Higher Education Act up for Reauthorization

With the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, Lamar Alexander, the chair of the U.S. Senate Higher Education Committee, stated that he hopes to make significant amendments to this piece of legislation. In particular, Alexander plans to simplify and deregulate higher education in this new edition. Last reauthorized in 2008, the Higher Education Act must be reapproved approximately every five years. The act defines requirements to obtain Title IV Student-Aid Programs. For students to obtain federal financial aid their colleges must provide information on their prices, diversity, graduation rates, retention rates and crime statistics, as well as abide by other federal regulations.

Many conservative senators wish to address the overregulation of higher education and give colleges greater autonomy. In order to implement new guidelines, Alexander wishes to create a task force that will research current higher education regulations. In turn, this group will report recommendations within the year, as well as determine the effects of regulations on higher education.

On the other hand, opponents of this proposal cite the importance of higher education regulation to ensure that colleges remain transparent to potential students. They cite the importance of protecting students from unscrupulous practices that may arise as a result of a lack of regulation.

How do you feel Congress should reauthorize the Higher Education Act? If you feel passionately about college regulation, share your opinion with your political representative and make sure to vote in future elections. Also, please attend Higher Education Awareness Week this week to learn more about pressing issues facing colleges and universities.