The House of Representatives has seen a lot of action on the higher education front this year. Not only has Committee on Education and the Workforce (Ed and Workforce) Chairman John Kline passed a number of bills out of committee that were ultimately passed by the House, but there has been a flurry of other activity in the lower chamber. Indeed, in addition to “Expanding Opportunity in America,” a proposal put forth by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan that has a number of higher education proposals (and was discussed in our Education Alert last week), the House has seen a broad number of bills to address a host of higher education issues.
The following bills have passed the House:
Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act – H.R. 3136
On September 19, 2013, Representative Matt Salmon (R-AZ) introduced the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act to the House. The bill passed the House on July 23, 2014 by a vote of 414 to 0, and enjoyed 10 bi-partisan co-sponsors (including Ed and Workforce Chairman John Kline and Ranking Member George Miller). The bill would create a competency-based education initiative. Specifically, the bill would
- Implement competency-based education demonstration projects at up to 20 volunteer institutions.
- For the pilot programs, allow the Secretary of Education to waive current statutory and regulatory requirements (i.e. seat time and credit hours) to receive funding
- Require an annual evaluation of each demonstration project to determine successes and obstacles for competency-based education programs going forward.
Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act – H.R. 4983
On June 26, 2014, higher Education Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act to the House. The bill passed the House by a voice vote on July 23, 2014, and enjoyed 16 co-sponsors (including Reps. John Kline and George Miller). The bill would streamline higher education information disclosures and require publication of those disclosures via one College Dashboard website.
Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act – H.R. 4984
On June 26, 2014, Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act to the House. The bill passed the House on July 24, 2014 by a vote of 405-11, and enjoyed 16 co-sponsors (including Reps. John Kline and George Miller). The bill would:
- Ensure yearly interactive counseling for all borrowers (not just first-time borrowers) tailored to their individual borrowing circumstances. Counseling can be either online or in-person to suit the borrower’s needs.
- Require borrowers to consent each year before receiving federal student loans.
- Require annual counseling about Pell Grant program.
- Create a consumer-tested, online counseling tool for institutions to act through when providing counseling.
- Remove “sample information showing the average” from borrowing explanations, and replace with info based on the borrowers actual outstanding balance.
In addition, the following bills have also been introduced in the House: Continue Reading