NAICU Washington Update

NAICU Provides Comments on Multiple Issues Related to HEA Reauthorization

September 10, 2014

This summer, NAICU, both individually and with others in the higher education community, responded to requests for feedback from Senate education committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) on a number of pressing issues related to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. This includes providing feedback on Sen. Harkin’s draft reauthorization bill, separate comments regarding his teacher preparation proposals, and input on proposed sexual assault legislation.

Harkin Draft Reauthorization Bill

In response to an open request by Sen. Harkin, NAICU submitted a number of comments on his draft reauthorization bill.

NAICU’s extensive set of comments highlights some of the key issues and concerns for independent colleges and universities. (See here for a cover letter from David Warren summarizing the key issues found in NAICU’s comments.) Topics covered in the comments include:

  • Appreciation for Sen. Harkin’s long standing support of student aid, and, in particular, the preservation of all the campus-based aid programs, and LEAP;
  • Concern about a new proposal to fund public colleges on a per-capita basis regardless of the income level of the institution’s students;
  • Advice on which of many teacher preparation proposals to include in any final bill;
  • Concern about the amount of accreditation material proposed to be made public; and
  • A request that Sen. Harkin consider taking legislative steps to fix the troubled federal financial responsibility system, as outlined in a NAICU report from 2012.

Additionally, NAICU provided input on, and was a signatory to, comprehensive comments submitted to Sen. Harkin by the American Council on Education.

Teacher Preparation

NAICU filed more extensive comments on teacher preparation to Sen. Harkin through the Higher Education Task Force on Teacher Preparation, of which NAICU is a founding member, and which is led by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. NAICU is encouraging Congress to build on the successful reforms taking place in campus teacher preparation programs throughout the country.

Sexual Assault

NAICU joined with several other associations in commenting on legislation being proposed to address sexual assault on campus. That issue is likely to be considered by the next Congress as members seek to rewrite some of their initial proposals. If legislation in this area emerges, it could either be folded into a larger Higher Education Act reauthorization bill or move as a separate piece of legislation.

NAICU Efforts on Capitol Hill

NAICU is also in dialogue with the Republican education leadership in both the House and the Senate on their reauthorization proposals. So far, Senate Republicans and Democrats are developing separate legislation, while the House is continuing its bi-partisan conversations.

No Higher Education Act reauthorization proposals are expected to be enacted before the next Congress.

For more information contact:

Sarah Flanagan,
Susan Hattan,