Legislative Tracker: Quality & Accountability

Legislative Tracker LogoOn this page, you'll find proposals that seek to improve institutional quality and/or look to hold institutions or individuals responsible for their actions or performance. In addition, this page includes legislation regarding accreditation and matters related to the Department of Education, including structure and regulatory activity.

For quality and accountability proposals from the previous session of Congress, visit the Legislative Tracker Archive: Quality & Accountability.  

*NEW* Student Protection and Success Act
S. 2231 Sponsor:
Sen. Shaheen (D-NH)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (1 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
12/14/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: Citing problems with the current default rate metric, this bill would replace default rates with a new measure of institutional accountability based on Direct Loan repayment rates. The bill would require a school’s repayment rate to be high enough to justify continued participation in the federal student loan program. Schools with repayment rates that do not exceed a certain cut-off rate would lose eligibility to participate in the Direct Loan Program, Perkins Loan Program, and Pell Grant Program for at least two fiscal years.
       
*NEW* Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act
HR 4658 Sponsor:
Rep. Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) 
Co-Sponsors:
1 (0 R; 1 D)
Introduced:
12/14/2017 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would require programs offered by an institution designed to lead to a recognized occupation or profession that requires licensing or other requirements to meet any federal or state accreditation and licensing requirements. The bill also adds additional certification requirements for gainful employment (GE) programs, including ensuring the GE program is approved by a recognized accrediting agency (either institutionally or programmatically depending on if programmatic accreditation is required by a Federal or state entity) and prohibiting a GE program that is substantially similar to a program that in any of the three years prior became ineligible (or was failing or in the zone) due to the debt to earning rates at the same institution. 
 
*NEW* ASPIRE Act
S. 2201 Sponsor:
Sen. Coons (D-DE)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (1 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
12/6/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would fine the bottom five percent of institutions based on percentages of enrolled first time, full time Pell Grant recipients and use the funds to reward institutions with competitive funds to increase access and success efforts. Additionally, the bottom five percent of institutions based on six-year graduation rates would risk paying a penalty before eventually losing Title IV eligibility or schools can opt-in to the bill's completion standards. 
 
*NEW* PROSPER Act
HR 4508 Sponsor:
Rep. Foxx (R-NC) 
Co-Sponsors:
21 (21 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
12/1/2017 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act is a comprehensive Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill with notable changes to the federal student aid programs. 
Status: 12/13/2017: Passed House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce
 
Military and Veterans Education Protection Act
S. 2109 Sponsor:
Sen. Carper (D-DE)
Co-Sponsors:
33 (0 R; 31 D; 2 I)
Introduced:
11/9/2017
HR 4632 Sponsor:
Rep. Speier (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
2 (1 R; 1 D)
Introduced:
12/12/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This measure would count military tuition assistance and veterans' education benefits as federal aid for the purpose of calculations under the 90/10 Rule for proprietary institutions.
       
College Completion and Success Act
HR 4336 Sponsor:
Rep. Lewis (R-MN)
Co-Sponsors:
4 (4 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
11/9/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This piece of legislation would significantly change the return of Title IV funds (R2T4) process when a student withdraws from school during a payment period. The bill would simplify certain aspects of the calculation, narrow the definition of "schools that are required to take attendance," and restore some discretion to schools in paying post-withdrawal disbursements. It would change the order of distribution of returned funds, increase the amount that must be returned in most cases, and shift responsibility for repaying unearned funds to the institution. The bill would also require a more defined distinction between changing enrollment status as opposed to withdrawing in the case of modules.
       
Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act
HR 4274 Sponsor:
Rep. DeSantis (R-FL)
Co-Sponsors:
32 (32 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
11/7/2017
S. 2228 Sponsor:
Sen. Lee (R-UT)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
12/13/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would allow states to accredit any institution that provides postsecondary education (including courses and programs) that can be applied to a degree, credential, or professional certification; this state-level accreditation would make an institution eligible to participate in the federal student aid programs. The bill would also require institutions to publish a variety of enrollment, graduation, and repayment figures with compliance monitored by an independent third party contracted by the state in which the institution is located, not by the Department of Education. The bill would eliminate all loan forgiveness programs for new loans made on or after 6 months following the date of enactment. Finally, the bill would fine institutions based on default rate. An institution's fine would be 10 percent of the difference between the amount of defaulted loans made, insured, or guaranteed in the fiscal year and the product of the amount of defaulted loans and the national unemployment rate. Institutions would receive a $400 credit against the fine for each Pell Grant recipient who graduates. 
       
POST Act
HR 4181 Sponsor:
Rep. Cohen (D-TN)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
10/31/2017
S. 2037 Sponsor:
Sen. Durbin (D-IL)
Co-Sponsors:
6 (0 R; 6 D)
Introduced:
10/31/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This comprehensive bill changes the 90/10 Rule back to 85/15 for proprietary institutions and expands the definition of federal funds to include any federal financial assistance provided under this Act or any other Federal law through a grant, contract, subsidy, loan, guarantee, insurance, or other means to a proprietary institution, including federal financial assistance that is disbursed or delivered to an institution or on behalf of a student or to a student to be used to attend the institution. 
       
