Articles

Commentary and discussion of key issues

  • Title IX a Sticking Point in Talks Over New Higher Ed Law (Inside Higher Ed, August 6, 2019) “Resolving differences over sexual assault procedures, including requirements for live hearings, emerges as one of the biggest challenges for negotiating a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.”
     
  • Study: Cutting Federal Graduate Loans Would Harm Black Students, HBCUs Diverse Issues in Higher Education, July 22, 2019) “As Congress wrestles with reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, some lawmakers have proposed limiting federal loans to graduate students as a way to reduce over-borrowing and high loan debt levels for students – even though professional and grad students have some of the best repayment rates.”
     
  • Secretary DeVos Advances Higher Education Reform Forged by Historic Consensus (U.S. Department of Education [News Release], June 11, 2019) “The U.S. Department of Education today announced the publication of proposed regulations designed to reduce the unnecessary regulatory burden associated with accreditor oversight of the nation's colleges and universities and to streamline state authorization requirements for distance education or correspondence courses. The 30-day period for public comment will begin when the regulations are officially published in the Federal Register on June 12.” (See the proposed regulations in the Federal Register; comments are due by July 12, 2019.)”
     
  • How the Education Dept. Is Proposing to Ease Rules on Accreditation (The Chronicle of Higher Education  [subscription required], June 11, 2019) “There are a number of things that we like in these proposed regulations,’ Judith Eaton, president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, said in a written statement. The council favors the new requirements for teach-out plans and a proposed rule that would force colleges and accreditors to seek arbitration in any dispute before either party could file a lawsuit. Colleges nearly always file such suits after accreditors move to reject their accreditation, drawing out the process for years and putting a financial strain on the accreditor. But Eaton said the council ‘has questions’ about the proposal to allow accreditors to grant accreditation retroactively and increase the amount of time that colleges can come into compliance with federal regulations.”
     
  • Rewriting the Rule Book for College Accreditors (Inside Higher Ed,, June 12, 2019) “The department launched the regulatory overhaul by consulting recommendations of industry groups like the American Council on Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as well as bipartisan proposals from a U.S. Senate task force on regulation of higher education, which was made up largely of college presidents.”
     
  • New Rules Proposed by Betsy DeVos Could Put Students at Risk of Attending Low-Quality Schools, Advocates Say (MarketWatch, June 12, 2019) “The watchdogs that certify colleges to participate in federal student loan programs could have less bite.”
     
  • Senate Negotiators Slog Through Higher Education Act Updates (U.S. News & World Report, June 6, 2019) “Don't expect to see a draft anytime soon of the Higher Education Act rewrite that Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray have been negotiating for the last three months.”
     
  • Making HEA Work: Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act to Improve Employment For the Disadvantaged (Brookings Institution, May 14, 2019) “As Congress prepares to reauthorize HEA, many issues regarding how the federal government can best improve access of all students to higher education, while improving student outcomes like credential attainment and subsequent earnings, are being debated.”
     
  • House Continues Work on HEA (Politico "Morning Education" [after opening link, scroll down page to see item], May 14, 2019) “A House Education subcommittee today will hear about strategies to improve student outcomes as Congress continues to work on the first rewrite of the federal higher education law in more than a decade. The Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment will focus today on ‘the cost of non-completion’ in a hearing set to begin at 10:15 a.m. in 2175 Rayburn. Watch the livestream.”
     
  • Why Higher Education Act Reauthorization Must Put More Students On the Path to College Completion (The Hill, May 8, 2019) “The 116th Congress is poised to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), the federal law governing higher education programs, providing a once-in-a decade chance to promote a more equitable education system.”
     
  • House Democrats' Vision for Higher Education Act (Inside Higher Ed, March 11, 2019) “The education committee of the Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives this week will begin a series of five hearings on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the law that governs federal financial aid. On [March 8] the committee's Democratic leadership released a paper describing their vision for updating the law, as well arguments for the continued value of a college credential and criticism for low-quality offerings from for-profit institutions.”
     
  • Congress Might Finally Overhaul Higher Education (The Atlantic, March 8, 2019) “The law oversees federal programs—student loans, accreditation, completion initiatives—and updating it could change a lot of things about higher ed.”
     
  • Democratic Take on the Higher Education Act (Inside Higher Ed, March 1, 2019) “Senate education committee's top Democrat, Patty Murray, says new higher ed law must take comprehensive approach and tackle college affordability.”
     
  • House Committee Plans Hearings on Higher Ed (Inside Higher Ed, February 22, 2019) “Lawmakers on the House Education and Labor Committee said Thursday that they are planning a series of bipartisan hearings as part of an effort to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.”
     
