Higher Education Act of 1965
|Student loans in the U.S.|
|Higher Education Act of 1965
U.S. Dept. of Education
FAFSA · Cost of attendance
|Federal Direct Student Loan Program
Federal Family Education Loan Program
|Perkins · Stafford
PLUS · Consolidation Loans
The Higher Education Act of 1965 (Pub. L. No. 89-329) (HEA) was legislation signed into United States law on November 8, 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society domestic agenda. Johnson chose Texas State University–San Marcos—his alma mater—as the signing site. The law was intended “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.” It increased federal money given to universities, created scholarships, gave low-interest loans for students, and established a National Teachers Corps. The "financial assistance for students" is covered in Title IV of the HEA.
The Higher Education Act of 1965 was reauthorized in 1968, 1971, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2008. Current authorization for the programs in the Higher Education Act expires at the end of 2013. Before each reauthorization, Congress amends additional programs, changes the language and policies of existing programs, or makes other changes.
The HEA has been criticized for establishing statutory pricing of federal student loans based on political considerations rather than pricing based on risk.
Changes in 1998
The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) was first authorized under the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. Also in the amendments of 1998 is the Aid Elimination Provision, which prevents students with drug charges from receiving federal aid for colleges and universities. This is where question 31 on the FAFSA forms originates. The question asks whether the student has ever been convicted of a drug crime while receiving federal financial aid. This statutory provision was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in the face of a constitutional challenge by the ACLU in the case of Students for Sensible Drug Policy v. Spellings.
Changes in 2003
In 2003, much of the Higher Education Act was set to expire. As a result, a number of minority groups united to ask for certain changes. Calling themselves the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education, this group was made up of “the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, an advocacy group for historically black colleges and universities, [and they] presented their joint recommendations for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.” The Alliance aimed to help minority students enter fields where they seemed to be underrepresented and to give incentives to minorities to enter these programs. These incentives included more lenience on loan collection and full government funding for minority education. The Alliance also called for the government to create funding for students in graduate programs of universities serving the minority population.
Even though the Alliance's request to change the Higher Education Act was heard, significant parts were denied. In 2003, the request for increasing the amount offered in a Pell Grant, to better cover a student’s expenses, was denied by the Senate. Still, other issues were corrected. There was a section passed, by the House, that did allow more funds to go to institutions, in order to keep them current; and a grace period for colleges asking for more loans was eliminated. So, if more funding were needed, minority institutions would not have to wait.
With the changes proposed in 2003, the actual Higher Education Act was not reauthorized. Instead, many of its sections were renewed, with little radical change. Numerous extensions have followed, with the most recent extension lasting through August 15, 2008. The Senate passed an HEA reauthorization bill in July 2007, as did the House of Representatives in February 2008.
On August 14, 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted. It reauthorized the amended version of the Higher Education Act of 1965. This act made major changes in student loan discharges for disabled people. Previously, to qualify for a discharge, a disabled person could have no income. This has been changed to a no "substantial gainful activity" test, which is the same standard used by the Social Security Administration in determining eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The changes took effect on July 1, 2010.
Additionally, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRA), a budget reconciliation bill signed into law in September 2007, made significant changes to federal financial aid programs included in HEA. In addition to increasing the maximum Pell grant award and reducing interest rates on subsidized student loans, this bill capped loan repayment at 15 percent of an individual’s discretionary income, raised the income protection allowance, enacted loan forgiveness for public servants in the Direct Loan program, set publicly funded student loans to fixed rates from variable rate loans, and took actions to address problematic practices in the lending industry. Most CCRA provisions took effect on October 1, 2007.
The law for the first time also required post-secondary institutions be more transparent about costs and required the nearly 7,000 post-secondary institutions that receive federal financial aid funds (Title IV) to post net price calculators on their websites as well as security and copyright policies by October 29, 2011.
As defined in HEOA, the net price calculator’s purpose is “…to help current and prospective students, families, and other consumers estimate the individual net price of an institution of higher education for a student. The [net price] calculator shall be developed in a manner that enables current and prospective students, families, and consumers to determine an estimate of a current or prospective student’s individual net price at a particular institution.”
The law defines "estimated net price" as the difference between an institution’s average total Price of Attendance (the sum of tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses including personal expenses and transportation for a first-time, full-time undergraduate students who receive aid) and the institution’s median need- and merit-based grant aid awarded.
Elise Miller, program director for the United States Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), stated the idea behind the requirement: "We just want to break down the myth of sticker price and get beyond it. This is to give students some indication that they will not [necessarily] be paying that full price."
The template was developed based on the suggestions of the IPEDS’ Technical Review Panel (TRP), which met on January 27–28, 2009, and included 58 individuals representing federal and state governments, post-secondary institutions from all sectors, association representatives, and template contractors. Mary Sapp, Ph.D., assistant vice president for planning and institutional research at the University of Miami, served as the panel’s chair. She described the mandate’s goal “to provide prospective and current undergraduate students with some insight into the difference between an institution’s sticker price and the price they will end up paying.”
The TRP faced the difficult challenge of creating one tool that could be used by a wide variety of institutions – from small, for-profit career schools to major research universities – while balancing simplicity for users.
To meet the requirement, post-secondary institutions may choose either a basic template developed by the U.S. Department of Education or an alternate net price calculator that offers at least the minimum elements required by law.
As part of its cost-transparency measures, HEOA of 2008 requires also on the College Navigator Web site a report giving the average institutional net price of attendance for first-time, full-time students who receive financial aid. This also forms the basis for transparency lists; a report on the College Navigator Web site the institutional net price of attendance for Title IV aid recipients by income categories; and for the U.S. Department of Education to develop a multi-year tuition and required-fees calculator for undergraduate programs for the College Navigator Web site.
- "Johnson signs legislation into law". LBJ Library and Museum. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
- Michael Simkovic, Risk-Based Student Loans (2013)
- Text of Students for Sensible Drug Policy v. Spellings, 523 F.3d 896 (8th cir., 2008) is available from: Findlaw LexisOne Law.com
- Stephen Burd, “Institutions Serving Minority Students Propose Changes to Higher Education Act,” Chronicle of Higher Education 49, no. 26 (2003), http://web.ebscohost.com.
- “Capital briefs,” Community College Week 16, no. 4 (2003): 3, http://web.ebscohost.com.
- Kristina Lane, “Bill Would Expand Higher Ed. Access for Minorities, Low-Income Students,” Community College Week 16, no. 4 (2003): 3, http://web.ebscohost.com.
- "A Strong Step for Students: House Higher Education Bill Promotes Innovation and Student Success". Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
- "Congress Expands Basic Aid and Supports Innovation in Student Success, Basic Skills, and Workforce Partnerships". Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
- "Higher Education Opportunity Act - 2008". U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- American Association of University Women. Increasing Access to Higher Education. January 2008. http://www.aauw.org/advocacy/issue_advocacy/actionpages/upload/higherEdAct.pdf
- University Business: Preparing for the Net Price Calculator: Avoid Potential Pitfalls by Taking These Steps Today By Haley Chitty, October 2009
- Federal Policy: Higher Education Opportunity Act. Center for Law and Social Policy.
- Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success. Center for Law and Social Policy.
- Title 20, Chapter 28, Subchapter IV, United States Code 1070, et seq.}