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Washington Highlights

AAMC, Education Associations Comment on HEA Reauthorization

August 9, 2013—The AAMC and several organizations of the Federation of Associations of Schools of Health Professions (FASHP) submitted a July 31 comment letter  on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The letter comes in response to an April 24 request from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce leadership. The HEA, set to expire at the end of 2013, governs most of the programs administered by the Department of Education (ED), including federal financial aid.

The FASHP letter highlights the unique nature of health professions education, such as high graduating debt compounded by residency training. The letter also urges the committee to consider student aid programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that might be indirectly impacted by HEA reauthorization. Additionally, the letter recommends adoption of the budget-neutral Debt in Health Education Loan Programs (DebtHELP) legislative proposal, designed to improve and align programs at ED and HRSA.

Meanwhile, AAMC Aug. 2 joined 38 higher education associations in broader HEA comments that touch on a range of issues, including college cost, student loan programs, accreditation, and federal regulatory burden.

Past HEA reauthorizations have taken several years, allowing programs to expire in the process. During these times, ED has continued to operate under an amalgam of temporary extensions and implicit authority.  The previous HEA reauthorization created Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), but eliminated the debt-to-income ratio of the Economic Hardship Deferment often used by medical residents. 


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806