Reauthorization of Higher Education Act subject of committee meeting

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called on Tuesday for ideas to modernize reporting requirements for schools levied under the Higher Education Act during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing.

During the seventh hearing on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, Alexander, the ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee, said provisions of the law are outdated and ineffective.

“When we took a look at the federal application for grants and loans, we found a lot of unnecessary questions and answers that we can probably eliminate and save a lot of time and money that could be used to educate students,” Alexander said.

Alexander singled out Title II of the Higher Education Act, which requires detailed data on all teacher preparation programs and students within schools that receive federal funds. States are required to submit reports that include program-by-program data and additional information.

“Once questions are answered and information is sent here, there’s nobody to do anything with the information,” Alexander said.

Alexander told hearing witnesses that a specific, written proposal for Title II reporting requirements would have a “pretty good” chance of being adopted.

Alexander said he has asked his staff to rewrite the Higher Education Act from scratch.

“Non-ideological inertia piles up rules and regulations here that become outdated and imprecise,” Alexander said.