WASHINGTON, (October 15, 2019) — Today, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott introduced the College Affordability Act, which serves to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Higher Learning Advocates — a bipartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for policy that reflect the changing demographics of today’s students — has released the following statement by its executive director Julie Peller:
“We are encouraged to see that the College Affordability Act includes recommendations that align with Higher Learning Advocates’ priorities to expand robust supports for today’s students. We applaud policies such as creating better connections and eligibility rules between students and means-tested benefit programs and expanding the use of open textbooks and micro-grants. These proposals, alongside financial aid reforms that better support students with dependents and low-income students in addition to simplifying the financial aid and repayment systems, would help to ensure that student aid and institutions are keeping up with the realities of today’s students.
The College Affordability Act aligns with HLA priorities by including proposals to improve upon our quality assurance system by focusing accreditation on student outcomes and improving federal accountability metrics. We are also encouraged to see the bill create more pathways for today’s students through competency-based education and high-quality short-term programs.
However, today’s students also need solutions such as removing bureaucratic barriers for returning adult students, the option to rehabilitate defaulted student loans more than once, and a focus on program-level accountability.
Ultimately, the introduction of the College Affordability Act is a critical next step in the process toward a bipartisan HEA reauthorization being signed into law that ensures the success of today’s students.”
About Higher Learning Advocates
Higher Learning Advocates is a nonprofit advocacy organization working to shift federal policy from higher education to higher learning—education and training beyond high school that leads to a degree, credential, or employment. While more students are participating in higher education than ever before, there is a vast and growing disconnect between federal policy and the needs of today’s students, employers, and communities. We are working toward federal policies that create transparent pathways to success, incentivize innovation, protect students and taxpayers, and improve outcomes.