12.13.17

After 13-Hour Markup, Republicans Pass Partisan HEA Reauthorization Under the Cover of Night

WASHINGTON – TODAY, the Committee on Education and the Workforce held a markup on H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act.” H.R. 4508 makes college more expensive for millions of students and families by forcing students to borrow more, pay more to borrow more, and pay more to repay student loans. Just like the Republican tax plan, it puts corporate profits before students, asking families and students to pay more for a lower quality education.

“HEA has always been considered in this Committee in a bipartisan way. Unfortunately, H.R. 4508 cannot be considered bipartisan because it chooses clear winners and losers. Under this bill, corporate interests are put first and students are put last,” said Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03).  “Put simply, while not everyone will choose a four-year degree, every student must have the opportunity, regardless of income, to make that choice.”

At today’s mark-up, Committee Democrats offered responsible policy solutions in the form of forty amendments in an attempt to improve the Republican bill. The amendments ranged from expanding and improving the Pell Grant Program, making DREAMers eligible for Federal Student Aid, requiring institutions of higher education provide programming to prevent opioid abuse, protecting Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions, and striking provisions that would negatively impact efforts to address campus assault.

Democrats believe quality higher education must be accessible and affordable to empower America’s students to succeed in our economy. As part of their Aim Higher initiative, Committee Democrats focused on the decades-old promise of the Higher Education Act to expand access and provide an affordable education to those who had been traditionally underserved by colleges and universities.

H.R. 4508 in its current form does not make quality degrees that lead to a good paying-jobs more affordable or accessible. As a result, the bill passed without a single Democratic vote, 23-17.

FULL OPENING STATEMENT: Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03)

FACT SHEET: The GOP War on Students: Another Partisan Giveaway to Corporate Interests

FACT SHEET: The GOP War on Students: H.R. 4508 Increases Student Debt

FACT SHEET: The GOP War on Students: Risk-Sharing and How It Impacts Equity

FACT SHEET: The GOP War on Students: Pell Grants under Attack in H.R. 4508

H.R. 4508 MARKUP: List of Democratic Amendments

H.R. 4508 MARKUP: Full Video 

The "PROSPER" Act: What People Are Really Saying

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