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Letter to Senate HELP Committee on Higher Education

February 24, 2015

Dear Senator: 

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association and the students they serve, we thank the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for moving towards reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, and submit the following comments in conjunction with today’s hearing, “Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities: A Report from the Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education.” 

As work on this critical legislation proceeds, we urge you to remain true to the core goals of the Higher Education Act 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.  

While NEA supports the Committee’s efforts to simplify and remove non-essential regulations in higher education, we remain steadfast in our view that some regulations are necessary to protect students and taxpayers from fraud and abuse. Last year, the NEA supported efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to make regulations more transparent to ensure that students have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their education. This issue will continue to be a top priority for us as reauthorization of the Higher Education Act proceeds in the 114th Congress.       

We look forward to working with you to address this critical issue as part of a complete reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.  

Sincerely,    

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations