US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Senate Education Committee Leaders Launch Higher Education Act Reauthorization Hearings

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Will seek input from higher education community, including students, parents, and faculty

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced their intention to hold a series of hearings on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for the 113th Congress.  The hearings will address a host of higher education topics.  Additionally, the Chairman and the Ranking Member released a letter outlining the hearing process and their request for input from students, parents, the higher education community, and other stakeholders.  Excerpts from the letter follow.

In preparation for the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will embark on a series of hearings over the next several months to examine important policy issues facing postsecondary education in the United States.  As part of this process, the Committee will seek recommendations on the issues addressed in our hearings from diverse voices throughout higher education to help inform our views on reauthorization.

Each hearing will be announced at least one week in advance by the Senate HELP Committee.  Once a hearing has been announced, we ask your organization to submit recommendations related to that announced hearing topic only.

“The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act will provide a unique opportunity for Congress to act to improve college access and affordability, while ensuring that students receive a quality education,” Harkin said. “Reauthorizing the HEA will be a collaborative effort, and I am pleased to join with Ranking Member Alexander to convene these hearings and to jointly seek input from stakeholders—so that we can shape a bill that best reflects the needs of students, families, and educators alike.”

Alexander said, “These hearings will help Congress address how the federal government can create an environment in which 6,000 colleges and universities of many types and sizes can combine to be the best higher education system in the world, while providing choices for students at a reasonable cost.”

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Higher Education Stakeholder:

In preparation for the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will embark on a series of hearings over the next several months to examine important policy issues facing postsecondary education in the United States.  As part of this process, the Committee will seek recommendations on the issues addressed in our hearings from diverse voices throughout higher education to help inform our views on reauthorization.

While details may change, we expect the hearings to cover topics such as:

·         The roles of the state, the federal government, and accreditors in higher education;

·         Keeping college affordable;

·         Examining ways to increase quality in higher education;

·         Student access;

·         Innovative  approaches to improving student success;

·         Student financial aid; and

·         Teacher preparation programs.

Each hearing will be announced at least one week in advance by the Senate HELP Committee.  Once a hearing has been announced, we ask your organization to submit recommendations related to that announced hearing topic only.  Recommendations should be submitted before the hearing occurs.  Please make your recommendations as specific as possible and limit each submission to no more than 5 pages.  We ask you to provide background on the issue addressed, citing the appropriate statutory reference or regulation, details on each recommendation, including proposed legislative language, if appropriate, and the rationale for the recommendation.  In addition, please include the name, title, email address and phone number for the appropriate point of contact.  Please submit your recommendations to hea_reauth113@help.senate.gov.  Your recommendations will be used to inform the Committee’s thoughts regarding the reauthorization but will not be included in the hearing record.

Thank you in advance for your input and support for postsecondary education.  Your assistance is critical to the work of our Committee in moving forward with reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

 

###

More Press from the Chairman