NAICU Washington Update

Higher Education Act: Celebrating a Golden Anniversary

November 03, 2015

More than 53 million bachelor’s degrees and 24 million associate’s degrees have been award by U.S. private and public colleges and universities in the 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Higher Education Act of 1965 into law on November 8, 1965.

Johnson traveled to his alma mater, Texas State University, to sign the landmark bill intended “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.”

Johnson told the assembled audience the bill “will swing open a new door for the young people of America…the most important door that will ever open—the door to education.”

Part of Johnson’s Great Society domestic agenda, the bill sought to solve the access problem for low-income students in partnership with colleges and states through a series of federal grant, loan and work-study programs.

NAICU President David Warren recently joined other higher education association leaders for a 50th anniversary celebration at Texas State University. As reported by the San Marcos, Texas, Mercury, Warren concluded the ceremony by sharing how the HEA impacted his life and his hopes for its effect on future students, saying “It is my hope that those in this room will once again come together on behalf of LBJ and the students he envisioned and had wishes about.”

The Higher Education Act of 1965 has subsequently been reauthorized in 1968, 1971, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2008. Congressional committees are currently working on another HEA reauthorization, primarily under the direction of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN).

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