"The Higher Education Act hasn't had a major update in nearly a decade – and it shows. The nation's signature higher education law was last renewed before the peak of the last housing and financial crisis, before the e-commerce revolution bankrupted retail juggernauts Blockbuster Video, Radio Shack and Circuit City, and even before Facebook introduced the 'like' button," Julie Peller and Emily Bouck write in an opinion article for the U.S. News & World Report.
"First written in 1965, when most students attended four-year colleges or trade schools after high school, the law no longer reflects the needs of today's students. Thirty-eight percent are older than 25, 58 percent work while attending college and 26 percent are parents. Today's students are more likely to attend multiple institutions, change careers and acquire skills and knowledge outside the confines of traditional higher education.
To succeed in today's economy, students need a system where their education matches the skills employers require; programs are flexible and support student success; and all types of learning are recognized. Federal policy is not the only solution, but it should no longer be a barrier.
It's high time for a bipartisan, comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Members of Congress working toward this goal must answer two critical questions: Who are today's students, and how can federal policy better serve them?"
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Publication Date: 11/29/2017