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 sessions of Congress, visit the Legislative Tracker Archive: Quality & Accountability.

*NEW* H.R.8552 - Student Records Protection Act

Sponsor: Rep. Cartwright [D-PA]
Cosponsors: 2 (2D; 0R)
Introduced: 10/09/2020
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would require institutions to create record-management plans in the event of the school planning to cease operations in order to be accredited or continue to be accredited. The school would need to include a plan for custody, continued access, and disposition of student records, including student transcripts, billing, and financial aid records. 


H.R.7170 - America FIRST Act

Sponsor: Rep. Hern [R-OK] 
Cosponsors: 22 (0D; 22R)
Introduced: 06/11/2020
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill requires that any institution disclose a gift from or enters into a contract with a foreign source, the value of which is $50,000 or more.

H.R.6814 / S.3701 - Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act

Sponsor: Rep. Eshoo [D-CA] 
Cosponsors: 11 (11D; 0R)
Sponsor: Sen. Klobuchar [D-MN]
Cosponsors: 10 (9D; 1R)
Introduced: 05/12/2020
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bicameral bill would require the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to promulgate regulations to provide support to institutions of higher education for the provision of certain equipment and services to students of those institutions. This bill prioritizes support for HBCUs, HSIs, MSIs, TCUs, and RSI students who are eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant, need based financial aid, low-income, and first generation. Eligible equipment consists of a laptop, tablet computer, modem, router, device that combines a modem and a router, and a wifi hotspot. Eligible service means broadband internet access service and video conferencing systems used for distance learning.

H.R.6651 / S.3589 - Use Your Endowment Act

Sponsor: Rep. Cline [R-VA]
Cosponsors: 2 (0D; 2R)
Introduced: 05/01/2020
Sponsor: Sen. Hawley [R-MO]
Cosponsors: 5 (0D; 5R)
Introduced: 05/04/2020
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill deems certain institutions of higher education (IHEs) ineligible to receive certain emergency relief funds to address the coronavirus (i.e., the virus that causes COVID-19). Specifically, an IHE with an endowment greater than $10 billion in 2019 is generally ineligible to receive such funds and must return any funds it received to the Department of Education (ED). However, such an IHE may receive and keep these funds if it provides documentation to ED that it expended 1,000% of the amount of the funds on emergency relief. 


H.R.5784 - Supporting Minority STEM Student to Career Act

Sponsor: Rep. Fudge [D-OH]
Cosponsors: 1 (0D; 1R)
Introduced: 2/06/2020
NASFAA Summary: This bill would update the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program to allow institutions to give scholarships to underrepresented population students pursuing degrees in a STEM program. The bill would also allow institutions to use the grant funds to support students through direct financial assistance or by improving the institutions ability to provide services such as academic advising, summer bridge program, or work-based learning opportunities.


S.3149H.R.5620 - TRUE EQUITY Act

Sponsor: Sen. Cardin [D-MD]
Cosponsors: 1 (1D; 0R)
Introduced: 1/06/2020
Sponsor: Rep. Trone [D-MD]
Cosponsors: 2 (2D; 0R)
Introduced: 1/15/2020
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: The bicameral bill, the True Equity Act, aims to strengthen federal, state and local educational partnerships. To address college and career readiness, the bill would fund and create a new grant up to $50 million which would improve upon preexisting state and local efforts to ensure that students have access to college and career pathways by tenth grade. The bill also addresses early childhood education and support for additional teacher training.

S.3114 - 90/10 Accountability for All Act

Sponsor: Sen. Enzi [R-WY]
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 12/19/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would require that all institutions of higher education, not only proprietary institutions, have to meet the current 90/10 revenue regulations. 

H.R.5294 - Student Borrower Protections Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Adams [D-NC]
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 12/04/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would amend the Truth in Lending Act to establish a student borrower bill of rights. The new borrower bill of rights would include minimum standards for all loan transactions, improving disclosures, requiring accurate and timely repayment resources and options. The bill would also create standards for loan servicers reporting student loan information to the consumer reporting agencies.

H.R.5241 / S.2925 - Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act

Sponsor: Rep. Krishnamoorthi [D-IL]
Cosponsors: 0
Sponsor: Sen. Merkley [D-OR]
Cosponsors: 1 (1D; 0R)
Introduced: 11/21/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: 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.

H.R.4977 - Higher Education Funds Integrity Act

Sponsor: Rep. Phillips [D-MN]
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 11/01/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would prohibit Title IV federal funds to be used to pay any person to influence, or attempt to influence an employee of any federal agency or a member of Congress or any Congress-affiliated employees. Hiring a registered lobbyist with the use of federal aid funds would also be prohibited. 

H.R.4950 - CTE Outcome Data Enactment Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Budd [R-NC]
Cosponsors: 1 (0D; 1R)
Introduced: 10/31/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would require the Department of Education to conduct a study on Federal data collection related to student participation and performance in career and technical programs. The study would look at the effectiveness of the Federal collection of data to identify any gaps or areas of duplication of effort, or methods to improve reporting efforts. 


