Arlington, VA (Dec. 4, 2017) —The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) announced its opposition today to the Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill introduced in the US House of Representatives.
“While NACAC agrees that the HEA needs to be reauthorized, this bill goes about it in the wrong way,” said Michael Rose, the association’s director for government relations. “After an initial review, it is clear this bill reduces or eliminates student protections against fraud and abuse, and further dilutes the federal contribution to improving access to postsecondary education.”
NACAC is still in the process of analyzing provisions of the bill related to need-based financial aid and student loans. However, it’s clear that proposed reductions and modifications to student assistance programs will reduce supports for those seeking federal assistance to pay for college. In addition, the legislation ignores prior instances of fraud and abuse within federal student aid programs—incidents that have cost taxpayers billions in lost federal aid funding over the last two decades and resulted in substantial harm to students.
The draft—introduced by US Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce; and US Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), the chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development—also ignores previous congressional guidance resulting from investigations into the exploitative actions of unscrupulous institutions in the 1990s and again in the years between 2000 and 2014.
"This bill represents a substantial departure from the original purpose of the Higher Education Act, which was to ensure that financial hardship should not be a barrier to postsecondary access," Rose noted. "Given what is contained in the current version, we are concerned that the substantial progress we have made as a country over the past 50 years in higher education will begin to erode."
NACAC will issue a detailed summary of the bill in the coming weeks.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded in 1937, is an organization of nearly 16,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education. NACAC is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the association's Statement of Principles of Good Practice: NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices.
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