Lame-Duck Congress Making Headway on Higher Education Act

Career College Central Summary:

  • With a lame-duck session looming—typically a time when Congress accomplishes very little—lawmakers in both the House and the Senate are priming higher education for the spotlight.
  • Both chambers have made headway in charting their respective paths to reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the mammoth law that includes the entire federal student loan system, the Pell grant tuition assistance program for low- and middle-income students, teacher-preparation provisions, and various programs that help disadvantaged students access higher education.
  • Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, already ushered three small bipartisan bills through the House.
  • Mr. Kline plans to continue his signature piecemeal approach to tackling large pieces of legislation, giving priority to proposals with the best chance of attracting support from both sides of the aisle.
  • The Senate, on the other hand, is taking a holistic approach.
  • Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released a 785-page discussion draft of the reauthorization.
  • He and committee staff members are collecting feedback and hope to unveil a final version this fall. There are already significant policy chasms between the two chambers' proposals, and the different legislating approaches could cause problems down the road.

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