Federal Relations

July 24, 2014

House Passes Series of Student-focused Bills

The House considered a series of higher education bills this week designed to increase transparency and education for student in how to pay for college.

On Wednesday, the House passed the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act (H.R. 3136) sponsored by Representative Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO). The bill would:

  • Promotes innovation in higher education by directing the secretary of education to implement competency-based education demonstration projects.
  • Provides accountability by requiring an annual evaluation of each demonstration project to determine program quality.
  • Delivers greater flexibility to institutions that want to provide students a more personalized, cost-effective education.

H.R. 3136 passed the House by a vote of 414 to 0. To learn more about the bill, click here

On Thursday, the House considered H.R. 4984 – Empowering Students Through Enhanced Counseling Act, which would change the requirements for the counseling of students who participate in the federal student aid programs, such as federal student loans and Pell grants.   This bill expands the counseling requirements for borrowers (yearly) and includes counseling on Pell eligibility. This Pell counseling provision may have been spurred with the proposed flex Pell system, allowing year-round Pell,  as outlined in the House Education and Workforce Committee principles document. The measure would promote financial literacy counseling for students so they have more information before making financial aid choices.It would:

  • Require the secretary of education to create a consumer-tested College Dashboard that would display key information students need when deciding which school to attend.
  • Instruct the secretary to provide a link to the page of each institution listed on a student’s FAFSA to make sure students know this information is available.
  • Streamline and eliminates unnecessary information and federal transparency initiatives.

Rep. Derek Kilmer offered and amendment to the measure which would ensure each individual is aware of financial management resources provided by the Treasury Department’s Financial Literacy and Education Commission. The amendment was adopted by a vote of  404 – 14 

H.R. 4983 passed the House by voice vote.