New round of House HEA hearings

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia), the new chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, plans to hold five hearings around reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. (Photo courtesy of the House Education and Labor Committee)

Leaders of the House Education and Labor Committee on Thursday announced plans to hold five hearings to officially kick off efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

Democratic and Republican committee leaders said in a release that the joint announcement of the hearings “reflects the committee’s shared intention to host a thoughtful and open exchange of ideas for improving America’s higher education system.”

The committee hasn’t set dates yet for the hearings, but the topics are:

-Student-centered reforms to control the cost of college
-Strengthening accountability
-Improving student outcomes
-The critical role of community colleges, historically black colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions in preparing students for success
-Exploring high-quality pathways to a college degree as a way to improve equity

“Through regular order and a collaborative process, the committee will consider a comprehensive Higher Education Act reauthorization that puts a quality and affordable higher education within reach for every student,” committee chair Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) said in a statement. “Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to developing bold solutions that are supported by evidence and research on higher education.”

Earlier this month, Scott outlined his plans for revamping the nation’s main higher education law. The committee tried last year to pass a Republican plan to rework HEA under the leadership of former committee chair Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina), but it stalled after passing the committee.

Meanwhile, the Senate education committee is also poised to again start working on its HEA legislation. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) this month highlighted his plan, noting that he hopes to have a bill out by spring, with a full Senate vote by summer and a compromise bill with the House ready by Christmas.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.