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Got an Idea for Revamping Higher Education? Tell Congress

Do you have a brilliant proposal to help boost college access, simplify the complicated student loan program, make colleges operate more efficiently, or cut federal red tape? Lawmakers on the House Education and the Workforce Committee—both Republicans and Democrats—want to hear from you.

Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, the chairman of the House education committee, and Rep. George Miller of California, the top Democrat on that committee, are asking for proposals for a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the main law that governs post-secondary education. But K-12 folks should pay attention to this renewal, too: HEA also sets federal policy on teachers' colleges and it governs college-access programs that can smooth the transition into post-secondary education. Check out the letter that Kline, Miller, and the top lawmakers on the House subcommittee overseeing higher education sent to stakeholders today.

A big issue that Congress will almost certainly have to tackle, whether through the HEA or some other vehicle? Student loans. The rates on some federally backed loans are set to jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent this summer unless Congress takes some action. Way more about that here. Loan repayment is also likely to be a huge flashpoint in the debate over renewing the law. Check out my colleague Caralee Adam's look at a recent congressional proposal to deal with that issue here.

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