Public Policy
HEA Reauthorization

Current Law

The Higher Education Act, which expired in 2013 and should be renewed every 5 years, covers federal student aid and various programs aimed at supporting student access and affordability. As Congress continues its work towards reauthorizing the HEA, CASE will monitor potential HEA proposals affecting educational advancement and will work to shape and actively support the higher education association community's response to HEA reauthorization legislation.


Status

House Reauthorization Bills

  • Overview of PROSPER Act

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairperson Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act (H.R. 4508) in December 2017. The bill passed the committee on a 23-17 party line vote. Summaries of the bill from the American Council on Education (ACE), the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) are available below. Chairperson Foxx is working to bring PROSPER to the House floor this summer. CASE, other higher education associations, veterans groups, and others are voicing their opposition to the bill as written. 

Urge your representatives to oppose the PROSPER Act as written. For key talking points and summaries of concerning provisions in the bill, visit the Resources section below.

  • Overview of Aim Higher Act

House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) released the Democrat's proposal to reauthorize the HEA in July 2018. While the Aim Higher Act (H.R. 6543) is unlikely to move in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, it does provide insight into the party's priorities for higher ed. Information on the bill is provided in the Democrat's summary and fact sheet.

Senate Reauthorization Bill

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has confirmed that the committee will not consider nor vote on a HEA reauthorization bill in 2018. Neither party has released a formal proposal and the chamber has not taken the necessary steps to introduce a bipartisan bill. In January 2018, the HELP Committee held a hearing on Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Accountability and Risk to Taxpayers. Following the hearing, Republicans released a paper on higher education accountability and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and the Democratic Caucus released their principles and priorities for HEA Reauthorization. CASE will continue to monitor the Senate's progress on HEA Reauthorization.


CASE Position

CASE opposes the PROSPER Act as written.

Here's what we are watching closely:

  • Loan Repayment
    • Public Service Loan Forgiveness: The PROSPER Act would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. CASE is concerned that this repeal would discourage students from pursing careers that serve a public good and would make it more difficult for them to repay their student loans.
  • Title III: The PROSPER Act would eliminate the Title IIIA Strengthening Institutions program. CASE is concerned that this provision would prevent colleges and universities from achieving their missions by limiting resources that directly impact student support, academic programs, and other areas, especially at community colleges. Additional changes would require institutions to have a minimum graduation/transfer rate requirement of 25% in order to be eligible for Title III grants.
  • Campus Safety:
        • The PROSPER Act would create require new resources and processes for addressing sexual assault on campus. They include a mandatory survivor's counselor, restrictions on adjudication by campus administrators, the development of a one-page document by every institution with guidance for victims of sexual assault and implementation of a campus climate survey every three years. It also includes language that encourages colleges and universities to establish a memorandum of understanding with local law enforcement agencies to address sexual assault.
        • The bill would also require institutions to publish an annual report on fire safety and establish a missing student policy for students living in on-campus housing.
  • Data & Transparency:
      • The PROSPER Act would:
            • prevent the Secretary of Education from creating, administering, or enforcing a rating system of post-secondary institutions. Institutions would also be required to annually report on any policies related to protecting free speech on campus to current and prospective speech on campus. CASE has some concerns about the administrative burden that this reporting could place on colleges and universities,
            • repeal the disclosure of foreign gifts,
            • require institutions to post net price calculators that include the cost of attendance, estimated total of need-based aid, and the percentage of full-time undergraduate students who receive grant aid, and
            • allow institutions to send records to where a student was previously enrolled in order to apply for credits and coursework towards completion of a degree.

Other issues we are watching:

  • Federal Pell Grant Program
  • 90/10 Rule
  • Title IV
  • Title V
  • Federal Work-Study Program
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) program
  • TRIO Programs

For additional information on the provisions of the PROSPER Act, review the Resources section below.


Resources

ACE Talking Points on the PROSPER Act

ACE's HEA Resource Page

AACC and ACCT Webinar: HEA Reauthorization and the PROSPER Act, May 2018

Higher Education Associations letter to House Leadership, February 2018

ACE Summary of the PROSPER Act, December 2017

Higher Education Associations letter to House Education and the Workforce Committee on PROSPER Act, December 2017

H.R. 4508 Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act

Congressional Research Service Report "The Higher Education Act: A Primer", August 2017

Updated October 12, 2018