- Retiring Sen.Tom Harkin (D-IA) on Thursday filed a bill that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act.
- The 874-page proposal has notable support from community colleges, Inside Higher Ed reports, largely due to its reinstatement of year-round Pell Grants and the potential for students without high school diplomas to be eligible for federal aid.
- Among new provisions in Thursday's filing: a requirement that would tie Perkins Loan and Work Study distribution to the number of low- and middle-income students at an institution, a "Pell Bonus" program for colleges with high low-income student completion rates, a federal system to track student performance and outcomes, and a program that would require students to apply for aid only once every four years.
With a new Congress on its way in next year, Harkin's bill is likely to do little more than give Democrats a guide when Higher Ed Act reauthorization actually does go before the Senate. The current chair of the Senate's education committee, Harkin is expected to be replaced by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who wants to scrap all current reauthorization proposals for the act. Alexander's approach is likely to favor deregulation.