House Passes Bipartisan Bills to Help More Americans Pursue Higher Education

WASHINGTON – Today, the House passed five bipartisan bills to help improve access to higher education for students, parents and taxpayers. Collectively, this legislative package includes 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.

“The bills we passed today are necessary improvements to the Higher Education Act,” said Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA).  “It is my hope that this package is the first of several steps we take toward delivering on a bipartisan and comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that expands access to college for students, makes higher education more affordable, and ensures that more students complete their courses of study with a degree or credential that leads to a meaningful career.”

The bills that passed the House Floor today are:

  • The Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act (H.R. 5529), led by Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee Ranking Member Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) and Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), will help students at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) pursue doctoral degrees in health care professions. HSIs will also be able to use grant funds to both develop and expand access to existing dual or concurrent enrollment programs as well as early college high school programs. For more information, click here.
  • The Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act (H.R. 5528), led by Reps. Heck, Jared Polis (D-CO), Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Phil Roe (R-TN), 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. This bill also requires the secretary to periodically report on the needs of English language learners using the FAFSA to ensure that language is not a barrier to accessing higher education. 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. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), 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 Rep. Gregorio Sablan (D-MP) and Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), 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 more information on committee Democrats’ priorities for a full reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, click here.


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