Opinion: Lyndon B. Johnson's Vision for Higher Education No Longer Serves Students

"The Higher Education Act of 1965 turns 52 years old Wednesday. To call this legislation groundbreaking would only tell part of its story. It did break ground, but the evidence suggests that now we're stuck in the mud," Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, writes for the Independent Journal Review.

"In the middle of the last century, the Higher Education Act was billed as a reliable path out of poverty for everyone. However, in the generations that have come along since the original act, the law has resulted in six types of federal student loans, nine repayment plans, eight forgiveness programs, 32 deferment and forbearance options, higher tuition rates, longer completion times, nearly a trillion dollars in student debt, and 6 million unfilled jobs.

If we are going to fill those jobs, and as a result, empower millions of Americans to pursue the lives they want for themselves, we have to rethink and reform — not just reauthorize — the Higher Education Act.

Members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce are committed to those reforms, and we believe a higher education system that serves students, families, and the future of this country can be built across four main pillars.

The first is a sharper focus on promoting innovation, access, and completion.

Well into the 21st century, it is clear that innovation and access work hand-in-hand. Technology has opened doors for people from all walks of life whose circumstances do not allow, or whose career objectives do not warrant, a traditional college experience. We need federal higher education policy, and some of the most rigid and antiquated rules and requirements that come with it, to get out of their way. Not only will this open more doors for students to go into higher education, it will clear away some of the hurdles that keep many from completing their programs.

Next, we have to get serious about simplifying and improving student aid."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.

 

Publication Date: 11/9/2017

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