House Democrats Release Higher Education Act Reform Measure
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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Section: From Contributors


Adonai Mack



In October, the House Democrats, led by the Chairman of Education and Labor Committee Bobby Scott (D-Va.) released a new bill titled the “College Affordability Act” that is the Democrats' version of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). According to Chairman Scott, this proposal is far more modest than previous proposals introduced by Republicans in the House and Senate.
In October, the House Democrats, led by the Chairman of Education and Labor Committee Bobby Scott (D-Va.) released a new bill titled the “College Affordability Act” that is the Democrats' version of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). According to Chairman Scott, this proposal is far more modest than previous proposals introduced by Republicans in the House and Senate.

A key component of the legislation includes a proposal to eliminate tuition and fees for all students at community college through new federal-state partnerships. There would also be new accountability measures for institutions of higher education to hold colleges and universities accountable for student outcomes.

This measure could have a lasting impact on K-12 school districts. The College Affordability Act would reauthorize and expand the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Grant Program. TQP would strengthen coordination between school districts, state agencies, and teacher preparation programs by including school leader programs. Further, TQP would allow state education agencies and higher education institutions to apply for joint funding to create cohort-based teacher residency programs.

With a potential price tag of $400 billion over ten years, House Republicans — led by ranking member of the education committee, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) — have stated that this measure contains “failed policies” and notes “increasing burdensome requirements and bureaucratic red tape … will contribute to rising college costs.”

The House Democrats plan to use this legislation to negotiate with the Senate to pass a reauthorization of HEA. Stay tuned for future updates.
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