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House HEA Reauthorization Legislation Slowly Takes Shape

August 1, 2014—Heading into the August congressional recess and mid-term elections, House Republicans are moving a series of higher education reform bills in contrast to Senate Democrats’ all-in-one approach to Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization [see Washington Highlights, June 27].

The House July 24 passed the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (H.R. 4984), which would require new annual consent forms and interactive, personalized counseling for students with federal loans.

The House July 23 unanimously voted to approve the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act (H.R. 3136), which would expand competency-based education where it is currently prohibited by statutory and regulatory requirements. 

On the same day, the House passed the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act (H.R. 4983), which among other provisions would create a new Department of Education “College Dashboard” to help students make decisions about college with key information and measures, including completion rates.

By a voice vote, the House approved a measure (H.R. 5134) to extend the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity and the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance for one year.

It is unlikely any of the House HEA reauthorization bills will move in the Senate before next year, requiring them to be reintroduced in the 114th Congress.

Meanwhile, the House also passed (227-187) the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 3393) that would consolidate three education tax benefits into an expanded, permanent American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). 

H.R. 3393 parallels a provision in the comprehensive tax reform package proposed by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.) in February [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 28]. The new AOTC would only be available for up to four years of higher education, excluding graduate and professional students.


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