Fault Lines Surface

Career College Central summary:

  • Sharper divisions are emerging between Democrats and Republicans over how Congress should go about reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. House Republicans released an outline Tuesday of their priorities for rewriting the massive law. Their plan includes streamlining and consolidating federal student aid programs as well as eliminating many regulations affecting colleges.
  • Meanwhile, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, the Democrat who chairs the Senate education committee, unveiled an outline of the Higher Education Act legislation he is drafting. His proposal calls for year-round Pell Grants, new federal accountability measures for colleges, and increased consumer protections for student loan borrowers.
  • The vast differences in the competing plans set the stage for partisan clashes in the coming months — and likely well into next year — over the federal government’s proper role in keeping college prices down and the extent to which it should hold colleges accountable for the outcomes of their students. The Republican plan says that college leaders should be responsible for controlling students' college costs and that it’s not the federal government’s job to “dictate college costs or set price controls over tuition and fees.”
  • “The federal government can help control costs by removing unnecessary and burdensome requirements” on colleges, the report says.
  • Representative John Kline, the Republican who chairs the House education committee, told reporters Tuesday that reducing requirements on colleges has been “at the core of what we’ve been looking at.”

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