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Postsecondary Education: Policy Outlook for Next Year


October 10, 2012

By: Brendan

Inside Higher Ed published an article today on the future of higher education after the November elections. The article discussed financial issues, upcoming and pending legislation, and what to expect if leadership in Congress changes.

While the presidential race may be the most prominent election happening now, the congressional races for House of Representatives and Senate are equally important to the future of higher education policy.

After the election, the remaining days of the 112th Congress will be consumed with discussion on how to avoid the devastating funding cuts that sequestration will impose on all federal programs on January 2nd, 2013. If a deal is not reached to reduce the federal deficit, either through cuts, revenues or both, then every federal program will receive an across-the-board 8.2 percent cut in funding. That funding cut will affect basic research and many student aid programs at postsecondary institutions. This would mean higher operating costs and an increased cost of attendance for students.

Whether or not sequestration is solved, next year, after those elected this November take office, there will be a number of new issues needing to be solved regarding higher education. The Pell Grant will face a funding crisis in 2014 when the temporary funding approved in 2009 runs out. The one-year fix to the federal student loan interest rate will expire next July raising the rate to 6.8 percent. The Higher Education Act (HEA), which governs postsecondary institutions and student aid, will also be up for reauthorization. Although there are a few more urgent bills ahead of the HEA, the reauthorization process will begin in the 113th Congress next year.

As these issues begin to come up after the election and through the 113th Congress, it is extremely important that you are able to trust your elected officials to make the right decisions for you. To go more in-depth about these issues, and to read about House and Senate races important to the future of postsecondary education policy, please read the Inside Higher Ed article.

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