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House Republicans Roll Out Series of Higher Education Bills

As promised, House Republicans began introducing a slate of bills Thursday afternoon aimed at overhauling the Higher Education Act, a behemoth law that encompasses the entire federal student loan program.

U.S. Rep. John Kline, Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, said on Tuesday that his committee plans to roll out a series of bills beginning this week. The first three include proposals to simplify the student loan application, connect students and families to important information about college costs, and increase financial aid counseling.

Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act (HR 4982) is sponsored by a bipartisan group of committee members, including Reps. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., Mike Kelly, R-Pa., Ed Royce, R-Calif., John Tierney, D-Mass., Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., and Jared Polis, D-Colo. You can read about the bill here.  

Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act (HR 4983) is sponsored by Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Luke Messer, R-Ind. You can read about the bill here.

Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (HR 4984) is sponsored by Reps. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., and Richard Hudson, R-N.C. You can read about the bill here.

The most interesting bills— and in some cases the most controversial—are still to come: teacher preparation and college access. Kline said the whole series of proposals would be introduced quickly, so stay tuned.

Efforts in the Senate are also underway to overhaul the Higher Education Act. On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced a 785-page discussion draft.

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