July 27, 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. The HEA would, among other provisions, increase the annual Pell grant maximum; allow two tuition-free years at a community college; preserve the TEACH grant program that provides student aid to those who agree to teach certain subjects in high-needs schools; create competitive grant programs for future teachers and school leaders and preserve the provision in the HEA that allows teachers in some cases to cancel out their college debt. The Aim Higher Act “would make important progress in supporting college access, affordability and completion,” APLU president Peter McPherson said in a statement. “The bill includes a number of provisions that APLU supports and has advocated for over the years,” he said, citing annual inflation adjustments for Pell grants, fixing “flaws of the 90/10 rule” governing federal aid ratios and expanding the collection and reporting of higher-ed outcomes data to count all students.
July 27, 2018
Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a bill summary of the Aim Higher Act, their stance on how to comprehensively reauthorize the Higher Education Act, a critical piece of legislation guiding federal higher education policy, which due to lack of bipartisan agreement has not been renewed since 2008.
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?