  • Senate Republicans’ Higher Ed Agenda Leaves Much To Be Desired (The Federalist, February 13, 2019) “We need structural changes to the Higher Education Act, pushing higher education towards intellectual freedom and academic rigor. We also need meaningful accreditation reform and deeper changes to the federal student aid system.”
     
  • Trying Anew to Jump-Start Overhaul of Higher Ed Law (Inside Higher Ed, February 5, 2019) “Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate education committee, identifies familiar set of priorities in reiterating his desire to overhaul the Higher Education Act before he retires. But serious differences with Democratic lawmakers loom.”
     
  • USDE Secretary Meets With Higher Education Leaders, Discusses Accreditation (Federal Update #71, December 19, 2018) “On December 19, 2018, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Principal Deputy Under Secretary Diane Auer Jones spoke to a group of higher education leaders and institutional presidents, including CHEA President Judith Eaton, in Washington, DC and discussed the Administration’s future plans for higher education.”
     
  • Education in the 116th Congress (JD Supra, December 14, 2018) “Both the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee as well as the House Education and Workforce Committee spent the end of the 115th Congress dealing with issues related to higher education, and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has indicated that reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) will be a top priority moving forward.”
     
  • A Divided Congress Is Unlikely to Compromise on Higher Ed. But What if It Did? (The Chronicle of Higher Education [subscription required], November 7, 2018) “While lawmakers in both parties agree on a number of things they would like to change in the current Higher Education Act — such as how to ensure accountability through accreditation, how to lower student-loan defaults, and how to give colleges incentives to control the price of tuition — they are far apart on proposed solutions.”
     
  • What a Divided Congress Means for Higher Education (Inside Higher Ed, November 7, 2018) “The Democratic victory also puts another nail in the coffin for the PROSPER Act, the controversial GOP proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. House Democrats' HEA proposal likely would look a lot like the Aim Higher Act, which Scott introduced in July.”
     
  • Four Ways Trump, GOP Trying to Change Student Loans (Investopedia, September 18, 2018) “The law that in large part shapes our post-secondary education system, the Higher Education Act of 1965, hasn’t been renewed in more than a decade.A group of GOP congressmen are trying to replace it with the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education (PROSPER) Act, which would have important implications for students and borrowers.”
     
  • House Passes Expansion of Student Loan Counseling, Again (Politico “Morning Education” [after opening link, scroll down to see item], September 9, 2018) “’We do need to do some work on the PROSPER Act,’ Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), who co-sponsored the loan counseling legislation with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), told Morning Education.”
     
  • With the New ‘Aim Higher Act,’ House Democrats Want States to Make Community College Free (WHYY, July 31, 2018) “House Democrats unveiled the Aim Higher Act this week, which they say would give students the opportunity to go to college debt free without compromising the quality of their education. The proposed bill is a direct response to the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, which House Republicans introduced in December.”
     
  • Aim Higher and PROSPER on the Table: What’s the Takeaway for Higher Ed Leaders? (Education Dive, July 26, 2018) “The Aim Higher Act follows on the heels of Republicans’ introduction of their version of the HEA called the PROSPER Act, or Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity Through Education Reform, in December 2017.”
     
  • Scott's College Debt Proposal Gets Attention, Skepticism (WVTF, July 26, 2018) “This week Tidewater-area Congressman Bobby Scott unveiled The Aim Higher Act. Its goal is to boost graduation rates while also not saddling the next generation of American workers with loads of debt.”
     
  • Accountability for All Colleges (Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2018) “The PROSPER Act requires accreditors to focus on student learning and outcomes, an area where veterans’ organizations could be influential and seek bipartisan support.”
     
  • The Democratic Alternative (Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2018) “[The bill] would alter the role of accreditors by requiring the oversight bodies to account for student outcomes like completion and work-force participation in their evaluations of colleges. Where accreditor standards are deemed too low, the department would beauthorized to exercise veto power.”
     
  • ‘Aim Higher Act’ House Bill Draws Praise from Higher Ed Groups (Diverse Issues in Higher Education, July 25, 2018) “The Democrat-crafted bill, a version of the Higher Education Act that is due for reauthorization, has some significant differences from the PROSPER Act, a Republican-sponsored plan passed earlier this year by the House.”
     
  • Debt-Free College? House Democrats Introduce Higher Education Bill (The Washington Post, July 24, 2018) “The [Aim Higher Act] counters a Republican bill that aims to overhaul the law that dictates the federal government’s role in higher education.”
     
