Members of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce advanced three bills related to reauthorization of the Higher Education Act Thursday, while many acknowledged that comprehensive work remains.
During a markup session, members approved three bills by voice vote:
The bills are substitutes to legislation introduced in the House several weeks ago—and this time, each has bipartisan support. The most significant change made to the substitutes was to the “Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act,” which added language regarding a universal net-price calculator, similar to a bill introduced in December by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
But even with consensus across the aisle, the some members view the piecemeal approach to reauthorization as a stopgap that falls short of comprehensive reform
“These measures are great, but … it’s not enough in terms of us actually addressing what is probably the most important issue that middle-class families are faced with: how to allow your children to succeed and have a future without being crushed by debt burdens,” Rep. Courtney said.
During the markup several Democrats on the committee introduced amendments that addressed student loan refinancing, the treatment of veterans benefits under the 90/10 rule, and student loan repayment rate reporting. None of the amendments received enough votes to move forward.
A fourth bill related to HEA reauthorization, “Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act” was not considered during the markup. Introduced at the same time as the other three bills, it would require the Department of Education (ED) to use prior-prior year income information in the federal need analysis. The delay in consideration is likely due to members continuing to gather information on the ultimate cost of such a switch.
For comprehensive coverage of all news related to the current HEA reauthorization, please refer to NASFAA’s Reauthorization Resource Center.
Publication Date: 7/11/2014