- The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education & Pensions announced Thursday plans to hold a hearing on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act November 28.
- Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said in a statement that his “top education priority for the Senate education committee is to reauthorize the Higher Education Act to make it simpler and easier for students to go to college.”
- The hearing will focus primarily on FAFSA simplification, which has long been a priority of Alexander’s.
While this initial hearing, and Alexander’s statement, may serve as an indication that the committee is at least thinking about the long-awaited reauthorization of the HEA, it is unlikey a conprehensive bill to address the myriad of issues surrounding higher ed will come down before the recess. Indeed, Alexander’s honing in on the FAFSA as the foremost concern of the bill seems to confirm this.
It is possible that instead of tackling a comprehensive higher education bill, legislators will tackle the important issues in the Higher Education Act reauthorization through other bills. For instance, the tax bill’s proposed penalties on endowments could be a push to force institutions to use their endowment funds to make college more affordable for more students, an idea which Republicans have floated multiple times.