News: Federal Policy & Advocacy

NCAN Compares Dueling U.S. House Bills for Higher Education Act Reauthorization

Friday, July 27, 2018  
Posted by: Jack Porter, Advocacy Associate
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Two days after unveiling an outline for their Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization proposal, U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and House Democrats have officially introduced H.R. 6543, also known as the Aim Higher Act. At Tuesday’s presentation, Congressman Scott—the House Education and Workforce Committee’s top Democrat—articulated his vision for the bill to “give every student the opportunity to earn a degree that leads to a rewarding career without incurring debt.”

This introduction comes seven months after House Republicans released their HEA reauthorization bill, the PROSPER Act. The PROSPER Act was approved by the House Education and Workforce Committee on a party-line vote shortly after its introduction, but has yet to be considered by the full House.  

Concerning NCAN’s federal policy priorities, the Aim Higher Act would make a significant investment in the Pell Grant, achieve a more equitable work-study formula, and simplify the FAFSA to ensure that students who receive a means-tested benefit are eligible for the maximum Pell award, a provision informed by NCAN's Streamlined FAFSA proposal.

The chart below provides a side-by-side comparison of the Aim Higher and PROSPER Acts on several issues of importance to students served by NCAN members.

With the August Congressional recess and midterm elections rapidly approaching, it is unlikely that a vote on either bill will be held in 2018, but NCAN will remain engaged in the HEA debate as it gradually takes shape on Capitol Hill. NCAN will share legislative developments with our membership as they transpire and welcomes your feedback as this process moves forward. Members interested in learning more about the Higher Education Act, which authorizes numerous federal aid programs that provide support to both students and institutions, should review the Congressional Research Service’s primer from last year.