May 21, 2018
A decade after the last comprehensive overhaul of federal higher education law, Congress is again working on a rewrite of the nation’s higher education policy – with legislation that could come to the House floor this year. As our economy continues to produce outsized job growth for positions requiring a college education, it’s more important than ever that federal policy works to expand college access, foster college affordability, and strengthen workforce competitiveness.
May 17, 2018
Students across the country are walking across the stage this month to accept college diplomas, marking one of the most consequential achievements of their lives. Yet far too many of their peers come agonizingly close to joining them on the podium, only to fall just short of the credits needed to graduate. For some of these students, financial strain has simply knocked them off course. We tend to view financial aid as something that seals the deal for students: with the door of opportunity open, the only thing standing between them and a degree is their drive to complete it. But while financial aid sets students on the path to graduation, even the most determined students can fail to reach the finish line when financial shortfalls arise late in their college career.
April 26, 2018
In President Donald Trump’s determination to dismantle all things Obama, his administration should spare the former president’s higher-education student loan reforms. They provide opportunities for more students to attend college and to repay loans at a rate that won’t put graduates on the road to ruin.
April 18, 2018
If there’s anyone in Congress who would understand the challenges many students face in paying for a higher education – and the value it adds to our economy and society – it should be North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx. She holds a doctorate in teaching, she taught and was an administrator at a community college and university – including serving as president of Mayland Community College. Many of her innovative initiatives were focused helping students gain access to greater opportunities including on-campus child care and improved counseling and advising.
March 22, 2018
A massive spending bill agreed to by congressional negotiators Wednesday raises the maximum Pell Grant by $175, includes an additional $3 billion for the National Institutes of Health as well as increased funds for the National Science Foundation, and provides $152.8 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which President Trump had sought to eliminate. It also includes about $350 million in funding to address eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, a top priority for Senator Elizabeth Warren throughout negotiations to fund the government through the rest of the 2018 fiscal year. That amount is a fraction of what the Massachusetts Democrat had hoped to see in a final spending package. But it’s part of a slate of new funding for college affordability and education programs in the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill, which lawmakers from the House and Senate must pass quickly to avoid another government shutdown Friday night.
February 21, 2018
A group of 100 public universities will work with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to produce hundreds of thousands of additional degrees while also reducing achievement gaps for underrepresented student groups. The college completion project, which APLU announced today, is the latest sign of greater urgency among public universities about graduation rates and student success, aided in part by performance-based funding formulas that are on the books in 35 states.
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, as Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have labeled their update to the Higher Education Act, while also alerting member institutions about perceived serious problems with the bill.
February 5, 2018
For many low-income students, a small amount of money—$300 or $600 or $900—can make the difference between dropping out and receiving the diploma. Rather, financial challenges for many students do not stop when they receive scholarships, loans or income from jobs. Financial distress can follow students throughout their college journey. A winter heating bill, a dead battery, the cost of a textbook or a family member in need of medicine can derail students—many of whom are in good academic standing. Given this, how do we rethink financial aid to improve completion, not just access?
January 26, 2018
The U.S. Senate education committee got into the weeds of higher education policy again Thursday, examining how the federal government could open up innovation by colleges and universities. But the biggest buzzword that emerged from a two-hour hearing -- “guardrails” -- signaled the focus of Democrats and expert witnesses on the quality protections that should come with opening up federal aid to nontraditional providers, as congressional Republicans have proposed doing. The tension over that specific issue reflects a larger divide between the parties that applies to many questions involved in an update of the Higher Education Act.
January 22, 2018
Congress failed to reach a last-minute agreement Friday night to avoid a government shutdown. That won't mean immediate consequences for federal student aid recipients or institutional funding. But institutions and students depending on Education Department programs could see an impact if the shutdown drags on. For academics and institutions that receive grants from research agencies, funds already awarded are not affected, but peer review and other activities to select new grants may halt, and new funds will not be going out. The impact on academic science may be minimal if the shutdown lasts just a few days, but it would get significant in a longer shutdown.