As members of Congress undertake reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), APLU has developed a series of higher education policy proposals we ask Congress to consider. APLU strongly believes Congress should prioritize college access, affordability, and student success and completion with creative and sound proposals, including a meaningful federal-state government partnership. Public colleges and universities must be front and center for our nation to build a globally-competitive workforce and provide ladders of economic mobility for students from low-income families. For that to be possible, however, it is critical that federal policies ensure support for our public colleges and universities, so that they may remain accessible, affordable, and continue to offer world-class quality education.
To view APLU's full list of priorities for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, click on the report image to the right.
During the 116th Congress, House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott introduced a comprehensive bill to reauthorize the HEA. The College Affordability Act (CAA), H.R. 4674, was introduced on October 15, 2019 and was reported out of committee on a party-line vote on October 30, 2019.
APLU President Peter McPherson sent a letter to Chairman Bobby Scott and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx expressing support for some provisions within the CAA, while highlighting several key areas of concern. APLU staff also produced a detailed section by section analysis of the comprehensive bill.
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander introduced a package of bipartisan bills that would narrowly update the HEA. The Student Aid Improvement Act, S. 2557, was introduced September 26, 2019, primarily in response to House efforts to extend funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) through the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act. The package of bills includes provisions to streamline the FAFSA, simplify financial aid award letters, restore Pell eligibility for incarcerated students and allow Pell to be used for programs as short as 8 weeks, among other updates.
The House and Senate reached a compromise to permanently extend mandatory funding for HBCUs and other MSIs through an amended FUTURE Act, H.R. 2486, by also including provisions to streamline the FAFSA by allowing the IRS to share income data with the U.S. Department of Education. APLU proudly supported the legislation.
During the 115th Congress, House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx introduced a comprehensive bill to reauthorize the HEA. The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Higher Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, H.R. 4508, was introduced on December 1, 2017 and was reported out of committee on a party-line vote on February 8, 2018.
APLU President Peter McPherson sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, and Ranking Member Bobby Scott raising serious concerns with the PROSPER Act. In the letter, McPherson noted APLU’s strong opposition to the bill as it was introduced. The association also sent the lawmakers a document detailing its top concerns with the PROSPER Act along with a shorter summary.