Protect Student Borrowers Act
S. 2028 Sponsor:
Sen. Reed (D-RI)
Co-Sponsors:
3 (0 R; 3 D)
Introduced:
10/26/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill establishes an institutional risk-sharing system where institutions would be required to assume some of the financial risk of student loan default based on the percentage of their graduates and former students who default on their loans. Institutions would be required to submit a risk-sharing payment to the federal government if the school's cohort default rate (CDR) is higher than 15 percent. The payment can be reduced by implementing a "student loan management plan" or by the discretion of the Secretary of Education. The bill would apply only to institutions with a Direct Loan program participation rate higher than 33%. 
       
CAMPUS HATE Crimes Act
HR 4093 Sponsor:
Rep. Brown (D-MD)
Co-Sponsors:
39 (0 R; 39 D)
Introduced:
10/23/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the Creating Accountability Measures Protecting University Students Historically Abused, Threatened, and Exposed to (CAMPUS HATE) Crimes Act, would require institutions participating in the federal student aid programs to certify to the Secretary of Education that the institution has adopted and has implemented a program to prevent and adequately respond to hate crimes within the jurisdiction of the institution or by students and employees. Institutions would be required to distribute hate crime information to students annually and to develop hate crime prevention and response programs. In addition, the bill would create a competitive grant program to support hate crime prevention initiatives at institutions. 
       
AIM Act
HR 4029 Sponsor:
Rep. Speier (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
3 (2 R; 1 D)
Introduced:
10/12/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the Accurate Income Measure (AIM) Act, would require the Secretary to revise the gainful employment regulations to provide for the development and implementation of a percentage increase in the mean or median aggregate earnings of graduates of specific, covered programs to reasonably account for underreporting of earned income by the programs graduates. In addition, the bill would modify the Alternate Earnings appeal process to include a new appeal based upon the most current Bureau of Labor Statistics earnings data for the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code, or combination of SOC codes, in which more than 50% of the students in the measured cohort were placed or found employment. The bill's "covered programs" would include all barbering, cosmetology, nail, esthetics, holistic health, and massage therapy programs.
       
Innovation in Accreditation Act
HR 3869 Sponsor:
Rep. Byrne (R-AL)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (1 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
9/28/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would allow the Secretary of Education to waive accreditation requirements if accreditors can demonstrate the waiver is necessary to “enable an institution of higher education or program accredited by the agency or association to implement innovative practices.”
       
S.O.S. Campus Act
HR 3734 Sponsor:
Rep. Davis (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
17 (0 R; 17 D)
Introduced:
9/11/2017
S. 1801 Sponsor:
Sen. Kaine (D-VA)
Co-Sponsors:
4 (0 R; 4 D)
Introduced:
9/12/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This piece of legislation, the Survivor Outreach and Support (S.O.S.) Campus Act, would require institutions to create "an independent advocate for campus sexual assault prevention and response."  
       
Educator Preparation Reform Act
HR 3636 Sponsor:
Rep. Kihuen (D-NV)
Co-Sponsors:
3 (0 R; 3 D)
Introduced:
8/1/2017
S. 1694 Sponsor:
Sen. Reed (D-RI)
Co-Sponsors:
2 (0 R; 2 D)
Introduced:
8/1/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This comprehensive bill addresses quality and accountability for teacher preparation programs. Specifically, the legislation requires programs to report on several performance metrics. The bill would also modify some components of TEACH Grants by restricting eligibility to only college juniors, seniors, and masters-level students. The bill allows partial payback based on the length of service completed for TEACH Grant recipients who do not finish the four-year service requirement. Institutions defined as "at-risk" or "low performing" would be ineligible for TEACH Grants.
       
Flexibility to Innovate for College Affordability Act
HR 3052 Sponsor:
Rep. Welch (D-VT)
Co-Sponsors:
2 (2 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
6/23/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would establish the "Higher Education Regulatory Reform Task Force," which would be composed of the Secretary of Education (or designee) and higher education community stakeholders. The task force would submit to Congress recommendations to reduce burdensome, duplicative, or ineffective regulations in higher education. Following the task force's work, the President is tasked with producing and submitting to Congress a bill to address the task force's recommendations; the bill would receive expedited consideration. In addition, the bill would allow, through the Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI), the Secretary to waive grant and loan maximums for an experiment at institutions that would prorate additional aid to students enrolled over the minimum full-time course-load. Further, the Secretary would also have full waiver authority through ESI to conduct other experiments, including prior learning assessments, dual enrollment, and non-accredited competency-based education.
       
Remedial Education Improvement Act
HR 2961 Sponsor:
Rep. Norcross (D-NJ)
Co-Sponsors:
8 (0 R; 8 D)
Introduced:
6/20/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would authorize the Secretary of Education to provide competitive grants, not less than $500,000, to institutions for the purpose of improving remedial education, specifically through five models: aligning coursework, accelerated coursework, modular instruction, co-requisite enrollment, and systemic reform. 
       
