STATEMENT: New Senate Proposal Fails To Address Key Issues in Higher Education

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced a piecemeal plan to reform the Higher Education Act. Ben Miller, vice president for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement responding to the proposal:

Chairman Alexander’s proposal fails to address the greatest challenges confronting America’s higher education system—from meager state funding and insufficient accountability to a loan repayment system that is failing 43 million borrowers carrying $1.5 trillion in debt. While it includes some good measures such as a simplified financial aid application process, second-chance Pell, and funding for minority-serving institutions (MSIs), the plan falls short of the big changes necessary. It’s past time for Congress to tackle the big challenges head-on by passing a state-federal partnership, enhanced accountability measures, improved access to data, and greater protections for student loan borrowers.

The Senate should pass the bipartisan Future Act to ensure MSIs and HBCUs do not lose funds at the end of the month and then work toward a more comprehensive solution.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202.741.6292.