Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization - July 2007
On June 20, 2007, the U.S. Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) unanimously passed S. 1642, the Higher Education Amendments of 2007. This legislation provides the foundation for the federal government's investment in post-secondary study. The law addresses a wide range of important education policy areas including pre-service teacher education; aid to institutions; federal grant programs; support services for first generation college students; graduate education; and international education to name a few. Over the past two Congresses, Education GRO staff has advocated for a number of changes to the Higher Education Act. These amendments to the Higher Education Act seek to better integrate psychology and psychological research into teaching and learning, as well as expand opportunities for psychology education and training. APA's recommended definition for "teaching skills" is included in S. 1642 and departments of psychology are included as optional partners under Title II - Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants. We are particularly grateful for the leadership of Senator Reed (D-RI) and his staff on this effort.
During that same executive session, the Senate HELP Committee marked up its budget reconciliation bill. This legislation, which also amends federal higher education programs, includes an expanded loan forgiveness program (through the Direct Loan program) for people working in public service and provides some potential opportunities for psychology graduate students. The Senate began its 20 hours of debate on these education budget reconciliation provisions on Wednesday, July 18th and the Senate completed action on the bill on Friday, July 20th.
Immediately following that action, on Monday, July 23rd, the Senate took up S.1642, the Higher Education Amendments of 2007. The Senate voted on a manager's package of amendments and final passage on Tuesday, July 24th passing the bill by a vote of 95-0.
The U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee marked up its budget reconciliation bill, H.R. 2669 (The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007) on June 13th. The bill was considered by the full House on July 11th and passed by a vote of 273-149. In addition to making changes to the student loan programs intended to benefit borrowers, the bill includes increases in the federal Pell grant program. This legislation also includes loan forgiveness for individuals pursuing public service careers, providing some potential opportunities for psychology graduate students. To date, the House Education and Labor Committee has not yet considered its Higher Education Act reauthorization bill.