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House Committee Advance Higher Education Bills

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July 14, 2014

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House Committee Advance Higher Education Bills

On Thursday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a markup to debate and amend three bills as part of the effort to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. All three prices of legislation were approved with bipartisan support from the committee. The Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act, H.R. 3136, Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act, H.R. 4983 and Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, H.R. 4984, are now able to advance to the House floor, though no announcement has yet been made on further consideration by the full chamber. As we previously reported, these bills were promoted as needed reforms to increase intuitional transparency for students, reduce the cost of higher education and expand opportunities for the use of competency-based education models.

“Today we made important progress in our effort to strengthen the nation’s higher education system,” said Chairman John Kline (R-MN). “These bipartisan proposals will make a difference in the lives of students and families. I look forward to House consideration of these proposals and the work that lies ahead.”

While Republicans and Democrats displayed broad support of the goals the legislation, the committee Democrats did offer amendments to expand reporting requirements for institutions, allow for refinancing of older student loans and strengthen the rules for the use of veterans’ education benefits at for-profit institutions, none of which were adopted. Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) expressed his disappointment for the lack of Democratic priorities in the bills. “This country is facing a student loan crisis, and these bills, unfortunately, fail to address the needs of students and families already facing a mountain of student debt,” said Rep. Miller. “We must move quickly and decisively to make college more accessible and affordable, to increase oversight and quality assurance of colleges and loan servicers, and to promote new and innovative practices that can reduce student loan debt. And this can only happen through a full-scale rewrite of the Higher Education Act.”

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