Higher Education Act Moving Forward

Wednesday, the U.S. House unanimously passed legislation to overhaul the manner in which the Education Department discloses college data. The new legislation will boost competency-based education.

This is the first time that Congress has influenced the Higher Education Act. The act, which expires at the end of the year, governs federal student aid.

Reauthorization, however, is still a long ways away. The differing opinions within Congress over key parts of the law reveal that it is unlikely the act will be renewed at the end of the year. Currently, House Republicans are planning on rewriting the law into smaller sections – something that they hope will attract support from both parties.

The Democrats were concerned with many aspects of the bill, such as the steadily-rising student loan debt as well as the rate at which college education prices are increasing. John Tierney, a Massachusetts Democrat, proposed a bill to provide students who have taken a loan within the last year to restructure the loan, giving them a rebate and offering a lower interest rate. The House rejected the proposal.

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa is also trying to find a better solution for the Higher Education Act. Harkin recently put together a 700-page rewrite of the law and is seeking comments from both Democrats and Republicans.

Congress is looking to implement revisions to the Higher Education Act that will lower the cost of a college education.

Congress is looking to implement revisions to the Higher Education Act that will lower the cost of a college education.

Although we are making little progress on a rewritten law, the vote on Wednesday provided a huge win for competency-based education. Thirty academic programs are now allowed to experiment with competency-based education; this could affect thousands of students across the country.

Lawmakers – both Democratic and Republican – have praised competency-based education due to its ability to lower the cost of a college education as well as providing non-traditional students with an avenue of study.

The new legislation also provides an overhaul in the information provided for students. This includes things such as the number of courses taught by part-time and full-time instructors. It would also go into greater detail about the part-time instructors’ background in the field – such as the mean and median years of employment.

The new legislation also appointed a federal panel to spearhead efforts at deregulating higher education. It is aiming to reduce amount of federal regulation that is placed on colleges; this leads to cheaper education for students.

from Mark Tuminello http://ift.tt/1uoK107 – newest post from the blog of Mark Tuminello

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