Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965
The Higher Education Act of 1965 (P.L. 89-329, 11/8/1965), as amended,
is the piece of federal legislation that authorizes most federal
student assistance programs. It is often refered to by the
abbreviation HEA. It must be reauthorized periodically, typically
every 4 to 6 years. During reauthorization Congress often makes
changes and improvements in the legislation, such as adding new
programs, streamlining existing programs and increasing authorized
funding levels. Although changes can and do occur between
reauthorizations of the HEA, the majority of important changes occur
The next Reauthorization is due to occur in 2013. If Congress
fails to pass an on-time reauthorization bill, an automatic one-year extension
will occur. After that, Congress must pass legislation to extend the
act until a reauthorization can occur. During the 2003
reauthorization Congress passed thirteen additional extensions and
eventually passed Reauthorization in 2008.
Previous reauthorizations of the Higher Education Act occurred in 1968,
1972, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998 and 2008.
Key Resources for Past Reauthorizations
The following are key resources relating to past Reauthorizations:
Department of Education.
This is the US Department of Education's page for information about
the Department's activities with respect to Reauthorization. Public
comments may be emailed to
This is the Reauthorization section of the National Association of
Student Financial Aid Administrators web site. It includes NASFAA's
- NASFAA's Reauthorization Survey
- American Council on Education's Proposals.
See also ACE's
to HR 4283.
- Kantrowitz's Reauthorization Proposals.
These are a set of proposals for the 2003 Reauthorization written by
Mark Kantrowitz, Publisher of FinAid.
- Kantrowitz EFC Simplification Testimony.
Testimony by Mark Kantrowitz concerning EFC Formula Simplification at
a hearing of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance on
September 19, 2006.
- Analysis of the Impact of Proposed Lender Subsidy Cuts on Lender Profitability.
Analysis by Mark Kantrowitz of the impact of proposed cuts in lender
special allowance payments and increases in risk sharing and
lender-paid origination fees on lender profitability. The report found
that the President's FY2008 budget proposal would yield net cuts of 57 bp
to 63 bp, the House proposal would yield net cuts of 65 bp to 72 bp
(larger for-profit lenders) and 55 bp to 52 bp (small and
not-for-profit lenders), and the Senate proposal would yield net cuts
of 58 bp to 64 bp (for-profit lenders) and 43 bp to 49 bp
- Solving the Student Loan Credit Crunch.
Policy paper by Mark Kantrowitz summarizing the impact of the subprime
mortgage credit crisis on student loan cost and availability and
suggesting several solutions.
- Impact of Bankruptcy
Exception on Private Student Loan Availability.
Analysis by Mark Kantrowitz of the impact of the Bankruptcy Abuse
Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 on the availability of
private student loans to borrowers with low credit scores, finding
only a slight improvement.
- Going to the Source: A Practical Way to Simplify the FAFSA,
a report from TICAS concerning the potential use of IRS data to
significantly cut the number of questions on the FAFSA.
- Scholarship Sponsorship Tax Credit Proposal.
A proposal to establish a 50% tax credit for sponsorship of college
scholarships. This would increase the number of private scholarships
- College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007.
This is the conference report on HR 2669. Mark Kantrowitz
wrote a summary of the conference
report for HR 2669, noting any significant differences from the previous
versions of the legislation.
- College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (HR 4137).
This is the House reauthorization legislation. Mark Kantrowitz wrote a
summary of key student aid related sections of the legislation.
- House Education and Workforce Committee.
The committee introduced the
College Access and Opportunity Act (108 HR4283)
on May 5, 2004, as the core of
their reauthorization legislation.
This morphed into HR 609 in 2005, and later into the
Higher Education Budget Reconciliation Act of 2005.
(The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
originally introduced the College Quality, Affordability, and Diversity
Improvement Act of 2003 (108 S1793),
which later morphed into the
Higher Education Amendments of 2005 (S.1614).)
Related documents include:
- Institute for Higher Education Policy.
This is a review of the top ten issues by a nonprofit nonpartisan
policy analysis and evaluation research organization.
- National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs
- National Association for Graduate and
- AMA Task Force on Medical Student Debt 2003 Report
- Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance
- Democratic Criticism of President Bush's FY2006 Budget Proposals for Reauthorization (PDF)
- ACE Recommendations for Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act
- NASFAA Recommendations for Reauthorization of the Higher
- US Department of Education OPE archive for 1998 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act
- Congressional Research Service report: Higher Education Act Reauthorization: A Comparison of Current Law and Major Proposals, May 2, 2006.