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Chairman Alexander’s Remarks the First Step to Solving a Bigger Challenge

Washington, DC – Today, Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Education, Labor, Pensions Committee, while speaking at an American Enterprise Institute event, laid out his vision for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in three key principles:

  • Simplifying the FAFSA;
  • Simplifying the student loan repayment system and making income based repayment more readily accessible; and
  • Establishing a universal mechanism of accountability for schools and programs

In response to Sen. Alexander’s remarks, Allie Aguilera, Policy and Government Affairs Manager for Young Invincibles released the following statement:

“Any college student or individual with student loan debt in America can tell you firsthand that modernization of the Higher Education Act has been long overdue. But any changes to the HEA, which has not been reauthorized in more than ten years, must respond to the needs of today’s students and all of their complexities.

We agree that the higher education system should be easier to navigate, from when a young person first applies for aid through their final loan payment and every hardship in between that keeps students from graduating. We agree that more data about the outcomes from specific programs and institutions can lay the groundwork for student success, and we’ve supported the College Transparency Act to that end. And we agree that holding institutions accountable for teaching their students the skills they need to find a good job after they graduate is fundamental to protecting borrowers, which is why we strongly support full implementation of the Gainful Employment and Borrower Defense rules.

In order to truly serve students in this HEA reauthorization we must tackle higher education’s big questions around access and affordability including and beyond the principles laid out by Chairman Alexander. We should have substantive conversations about lowering costs through federal-state partnerships, increasing equity of both enrollment and attainment, expanding the pool of students eligible for aid, how we work towards truly debt-free college, and more. We look forward to the forthcoming discussions to do just that.”