Alexander, Scott Make Remarks on Their Agendas for HEA Reauthorization

February 8, 2019 · by mlivolsi · Spark Notes

Prepared by: Greg Marak (

February 8, 2019

This week, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander gave an address at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) outlining his objectives with regard to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), which he would like to introduce by spring of this year so it can become law by the end of 2019. Alexander said his top focus would be FAFSA simplification, reducing the number of repayment plans to two and the introduction of a program-level accountability system.

Following these remarks, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) also gave an address on his priorities. Scott said he would like to make “significant structural changes” to higher education.  Scott said he wants to give more oversight to state and federal government over institutions, and give more responsibility to accrediting agencies in determining what schools are eligible for federal aid funding.

Since HEA reauthorization must pass both houses of Congress, it must be in the form of legislation that appeals to both Democrats and Republicans since they control the House and Senate respectively. When the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that replaced “No Child Left Behind” passed in 2015, there was a similar divided government;  the Republicans controlled the House and Senate, and Democrats controlled the White House.  COHEAO postulates that the divide in political party control might be favorable to a similar compromise.

A detailed memo of Alexander and Scott’s remarks prepared by Bose Washington Partners is available here.

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