Magazine article Issues in Science and Technology

Higher Education Act Reauthorized

Magazine article Issues in Science and Technology

Higher Education Act Reauthorized

Article excerpt

After six years of work and stalemate, Congress in late July finally reauthorized the Higher Education Opportunity Act, a cornerstone piece of legislation with the primary function of authorizing spending for a variety of higher education financial aid programs. President Bush signed the bill on August 14.

Although the bill contains provisions supported by the education community, including financial aid for low-income students, it also includes a number of new reporting requirements that higher education institutions opposed because they would increase administrative costs.

The bill will increase Pell grants to low-income students to $8,000 a year (up from $5,8000) by 2014 and will allow part-time students to use the grants for a full calendar year. It includes a program that forgives up to $10,000 in loans for students enrolling in high-needs areas. Eligible fields include nursing, child welfare, applied science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Some of the new reporting requirements that higher-education groups expressed concerns about involve rising tuition rates. According to the bill, universities and colleges that increase tuition or fees by a significant percentage must submit a report to the Department of Education explaining the rationale behind the increase and any measures it plans to implement to reduce costs.

Another example of a new reporting requirement addresses peer-to-peer file sharing--of music, for example. …

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