H.R.4724 / S.2640 - Students Not Profits Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Jayapal [D-WA] 
Cosponsors: 7 (7D; 0R)
Sponsor: Sen. Brown [D-OH] 
Cosponsors: 1 (1D; 0R)
Introduced: 10/17/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would remove for-profit institutions from the definition of an institution of higher education and references to for-profit institutions from the HEA, making them ineligible to receive Federal student aid. 


H.R.4662 - Accountability in Student Loan Data Act

Sponsor: Rep. Porter [D-CA]
Cosponsors: 1 (1D; 0R)
Introduced: 10/11/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would change the way the Department of Education calculates institutional cohort default rates. It would also install penalties for institutions with a high percentage of graduates who are unable to pay their loans. 


H.R.4615 - Stop College Closures Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Shalala [D-FL]
Cosponsors: 10 (8D; 2R)
Introduced: 10/04/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would require higher education institution accreditation agencies to do more to prevent institutions from closing abruptly. It would require an institution to submit and receive approval for a teach-out plan if ED becomes aware of any negative factors pointing to the institution’s financial wellness.


H.R.4579 - Quality Higher Education Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Wilson [D-FL]
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 9/27/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: The Quality Higher Education Act would require ED to initiate a negotiated rulemaking process to create consequences, as well as a process for accrediting agencies if an institution in their jurisdiction fails to meet accreditation standards. ED would also be required to create a list of standards that accrediting agencies will use, including standard metrics for completion and workforce participation and how to measure those metrics. 

S.2559 - Student Training and Education Metrics Act of 2019

Sponsor: Sen. Scott [R-FL]
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 9/26/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would create institutional risk-sharing for institutions that participate in the Federal Direct loan program. The risk-sharing would be based on loan default by calculating the total cohort loan balance for a fiscal year and from that deducing which percentage of that population have gone into default in the 3 consecutive years since their loans entered repayment. The amount the institution would be responsible for paying for the first year after enactment would be 1% of the cohort non-repayment balance, the second through the ninth year, the institutions would be responsible for 2% and in years 10 and later, 10%. 

H.R.4497 - Protecting Student Aid (PSA) Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Shalala [D-FL]
Cosponsors: 5 (5D; 0R)
Introduced: 9/25/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would codify the Student Aid Enforcement Unit that lives within the Department of Education and would mandate that the Unite better respond to fraud and abuse within the federal student aid programs. 

H.R.4475 - Higher Education Student Protection Act

Sponsor: Rep. Malinowski [D-NJ]
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 9/24/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: The Higher Education Student Protection Act would hold all institutions of higher education accountable for spending disproportionately on advertising, marketing, recruitment, and lobbying relative to actual instruction. Institutions would be required to report to IPEDS how much they are spending on those items. The system would then flag any institutions who are spending less than 1/3 of their revenue from tuition and fees on instruction. Institutions could be subject to losing access to Title IV funds. 

H.R.4424 - Elevation of the Education Profession Act

Sponsor: Rep. Sablan [D-MP]
Cosponsors: (0) 
Introduced: 9/19/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would create an advisory committee at the US Department of Education made up of teacher unions, state and local officials, school administrator organizations, institutions of higher education, and others, to produce a comprehensive set of expectations that sets a high bar for entry into the profession and ensures that all entering teachers and school leaders are profession-ready.

H.R.4380 - Transparency for Transfer Students Act

Sponsor: Rep. Castro [D-TX]
Cosponsors: 1 (0D; 1R)
Introduced: 9/18/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: The Transparency for Transfer Students Act would require institutions of higher education to disclose in an easy to find location on their website an explanation of all articulation agreements they may have with another institution, and a list of transfer-related resources, such as deadlines and financial aid information. 

H.R.4343 - FACT Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Trahan [D-MA]
Cosponsors: 4 (2D; 2R)
Introduced: 9/17/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: The FACT Act of 2019 is a bipartisan bill created to bring some standardization to financial aid offer forms by mandating the use of standard terms and definitions, as well as requiring institutions to include a "quick reference box" allowing students to quickly compare aid offers. The bill would direct the Department of Education (ED) to conduct consumer testing that establishes standardized definitions and groupings of aid type and determines any additional elements that should be included in financial aid offers. The FACT Act includes the addition of a mandatory "quick reference box" that must be included on the first page of financial aid offers, and would be developed through consumer testing by the ED. The box would feature three data elements that would allow students to quickly compare aid offers, including cost of attendance, total grants and scholarships offered, and net price. 

H.R.4216 - Strengthening Financial Aid for Students Act (Strengthening FAFSA)

Sponsor: Rep. Delgado [D-NY]
Cosponsors: 3 (1D; 2R)
Introduced: 8/30/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would increase financial support for students who are working while attending school. The Strengthening FAFSA Act calls for an increase in Pell Grant lifetime eligibility usage, from 6 years or 12 semesters, to 7 years or 14 semesters. It would also increase the Income Protection Allowance (IPA) by 35 percent. 