Community College Student Success Act
HR 2960 Sponsor:
Rep. Meng (D-NY)
Co-Sponsors:
12 (0 R; 12 D)
Introduced:
6/20/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This piece of legislation would authorize a new competitive grant program for community colleges, specifically for these institutions to increase graduation and transfer rates. 
       
85/15 Rule Act 
HR 2743 Sponsor:
Rep. Waters (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
5/25/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would restore the 85/15 ratio for proprietary institutions from the current 90/10 rule ratio.
       
Students Before Profits Act 
HR 2300 Sponsor:
Rep. Waters (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
6 (0 R; 6 D)
Introduced:
5/2/2017
S. 1784 Sponsor:
Sen. Murphy (D-CT)
Co-Sponsors:
7 (0 R; 7 D)
Introduced:
9/11/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: With a focus on the proprietary sector, this piece of legislation would impose civil penalties on executives of institutions found to be misrepresenting student data, require the Secretary of Education to monitor cohort default rate (CDR) manipulation and make retroactive adjustments to CDRs if manipulation is discovered, make executives personally liable for financial losses due to borrower defense to repayment, and bar board members and executives from institutions the Department of Education has pursued enforcement action against from working at another institution of higher education.
       
Kids Before Cons Act 
HR 2007 Sponsor:
Rep. Collins (R-NY)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (1 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
4/6/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would prohibit the Department of Education from using experimental sites authority to waive the prohibition of incarcerated individuals from receiving federal student aid. The Department would also be prohibited from using experimental sites authority to award funds to institutions directly for the purposes of providing postsecondary education to incarcerated individuals. 
       
Campus Accountability and Safety Act 
HR 1949 Sponsor:
Rep. Maloney (D-NY)
Co-Sponsors:
25 (4 R; 21 D)
Introduced:
4/5/2017
S. 856 Sponsor:
Sen. McCaskill (D-MO)
Co-Sponsors:
22 (5 R; 17 D)
Introduced:
4/5/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, aimed at addressing campus sexual assault, would establish several new requirements for colleges and universities relating to campus safety, including significantly increasing fines for Clery Act violations. 
       
Foreign Medical School Accountability Fairness Act
HR 1922 Sponsor:
Rep. Burgess (R-TX)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (0 R; 1 D)
Introduced:
4/5/2017
S. 850 Sponsor:
Sen. Durbin (D-IL)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (1 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
4/5/2017

NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would eliminate an exemption of certain medical schools outside of the United States and Canada from federal student aid requirements. The bill requires all medical schools outside of the U.S. and Canada to enroll at least 60 percent non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and their graduates must have at least a 75 percent pass rate on the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam. Any U.S. student enrolled before the enactment of the legislation would retain access to Direct Loans.

       
Higher Education Innovation Act
S. 615 Sponsor:
Sen. Bennet (D-CO)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (1 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
3/13/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would establish a pilot program for alternative accreditation for institutions for the purposes of institutional eligibility for the federal student aid programs. Certain currently ineligible programs and providers would be authorized to receive Title IV funds, provided the programs and providers meet a number of performance metrics and other requirements. 
       
States' Education Reclamation Act 
HR 1510 Sponsor:
Rep. Rouzer (R-NC)
Co-Sponsors:
3 (3 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
3/10/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would eliminate the Department of Education and distribute major programs to other agencies. The Federal Pell Grant Program and all student loan programs would be transferred to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Based on the language, FWS and FSEOG could be eliminated entirely. 
       
CLASS Act 
S. 553 Sponsor:
Sen. Durbin (D-IL)
Co-Sponsors:
8 (0 R; 8 D)
Introduced:
3/7/2017
Sponsor:
Rep. Waters (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
9 (0 R; 9 D)
Introduced:
5/2/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the Court Legal Access and Student Support (CLASS) Act, prevents institutions from limiting the ability of students to pursue claims against the institution, such as through mandatory arbitration clauses in enrollment agreements. Further, the bill ensures existing law regarding enforcement of arbitration agreements does not apply to enrollment agreements. 
       
To terminate the Department of Education.
HR 899 Sponsor:
Rep. Massie (R-KY)
Co-Sponsors:
12 (12 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
2/7/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This brief bill would eliminate the Department of Education, effective December 31, 2018. The bill does not describe what would happen to the federal student aid programs.
 
Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to teacher preparation issues.
H.J.Res. 58 Sponsor:
Rep. Guthrie (R-KY)
Co-Sponsors:
13 (13 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
2/1/2017
 S.J. Res. 26 Sponsor:
Sen. Sasse (R-NE)
Co-Sponsors:
10 (10 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
3/2/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This measure repeals the October 2016 teacher preparation program accountability regulation via the Congressional Review Act.
Status: 3/27/2017: Signed into Law by President Trump

 

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Publication Date: 1/26/2018


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