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Committee Advances Bipartisan Bills to Help More Americans Pursue Higher Education

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), today approved a number of bipartisan bills that will help strengthen higher education for students, parents, and taxpayers. The legislative proposals—all approved by voice vote—include measures to empower students and families to make informed decisions, simplify and improve the financial aid process, and enhance existing support and accountability for institutions serving minority students.

“In recent years, we have made progress in tackling some of the serious challenges facing America’s higher education system, and these bills are an important part of our ongoing efforts,” Chairman Kline said. “While there is still work to be done, the bipartisan proposals we advanced today will make a real difference in the lives of students and parents. I look forward to continuing this important work and helping more Americans pursue their dreams of earning a college degree."

“I am pleased that Members of the Committee could come together to work on this package of bipartisan bills that seek to make discrete amendments to the Higher Education Act. Taken together, these bills offer students and families a more simplified, informative, and transparent higher education system,” said Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA). “While these bills represent a step in the right direction, Congress must keep its eye on the real prize—a full-scale reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that prioritizes college access, affordability, and completion. I am committed to working with Chairman Kline and my other colleagues here in Congress to make sure the promise of access to high quality, affordable higher education opportunities is not lost.”

The bills marked up today are:
  • The Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act (H.R. 5529), led by Reps. Joe Heck (R-NV) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), will help students at Hispanic-Serving Institutions pursue a career as a physician, dentist, or other health care professional and enhance existing support for Hispanic students pursuing an education. For more information, click here.
          
  • The Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act (H.R. 5528), led by Reps. Heck and Jared Polis (D-CO), will reform the federal student aid process to help students make timely financial decisions about their education and better prepare for college. Among other measures, the bill will ensure students are able to use income data from two years prior when applying for aid and receive accurate aid information as soon as possible. For more information, click here.
         
  • The HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act (H.R. 5530), led by Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC) and Bradley Byrne (R-AL), will improve access to and oversight of an existing program that enables Historically Black Colleges and Universities to improve their campuses to better serve their students. For more information, click here.
         
  • The Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (H.R. 3179), led by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), will promote financial literacy by enhancing the timing, frequency, and content of counseling for all recipients of federal financial aid. For more information, click here.
        
  • The Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act (H.R. 3178), led by Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Rep. Gregorio Sablan (D-MP), will help students gain access to the facts they need to make an informed decision about where to pursue their education. For more information, click here.
For opening statements, amendments, and other markup materials, click here.

For more information on these bills and the committee’s broader efforts to improve higher education, click here

 

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