H.R.4206 - Student and Taxpayer Protection Act

Sponsor: Rep. Takano [D-CA]
Cosponsors: 1 (1D; 0R)
Introduced: 8/23/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would reinstate Obama-era gainful employment (GE) regulations that the Department of Education (ED) eliminated last month. The bill proposes that ED revive the practice of tying Title IV eligibility for non-degree-granting programs to their students’ ability to repay their loan debt, or their debt-to-earnings ratios.


H.R.4098 - Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Rooney [R-FL]
Cosponsors: 2 (0D; 2R)
Sponsor: Sen. Lee [R-UT]
Cosponsors: 1 (1R; 0D)
Introduced: 7/30/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, introduced as companion bills in the House and Senate, would change accreditation rules that would allow any accrediting agency that has an "alternative accreditation agreement" with the Department of Ed to grant accreditation to any postsecondary education program that could be applied to a degree, credential or professional certificate. The bill would also change state accreditation rules to allow flexibility in determining clock-hour and minimum program length requirements for federal student aid eligibility. All undergraduate students regardless of grade level would be able to borrow up to $7,500 each year in federal student loans, for an aggregate amount of $30,000. The Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act would eliminate loan forgiveness.


H.R.4089 - Second Chance for Students Act

Sponsor: Rep. Foster [D-IL]
Cosponsors: 4 (4D; 0R)
Introduced: 7/26/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would allow students convicted of marijuana possession to retain eligibility for six months on the condition they complete an approved drug rehabilitation program and two unannounced drug tests, instead of immediately losing eligibility until the completion of rehabilitation as it stands now.


H.R.3921 - Protecting Academic Integrity Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Perry [R-PA]
Cosponsors: (0)
Introduced: 7/23/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would require institutions to disclose any gifts from and/or contracts with a foreign source above $50,000 to the Department of Education. Currently the value at which an institution must disclose a gift or contract is $250,000.


H.R.3891 - Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act

Sponsor: Rep. Harder [D-CA]
Cosponsors: 3 (2R; 1D)
Introduced: 7/23/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would authorize the Department of Education to award grants to institutions of higher education to support and/or develop dual enrollment programs.


S.2124 - Skin in the Game Act

Sponsor: Sen. Hawley [R-MO]
Cosponsors: (0)
Introduced: 7/16/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The Skin in the Game Act would require institutions to pay back repay a portion of the loan balance of students who are unable to repay their debt. The bill would require institutions to pay 50% of the balance of student loans accrued while attending their institution for students who default. The bill would also forbid institutions from increasing the cost of attendance to offset the liability.


H.R.3662 - Relief for Defrauded Students Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. McBath [D-GA]
Cosponsors: 7 (7D; 0R)
Introduced: 7/10/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The Relief for Defrauded Students Act would allow students to receive loan forgiveness if they were misled by an institution, and make the borrower defense rule permanent. If the Department of Education approves the borrower defense to repayment appeal, ED must cancel all remaining loan balances, and return any amount the borrower has already paid on the loan.


H.R.3179 - Protecting Our Students and Taxpayers (POST) Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN]
Cosponsors: 3 (0 R; 3 D)
Introduced: 6/10/2019
Sponsor: Sen. Durbin, Richard J. [D-IL]
Cosponsors: 8 (0 R; 7 D; 1 I)
Introduced: 6/11/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This measure prohibits institutions from using federal education funds, including Title IV and VA benefit dollars, for marketing, advertising, or recruiting.


H.R.3112 - For-Profit Fraud Act

Sponsor: Rep. Waters, Maxine [D-CA]
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 6/05/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would restore the 85/15 ratio for proprietary institutions from the current 90/10 rule.


S.1153 - Stop Student Debt Relief Scams Act of 2019

Sponsor: Sen. Baldwin (D-WI)
Cosponsors: 3 (2 R; 1 D)
Introduced: 4/11/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would attempt to end the misuse of borrower information used to commit criminal acts. The bill would add language to the HEA that would inform borrowers that the services offered by "phone scam" operators are available free of charge through ED.


S.968 - Protect Student Borrowers Act of 2019

Sponsor: Sen. Reed (D-RI)
Cosponsors: 3 (0 R; 3 D)
Introduced: 4/01/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would implement institutional risk-sharing in the Federal student loan program by mandating that institutions who have 33 percent of more of their enrolled students participating in the student loan program to make a payment depending on the percentage of those students who are in default. The determinations for the amount to be paid vary anywhere between 5 to 20 percent of the total amount of the dollars in default.


H.R.1672 - Free Right to Expression in Education Act

Sponsor: Rep. Rooney (R-FL)
Co-Sponsors: 0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced: 3/11/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would prohibit public institutions (as part of the program participation agreement (PPA)) from restricting expressive activities, such as through so-called "free speech zones."


H.R.899 - To terminate the Department of Education.

Sponsor: Rep. Massie (R-KY)
Co-Sponsors: 11 (11 R; 0 D)
Introduced: 1/30/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This brief bill would eliminate the Department of Education, effective December 31, 2020. The bill does not describe what would happen to the federal student aid programs.

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Publication Date: 12/21/2020

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