Congress Looks at Three Education Bills

July 22, 2014

Lindsey Burke, education policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation, reports on three education bills that are moving through Congress.

Congress is looking at reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), but, rather than doing a major overhaul of the HEA, lawmakers are tackling education reform in small pieces:

  • Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act: A bipartisan bill, the law would allow the Department of Education to give more flexibility to educational options that focus on subject mastery rather than time spent in a classroom. It requires the Education Department to create competency-based demonstration projects and removes regulations that impede competency-based program growth.
  • Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act: The federal government currently administers a College Navigator website, which requires colleges to provide data on the cost of attendance and similar information. The bill from Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Luke Messer (R-Ind.) would require schools to provide more than 36 pieces of data, including the ratio of part-time to full-time faculty instruction, in order to give students more information.
  • Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act: The bill, from Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and Richard Hudson (R-NC) would require the Department of Education to maintain an online tool that institutions can use to provide student loan recipients with loan counseling.

Burke writes that the HEA needs much stronger reforms than these: federal financing that is separated from accreditation, a more targeted Pell Grant system that serves low-income students and the elimination of duplicative and ineffective programs.

Source: Lindsey Burke, "These Bills Could Affect American Higher Education. Here's How," Daily Signal, July 21, 2014.

 

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