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Letter to the House on higher ed bills

July 22, 2014

Dear Representative: 

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association and the students they serve, we urge you to support components of the Higher Education Act (HEA) that are scheduled to come to the floor this week. Votes associated with these bills may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress. We urge you to vote YES on the:  

  • Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project (H.R. 3136), which would help foster competency-based education demonstration projects to give students new opportunities to get a high-quality education that fits their personal and financial needs.
  • Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act (H.R. 4983), which would take an important step toward strengthening the higher education system by improving transparency to ensure all students have access to the information they need to make the best decisions about their education. We especially welcome the required inclusion of information on whether a course is taught by full- or part-time faculty.
  • Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (H.R. 4984), which would promote financial literacy through enhanced counseling for federal financial aid recipients.  

While NEA is pleased that bipartisan efforts towards the reauthorization of HEA are moving forward and supports all three bills, we would prefer a comprehensive rather than a piecemeal approach. As work on this critical legislation proceeds, we urge you to remain true to the core goals of the law since its inception:

  • Making higher education affordable. Americans deserve degrees, not debt. The student debt burden now stands at $1.2 trillion and exceeds total credit card debt.
  • Providing access to higher education. All segments of America’s increasingly diverse student population, including adult learners, should have access to higher education.
  • Ensuring transparency and accountability. Federal aid dollars should go only to soundly managed colleges and universities with high educational standards.  

We look forward to working with you towards the final goal of a complete reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.  

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations