Higher Education Act back again?

1965 Act VS. 2016 complications

Back then in 1965

The Higher Education Act (HEA) is the federal law that governs the administration of federal student aid programs. The HEA was originally passed in 1965 and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. To encourage growth and change, it must be re-approved, or "reauthorized," by Congress approximately every five years. In addition to major reauthorization bills, Congress also considers many bills that may directly or indirectly impact the HEA.

2016 Conflicts with the Higher Education Act (HEA)

  • Higher education groups, some congressional staffers, and other observers say they don't expect to see a comprehensive rewrite of the Higher Education Act during this presidential election year. And because a new administration, regardless of party, is unlikely to quickly pursue the law’s reauthorization among its first legislative priorities, it may be a couple of years before Congress passes a new Higher Education Act.
  • “The odds in favor of a higher education reauthorization get longer with every passing day,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, which represents colleges and universities in Washington. “Given the complexity of the task, the cost of some of the proposals and simply the time available, it’s hard to imagine them completing reauthorization this year.”
  • Earning a post-secondary degree or credential is no longer just a pathway to opportunity for a talented few; rather, it is a prerequisite for the growing jobs of the new economy. Over this decade, employment in jobs requiring education beyond a high school diploma will grow more rapidly than employment in jobs that do not; of the 30 fastest growing occupations, more than half require postsecondary education. With the average earnings of college graduates at a level that is twice as high as that of workers with only a high school diploma, higher education is now the clearest pathway into the middle class.

  • In higher education, the U.S. has been outpaced internationally. In 1990, the U.S. ranked first in the world in four-year degree attainment among 25-34 year olds; today, the U.S. ranks 12th. We also suffer from a college attainment gap, as high school graduates from the wealthiest families in our nation are almost certain to continue on to higher education, while just over half of our high school graduates in the poorest quarter of families attend college. And while more than half of college students graduate within six years, the completion rate for low-income students is around 25 percent.