  • How Republican and Democratic Wish Lists on Higher Education Stack Up (The Chronicle of Higher Education [subscription required], July 24, 2018)The PROSPER Act would change how colleges’ success is measured by turning accreditors’ attention from scrutinizing colleges under 10 existing standards to reviewing their students’ outcomes. PROSPER would also require accreditors to develop a system, independent of the U.S. Education Department, that identifies accredited programs or institutions facing challenges to accomplishing their educational-outcome and student-learning goals. The Aim Higher Act would shift Title IV compliance reviews from accreditors to the Department of Education.”

  • Free-Market Principles Should Guide Accreditation Reform in the Higher Education Act (The Heritage Foundation, June 19, 2018) “While cost, access, and education quality all dominate higher-education debates, accreditation reform gets little consideration. However, restructuring the country’s ineffective accreditation system remains a key element to unlocking needed reforms at American colleges and universities.”
     
  • A Major Decision for the Higher Education Act (The Hill, June 5, 2018) “Since 1965, the HEA has recognized institutions as worthy recipients of federal funds by putting colleges and universities through a rigorous accreditation review process, state authorization, and federal Department of Education approval.”

  • Base College Accreditation on Outcomes Not Inputs (RealClear Education, March 13, 2018) “With regard to accreditation, Congress should press accreditors to focus on a range of critical outcome measures appropriate to each school’s mission.”
     
  • Congress Seeks to Fix Our Broken Higher Education System(Forbes, July 18, 2018) “The PROSPER Act seeks to reform our outmoded system by which colleges and universities attain accreditation, and on which their receipt of Title IV federal funds depends.”
     
  • Seeking Votes on PROSPER, GOP Appears to Come Up Short (Inside Higher Ed, June 14, 2018) “GOP leaders quiet on next step for PROSPER Act after gauging member support this week, suggesting little chance of floor vote soon on House Republicans' bid to overhaul Higher Education Act.
     
  • Colleges Offer Mixed Reactions on Proposed PROSPER Act (Watertown Daily Times, May 29, 2018) “A proposed bill in Congress is generating a lot of discussion among the higher education community.”
     
  • Higher Education Finds Its Voice on PROSPER Act (Inside Higher Ed, February 7, 2018) “With their attention occupied by tax reform last year, the higher education lobby had a muted response to the GOP's first crack at overhauling the student aid system and how it keeps colleges accountable. That’s begun to change over the last month as major higher ed associations have issued forceful criticisms of the PROSPER Act.”
     
  • Senator Wants Quick Progress on Higher Ed Law (Inside Higher Ed, January 31, 2018) “Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate education committee, said Tuesday that work drafting a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act would begin ‘within the next few weeks.’”
     
  • Dividing Lines Take Shape in Senate (Inside Higher Ed, January 26, 2018) “As key committee strives for consensus on Higher Education Act, Republicans push for innovation and Democrats focus on protecting students from low-quality programs.”
     
  • What to Watch as Congress Reauthorizes the Higher Education Act (Politico “Morning Education,” January 2, 2018) “Many expect the final version of the rewritten Higher Education Act will look more like whatever the Senate unveils, likely early this year. The House proposal approved in committee and headed to the House floor this year includes a slew of partisan measures unlikely to pass both chambers.”
     
  • Too Much, Too Fast? (Inside Higher Ed, December 14, 2017) “The Republican-led Congress's early attempt at rewriting the federal Higher Education Act uses incentives and deregulation to encourage new twists on college, including competency-based education, short-term programs and nonaccredited providers.” (See also House Republicans Press for Higher-Ed Overhaul in 2018, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2017). More information on the accreditation-related provisions of the bill can be found in (CHEA Federal Update #62)
     
  • What’s Next for the House Higher Ed Overhaul (Politico “Morning Education,” December 14, 2017) “Republicans’ major revamp of higher education policy cleared an initial hurdle this week, setting the stage for what’s likely to be a lengthy and contentious rewrite of the Higher Education Act next year.”
     
  • Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: After 60 Years, Looking at What Still Works - Or Not (Lexology, December 5, 2017) “Congress is poised to give the HEA a much-needed update. The House of Representatives has introduced legislation and discussions are picking up in the Senate, but questions remain as to the scope and timing for completing action.”
     
  • House Republicans Eye Sweeping Changes in Higher Education Act (The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 29, 2017) “Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to release a bill this week that would reauthorize the federal law governing higher education, the Higher Education Act of 1965, and it includes several significant changes.”

Back