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Government Seeks Public Input on Higher Education Act

Government Seeks Public Input on Higher Education Act
By Charles Dervarics

The U.S. Department of Education is seeking public input on the Higher Education Act and beginning to share some of its ideas about how to improve the law.

The department on Dec. 20 requested public comments on issues such as Pell Grants, college work/study, TRIO college access and retention programs, and programs for Black colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions. The notice from Sally Stroup, assistant secretary for postsecondary education, noted that most of those programs, including aid to HBCUs, have received substantial budget increases during the past five years.

Funds for HBCUs, she noted, have increased by 74 percent for undergraduate and 96 percent for graduate institutions. Yet a department goal for the next reauthorization is to strengthen HBCUs, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges, she says. These institutions also should collaborate on K-12 improvement efforts.

Stroup says the department is particularly interested in ideas that improve management and operations, including performance-based contracting, a more efficient student aid delivery system and performance-based grants that reward colleges based on their effectiveness.

Individuals can send comments via the Internet at reauthorization>. Written comments can be addressed to Jeffrey Andrade, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation, Office of Postsecondary Education, 1990 K St. NW, Room 8046, Washington, DC 20006 Attn: HEA Reauthorization. Deadline for comments is Feb. 28. For more information, see the Dec. 20 Federal Register, p. 77967 or contact Daniel Pollard or Jean-Didier Gaina at (202) 502-7575.

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