instead of letting them borrow whatever schools charge. It would end a loan-forgiveness program for public servants who have made payments on their loans for 10 years. The bill would also maintain the ban on a unit-record system, which would foster the tracking of students' attainments, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

During a hearing on Tuesday of the U.S. Senate's education committee, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced that the panel's first order of business in 2018 would be to mark up its own version of the legislation. Both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate expressed their willingness to develop bipartisan reauthorization legislation. "This committee has a record of bipartisan solutions to big, complex problems," said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the panel. "And I'm confident we can find a bipartisan path forward to tackle these issues head-on."

House Democrats, in contrast, have said that there has been little to no bipartisan discussion in their chamber thus far, according to the Chronicle.


Related Links

The Wall Street Journal

The Chronicle of Higher Education