House Passes Bills Addressing Innovation, Transparency and Financial Literacy

The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed three bills related to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The bipartisan bills focus on innovation in education, availability of consumer information, and financial literacy counseling.

  • The Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act passed by a vote of 414-0. Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., is the bill’s author, and Reps. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., are co-sponsors. The measure would:
    • Direct the secretary of education to implement demonstration projects related to competency-based education.
    • Require an annual evaluation of each project.
    • Offer flexibility to institutions that want to provide students a more personalized, cost-effective education.
  • The Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act passed by voice vote. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is the author of the bill, and Reps. Luke Messer, R-Ind., and John Kline, R-Minn., are co-sponsors. The proposal calls for:
    • The secretary of education to create a college dashboard, which would display key information students need when deciding on a school to attend.
    • Streamlining and eliminating unnecessary information and federal transparency initiatives.
  • The Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act passed by a vote of 405-11. The bill’s author is Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., and co-sponsors and Reps. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., and Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore. The legislation proposes that:
    • Students and parents participating in a federal loan program annually receive interactive, individualized loan counseling.
    • All recipients of Federal Pell Grants receive annual counseling that provides information about the terms and conditions of the grant.
    • The secretary of education maintain and provide an online counseling tool that institutions can use for annual loan counseling, exit counseling and annual Pell Grant counseling.

The U.S. Senate has not scheduled action on the legislation.